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Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 13:57 PM

Saturday's Best Bet

Check out our CFL Expert Picks for Week 7 on VegasInsider.com!

Week 7 CFL Betting Preview
Saskatchewan Roughriders vs BC Lions

On the whole, Week 6's slate in the CFL ended up going 1-3 O/U, but thankfully that lone 'over' came in the finale as Saskatchewan was able to add to BC's woes in 2019. The 38-25 Roughriders win was a game that was closer then that score would suggest for most of it, but the Riders pulled away in the 4th and weren't shy about taking a few shots at their fallen foe after the game was decided.

It's little things like talking trash, finishing your hits, and other clean but questionable behaviour at the end of a game that tends to get remembered the most by the losing side, and considering BC turns around and hosts the Riders to conclude Week 7 this week, this game has great potential to be chippy from the outset.

Whether that ends up in the first home win (and just second overall) remains to be seen for this BC Lions club, as they continue to struggle to protect QB Mike Reilly and just haven't got the production on defense to give themselves a shot to win the majority of their games. But with this game being the back end of a home-and-home between the two clubs, it adds an extra layer to the handicapping process.

So after we were able to cash with the 'over' between these two last week, what's the angle that we are siding with just seven days later? Let's break it down:

YTD: 4-1 ATS

CFL Odds: Saskatchewan (-3); Total set at 52.5

Given that it is a home-and-home scenario, it never hurts to start at the top in terms of the difference(s) in the prices offered. Last week, the Riders opened up in the -2 range as a home favorite, were promptly bet up and up to about -5, before closing in the -6 range. Given that they ended up covering that number supports all that love they received and definitely warrants them going out to Vancouver and laying a FG on the road.

However, there are some inherent advantages they don't have this time around, the most obvious being they aren't at home, but Saskatchewan was also coming off a bye week prior to last week's game and that never hurts. It was an extra week to rest bumps and bruises, an extra week of 1st team practice snaps for QB Cody Fajardo to continue to get comfortable as the starter and rehearse what he was going to run and expected to see against the Lions and it proved to pay off.

Yet, Saskatchewan fans better hope the Farjardo and the Riders left a few bullets in the chamber for this week, as there has to be some concern that they let it all hang out a week ago and the Lions can more readily adjust and prepare themselves this week. Farjardo is still relatively new to being a starter in this league, so in a game where both QB's are up against the same defense, it's hard not to side with the more veteran guy (Mike Reilly) who's been at or near the top of being the best QB in the CFL for the past few years now.

Reilly's Lions get that added advantage of being at home this time around, and HC DeVone Claybrooks (and probably Reilly), made a point to leave his starters in for the entirety of last week's game to punch in a late score in hoping that it can kick-start the Lions this week. It was a bit of a bold move considering the injury risk involved – and BC's O-Line reverting to chop blocking methods throughout the game in an attempt to “protect” Reilly better – but Claybrooks and Reilly got the result they wanted (a late TD score), even if it didn't change anything at the time.

Regarding the total, this number has been bumped up basically a full FG since closing at 50.5 last week and being the only game in Week 6 that was a winner for 'over' bettors. This move was to be expected too, as this game was always on a nice pace to cash the 'over', even if bettors who had 50.5 were sweating the Riders decision to go for (and miss) a two-point try when they scored to go up 31-19. Anytime two teams put up 60+ points there is going to be some adjustment, and now that they are in the climate controlled BC Place this week, expecting plenty of points is likely the common perspective.

But the fact that BC's O-line went to a chop-blocking approach last week is highly concerning in the sense that the coaching staff can't have much confidence that they'll be able to turn around these blocking woes in a hurry. Like the football team that has to run gimmick/trick plays to beat a better squad, that's essentially what BC did with their blocking tactics and the element of surprise from the Roughriders perspective is gone now. It's what will keep me off backing BC on the side (although it's probably the better way to go) for this game, but it does lend itself to another total play.

Struggles and concerns in protection make it hard for a QB to continually sustain drives, and sustaining drives tends to be more important in the CFL game. Reilly and the Lions attack couldn't sustain anything offensively the last time they were at home (33-6 loss to Edmonton), and with the Riders defense being one that was thought highly of at the beginning of the year, showing them much of the same looks two weeks in a row isn't ideal if you're a BC fan.

The same holds true for a much maligned Lions defense, who wasn't expected to be great in 2019, but do need to show up – especially at home – after it's been a rough go of it (allowing 30+ points in all but one game) for this entire year. Farjardo is far from a rookie in this year, but the 27-year old is still very new to being a starter in the CFL, and with the Lions defense likely connecting on many more of their 'educated guesses' on what they expect Farjardo to run from certain formations, a road start for the Riders QB isn't exactly conducive to points either.

With the Lions on a 3-7-1 O/U run at home dating back to last year, and Saskatchewan on a 0-4-1 O/U run after their last five outright wins, points should be much harder to come by in this return match, especially if itgets chippy from the outset like we saw in the final 5+ minutes of last week's meeting. Both defenses will be out to make a statement that it's going to be much harder for both offenses to move the ball just seven days later, and while last week's result warrants the total bump, this week's game probably tops out at where last week's total closed; 50-51 points.

Best Bet: Under 52.5 points


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