Riders at Alouettes: What bettors need to know

Saskatchewan Roughriders at Montreal Alouettes (+3.5, 53)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Montreal Alouettes are hurting their respective playoff positions with their three-game losing skids. One of those streaks will come to an end on Sunday when the Roughriders visit Montreal. Saskatchewan defeated the Alouettes 24-21 at home in Week 8, but has played most of its last two games without league-leading running back Kory Sheets (ankle), who assured Roughriders fans that his return will be soon.

Montreal is less fortunate with its injury situation, as running back Brandon Whitaker and quarterback Anthony Calvillo will remain out for the duration of the regular season while backup quarterback Tanner Marsh joins them with a thumb injury. The Alouettes did see linebacker Kyries Hebert return last week against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, but their offense remains inconsistent under the leadership of young pivot Josh Neiswander and backup running back Jerome Messam. Neiswander threw for nearly 300 yards in the loss to Hamilton.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, TSN

ABOUT THE ROUGHRIDERS (8-4): Quarterback Darian Durant fumbled the ball twice against the BC Lions last week, and those turnovers resulted in a crucial 10 points en route to a 24-22 decision. The fumbles overshadowed a 326-yard, two-touchdown passing performance by Durant, but Saskatchewan was limited to 39 rushing yards without Sheets. Defensive end Ricky Foley and linebacker Craig Butler stepped up in the absence of linebacker Renauld Williams, who led the team in tackles (42) and sacks (seven) before being placed on the nine-game injured list. Foley has six sacks, while Butler has tied Williams with 42 tackles and added three sacks and one interception.

ABOUT THE ALOUETTES (4-8):
Linebacker Chip Cox was named defensive player of the week after recording eight tackles, two sacks and one interception against the Tiger-Cats. Cox leads the league with 86 tackles and is the centerpiece of Montreal’s elite linebacker corps. Hebert led the team with seven sacks before he was injured, while linebacker Marc-Olivier Brouillette has five sacks and four fumble recoveries. Quarterback Troy Smith saw his first CFL action last week, scoring a rushing touchdown. The former Heisman Trophy winner will be backup to Neiswander while he learns the Alouettes’ playbook.

TRENDS:

* Roughriders are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Alouettes are 2-7 ATS in their last nine home games.
* Under is 14-2-1 in the last 17 meetings in Montreal.
* Under is 5-0 in Roughriders last five games in Week 14.

EXTRA POINTS:

1. Saskatchewan LB Weldon Brown and DB Dwight Anderson each have three interceptions. Montreal has thrown 19 interceptions as a team.

2. The Roughriders are 5-2 against East Division opponents. After visiting Montreal, their final five games are all against West Division foes.

3. The Alouettes have not lost four straight games in one season since a six-game skid in 2006.

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