What have we learned through two weeks of the XFL season? So far, the favorites have gone 2-2 against the spread in each week, with one road favorite easily covering and another faltering for a second straight time. The D.C. Defenders and Houston Roughnecks are the only unbeatens, while the Tampa Bay Vipers and Los Angeles Wildcats are winless. DC is currently the +165 Mybookie favorite to win the title with Houston at +185. Let’s see how the XFL betting odds will be for this Week 3.
2020 XFL Week 3 Games Preview, Odds & Picks
Here’s a look at three of the four games this week – there will be a separate preview on Dallas-Seattle.
Houston at Tampa Bay, Saturday 2 PM ET: The Roughnecks are 6.5-point favorites with a total of 45.5 for this XFL Week 3. Arguably the best player in the XFL thus far has been former Indianapolis Colts castoff quarterback Philip (PJ) Walker. Through two games, he’s completed 43 of 69 passes for 442 yards, seven touchdowns, one interception, and a league-high passer rating of 108.5
Like with most XFL players, Walker is in the league after getting dropped by an NFL team. Walker joined the Colts as an undrafted free agent in 2017 following a career at Temple that left him as the school’s all-time leader in passing yards and touchdowns.
Former Colts QB Andrew Luck played a big role in Walker getting a shot in the XFL. Luck spent roughly two-plus seasons in the same quarterback room with Walker in Indy. On August 31, 2019, one week after Luck shocked most of the NFL by retiring, the Colts released Walker. However, it wasn’t the last time the NFL took a look at him — the Steelers asked the XFL for permission to sign Walker for a week.
“Andrew had been pushing him to me,” XFL commissioner Oliver Luck (Andrew’s dad) said. “He said, ‘Dad, I’m telling you, this guy can play. He’s a good kid and a hard worker, and he’s hungry to play.’”
The Vipers, meanwhile, have been inept offensively in losing their two games. The defense has been very good, though, and this will be Tampa Bay’s home opener.
“Jerry Glanville and our staff have done a great job on the defensive side. Offensively, it just comes down to finishing drives,” said Marc Trestman, the Vipers head coach. “If we start finishing drives we are going to have a really good football team.”
New York at St. Louis, Sunday 3 PM ET: The BattleHawks are -9.5 with a total of 40.5. Perhaps the most memorable moment of this early XFL season was New York QB Matt McGloin essentially ripping his own team during last week’s 27-0 loss to the DC Defenders.
“We need to change the whole entire game plan at halftime,” McGloin said during an on-field interview heading into the locker room at the half. “There’s a lot going on right now. It’s embarrassing for us for an offense. There’s a lot of things for us to fix and correct.”
McGloin, who played for Penn State and the Raiders, completed just 8-of-19 passes for 44 yards, with two picks and two sacks. He was pulled for Marquisse Williams, who went 4-for-8 for 51 yards.
St. Louis lost 28-24 to Houston last week. BattleHawks quarterback Jordan Ta’amu nearly stole the show from Walker, throwing for 284 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 32 and one score. However, a costly fourth-quarter interception proved decisive, despite a late-quarter touchdown that cut the deficit.
DC at Los Angeles, Sunday 6 PM ET: The Defenders are 8-point favorites with a total of 44. DC dominated New York 27-0 last week. The Defenders held the Guardians to just 137 yards of total offense and just five first downs. The Defenders are the only team in the XFL with multiple defensive touchdowns, thanks to Jameer Thurman’s pick-six in the third quarter in Week 2 to put the game away for the DC.
Quarterback Cardale Jones is an MVP candidate, but the DC defense is just as impactful for its 2-0 record. Against New York, the former Ohio State quarterback completed 23 of his 37 pass attempts for 276 yards and two touchdowns but did throw one interception.
The Wildcats lost their home opener last week, 25-18 to Dallas. Quarterback Josh Johnson made his XFL debut after missing Week 1 due to injury. he 33-year-old Johnson started three games for the Washington Redskins in 2018. He played in three preseason games with the Detroit Lions in 2019 and remained with the team through two regular season games, but did not play in either one.
The long-time NFL journeyman’s go-to receiver is Nelson Spruce, who has recorded four receptions of 15 or more yards through two weeks. Johnson hit Spruce on two TD passes. Spruce had short stints with the Rams and Raiders in addition to a season with the San Diego Fleet of the Alliance of American Football.
Johnson wasn’t happy with his performance but thinks he and his team can get better. “We left a lot on the field today,” he said. “I missed throws that I know I can make, easy completions.”