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Injuries: A Bigger Betting Edge In The CFL

Week 1 of the CFL may have provided the best game we’ll see all season on Saturday night. The Ottawa Redblacks beat the Edmonton Eskimos 45-37 in overtime in a rematch of the 2015 Grey Cup. 

It was a sweet moneyline payout for anyone who took Ottawa, who was slated as a 5-point underdog in the game. It was also the first win for Ottawa in Edmonton in over 30 years. 

But I wanted to take a second to point out the game was ultimately won thanks to a key injury during what turned the winning drive of the game in overtime. The injury was to Eskimos cornerback Patrick Watkins, a five-year CFL veteran, a 10-year pro and a huge part of Edmonton’s Grey Cup win last year. 

Watkins got injured on the third-last play of the Redblacks’ drive to score in OT. In his absence, Ottawa picked on his rookie fill-in to score the most wide open touchdown we may see in this decade.  

None of the recaps you read will even mention Watkins but he could be the most important injury from that game. And that includes the one to Ottawa starting quarterback Henry Burris from the third quarter. 

Watkins is a veteran corner and badly needed right now in a banged-up Edmonton secondary.

Injuries like this have a bigger impact in the CFL compared to other sports because the talent depth simply isn’t there like in other major pro sports. 

I’d suggest keeping an eye on Edmonton’s defensive injuries heading into their game in Week 3 after a bye this week. My guess is if there are a few key players missing from the Eskies defense, it won't even be factored into the line - or at least not as much as it should be.

We may see a big betting edge here with the spread and the total.