Championship Contenders Collide
The XFL picked a great game for its first Monday night matchup of the season. The Houston Roughnecks (4-1) travel to take on the D.C. Defenders (5-0). This could be a championship game preview, as the sportsbook lists the Roughnecks and Defenders as the favorites to win the title.
Monday could provide the best game of the XFL regular season. However, we were robbed of an undefeated clash. Houston sustained its first loss in Week 5 against the Seattle Sea Dragons (21-14). Before Week 5, these teams were dominating in every fashion with few weaknesses. D.C. remains undefeated after a 28-20 win over the St. Louis Battlehawks. XFL lines have the Defenders as 2½ point favorites. Will the Roughnecks pull off the upset?
Roughnecks vs Defenders Betting Lines
Houston’s Offense Comes Off Frustrating Performance
The Roughnecks’ loss against the Sea Dragons headlined XFL news for Week 5. Houston had won each matchup by at least nine points through four games. Meanwhile, Seattle was streaky with little consistency. So what went wrong?
The offense simply did not show up. It totaled only 14 points with 255 yards, exposing the Roughnecks’ lack of balance. Its previous season low was 22 points. Houston was rolling with a potent passing attack led by quarterback Brandon Silvers in the first four games. The unit’s inability to run was evident at 52 rushing yards against the Sea Dragons. The Roughnecks had 47 passing attempts to 13 rushing attempts.
This game was not that competitive, either. Houston trailed 15-0 at halftime. It did not score its first points until halfway through the fourth quarter. The Roughnecks cut the lead to 21-14 in garbage time with only 29 seconds on the clock. This was the first time Houston’s offense looked vulnerable. According to Las Vegas XFL odds, the Roughnecks’ title odds rose to +160.
Defenders Dominate on the Ground
D.C. has continued to impress, sitting at 5-0 outright and against the spread (ATS). The Defenders come off their most impressive showings yet with two wins against the St. Louis Battlehawks over the last three games. St. Louis is one of the most popular XFL picks to win the championship (+550). However, D.C. has emerged as the title favorite at +125.
The Defenders’ strategy has not changed. They look to play defense and run the rock. This is the league’s top rushing attack at 870 yards. The Sea Dragons have the second-best mark at 466 rushing yards. The offense has perhaps its best game yet in Week 5.
The rushing attack had 248 rushing yards. Running back Abram Smith erupted for 218 yards and three touchdowns on 9.5 yards per carry. Smith was a big play machine, as he scampered into the endzone on 62 and 70-yard runs.
— NFL on ESPN (@ESPNNFL) March 19, 2023
The Roughnecks have allowed at least 80 rushing yards in back-to-back games.
Roughnecks vs Defenders Head-to-Head
Both teams were a part of the 2020 season, but the Roughnecks and Defenders have yet to meet.
Roughnecks vs Defenders Game Information
- Game: Roughnecks vs Defenders
- Date: Monday, March 27
- Time: 7:00 p.m. ET
- Location: Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
- Roughnecks vs Defenders Live Stream: fubo.TV
Roughnecks vs Defenders Game Weather Conditions
Monday night’s game features favorable weather with temperatures in the low 40s with no rain and low winds.
Roughnecks vs Defenders Prediction
Predicted Score: Defenders 25, Roughnecks 21
- Worth Betting ATS?
The Roughnecks are best when the pass rush gets home. However, it totaled only two sacks last week against one of the league’s top offensive lines. The Defenders’ offense could erase Houston’s formidable pass rush. D.C. rarely depends on the pass. In fact, it totaled only 90 passing yards on 18 attempts in Week 5.
Sport bets favoring the Defenders have yielded nice paydays. D.C. is 5-0 ATS. I’m not fading the Defenders this week. Give me D.C. to cover the spread.
- Worth Betting on the Totals?
With the projected total at 42½, this is a tough bet. Houston has a great defense but has not met a rushing offense on the Defenders’ level. D.C. also allowed 22 points per game over the last three weeks. Take the over.