Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 9:58 AM
Week 2 - Best Bets
Week 2 CFL Betting Preview (Friday, 9:00 p.m. ET)
BC Lions at Edmonton Eskimos
The Friday night game for Week 2 of the 2019 CFL season is a homecoming for QB Mike Reilly, as the big free agent signing for the BC Lions returns to Edmonton for the first time. Reilly spent six seasons as the signal caller for the Eskimos, winning a Grey Cup in 2015, and thrusting himself into the position of being in the conversation for best QB in the game right now.
Reilly's return to BC where he started his career was a big get for the Lions who have had QB concerns for a few years now, but after dropping the opener at home, Reilly's got to put aside the fuzzy feelings early here to help his current team get their first win of 2019. It won't be easy against an Edmonton team that wasted little time replacing Reilly this off-season.
Odds: Edmonton (-4); Total set at 55.5
The Eskimos went out and replaced Reilly with former Ottawa QB Trevor Harris, as the “Ottawa-West” nickname that Edmonton is fondly becoming known as continued to grow. Edmonton HC Jason Maas honed his coaching chops as the OC in Ottawa in 2015 – losing to Edmonton in that Grey Cup – before going back to this Edmonton organization that he had so much success with as a player at the beginning of this century, and that offense he created in Ottawa has found plenty of success out West.
Harris is a guy who's had plenty of success in his own right during his CFL career, and after throwing for 447 yards in the opener last week, his transition out West has gotten off to a great start. Harris brought one of his favorite targets from his days in Ottawa with him as WR Greg Ellingson is a great security blanket for Harris in the passing game, but the Eskimos already had a great stable of pass catchers as is needed in Maas' offense. That unit will be looking to take full advantage of a Lions defense that had plenty of issues in their opener vs Winnipeg.
BC's biggest issue defensively last week was on the ground, as RB Andrew Harris ran all over them for 148 yards in the Blue Bombers win. Edmonton is never shy about running the ball to open up the passing attack, and if they get both aspects of their offense rolling here, Reilly's return to Edmonton won't be a happy one.
However, BC's new coach DeVone Claybrooks has plenty of experience slowing down the offensive schemes Maas and the Eskimos run as the DC in Calgary the past three years, a rivalry that the Stampeders dominated the majority of. Claybrooks might not have the overall talent in BC that he did in Calgary, but nothing Harris and that Eskimos defense will do will be surprising, and you've got to figure that the Lions defense will be looking to bounce back after such a dismal showing in the opener. And just like in Calgary, Claybrooks has a great QB to lean on to put up more points than the other guy, and with the added motivation Reilly will have in returning home, situationally, the Lions are in a good spot here.
BC has plenty of good receivers at their disposal as well with Bryan Burnham, Duron Carter, and Lemar Durant leading the way, and it's not like Reilly doesn't have extensive knowledge of the defensive schemes the Eskimos will throw at him. Edmonton had their own defensive issues in Week 1 in allowing Montreal to put up 25 against them last week – including 17 points in the 4th quarter – and dealing with Reilly is a major step up in class compared to what they saw from Vernon Adams Jr and Antonio Pipkin in that game. It was always Edmonton's defense that held them back from more success during the Reilly years, and even though it's just been one week, it's hard to believe anything has really changed there.
So with the motivation edge favoring Reilly in his homecoming, the matchup edge arguably favoring BC as well with both Reilly and Claybrooks having a great understanding of what they'll see from the Eskimos, and the Eskimos being a team that's gotten off to slow ATS starts with a 1-4 ATS run going in June, I wouldn't go as far as to say the wrong team is favored here, but it's tough not to grab these points.
This game could end up being a back-and-forth shootout type game as it is with the QB's and defenses involved, and if that's the case, I believe you've got to have more trust in Claybrooks scheming up something to get a critical stop late against the Edmonton team. Remember, it was Claybrooks' Stampeders team that neutralized Trevor Harris in the Grey Cup game last November, and even with lesser talent overall, the end result probably doesn't change. Reilly comes back to Edmonton and gets that first W in his second tenure as a BC Lion.
Best Bet: BC Lions +4