Cardale Jones

Spring football is here and it is better than ever. The XFL is re-booting with new rules set to create an exciting, and likely safer, brand of football. And of course, more football means more football bets! DraftKings Sportsbook should eventually have totals and props to consider each week, but since it is the inaugural voyage of the league, only spreads are up right now. Today, I’ll give you my lean in each of the games, as well as my best value to win the whole thing.

All odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.


DC Defenders vs. Seattle Dragons (Saturday, 2 pm ET)

The Pick: Defenders -7.5

Something to consider right away for betting this new league is the extra point format. There are no one-point kicks. Instead, teams will get a try from the two, five, or 10-yard line for an additional one, two, or three points, respectively. If the other team forces a turnover and takes it to the house, they will get the points. This should create some numbers we aren’t used to from NFL betting and will change the key numbers you should focus on each week.

With that in mind, I am willing to lay the points at home with the Defenders. Though I am not a huge fan of head coach Pep Hamilton’s run-heavy style, he has the right personnel to execute it effectively. Cardale Jones was a successful dual-threat quarterback at Ohio State, and D.C. has a two-headed backfield in Jhurell Pressley and Donnel Pumphrey. Seattle, meanwhile, is starting Brandon Silvers at QB and will be down of their top play-makers in Kasen Williams (quad). This game has the potential to be pretty low-scoring, but Seattle simply doesn’t have the star power to keep up with the Defenders.

Houston Roughnecks vs. LA Wildcats (Saturday, 5 pm ET)

The Pick: Roughnecks -6

This pick mostly comes down to one player. Josh Johnson hasn’t practiced all week due to a thigh injury and appears to be unlikely to play. He is one of the most dynamic players in the whole league and started an NFL game as recently as 2018. With him out, it would greatly reduce L.A.’s chances of moving the football, and they will likely have to rely on Elijah Hood more in the run game. Meanwhile, June Jones’ Run-and-Shoot attack should be moving at a fast tempo and throwing the ball all over the field. Bettors are likely being spotted a couple of points in either direction depending on Johnson’s status, but based on all of the available information, I am leaning towards him being out, making this current line a value.

New York Guardians vs. Tampa Bay Vipers (Sunday, 2 pm ET)

The Pick: Vipers -3

The Guardians are one of the betting favorites to win the championship, but I honestly just don’t see it. Kevin Gilbride has NFL experience, but the nickname “Kill-Drive” over his last few years with the Giants does little to inspire confidence. This team also has no real star power. QB Matt McGloin has NFL experience but isn’t going to blow you away with his arm or his legs, and the skill players leave a lot to be desired. The Vipers, meanwhile, have a proven coach in Marc Trestman, who has success at the NFL and CFL levels, and boast a variety of offensive playmakers, though they certainly took a hit after losing Antonio Callaway to injury. I like them to cover in this one.

Dallas Renegades vs. St. Louis Battlehawks (Sunday, 5 pm ET)

The Pick: Renegades -9.5

That’s right, I’m taking all favorites to start the league, though I liked Dallas a lot more when they were sitting at just 7.5 points. The line move could indicate that Landry Jones (knee) will be ready to suit up for Week 1 and that the team will not have to turn to backup Philip Nelson. It also likely just speaks to the gap in team talent, as Dallas is currently the betting favorite for the title, while the Battlehawks is second to last. Aside from Jones, Dallas has NFL-ers such as Cameron Artis-Payne, a top-four pick in Jeff Badet, and Air Raid legend Hal Mumme calling the plays. I’m expecting them to be one of the more exciting teams to watch this season.

XFL Championship Winner: Houston Roughnecks (+900)

The futures market for the XFL has been out for a little while now, yet the Roughnecks are still seeing the third-highest odds to win the title. This presents great value to me when I look at what their roster and coaching staff consist of. June Jones was a perennial winner at Hawaii, including a finish inside of the top 20 in 2007, and brought an SMU program that was a disaster to four straight bowl births. In the CFL, Jones took over an 0-8 Tigercats team and went 6-4 with them the rest of the way. Now he is armed with a dual-threat QB in Phillip Walker, and a former NFL talent in Sammie Coates, among others. The West is very competitive, with both Dallas and the Wildcats to compete with, but the odds here are too long in my opinion.

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