DC Defenders vs Tampa Bay Vipers XFL Pick – March 1

Okay, believe it or not, but these betting odds opened with the Tampa Bay Vipers as betting favorites over the DC Defenders!

We are now at (-2.5) for the Defenders as road favorites down in T-Town. That is still very valuable against a team as weak as the Tampa Bay Vipers who have barely averaged 13 points per game so far this season.

The Vipers own the largest point differential plus or minus in the league at over 11 points. Allowing nearly 25 and scoring 13 isn’t going to get it done.

I’m not sure what happened to DC last week but it didn’t bother me very much because I chose to stay away from that game in LA.

The Galaxy’s Josh Johnson has been lights out the past couple of weeks and they might just go into New York and cover the 7 points against the lowly Guardians this week as well. I’m still on the fence about that one.

It’s for the same reason I am hesitating on the St Louis Battlehawks.

It was a highly emotional weekend for both teams as they won big at home and have refused to accept their designated positions in the power rankings as mid-tier XFL football teams.

Maybe there will be a hangover, though. They are a real thing.

Let’s get to the betting odds and predictions for this XFL game and remember to check my pick for the Houston Roughnecks vs Dallas Renegades game.

Point Spread

DC DEFENDERS -2.5
-115
TAMPA BAY VIPERS +2.5
-105

This just seems too good to be true. Maybe we should shy away, then…Nah!

I think Cardale and the boys just had a hiccup last weekend in LA. They went out there a little overconfident and LA is stepping up as possibly one of the better teams in the league this year.

The Galaxy owes much of that success to their newfound success in the passing game under now starter Josh Johnson. I don’t think it was so much DC just laying an egg as it was the Wildcats playing their hearts out.

Let’s take a closer look at the game

Well, you don’t see this very often in professional football…The DC Defenders lost, of course, by a score of 39-9 but somehow rushed for 200 yards on just 36 carries.

Conversely, the LA Wildcats barely managed 56 yards on the ground on 26 attempts.

When does one team outgain the other squad on the ground like that and still get blown out? Crazy.

The Wildcats were able to throw the ball all over the Defenders, though, averaging 11 yards per attempt!

DC out-punted the Cats significantly but the 5 turnovers versus zero for LA was the main story. Without those 5 giveaways, I believe the Defenders would have made this a close game.

The secondary will need to tighten up this week because I foresee the Vipers employing a similar gameplan as the Cats.

The Tampa Bay Vipers only lost by 7 last week versus the team with the league’s best record, the Houston Roughnecks.

The yards per play battle, though, ugh. This is a stat the sharps and sportsbooks love and the Vipers managed 3.6 compared to 6.0 for Houston. That’s not even close.

They had NO answer for the ‘Necks ground game and were lucky, really, that Houston didn’t pound it even more.

16 rushes for 117 yards is light work. Then they gave up over 300 yards through the air at 8.5 per pass attempt. No bueno, guys.

I think the Defenders probably win this one by 2 scores if not 3. For the life of me, I just can’t figure out why Tampa opened up as the favorites.

They were within one score of the Roughnecks last week, yes, but it didn’t take hours of research to conclude that the yards per play did not reflect the score.

We could say the same for DC’s loss.

They dominate the game on the ground and still get smoked by 30?! When you turn the ball over 5 times more than your opponent does, I guess that’s what happens.

I worry slightly about the undersized cornerbacks of the Defenders against a solid wide receiving corps for the Vipers.

Tampa throws a lot of screen passes to them so keeping contain will remain the constant for DC and with such strong linebackers holding down the middle, I expect the Defenders to, well, defend.

Cardale is much more careful with his throws this week.

I think DC also slows the game down with the same strong attack from the ground that saw them rack up 200 yards of rushing in week 3.

That should open things up for the Defenders QB Jones who does some of his best work off the play-action pass.

My Pick
DC Defenders -2.5

In Conclusion

The XFL year is rolling right along. We are now nearing the halfway point of the regular season.

Who is the best team? I am leaning towards the Houston Roughnecks but I am still not sure. Their game versus the rival Renegades of Dallas should tell us a lot.

DC told us a lot last week… Or did they? Looking at the stat sheet, I see their best rushing performance of the season in a game they lost by 30 points.

As much of a football anomaly as that is, nobody can expect to win professional football games with a turnover differential of minus 5. DC will bounce back!

The Vipers are yet to win a football game and I don’t think it will be this week.

They do match up well with the Defenders at wide receiver and their new quarterback is also a threat with his feet but DC has a much better roster from top to bottom and that should be evident this weekend.

I see DC controlling the ball with a 60/40 run attack early and making things easier on their man under center as linebackers and safeties begin to creep up as the game plays out.

Get your bets in now, guys!

These XFL lines move quite a bit just before kickoff.

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Mike Pruitt / Author

Mike has been covering sports professionally since 2017 but on the amateur scene for 25 years since when he was 12. Before the internet changed the world, he would keep detailed statistical box scores of NFL and NBA contests, write recaps, and voluntarily commentate games and fights alone in his room. Mike's military experience, Bachelors Degree, and employment thereafter were always rooted in engineering, science, and teaching. Now he enjoys being able to express himself through writing about football, golf, and car racing among other sports but most of all fighting as his life has been rooted in mixed martial arts including competing and teaching for the past 15 years.