- The Tampa Bay Vipers have the highest XFL win total at 7.5
- Star receiver Antonio Callaway is out for the year
- Can Tampa live up to the hype out of the gate? Check our betting preview below for a prediction
On Saturday, the XFL returns for their second kick at the can. The hope is that they learned valuable lessons from their first go and football fans get treated to some football action to bridge the gap to the NFL season. The Tampa Bay Vipers will take on the New York Guardians on Saturday. Which team is the best bet to win and cover?
Tampa Bay Vipers vs New York Guardians Odds
|Tampa Bay Vipers
|Over 52.5 (-105)
|New York Guardians
|Under 52.5 (-115)
Odds taken Feb. 8
Vipers Led by Trestman, Murray
The Tampa Bay Vipers actually entered the year tied with two other teams in terms of the shortest odds to win the XFL Championship (+350) but had the highest regular season win total (7.5). Take that for what it’s worth as we haven’t seen any of these teams play.
However, what we do know about the Vipers is that former NFL and CFL head coach Marc Trestman will be their head coach. He was a pass-happy offensive coordinator and head coach, so he was maybe a bit ahead of his time. Maybe his style is better suited to today’s game.
At any rate, he has options at quarterback but has tabbed former Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray as his starter. Murray was just OK in the AAF, completing 64% of his passes but he had just three touchdowns. This team could also go with the more mobile Quinton Flowers or former Oklahoma State passer Taylor Cornelius.
The team was hoping to have some talent to throw to as former Cleveland Browns wideout Antonio Callaway was on the roster. He flashed at times in the NFL and probably would have done well here but he’s landed on injured reserve. That means it’s up to Reece Horn, Stacy Coley and others to step up.
That’s a big loss. This team is not expected to have a great running game as running back De’Veon Smith is more of the bruising type and Trestman doesn’t like to pound the ball with guys like this. I’m not exactly sure why this team has a regular season win total of 7.5 as I just don’t see eight wins here.
Guardians Looking to McGloin, Summers
Fans of the television show The Office will probably be cheering on the Guardians as they’re led by Scranton, Pennsylvania’s own Matt McGloin. The former Oakland Raiders and Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback will run the show for the Guardians. He’s already lost a couple of key weapons, though, as Deangelo Yancey and Tanner Gentry on are on injured reserve.
While the Guardians are expected to have a good ground game with Darius Victor and Tim Cook, it’s their defense that could be the team’s strength. No. 1 pick Jamar Summers was one of the standouts in the AAF and looks like a lockdown cornerback. Behind him, Bryce Jones, Dravon Askew-Henry and Demetrious Cox were all on NFL rosters within the last year.
Vipers vs Guardians Key Positions
|Aaron Murray, Taylor Cornelius, Quinton Flowers
|Matt McGloin, Luis Perez
|De’Veon Smith, Jacques Patrick
|Darius Victor, Tim Cook, Justin Stockton
|Jalen Tolliver, Reece Horn
|MeKale McKay, Joe Horn Jr., Austin Duke
What’s the Best Bet?
Both teams took big hits at the wide receiver position, so it’s unclear how big of an impact that will have on the passing games. As far as the defenses go, I give a slight edge to the Guardians.
There’s a lot of hype around the Vipers, specifically Murray and Trestman. Last we saw Murray, he could barely lock down a starting job in the AAF, so I don’t know what the excitement is all about here. And while Trestman did well in the CFL, he was a lousy head coach in the NFL, often being overmatched.
At the end of the day, we really know little about these teams, so I’m not going to be laying four points on the road here. Take the Giants plus the points and if you’re looking at regular season win totals, I love the Vipers under 7.5.