Alouettes open as 4.5-point favourites over Riders as Cody Fajardo faces old team for first time

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

Montreal Alouettes’ quarterback Cody Fajardo is a healthy favourite against his former team heading into Week 10 of the CFL season.

Friday’s game will mark the first time Fajardo has played the Saskatchewan Roughriders since leaving the team as a free agent this past off-season. He didn’t part with the club on the best of terms as he was benched by the Riders late last season while they were still mathematically eligible for the playoffs. The quarterback who replaced him, Mason Fine, is expected to make a fourth consecutive start for Saskatchewan this week after leading the team to a 26-24 win over the Ottawa Redblacks.

Fajardo signed with the Riders as a free agent in 2019 and was almost immediately thrust into the starting role following an injury to Zach Collaros. He led the team to a 13-5 record and an appearance in the West Final, losing the game after one of his passes struck the upright on the final play from scrimmage. He was named a CFL all-star and signed a big-money contract extension to remain with the team through 2021, becoming the new face of the franchise.

The native of Brea, Calif. led Saskatchewan to a 9-5 record following the league’s COVID-cancelled season in 2020 and another playoff appearance, defeating the Calgary Stampeders in the West Semi-Final. The club advanced to the West Final the following week, though they lost to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers for the second consecutive time.

The wheels fell off in 2022 after Fajardo signed a one-year contract extension with Saskatchewan, which saw him become the league’s second-highest-paid player. He suffered a grade-two MCL tear early in the year, which he felt limited his ability to effectively run with the football and the Riders finished with a 6-12 record following a promising 4-1 start.

The 31-year-old threw for 10,631 yards, 48 touchdowns, and 32 interceptions during his tenure with Saskatchewan and ran the ball for 1,436 yards and 22 touchdowns.

Fajardo has the Alouettes off to a solid start this season with a 4-3 record, completing 67.0 percent of his passes for 1,877 yards, six touchdowns, and five interceptions. He has also carried the ball 31 times for 174 yards and three touchdowns. This week’s game will mark the only regular season meeting between the Riders and Alouettes in 2023.

The Alouettes (4-3) are scheduled to host Saskatchewan (4-4) on Friday, Aug. 11 with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. EDT. The betting lines for the rest of Week 10 are as follows.