XFL odds, picks, predictions for Week 1: Defenders, Renegades are early favorites

first_imgLos Angeles Wildcats at Houston RoughnecksSpread: Roughnecks -5.5 (-110), Wildcats +5.5 (-110)The Roughnecks are favored at home, and there’s one key player when it comes to this matchup. Josh Johnson is a proven NFL veteran quarterback, but he’s considered a game-time decision with a thigh injury. If inactive, the Wildcats will likely turn to Chad Kanoff at quarterback which would be a dramatic change. It’s hard to trust the Wildcats entering their first XFL game with a backup quarterback on the road. Expect L.A. to rely on running back Elijah Hood with their quarterback situation.Houston will be starting P.J. Walker at quarterback. He played college at Temple and played in all four preseason games for the Colts this past season. The Roughnecks feature Sammie Coates at wide receiver, who had success with the Steelers in 2016 when he finished with 435 yards and two touchdowns. Houston also has Andre Williams at RB, who won the 2013 Doak Walker Award as the nation’s best running back and was a Heisman finalist. Houston has a strong overall roster, and I see them winning their first XFL game at home.Prediction: Roughnecks 18, Wildcats 6Tampa Bay Vipers at New York GuardiansSpread: Vipers -2.5 (-115), Guardians +2.5 (-105)The Vipers are the only road betting favorite this week, making this game the closest spread. The Vipers are rolling with Aaron Murray at quarterback, which may work out for them. But Murray struggled with the Legends in the AAF, finishing with a 3-7 TD-INT ratio. He was third in the league in interceptions and tied for third in sacks taken despite not starting the whole season. But he has a talented group of players around him including Reece Horn, Tanner McEvoy, Seantavius Jones and Donteea Dye at receiver. The Vipers also have De’Veon Smith at running back who looked good in the AAF playing for the Orlando Apollos. One of the more interesting players on this team is Quinton Flowers who is listed on the roster as a QB/RB. It’s possible Tampa Bay involves him in some trick plays to either take advantage of the double forward pass rule, or to come up with something for the point after touchdown scoring plays.The Guardians will be led by Matt McGloin at quarterback and Mekale McKay at wide receiver. McKay earned the nickname “Big Play McKay” in the AAF as he averaged over 17 yards per reception for the San Antonio Commanders. The Guardians have some lesser-known names at running back including Tim Cook III, Justin Stockton, Darius Victor and Matthew Colburn II. The Guardians have the advantage of playing at home this week, but the Vipers have a potentially fun offense, even if Antonio Callaway is out with injuryPrediction: Vipers 22, Guardians 16 Although the XFL doesn’t have the talent of the NFL, it does have a good group of players who should be able to keep things entertaining. Early betting odds to win the league are a three-way tie between the Dallas Renegades, D.C. Defenders and Tampa Bay Vipers at +350. Following them is a three-way tie for second with the Houston Roughnecks, L.A. Wildcats and St. Louis Battle Hawks at +700. The final two teams are the New York Guardians (+750) and Seattle Dragons (+900).Of course, at this point in the season there is a lot of unknown. Teams have released their rosters, but have not released official depth charts. We can take educated guesses, but it’s hard to make predictions for a league you’ve never watched before. As the season goes on, we should get a clearer picture of which teams we expect to play well on a consistent basis. All odds are courtesy of BetOnline.ag via Sports Insider.MORE XFL: Rules | Schedule | Uniforms | RostersXFL odds, picks, predictions for Week 1Seattle Dragons at D.C. DefendersSpread: Defenders -7.5 (-110), Dragons +7.5 (-110)The D.C. Defenders are the betting favorite here, and for good reason. For starters, they’re at home this week, but they also have one of the most talented rosters in the league. Cardale Jones is an experienced quarterback and he has plenty of talent around him. His receiving corps include Rashad Ross (who was second in the AAF in receiving yards), Eli Rogers (who was on the Steelers roster just last season) and Simmie Cobbs (who made a number of great plays at Indiana). At running back, D.C. has Donnel Pumphrey (who has the third-most career rushing yards in NCAA history) and Jhurell Pressley (who led all AAF players in rushing yards).On the other side, many are skeptical of the Seattle Dragons. Bet Online has their regular season win total at over/under 3.5, which is the lowest in the league. Their receiving corps offers a list of unproven players such as Kasen Williams, John Santiago, Sergio Bailey, Austin Proehl, Alonzo Moore, Dontez Byrd and Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds is a well-known name for his days as Navy’s quarterback, but can he make the transition to receiver? At QB, Seattle will be starting Brandon Silvers who showed some promise in the AAF. Expect Seattle to rely on its ground game with running backs Kenneth Farrow, Trey Williams and Ja’Quan Gardner, all of whom had success in the AAF. We should also mention their defense which features defesinve backs Matt Elam, Shamarko Thomas and Rahim Moore.Even if this was an away game, I’d have confidence in the Defenders winning. Prediction: Defenders 26, Dragons 8 The BattleHawks are starting Jordan Ta’amu at quarterback, and he’s the only QB of the XFL’s first eight to not have any professional regular season experience. He played well at Ole Miss and is an interesting player to keep an eye on this season in the XFL. St. Louis has a pair of well-known running backs including Matt Jones (who had success on the Redskins) and Christine Michael (who was a former second-round NFL Draft pick). But the Renegades have one of the more talented overall rosters in the league, will be playing at home and have an experienced Bob Stoops coaching them. Stoops has a 190–48 overall record in college football, coaching Oklahoma from 1999-2016. Landry Jones will lead this team, although it’s unclear if he’ll start Week 1 as he deals with a lingering knee injury he suffered in early January. Receiver Jazz Ferguson is also dealing with an injury (hand) as he did not participate in practice on Wednesday. Despite the injuries, the Renegades should end up winning this one fairly easily.Prediction: Renegades 26, Battlehawks 12 St. Louis BattleHawks at Dallas RenegadesSpread: Renegades -9 (-110), Battlehawks +9 (-110) (XFL / Vipers) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/fd/76/vipers-visor-xfl-ftr_1rh5x2sv3shqk1m0smzgqmb33m.png?t=468048312&w=500&quality=80 (XFL) https://images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/6d/2a/cardale-jones-xfl-ftr_133lizcm2ogkr1d9cd7im46t30.png?t=462844376&w=500&quality=80 Football fans won’t have to wait too long for the sport to return as the XFL begins the week right after the Super Bowl.MORE: Get the latest XFL odds & betting trends at Sports Insiderlast_img read more

Fallout runs deep as Salah, Egypt flop at AFCON

first_img0Shares0000Salah and Egypt suffered an early end to their Africa Cup of Nations campaign © AFP / OZAN KOSECAIRO, Egypt, Jul 7 – After his tale of redemption with Liverpool this season, Mohamed Salah was instead left in disbelief once more as Egypt crashed out of their own Africa Cup of Nations, an exit that triggered an immediate clearout within the country’s football association.While Salah helped lead his club to a sixth European Cup triumph in June, a year on from an injury forcing him out of the final, he was powerless to stop the Pharaohs suffering humiliation on the international stage for the second time in 12 months. The forward arrived here full of promise — his mood and fitness in sharp contrast to this time last June when his shoulder was injured as he was wrestled to the ground by Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos in the 3-1 loss in the 2018 Champions League final in Kiev.He scored twice in four matches in Cairo, both goals struck with unerring precision, but rarely looked at his peak surrounded by an Egyptian supporting cast far more limited than he is accustomed to at club level.But Salah also, uncharacteristically, made headlines off the pitch after offering a degree of support for disgraced team-mate Amr Warda, who was banished from the squad over sexual harassment allegations only to later be recalled — with Salah at the forefront of appeals for his reinstatement.One of the most popular Twitter hashtags in the wake of Salah and others defending the midfielder was “National team of sexual harassers”.Salah faced a backlash from many users after saying Warda deserved a “second chance” and that “shunning is not the answer”.Many of Salah’s fans noted his hypocritical line of argument. He has made a point of speaking up for women in the Muslim world, and in an April interview with Time magazine he vehemently defended their rights in the region.Shouldering the weight of expectation of nearly 100 million Egyptians, hoping for a fourth title in five editions as hosts, Salah found himself a capable ally in Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ Hassan, the team’s standout performer in the group stage.But he too wilted as the pressure intensified once the tournament moved into the knockout phase, spurning Egypt’s best chance in a bitter defeat that provoked widespread dismay throughout the football-mad nation.– ‘No tactics or strategy’ –Egypt coach Javier Aguirre failed to inspire the hosts © AFP / Khaled DESOUKI“I’m really sad. Nobody expected we would go out at this stage. We thought for sure our team would reach the final,” said Mohamed Alaa, a 17-year-old fan from Cairo.Amr Kamel, 23, said he was “disgusted” by the team’s abject failure.“We expected better than that, that we would win, especially given the competition is being played in our country. We are really disgusted.”The sense of shame prompted Egyptian FA president Hani Abou Rida to sack coach Javier Aguirre and announce his own resignation out of “moral obligation” just hours after the defeat, paving the way for a vast shake-up within the organisation.Aguirre came in for criticism for his management of the side during the Cup of Nations, with Egypt legend Wael Gomaa accusing the Mexican of having “no tactics or strategy”.But Gomaa did not point the finger at Salah, saying the team’s failure was due to a lack of strength in depth.“Counting on just two or three players? That’s impossible in football,” he told BeIN Sports.“I will not blame Salah. Salah has played at the highest level throughout the season for more than 60 matches, and honestly, he provided what he is capable of doing with the national team.”Following Saturday’s defeat, Aguirre said he alone took the blame for the host nation’s disastrous campaign, with his departure coming after less than a year in the job.Abou Rida also called on board members to quit after “disappointing Egypt’s supporters” and bringing an end to his three-year reign marked by controversy, including a 2018 World Cup fiasco that saw the Pharaohs fail to get out of the group stage after losing all of their matches.The location of the team’s training base in Grozny, the capital of Muslim-majority Chechnya, spurred widespread criticism — especially from human rights groups — over concerns of abuses by Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, supported by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more