Saskatchewan Roughriders open as short underdogs to Edmonton Elks in Week 1

Photo: Larry MacDougal/3DownNation. All rights reserved.

The Edmonton Elks have opened as short favourites over the Saskatchewan Roughriders ahead of their regular season opener on Saturday, June 8.

The two teams met during the preseason and Saskatchewan won by a score of 28-27 despite being dominated in most statistical categories. The Riders scored two non-offensive touchdowns as Antoine Brooks Jr. recorded a pick-six on a tipped pass from McLeod Bethel-Thompson and Kosi Onyeka recovered a fumble from Javon Leake for a score.

As of the publishing of this article, the Riders are consensus 2.5-point underdogs heading into their first matchup of the year, though the line is subject to change as more wagers are placed on the game.

 

Saskatchewan made sweeping changes on and off the field this off-season as Corey Mace was hired from the Toronto Argonauts to become the team’s head coach. He will serve as his own defensive coordinator, while Regina native Marc Mueller was hired from the Calgary Stampeders to serve as offensive coordinator.

A.J. Ouellette was signed to boost the club’s running game following his first 1,000-yard rushing season, while offensive tackle Jermarcus Hardrick was added from Winnipeg to provide improved pass protection. On the defensive side of the ball, Malik Carney and Jameer Thurman were signed from Hamilton and appear locked in as day-one starters.

Trevor Harris is back under centre after suffering a tibial plateau fracture that cost him 13 games in 2023, which he feared could be career-ending. He led Saskatchewan to a season-opening victory at Commonwealth Stadium in Week 1 in 2023, throwing for 179 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions in a 17-13 victory over the Elks.

The Elks have a new starting quarterback for 2024 as McLeod Bethel-Thompson returned to the CFL following a one-year excursion to the USFL. The 35-year-old is the league’s fourth-highest-paid player and has previously led the league in passing yards and passing touchdowns, earning two East Division all-star selections with the Toronto Argonauts.

Edmonton head coach and general manager Chris Jones is under plenty of pressure this season following back-to-back 4-14 campaigns and relinquished the role of defensive coordinator to Jason Shivers, who was hired following an eight-year run in Saskatchewan.

The Riders (0-0) will visit the Elks (0-0) on Saturday, June 8 with kickoff slated for 4:00 p.m. EDT. The contest was originally slated for 7:00 p.m. EDT, though it was moved up to avoid conflict with the first game of the Stanley Cup Finals, which will feature the Edmonton Oilers for the first time since 2006.

The rest of the betting lines for Week 1 are as follows.