XFL Week 9 Analysis: Can the Defenders Keep Rolling?

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Liam Fornadel and Jordan Ta'amu DC Defenders celebrate during an XFL game. Photo taken from DC Defenders Facebook page.

XFL Pick: Renegades vs. Defenders Over 41.5 (-110) at Bovada

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Renegades vs. Defenders Over 41.5 (-110)
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We will see what the XFL has for an encore after an excellent Week 8 with each game going down to the wire, including the first two overtime contests of the season. Football fans were largely in agreement that the alternating 2-point conversion attempts were a fun and unique way to do overtime justice in America’s favorite sport.

In Week 9, we have the Defenders trying to win yet again, while Sunday’s finale is going to determine the best challenger for them as the Sea Dragons (5-3) clash with the Battlehawks (6-2).

We have a preview of the Week 9 slate with our best betting pick that you can find at the top sportsbooks.

Arlington Renegades vs. DC Defenders

Sunday, April 16, 2023 – 12:00 PM EDT at Audi Field

The DC Defenders (7-1) can further establish their dominance before the playoffs start as an 8.5-point home favorite at the XFL odds boards over the Arlington Renegades (4-4) in a game with a total of 41.5 points.

DC left no doubt about which team has the best offense in the XFL. Quarterback Jordan Ta'amu passed for 247 yards and 4 touchdowns in the 34-33 win in Seattle to end the Sea Dragons' 5-game winning streak. But the defense had to hang on for dear life in the final minute to secure the win, stopping XFL passing leader Ben DiNucci on a quarterback run on a 2-point conversion.

We know the Defenders have the best offense, but is the defense becoming a concern for winning a championship? The Defenders have now allowed the third-most points (186) in the XFL and are only 10 points away from the second-highest team, the 2-6 Vipers.

Perez to Save the Day?

But some good news this week is that Arlington has been the worst-scoring offense in the XFL this season, with 111 points and a league-low 9 touchdowns. That could change if new quarterback Luis Perez gets acclimated to the offense. He helped the Renegades hang on for an 18-16 win last week against Orlando.

But beating DC right now looks like it will take at least 30 points, and the Renegades have just not shown that kind of ability this season.

Place Your Bet on the Total

Our best bet for the XFL’s Week 9 slate is for the over 41.5 points to hit. The fact is DC can do much of the heavy lifting by itself on this total.

The Defenders have scored at least 28 points in the last six games, and with the way the defense has also been allowing points, it is not asking much for over 41.5 from this matchup.

If you're planning on betting on this game, make sure you go over our guide on the best betting sites for DC residents.

XFL Pick: Over 41.5 (-110) at Bovada

Vegas Vipers vs. Houston Roughnecks

Saturday, April 15, 2023 – 12:30 PM EDT at TDECU Stadium

Getting the action started this Saturday afternoon, the Houston Roughnecks (5-3) are a 6.5-point home favorite with a total of 44 points.

Houston clinched a playoff spot last week with a 17-15 overtime win over San Antonio in a Texas-sized slugfest. It ended a losing streak, and while Houston (plus-42) is still No. 2 in the league in scoring differential, the lack of offensive production in recent weeks makes it hard to trust this team in the postseason.

Fortunately for Houston, the three best teams in the league seem to be bunched into the North Division, with the Defenders (7-1), Battlehawks (6-2), and Sea Dragons (5-3) all standing out. Houston could be in the XFL Championship Game by beating a lesser Arlington team in the South division.

The other good news for Houston is that its next opponent is Vegas, the 2-6 team that continues to fail in close games and allows the second-most points in the league. Despite some solid passing numbers, the Vipers just have not been able to translate their success into wins.

Can the Vipers Make It?

But Vegas will have a chance in this game if Houston quarterback Brandon Silvers, who ranks third in passing yards but 10th in first-down rate, continues to struggle.

Silvers averaged just 4.1 yards per pass with two interceptions last week, and the running game was stuffed to 25 yards on 13 attempts. Houston was fortunate to be playing San Antonio, but the Vipers are better than their record suggests.

Orlando Guardians vs. San Antonio Brahmas

Saturday, April 15, 2023 – 07:00 PM EDT at Alamodome

The Brahmas (2-6) are a 1.5-point home favorite over the Guardians (1-7) in a game with a total of 39.5 points. This game could determine which team finishes last in the league this season.

This is a chance for San Antonio to prove matchups matter because this is a rematch from Week 2 when San Antonio won 30-12 over Orlando. Incredibly, San Antonio has not surpassed 15 points in any other game this season.

Fortunately, Orlando has played better football in the last month, and replacing quarterback Paxton Lynch with Quinten Dormady has had a lot to do with that. Meanwhile, the Brahmas continue to be miserable at running and passing, as even the run game is next to last in yards per carry (3.5). The passing game is last by far with 4.3 yards per play, a figure that is hard to believe in professional football.

Our Betting Recommendation

This could definitely be a game where the under is in play; despite some improved offensive games, Orlando scored just 16 points last week. Too many turnovers will do that to you.

Hopefully, these teams will work on playing a cleaner, more watchable game. When they met in Week 2, San Antonio had 6 penalties for 107 yards and Orlando had 13 penalties for 100 yards. In the last four NFL seasons (2019-22), there has only been one game per season where both teams were over 100 yards in penalties, so that is unusually bad.

Seattle Sea Dragons vs. St. Louis Battlehawks

Sunday, April 16, 2023 – 03:00 PM EDT at The Dome at America’s Center

Hats off to the XFL schedule makers for once again picking the best game to end the week. The Sea Dragons are a 1-point road underdog against the Battlehawks with a total of 46 points.

When only two teams from each division can make the playoffs, that means one of these teams will miss the tournament, making this very close to being a playoff game itself. Fortunately for St. Louis, it won its third game in a row last week thanks to a fake punt touchdown pass that sparked another comeback win with quarterback AJ McCarron out injured.

Look Out for a Great Game

McCarron is hoping to be ready for this game, but the spread is still very small, with the Sea Dragons having the ability to score too. Both teams have lived on the edge often this season, with many games coming down to the final minute.

In fact, it was back in Week 2 when these teams met that McCarron led a game-winning field goal drive with the 44-yard field goal going through, with no time left, in a 20-18 comeback win.

Ben DiNucci was statistically more efficient than McCarron in that game, but McCarron just so happened to get the ball last. It could be that kind of game again where the team who has it last wins. Either way, it should be one of the best games in the XFL’s 2023 regular season.

*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.