Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 10:15 AM EST odds are subject to change.
B.C. Lions +4 over Winnipeg
4:30 PM EST. Winnipeg has been the gold standard in the CFL for a few years now and the narrative in every article or report regarding this game is that B.C. is the next rising star in the CFL but it’s not their time just yet. You’ll read about Winnipeg’s big game experience (means jack), their great offense and great defense and that in order to beat them, the Lions will have to be flawless or damn near. You’ll also read about Winnipeg’s home field advantage and that playing in cold weather also benefits the host. We’re not going to argue against any of that because it’s just fodder. The CFL writers, like every other beat reporter in every sport, have to write something so they all write the same thing based on results. If it’s cold for the Lions, it’s cold for Winnipeg too. We’ve heard this argument at all levels of football (NFL, NCAAF and CFL) and it’s absurd. There’s no proof of cold weather teams beating warm weather or indoor teams consistently in cold weather.
Yeah, we’re aware that Winnipeg scored more overall points, more offensive touchdowns and had the league’s best second-down conversion mark. That’s nice, it really is but with a heavily depleted lineup due to injuries to their best players, the Lions actually scored more offensive points and averaged the most net yards — and that was without Rourke for half a season. The Bombers have weapons, but the Lions do, too, with a receiving corps that lost Bryan Burnham, Lucky Whitehead and James Butler at times this season and didn’t miss a beat.
Winnipeg’s defensive line has covered up a secondary that has been a work in progress because of injuries. Winnipeg’s secondary has been a revolving door all season, with 15 different players suiting up, and they’ll have a brand new configuration again this week. The Lions have Joel Figueroa back on the offensive line this week. Furthermore, B.C.’s front has been a disruptive, dominating unit, their 45 sacks trailing only the Stamps and Ottawa. The Bombers had just 36 sacks, which was second fewest in the league.
In the game’s most important position, we’ll take Nathan Rourke over Zach Collaros 100% of the time. Rourke is NFL caliber good and will probably end up there. After just one quarter of game-action, coming against Winnipeg in the regular-season finale since August, it took Rourke nearly the entire first half against Calgary last week before he settled in. He finished the game with 321 passing yards and two majors. Sitting out for three months and now with a big game under his belt, give Rourke and the Lions points at your own peril. We’re calling the upset but we’ll take the points. Should the Lions score the first 7, and there is a distinct possibility that they do, we’ll be working with 11 big points.
B.C. Lions +4 +101 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.02)