Winnipeg Blue Bombers at BC Lions (+5.5, 50.5)
After letting a 20-point lead slip away at home in their last tilt, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers must be wondering what they need to do to win at their new stadium. The Blue Bombers will get another chance to improve on their dismal 1-5 record at Investors Group Field when they host the BC Lions on Friday. Despite having the league’s worst offense, Winnipeg sits just four points behind the Montreal Alouettes for the final playoff spot with six games remaining - and a win against a tired BC team would go a long way to closing that gap.
The Lions earned a hard-fought 24-22 road victory against the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Sunday without starting quarterback Travis Lulay, who will miss at least one more game with a shoulder injury. Backup Thomas DeMarco performed well in his first career start, throwing for 208 yards and two touchdowns and completing two key passes in the final minute to set up the winning field goal. BC also limited Saskatchewan to 39 rushing yards in a defensive performance more typical of its home games - and if the Lions bring the same defensive pressure against Winnipeg, the Blue Bombers might be overmatched.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TSN
ABOUT THE LIONS (8-4): DeMarco was benched for part of the second quarter last week and replaced by Buck Pierce - a veteran quarterback recently acquired from Winnipeg. Pierce began his career with the Lions but became the starter for the Blue Bombers in 2010 and could make an appearance on Friday if DeMarco falters. BC’s defense, which has allowed a league-low 88.3 rushing yards per game and just 249.3 passing yards, is tied for the league lead in interceptions with 14. Cornerback Cord Parks has three of those picks in his first CFL season, returning one for a touchdown.
ABOUT THE BLUE BOMBERS (2-10): Quarterback Max Hall will start on Friday after leaving last week’s game late with an undisclosed injury. Hall, who has completed 52-of-81 passes with two touchdowns and five interceptions in his first CFL season, told reporters on Monday that he wanted to return to the game but team doctors kept him out as a precaution. Winnipeg’s defense is tied for the league lead in sacks with 45, but it is also averaging 293.1 passing yards allowed per game - second-worst in the league.
* Lions are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 road games.
* Blue Bombers are 0-4 ATS in their last four Friday games.
* Under is 14-3 in the last 17 meetings.
* Lions are 2-6 ATS in their last eight meetings.
1. Lions RB Andrew Harris is third in the league in yards from scrimmage with 1,076.
2. BC defeated the Blue Bombers 27-20 at home in Week 6.
3. Winnipeg defensive end Alex Hall is tied for the league lead in sacks with 13.