XFL betting, odds: Defense could be the difference in Sea Dragons-Defenders matchup

XFL betting, odds: Defense could be the difference in Sea Dragons-Defenders matchup

Quarterback Ben DiNucci of the Seattle Sea Dragons runs during the second half at Lumen Field on April 23, 2023, in Seattle. (Photo by Ali Gradischer/Getty Images)

Now that the XFL has run through the ribbon on its regular season, the postseason starts this weekend. Two semifinal playoff games will determine which teams will represent the North and South Divisions in the XFL championship on May 13 in San Antonio. We have come a long way since Week 1, and now have 10 games of data to draw conclusions from and handicap the league's final three games.

The crown for the XFL's North Division will be determined Sunday when the DC Defenders (9-1) host the Seattle Sea Dragons (7-3). The Defenders are 3.5-point favorites after winning both games against Seattle by the slimmest of margins. These two teams put on arguably the league's most exciting game of the season in Week 8 when DC edged out a 34-33 win at Lumen Field. So should we bet on a repeat performance? Here's why I'm betting it's going to be the defense that determines who moves on to the XFL championship.

Seattle Sea Dragons +3.5 at DC Defenders (O/U 48.5)

This is a battle of the XFL's top two teams. It's not a coincidence they also have the league's most explosive offenses. DC started off 6-0 S/U and ATS behind a dominant running game that utilizes the mobility of QB Jordan Ta'amu. However, as the season progressed and teams looked to bottle up running back Abram Smith, Ta'amu made huge strides as a passer, making DC the highest-scoring team by a wide margin.

Seattle's offense, led by QB Ben DiNucci and orchestrated by offensive coordinator Junes Jones, finished first in yards per play and produced the most yards in a single game with 519 in Week 3. The Sea Dragons scorched defenses from Day 1, but self-inflicted wounds caused them to start 0-2. As chemistry strengthened during the season, Seattle cleaned up the turnovers and finished the year on a 7-1 run.

The Defenders' Week 8 win perfectly illustrates how evenly matched these two teams are, which is why there is value on the underdog in what's likely to end up a coin-flip game. After winning its first six games by an average margin of nine points, DC's final four games were all decided by two points or less. The Defenders went 2-2 during that span.

These two offenses get all the attention, but the biggest difference between these teams is on the other side of the ball. Seattle's defense has steadily improved while the wheels have completely come off for the Defenders. DC's defense is allowing the most yards per game this season (343.2) and has gotten progressively worse down the stretch. In the last two weeks, the Defenders faced the league's two lowest-scoring teams in Arlington and San Antonio. Against Greg Williams' defense, both teams posted season highs in yardage.

It's a real possibility that each offense has its way, and the game comes down to who has the ball the last. But it's hard to pass up 3.5 points when you are getting the league's second-best defense in Seattle. One stop could be the difference in a game between two high-octane offenses, and Seattle is the more likely team to make a big play on defense. Turnovers sabotaged the Sea Dragons early on, but DC has been the team that lost the turnover battle in each of the final three weeks of the regular season. Seattle is simply playing better football than DC right now, and I am betting it shows on the field. Take the points and moneyline at +160 as Seattle slays DC on its home field. The bet: Seattle +3.5


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