Neither the BC Lions nor the Edmonton Eskimos were really supposed to be competing in CFL betting action this year for the Grey Cup. However, both definitely have some positive signs to point to over the first two weeks of the year before they square off with one another on Saturday in Week 3 on the NFL Network.
One glance at that ugly 0-2 mark for the Lions, and you tend to cringe. However, one must consider the fact that these first two duels came against the Calgary Stampeders and the Montreal Alouettes, whom many consider without a shadow of a doubt to be the best two teams in the league. Both fixtures were absolutely winnable games, as BC had chances late in both to pull out victories. Head Coach Wally Buono has to be relatively impressed, but CFL bettors have to be very wary of this situation. Last year, the Leos won their first game but ultimately went on to lose seven in a row before righting the ship and getting into the playoffs. A loss in this one would be devastating, and it too, certainly is not an easy game. Last week, QB Travis Lulay looked terrible down the stretch, and he ended up completing just 17-of-39 passing for 279 yards and two TDs. Another major problem is the running game. RB Jamal Robertson was brought into Vancouver to try to bolster a running game that has lacked since losing Joe Smith a few years ago. However, Robertson only has five carries on the season and isn't even at double digits worth of yards yet.
Meanwhile, absolutely everything is going right for the Eskimos right now, which is a shock in a season which was supposed to be a rebuilding year for a very young team. Head Coach Kavis Reed deserves all sorts of credit for getting the most out of his seemingly cut and paste offense. QB Ricky Ray looks like a renewed man, and he has really built a rapport with his top three targets, WRs Adarius Bowman, Jason Barnes, and most importantly, Fred Stamps. Stamps went off for 178 yards on seven catches with a TD last week in a dominating 28-10 win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats that could have been significantly worse. The Eskies have dropped at least 450 yards of offense on both of their first two foes this year, and the end result has been a fantastic 70 points scored in two games. The only questions that might ultimately be raised are over this defense, but it is clear after holding the Tabbies down to just 10 points in Week 2 that this unit has the ability to do some real damage when given the chance.
We aren't a big fan of throwing the baby out with the bathwater, especially in CFL betting action when six of the eight teams get into the playoffs. It's clear right now that Edmonton has been the biggest surprise of the season, while the oddsmakers are apparently starting to write off BC for the year as well. We just don't agree at this point that these two teams are on level terms, which is what the CFL odds are suggesting in this one. That being said, we'll take the visitors and go with the Lions +2.5 on Saturday night.