Week 16 in the CFL wraps up on Saturday night with a rematch between the Calgary Stampeders and BC Lions.
The Stamps were upset at home last week in an overtime thriller and will look for revenge after also being defeated by a single point when these teams clashed back in August.
Oddsmakers are expecting another close contest, with CFL betting lines opening with the Leos as 1.5-point home faves before shortening to -1. Here are our best free CFL picks and predictions for Stampeders vs. Lions on September 24.
Stampeders vs Lions best odds
Stampeders vs Lions picks and predictions
As we all expected, the Lions took a step back on offense (a massive leap back until acquiring Vernon Adams Jr.) when they lost Nathan Rourke to a season-ending injury in Week 11. Interestingly, the loss of their record-breaking quarterback has also affected their defense.
With Rourke, they consistently jumped out to big leads, which allowed BC's defense to sit back in coverage and focus on stopping the pass. That game-script advantage has been taken away, and BC has allowed 391 yards and 27.7 points per game since losing Rourke after holding foes to just 280.8 yards and 20.6 points per game through Week 11.
The Lions now face a Stampeders offense that averages 31.7 ppg and has been even more consistent since Jake Maier took over as the No. 1 QB on August 25 versus the Blue Bombers. Maier threw for 294 yards and three scores against Winnipeg's elite defense, and the Stamps ended up scoring 31 points.
Expect Calgary to put points on the board on Saturday against a struggling BC stop-unit that will be missing a pair of key defensive backs in T.J. Lee and Delvin Breaux Sr.
My best bet: Stampeders team total Over 26.5 (-109 at BetRegal)
Stampeders vs Lions spread analysis
These West Division foes have played a pair of extremely close and thrilling shootouts this year, with the Lions winning 41-40 on a last-second field goal in August. BC had Rourke in that one, and if the Stampeders thought things would be easier in Adams' first start with BC last week, it wasn't with the Stamps falling 31-29.
Adams completed 78.1% of his passes for 294 yards and gave the Leos some much-needed quality play under center for the first time since losing Rourke. Calgary's Jake Maier threw for 301 yards and three touchdowns, and the Stamps were just a missed 48-yard field goal away from winning the game at the end of regulation.
The Lions now have the second-best record in the CFL at 9-3, while the Stamps are in third place at 8-5. All five of Calgary's defeats came in extremely close contests against the Lions and the Grey Cup-favorite Blue Bombers.
Both of these teams have prolific attacks, with the Lions ranking first in the league in net offense (416 yards per game) and the Stamps ranking second (361.3 ypg). The Leos have the better group of receivers, but the Stamps have the more effective running game and will be boosted by the return of All-Star center Sean McEwen, who missed six weeks with an ankle sprain.
Stampeders vs Lions Over/Under analysis
The total for this game opened at 55.5 before settling at 54.5. Given how high-scoring the previous two meetings have been, this number makes a lot of sense.
I mentioned how explosive these offenses are, and both have also looked a bit vulnerable on the defensive side of the ball lately. It's a good thing the Lions didn't have to worry about opposing teams running the ball earlier in the year, because they have been gashed for 129.3 rushing yards per game on 6.0 yards per carry over their last three contests.
That's bad news against a Calgary ground game that leads the league with 109.7 ypg and 5.9 ypc. Meanwhile, the Stamps stop-unit allows a league-high 296 yards per game and ranks fifth in yards per pass attempt (8.1) and opponent pass efficiency rating (93).
They're also banged up in the secondary, which should lead to downfield opportunities for deep threats like Dominique Rhymes, Bryan Burnham, and Lucky Whitehead.
Stampeders vs Lions trend to know
The Over is 12-5-1 in the Lions' last 18 games overall while going 10-4 in Calgary's previous 14 contests. Find more CFL betting trends for Stampeders vs. Lions.
Stampeders vs Lions game info
|Location:||BC Place, Vancouver, BC|
|Date:||Saturday, September 24, 2022|
|Kickoff:||10:00 p.m. ET|
Stampeders vs Lions key injuries
Stampeders: Branden Dozier DB (Questionable), Tre Roberson CB (Out), Titus Wall S (Out), Kamar Jordan WR (Out), Darius Williams DB (Out), Natrell Jamerson DB (Out), T.J. Rayam DT (Out).
Lions: Delvin Breaux SR. DB (Out), Sukh Chungh G (Out), T.J. Lee DB (Out), Nathan Rourke QB (Out), Steven Richardson DT (Out).
Find our latest CFL injury reports.