CFL Saturday: What bettors need to know

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Edmonton Eskimos (-4.5, 53)

After snapping a seven-game losing skid with their first victory at their new home field, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers head to Edmonton to face the struggling Eskimos on Saturday. Winnipeg’s defense played its best game of 2013 to defeat the Saskatchewan Roughriders and quarterback Justin Goltz continued to be unconventionally effective on offense, rushing for two more touchdowns, which puts him in a tie for the league lead with eight. A visit to the Eskimos - the one team with a worse record than Winnipeg - could be the perfect opportunity for the Blue Bombers to post consecutive victories.

Edmonton faltered in a home-and-home series against the Calgary Stampeders as its losing skid hit eight games. A roster shakeup on the offensive line failed to quell the pressure on quarterback Mike Reilly, who is completing 60.5 percent of his passes and has thrown 10 interceptions in his first year as starter. Reilly also leads the team with 417 rushing yards - an example of how the Eskimos lean on a pass-heavy offense - but Edmonton’s offensive line will have its hands full with a Blue Bombers' defense that recorded eight sacks on Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant.

TV: 6:30 p.m. ET, TSN

ABOUT THE BLUE BOMBERS (2-8): Defensive back Demond Washington and kick returner Will Ford were named CFL players of the week for their performances against Saskatchewan. Washington recorded a game-high seven tackles along with one sack and one fumble recovery, while Ford returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to earn special teams player of the week. Goltz has a completion percentage of 56.7 and has thrown two touchdowns to six interceptions, but has eight of Winnipeg's 15 rushing TDs with Chad Simpson recording six.

ABOUT THE ESKIMOS (1-9): Offensive lineman Simeon Rottier returns to Edmonton’s lineup after being benched against the Stampeders. In addition to Rottier’s return, the Eskimos will also receive some help on defense with the probable return of defensive end Odell Willis and linebacker J.C. Sherritt. Willis - the team leader with five sacks - and Sherritt, who set a league record in tackles last season, were practicing with the first team for the first time since suffering their respective injuries.

TRENDS:

* The Blue Bombers are 2-5 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* The Eskimos are 1-5 ATS in their last six home games.
* The Blue Bombers are 6-2 ATS in their last eight meetings.
* The under is 6-2-1 in the last 9 meetings.

EXTRA POINTS:

1. Winnipeg, which is last in the league with 217 points, has scored 15 rushing touchdowns, but just five passing touchdowns.

2. Edmonton SB Fred Stamps leads the league with 765 receiving yards.

3. The Blue Bombers traded QB Buck Pierce, who began the year as starter, to the BC Lions in exchange for Canadian wide receiver Akeem Foster.


Toronto Argonauts at Saskatchewan Roughriders (-9, 55)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders looked human in their loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, failing to reach the end zone for the first time all season. Saskatchewan is hoping a return home will erase the sting of last week’s setback when it hosts the Toronto Argonauts on Saturday. Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant was sacked a season-high eight times by the Blue Bombers, but combined with league-leading running back Kory Sheets for 158 rushing yards and should have an easier time against Toronto’s less-imposing defense.

The Argonauts maintained their East Division lead and avoided a three-game losing skid thanks to backup quarterback Zach Collaros, who completed 30-of-43 passes for 336 yards, two passing touchdowns and one rushing score against the Montreal Alouettes. Toronto was struggling on offense without starters Ricky Ray and Chad Kackert, and losing star slotback Chad Owens prior to last week was not a promising sign, but four interceptions by the Argonauts' defense and a nine-catch, 91-yard performance by wide receiver Dontrelle Inman showed Toronto might have enough depth to weather their midseason injury storm.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TSN

ABOUT THE ARGONAUTS (6-4): Prior to last week, Toronto had recorded 16 points in seven-plus quarters after losing Ray early against the Calgary Stampeders. Collaros has thrown for 1,267 yards and is completing 69.7 percent of his passes, while also trailing Kackert for the team rushing lead by 2 yards. Toronto traded offensive lineman Marc Parenteau to Winnipeg for running back Anthony Woodson in an attempt to shore up its running game as running back Curtis Steele has been ineffective of late.

ABOUT THE ROUGHRIDERS (8-2): Linebacker Renauld Williams, who has a team-leading 42 tackles and seven sacks along with one interception return for a touchdown, will miss the remainder of the season after tearing his ACL against the Blue Bombers. Saskatchewan announced the news in a tweet Wednesday. Center Dominic Picard was fined an undisclosed amount by the league following an incident in in Week 11 in which he threw a punch. Sheets leads the league with 1,214 rushing yards - 274 more than anyone else.

TRENDS:

* Argonauts are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
* Roughriders are 1-4 ATS in their last five games overall.
* Argonauts are 5-1-1 ATS in their last seven meetings in Saskatchewan.
* The under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings.

EXTRA POINTS:


1. The Roughriders defeated the Argonauts 39-28 at Toronto in Week 3.

2. Owens is considered doubtful for Saturday. Ray hopes to return by mid-October as he recovers from a knee injury.

3. Saskatchewan is 4-0 at home. Toronto is 2-3 against West Division opponents.

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