XFL Week 3 Top Bets for This Weekend: A.J. McCarron Won’t Be Enough for Battlehawks

A.J. McCarron St. Louis Battlehawks San Antonio Brahmas
A.J. McCarron #10 of the St. Louis Battlehawks scrambles against the San Antonio Brahmas. Ronald Cortes/Getty Images/AFP.

Picks Summary

Sea Dragons vs. Vipers: Sea Dragons -3 (-110) at BetMGM

Battlehawks vs. Defenders: Defenders -2 (-110) at Bet365

Week 3 of the 2023 XFL season should be the best one yet with a triple-header on Sunday. But first up on Saturday, someone is going to get a win between the 0-2 Sea Dragons and Vipers. We also start Sunday with the only battle of 2-0 teams in the Battlehawks and Defenders.

That is where our interests lie in picking Week 3’s best bets, which you will find available at many of the best sportsbooks.

Seattle Sea Dragons vs. Vegas Vipers

Saturday, March 4, 2023 – 07:00 PM EST at Cashman Field

Saturday’s lone game sees a battle of 0-2 teams in the Seattle Sea Dragons and Vegas Vipers. The Vipers are a 3-point home underdog with a total of 37.5 points.

Sea Dragons Lose It Late Again

For the second week in a row, the Sea Dragons could not hold the lead in the fourth quarter. This one was even more egregious against St. Louis because the Sea Dragons led 12-0 before watching the Battlehawks score the next 17 points.

But unlike in Week 1, Seattle quarterback Ben DiNucci did his job in leading the team back late in the game on a 60-yard touchdown drive, throwing a touchdown to Jordan Veasy on fourth down.

That put the Sea Dragons ahead 18-17, but the conversion attempt failed, which proved costly. Once again, the defense could not hold, and St. Louis set up a 44-yard game-winning field goal with no time left as Seattle fell to 0-2.

Vipers Slip on Wet Field

You know it was a bad-weather football game when a kicker slips and falls on a 23-yard field goal attempt. That happened to the Vipers in the third quarter, and it was a big play since it would have given them a 9-3 lead.

Instead, the Vipers never scored another point, and they lost 18-6 to the Defenders, who ran all over the team from Vegas. The Defenders had 229 rushing yards to just 90 for the Vipers, who could not get much from former Packers quarterback Brett Hundley in his first start of the season in the rain.

Sunshiny Day?

The Vipers are back in action at Cashman Field this Saturday, and hopefully, the forecast is accurate that there will not be rain to repeat last week’s mess of a game. But the Vegas offense is hard to trust right now. The Vipers have 2 rushing first downs on 35 runs (5.7%) this season. At least the Sea Dragons have 10 first downs on 38 runs (26.3%), the second-highest rate in the league.

The Sea Dragons also throw the ball more than any team with 85 attempts in two games. They may not throw it the best, but they are getting 18 points in each game from the offense, which is more than what the Vipers can say.

Let’s count on the Sea Dragons to not blow another lead and hang on for the win and cover in this one for your XFL bets.

XFL Pick: Sea Dragons -3 (-110) at BetMGM

St. Louis Battlehawks vs. DC Defenders

Sunday, March 5, 2023 – 01:00 PM EST at Audi Field

This battle of 2-0 teams sees the DC Defenders as a 2-point home favorite over the St. Louis Battlehawks, the XFL’s master of the comeback win. The game has a total of 37 points but we are going to focus on that spread again.

St. Louis: Comeback Kids

St. Louis has not really looked like the preseason favorite the team was before Week 1, but the Battlehawks are still 2-0 for a reason that many thought they would be: AJ McCarron’s winning experience at quarterback.

The Battlehawks had that insane 15-3 comeback in Week 1 against San Antonio, and they were back at it in Seattle after falling behind 12-0. McCarron led the team back to a late lead, only to see the defense give up a touchdown.

But there was just enough time for McCarron to use his arms and legs to set up the kicker for a 44-yard field goal, and yes, field goals are allowed and makeable in the XFL. The Battlehawks delivered on a 20-18 win to shock their opponent for the second week in a row.

Defenders Run Wild

We just talked about the way the DC Defenders ran all over the Vipers in the game above. DC ran the ball for 229 yards in what was easily the best rushing effort of any team through two weeks in this XFL season. But the field conditions influenced that as it was wet and sloppy.

But the Defenders have played some good defense when it matters most this year. They shut out Seattle in the fourth quarter in Week 1 in that win. They held the Vipers scoreless in the final three quarters in last week’s 18-6 win. Granted, a slip on a 23-yard field goal helped, but they still pitched a legitimate fourth-quarter shutout.

The Defenders are 12-of-27 on third downs, which is the second-best in the league right now. They have rushed for 313 yards in two games while no other XFL team has even cracked 200 yards on the ground so far.

If the Defenders can get after McCarron in crunch time, they should win this game. Let’s bet on St. Louis to not pull it off in the final moments for a third week in a row and back the Defenders this week.

XFL Pick: Defenders -2 (-110) at Bet365