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Riders and Eskimos look to end losing skids
By: Nick Bracken - StatFox
Published: 10/10/2011  at  12:03:00 AM
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SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS (4-9)

at EDMONTON ESKIMOS (7-6)

Kickoff: Monday, 4:30 p.m. EDT
Line: Edmonton -5, Total: 50.5

The Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Edmonton Eskimos will each try to end their two-game losing streaks when they square off on Monday afternoon. The Eskimos now find themselves tied for second in the West Division (7-6) after losing six of eight, and the Roughriders (4-9) are still trying to dig out of a 1-7 hole to start the season.

Despite being second in the West, Edmonton has had difficulties defending its home turf, going 2-4 ATS (3-3 SU) and scoring just 21.5 PPG at home compared to 26.1 PPG on the road. The Eskimos are a measly 5-17 ATS (23%) as a favorite over the last three seasons, which includes a horrid 1-11 as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points. Saskatchewan lost the season opener to the Eskimos, but is 61-37 ATS (62%) when revenging a same-season loss versus an opponent since 1996. Despite the Roughriders’ recent horrid play, SASKATCHEWAN will come into Edmonton and enjoy a rare road victory.

The FoxSheets provide a three-star trend that also likes the Roughriders to prevail:

Play On - Road underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (SASKATCHEWAN) - after having lost 2 out of their last 3 games, a bad team, winning 25% to 40% of their games, in the second half of the season. (26-6 since 1996.) (81.2%, +19.4 units. Rating = 3*).

Saskatchewan had a horrendous start to the 2011 campaign, going 1-7. The Roughriders then rattled off three straight victories and looked composed to possibly make a run. The next two games were disastrous, as they were outscored 82-8, which included a 40-3 whooping in Calgary last week. The Roughriders tallied up a measly 192 yards of total offense in the defeat. Quarterback Darian Durant completed just 12-of-21 passes for 128 yards and no touchdowns. Durant is six in the league in passing with 3,101 yards, and the team’s success rides much on his shoulders.

The Eskimos looked like a clear favorite to make the Grey Cup when they started off a blistering 5-0 with their offense rolling. Since then, Edmonton has gone 2-6 and lost the last three out of four. The Eskimos lost on the road last week to the B.C. Lions 33-24, despite having two receivers go for over 100 yards. Jason Barnes caught five balls for 114 yards and a touchdown, and Adarius Bowman snagged nine catches for 116 yards and a score.

It has been a tale of two seasons for Eskimos QB Ricky Ray. In Ray’s first five games, he threw for 10 touchdowns and one interception, and in his final eight games since, he has just 6 TD and 7 INT. Much like the Roughriders, Edmonton relies heavily on its quarterback play, and Ray must have a good game for the Eskimos to end their losing skid.

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