All it takes is one play to change the course of an entire season.
BC Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke will undergo surgery for a Lisfranc sprain in his right foot after being sacked in Friday’s contest against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The team is hoping he’ll be healthy enough to return late in the season, but there’s a chance his breakout campaign is finished.
The 24-year-old from Victoria leads the CFL in passing yards (3,281), touchdowns (25), and completion percentage (79.2). He’s also rushed for 304 yards and seven touchdowns on 39 carries.
With Rourke under center, the Lions have played to an 8-1 record to sit with the second-best record in the league behind the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-1).
The Lions will host the Roughriders this week in the second half of a home-and-home set.
Coming off back-to-back wins over Hamilton and Winnipeg, Montreal will enjoy a bye in Week 12 before returning to the field next week against Ottawa.
Here’s a look at the latest CFL Grey Cup outright odds, followed by our Week 12 betting preview:
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +125 (opened +300)
BC Lions +250 (opened +1300)
Calgary Stampeders +500 (opened +700)
Toronto Argonauts +1000 (opened +600)
Saskatchewan Roughriders +1000 (opened +450)
Montreal Alouettes +1100 (opened +800)
Hamilton Tiger-Cats +1500 (opened +500)
Edmonton Elks +6600 (opened +1500)
Ottawa Redblacks +10000 (opened +2000)
*All odds in this article courtesy of PointsBet.
Power Up: Week 12 🔌
📈: https://t.co/jCd1j9fOsJ#CFL pic.twitter.com/LAMW57bsZk
— CFL (@CFL) August 22, 2022
Calgary Stampeders @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers (-6, over/under 48.5)
About the Stampeders (6-3 straight up, 3-5-1 against the spread, 6-3 o/u): A quarterback controversy is brewing in Calgary after veteran Bo Levi Mitchell was pulled at halftime in last Saturday’s win against the Argonauts. Jake Maier took over and completed 14 of his 18 passes for 156 yards to get the offense moving, but he also threw an interception.
Coach Dave Dickenson has a tough decision to make regarding his starting quarterback this week, and we should know soon who will be taking snaps.
There is some good news on the injury front for the Stampeders, though, as lead running back Ka’Deem Carey (hamstring) and receiver Malik Henry (quad) could both be available for Thursday’s game.
Calgary has dropped both of its previous meetings — 35-28 in Week 8 and 26-19 in Week 6 — with the defending back-to-back Grey Cup champion Blue Bombers this season.
About the Blue Bombers (9-1 SU, 7-3 ATS, 4-6 o/u): The Bombers were having visions of a perfect season heading into their Week 10 clash with the Alouettes, but several miscues late in the game allowed Montreal to walk away with an unlikely 20-17 overtime victory.
Winnipeg has had two weeks to digest what happened as it enjoyed its first bye week of the season in Week 11, and now the Stampeders, who are coming off a short week, could feel the wrath of the well-rested Bombers.
Quarterback Zach Collaros has thrown for six touchdowns and 585 yards without an interception in the team’s previous two victories this season over Calgary, which is winless in its past five games in Manitoba.
Sports betting trends:
The Stampeders are 2-5 ATS in the past seven meetings.
Calgary is 0-4 ATS in its last four games against teams with a winning record.
The Blue Bombers are 18-7 ATS in their past 25 home games.
The over is 5-1 in Calgary’s last six games against West Division opponents.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Toronto Argonauts (-3, o/u 48.5)
About the Tiger-Cats (3-7 SU, 3-7 ATS, 6-4 o/u): This will be the third of four meetings between the teams this season after playing a home-and-home series in Weeks 9 and 10. The Argos won 34-20 in Toronto on Aug. 6, while the Ticats prevailed 34-27 in Hamilton on Aug. 12.
The two Ontario foes will now play another home-and-home set, which will finish with next week’s Labour Day Classic in Hamilton.
Quarterback Dane Evans (shoulder) has been limited at practice this week, while defensive back Ciante Evans (hand) and linebacker Simoni Lawrence (knee) didn’t participate in Tuesday’s practice. Bettors will want to monitor the statuses of these key Hamilton players leading up to kickoff.
Hamilton has been awful on the road this season, dropping all five of its games (1-4 ATS) away from Tim Horton’s Field.
About the Argonauts (4-5 SU, 4-4-1 ATS, 5-4 o/u): The Argos were sitting pretty atop the East Division standings, but now Montreal and Hamilton are nipping at their heels.
Toronto’s inability to run the ball has hampered the offense this year, and the season-ending injury to lead back Andrew Harris won’t help the team’s cause in the second half of the season. The Argonauts are averaging a league-worst 79.7 yards on the ground per game through nine contests, and A.J. Ouellette, who rushed for 18 yards on six carries last week, will be the new lead back with the loss of Harris.
