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Guardians vs. DC Defenders prediction, line: Take underdog in XFL clash

After NFL Week 1 every fall, there are betting opportunities because of the overreaction to the results of season openers. It happens in other sports, but it’s most pronounced in the NFL since it’s the No. 1 gambling league in this country. So, we fully expected to see some overreactions after Week 1 of the XFL. The marketplace didn’t disappoint, and it makes the New York Guardians our Top Play on Saturday as Week 2 kicks off (2 p.m., ABC).

The DC Defenders beat the Seattle Dragons, 31-19, last Saturday and everyone’s jumping on their bandwagon. Circa Sports in Las Vegas opened the Defenders as two-point home favorites over the Guardians and it was steamed up to -5¹/₂, which is where most other sportsbooks opened. The line went as high as -7¹/₂ before settling back down to -6¹/₂ at William Hill and other books as of Friday.

Yes, DC quarterback Cardale Jones played well and his team looked good, but I wouldn’t crown them yet. After all, Seattle was expected to be among the worst teams in the league. The game, however, was tied at 19 late in the third quarter and the Dragons were still covering until a pick-six put the Defenders over the 9¹/₂-point closing spread in the fourth quarter. The Defenders also blocked a punt for a touchdown and scored another touchdown on a flea-flicker, so they didn’t actually dominate Seattle as much as most people are thinking. In fact, DC was outgained 310-295 in total offense and 19-13 in first downs.

And where’s the love for the Guardians’ 23-3 domination of the Tampa Bay Vipers as 3¹/₂-point home ’dogs? I might be biased since New York was a Top Play in The Post last Sunday, but while quarterback Matt McGloin played as well as I expected, I was much more impressed with the defense. The Guardians swarmed to the ball, tried to rip out fumbles, covered well in the secondary and intercepted two passes on tip drills.

The saying is that defense always travels, so I’m trusting the Guardians’ defense will show up on this short trip to the nation’s capital.

The Play: Guardians, +6¹/₂.