Week 19 in the CFL wraps up on Saturday night with a clash between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and B.C. Lions.
Winnipeg has already clinched first place in the West and is expected to sit several starters. With that in mind, CFL betting lines have seen massive movement, with the Leos opening as 3.5-point home underdogs before becoming 2.5-point faves.
Has the line swung too far, or is there still value in backing a B.C. side that has something to play for? I let you know with my best free CFL picks and predictions for Blue Bombers vs. Lions on October 15.
Blue Bombers vs Lions best odds
Blue Bombers vs Lions picks and predictions
With the Bombers already wrapping up first place in the West last weekend, plus their recent history of sitting players in meaningless games, sharp bettors hammered the Lions at +3.5 on Tuesday morning. If you missed that line, however, I still wouldn't turn down fading the Bombers on their team total.
Not only have the Bombers confirmed that reigning Most Outstanding Player Zach Collaros will sit out in favor of untested backup Dru Brown, but other key players will likely rest as well.
Brown has looked sharp in limited opportunities this season, but we're talking about a total of five pass attempts against the league's two worst teams in the Redblacks and Elks, and a pair of throws in mop-up duty versus the Riders.
Winnipeg's offense tends to be conservative with Collaros at the helm and should be even more methodical with Brown under center.
The Bombers will also likely rest Stanley Bryant and Jermarcus Hardrick, who make up the best duo of offensive tackles in the league and haven't practiced this week. That could make life tough for Brown, with the Lions second in league sacks with 40.
My best bet: Blue Bombers team total Under 23.5 (-110 at BetRegal)
Blue Bombers vs Lions spread analysis
The Bombers have been the best team in the league all season and look great on both sides of the ball. It's tough to factor that in the handicapping for this matchup, however, with little to nothing at stake for the Grey Cup favorites.
When the Bombers wrapped up first place early last year, not only did they completely rest some starters in their second last game of the regular season (a 28-14 loss to Alouettes), but they also sat others after halftime in their season finale versus the Stampeders (which not coincidently resulted in a fourth-quarter collapse).
It makes sense for the Bombers to rest several starters this week and play them in a limited role in their season finale to avoid a month of rust from setting in (since they have a bye next week and in the first round of the playoffs).
So don't be surprised if other key Winnipeg players sit out or play in a limited capacity on Saturday.
On the other side, while the Lions have already secured a playoff spot with a 10-5 record, they still want that all-important home-field advantage against the Stampeders. They still have plenty to play for and are coming off a hard-fought 23-20 road loss to the Argos. Although B.C. has a couple of injuries at wide receiver, the Leos still have plenty of depth in that area that can make plays.
Blue Bombers vs Lions Over/Under analysis
I'll just get this out of the way: Nathan Rourke will not factor into Saturday's line.
Sure, the guy who was about to run away with the MOP Award this season practiced this week just seven weeks after foot surgery, but it'll still be a shocker if he's even game-ready by the time the playoffs roll around.
Without Rourke, the Leos took a massive step back on offense and also regressed on defense since their stop unit hasn't benefited from opponents being forced to play with a negative game script.
In four games with Adams starting at QB, the Lions have averaged 379.8 yards per game which isn't anywhere near as much as they were putting up with Rourke.
The Bombers will be missing some big names on offense, and they could also choose to rest some key defenders. Several starters in their secondary are banged up, and All-Star defensive end Jackson Jeffcoat has been hindered by a hip injury for much of the year.
Blue Bombers vs Lions trend to know
The Under is 5-2 in the Lions' last seven games overall. Find more CFL betting trends for Blue Bombers vs. Lions.
Blue Bombers vs Lions game info
|Location:||BC Place, Vancouver, BC|
|Date:||Saturday, October 15, 2022|
|Kickoff:||10:00 p.m. ET|
Blue Bombers vs Lions key injuries
Blue Bombers: Drew Wolitarsky WR (Out), Stanley Bryant LT (Questionable), Jackson Jeffcoat DE (Questionable), Jermarcus Hardrick RT (Doubtful), Deatrick Nichols DB (Out), Malcolm Thompson DB (Out), Nick Taylor DB (Out), Demerio Houston DB (Out), Greg Ellingson WR (Out), Kyrie Wilson OLB (Out).
Lions: Jalon Edwards-Cooper DB (Out), Lucky Whitehead WR (Out), Obum Gwachum DE (Out), Steven Richardson DT (Out), Nathan Rourke QB (Out), Bryan Burnham WR (Out), Delvin Breaux Sr. DB (Out).
Find our latest CFL injury reports.