Sports betting trends:
The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Toronto is 1-6 ATS in its past seven games against opponents with a losing record.
Hamilton is 10-4-1 ATS in its past 15 games in Toronto.
A couple of sweeps 🧹 👀
The #TotalEnergiesCanada Weekly Picks are in for Week 12 👉 https://t.co/HaLscytcY4#CFL pic.twitter.com/0Eioxa5Pmv
— CFL (@CFL) August 23, 2022
Saskatchewan Roughriders @ BC Lions (-4, o/u 46)
About the Roughriders (5-5 SU, 5-5 ATS, 5-4-1 o/u): After starting the season 4-1, the Roughriders have limped to a 1-4 record since Week 6.
Saskatchewan’s roster has been hammered by injuries and COVID-19 this season, and the health of quarterback Cody Fajardo is a major question mark. Fajardo’s ailing left knee has limited his ability to scramble outside of the pocket, and he was even pulled in last week’s 28-10 loss to the Lions just before halftime in favor of backup Mason Fine. Fajardo will start again this week, but he’s admitted that his “confidence is a little bit down right now.”
The Riders may have caught a break this week with Rourke’s injury, but their season could go awry quickly if they can’t produce a win against the Lions. After this week’s tilt with BC, Saskatchewan is scheduled to play three of its next four games against the powerhouse Blue Bombers.
About the Lions (8-1 SU, 7-2 ATS, 5-3-1 o/u): The fate of BC’s season is now in the hands of a quarterback that has only completed 24 passes over parts of three CFL seasons with three different teams.
Michael O’Connor, another Canadian quarterback from Ottawa, will make his first professional start this week against a nasty Saskatchewan defense, which leads the league with 33 sacks.
The Lions are fortunate to have a well-balanced roster, though, and should still be able to compete at a high level without Rourke. BC’s defense, which created seven turnovers in last week’s win, has been overshadowed by Rourke’s rise to stardom this season.
If BC can around play .500 the rest of the regular season, and Rourke can return in time for the playoffs, this team still has a shot at its first Grey Cup title since 2011. Oddsmakers have only lengthened BC’s title odds to +250 from +200 as a result of Rourke’s injury.
Rourke says he’s a fast healer and he anticipates suiting up again this year.
“I have a pretty good work ethic so I’m sure I’ll be back & ahead of the curve again.”
Nathan Rourke feeling hopeful as he talks to media today at practice.#RoarLikeNeverBefore pic.twitter.com/VPORMThI1J
— BC LIONS (@BCLions) August 22, 2022
Sports betting trends:
The Roughriders are 4-0 ATS in their past four games in BC.
The Lions are 4-0 ATS in their last four games overall.
The over is 8-1-1 in the Lions’ past 10 games against West Division opponents.
Ottawa Redblacks @ Edmonton Elks (-3, o/u 48.5)
About the Redblacks (1-8 SU, 3-6 ATS, 3-6 o/u): It’s been a miserable season for the last-place Redblacks, and they’re hoping a change at quarterback reverses their fortunes this week against the Elks.
Nick Arbuckle has been announced as the starter this week over Caleb Evans. Ottawa acquired Arbuckle from the Elks in a trade last month after No. 1 quarterback Jeremiah Masoli suffered a serious leg injury.
Arbuckle has struggled mightily this season with Ottawa and Edmonton, completing 99 of his 152 passes for 1,210 yards with two touchdowns and 10 interceptions. This week’s foe obviously knows his tendencies well and should be ready for anything Arbuckle throws at them.
About the Elks (3-7 SU, 4-6 ATS, 7-3 o/u): This could be the week the Elks put an end to their dreadful 12-game home losing streak.
Last week, Edmonton cruised to a 30-12 win over this same Redblacks team in Ottawa, and oddsmakers have taken notice by making the Elks favorites (-3) for the first time this season in Saturday’s rematch.
However, this team has suffered two notable injuries on offense: Receiver Emmanuel Arceneaux (ankle) has been placed on the six-game injured list, and primary back James Wilder Jr. (shoulder/neck) will undergo surgery and is out for the season.
Ante Milanovic-Litre, a converted fullback, will continue to unspectacularly fill the role as lead back in Wilder Jr.’s absence.
Edmonton’s injuries woes, when combined with Ottawa’s recent offensive struggles (averaging 12.6 points per game over its last three contests), should have bettors taking a hard look at under 48.5 points.
Sports betting trends:
The under is 6-1 in Ottawa’s past seven road games.
The under is 8-1 in the past nine meetings.
Edmonton is 3-14 ATS in its past 17 home games.
Photo: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY