- Sportsbooks’ point spread on Sunday’s DC Defenders-Tampa Bay Vipers XFL game moved from Vipers -1.5 to Defenders -2.5 since it opened
- Should you follow this steam move and go with the Defenders?
- The analysis, picks and best bets for this game are all right here
When sportsbooks opened their line on the Week 4 XFL game between the DC Defenders and Tampa Bay Vipers, the winless Vipers were surprising 1.5-point favorites at home.
That point spread didn’t last long.
Currently, the 2-1 Defenders are the -2.5-point road chalk. This is the third time in four weeks that the 0-3 Vipers opened as point-spread favorites. Tampa Bay is 0-3 against the spread this season.
DC Defenders vs Tampa Bay Vipers Odds
|DC||-2.5 (-120)||-135||O 44 (-110)|
|Tampa Bay||+2.5 (EVEN)||+115||U 44 (-110)|
Odds taken Feb. 28th
Sunday’s game kicks off at 7 pm at Raymond James Stadium.
Defenders Take a Hit
DC didn’t exactly live up to its nickname last Sunday. Handed a 39-9 drubbing by the Los Angeles Wildcats, the Defenders took a double hit. They fell from the ranks of the unbeaten. They also relinquished their position as the favorites to win the 2020 XFL championship.
In reality, it was the offense that let the Defenders down in LA. DC turned the ball over five times. Quarterback Cardale Jones threw four picks as he lost a starting assignment for the first time since high school. He was benched in favor of backup Tyree Jackson.
— D.C. Defenders (@XFLDefenders) February 24, 2020
DC passed for a measly 90 yards. The Defenders were two-for-13 on third-down conversions.
That being said, DC’s secondary was exposed as inferior when it comes to facing a QB that can attack with a vertical passing game.
One positive from the blowout was that the Defenders finally got their run game going. Nick Brossette came off the bench to ramble for 75 yards. He scored DC’s first rushing touchdown of the season on a 38-yard run.
If Jhruell Pressley (shoulder injury) can’t go this week, Brossette should get another chance to shine.
Vipers Show Improvement
Even though Week 3 produced a 24-17 loss to the unbeaten Houston Roughnecks, there are reasons why the Vipers should feel good about themselves following the setback.
Tampa Bay’s offense finally found the end zone for the first time this season. Through the first two weeks, the lone Vipers TD was scored via a pick six.
The Vipers prefer more of a ball-control style of offense, and that should play into the hands of the DC defense. Vipers coach Marc Trestman likes the short passing game, mixing in a lot of screens. But DC’s linebackers are the strength of the team’s defense.
Wide receiver Jalen Tolliver displayed some promise in the Houston loss. The 6-foot-3 wideout was targeted 13 times and gained 104 yards on pass receptions. He’s also deployed occasionally as a runner. Tolliver scored a two-point conversion off a sweep.
The question is whether the Vipers can get him the ball. Tampa Bay’s QB situation is a mess. Taylor Cornelius will get the start Sunday. His passer rating is 52.2. Cornelius has thrown for one TD against three interceptions.
Game 1 starter Aaron Murray returned to practice this week. He missed two games with a foot injury. Quinton Flowers, whose skill set as a mobile QB seems a logical fit for the XFL, wasn’t given much chance to play by Trestman. Flowers left the team this week for what was termed personal reasons.
Tampa Bay Love Hard to Explain
Who hasn’t been in a toxic relationship that they just can’t seem to leave? That best describes the affair between the oddsmakers and the Vipers.
Even though Tampa Bay shows all the signs of being the XFL’s worst team, sportsbooks keep favoring them to win. The betting public spoke this week, going heavily with the Defenders. When the XFL team stats are added up, that makes the most sense.
Defenders vs Vipers Stats
|2-1||Against the Spread||0-3|
|323.00 (5)||Total Offense||349.43 (2)|
|125.33 (3)||Rushing Offense||140.00 (2)|
|197.67 (5)||Passing Offense||209.33 (4)|
|260.33 (1)||Total Defense||280.67 (3)|
|74.67 (1)||Rushing Defense||92.00 (2)|
|185.67 (1)||Passing Defense||188.67 (3)|
|-2 (T5)||Takeaways||-4 (8)|
|22.33 (4)||Points Per Game||13.00 (7)|
|19.33 (3)||Points Per Game Allowed||24.67 (8)|
DC is the deeper team. Statistically, the Defenders hold the edge over the Vipers in every vital category.
Even giving the 2.5 points on the road, DC is still the play here.
Pick: DC Defenders -2.5 (-120)