|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|08-23-18||Edmonton v. Hamilton -3||Top||24-25||Loss||-108||12 h 6 m||Show|
10* Hamilton (7:30 ET): This is a spot that the Ti-Cats simply must take advantage of. They're coming off a bye and hosting an Edmonton squad that is on a short week (just four days between games). Perhaps its that quick turnaround for the Eskimos that is responsible for the line shift. But also be aware that despite their 3-5 SU record, Hamilton has actually outscored its opponents in 2018. This is a squad that has been favored in every game but one so far, that one being its last game where they lost by six at Winnipeg. While they've fallen short of expectations so far, I have the Ti-Cats bouncing back in a major way Thursday night. Lay the points.
Edmonton had no problem beating Montreal last Saturday, but who isn't blowing out the Als these days? The Eskimos actually failed to cover the spread in the 40-24 victory as they were lofty 19.5-pt favorites at home. They did rack up 536 yds of total offense, but again, take any stats w/ a "grain of salt" when they come at Montreal's expense. These teams met back in Week 2 w/ Hamilton prevailing 38-21 as 6.5-point road underdogs. There was nothing "phony" about that win either as the Ti-Cats came in and rolled up 528 yards of offense. Hamilton has suffered three losses by six points or less so far, so really this is a team that's played better than its record shows.
As stated above, they are off a loss here, 29-23 to Winnipeg. But that was a road game. It was also two weeks ago. The schedule sure sets up nicely for a big Ti-Cats win tonight as their opponent is facing a tough spot w/ limited time to rest and practice in between games. Meanwhile, you have to figure Hamilton has had this game circled ever since losing to the Blue Bombers. They've actually dropped four of five, including two home games, so the level of motivation should be very high Thursday night. Since 2011, the Ti-Cats have 35 wins at home vs. just 24 on the road. They'll also be honoring CFL Hall of Famer Joe Montford at halftime, so emotions should be REALLY high here. The Ti-Cats are also 7-2 ATS following a SU loss. 10* Hamilton
|08-11-18||Montreal v. Ottawa OVER 49.5||Top||17-24||Loss||-109||105 h 51 m||Show|
10* Over Als/REDBLACKS (8:00 ET): Since returning to the league (in 2015), Ottawa has covered all but one of the 11 matchups w/ division rival Montreal. That includes a win and cover earlier this year, 28-18 as 7.5-pt chalk. With the rematch taking place in Ontario, the line "feels about right." Certainly no one will be a in rush to take the Als, quarterbacked by Johnny Manziel, after they were humiliated last week at home in a 50-11 loss to Hamilton. When all is said and done, that may end up being my easiest bet of the year. I'd love to play against Montreal (easily the worst team in the CFL), but laying this many points in any league is typically something I shy away from. But given the Als allowed 50 pts last week, I have no problem taking the Over as their own offense HAS to improve (how can it be any worse?) while the Redblacks should score at will.
Ottawa has to be "chomping at the bit" to take the field here after blowing a 24-pt lead in the second half last week against Toronto. They ended up losing 42-41 as 6.5-pt road favorites after giving up the game-winning TD w/ one second left on the clock. Obviously, that has to be eating at them. But what better way to bounce back than by facing the team that is - by far - the worst in the league? Last week was the second time this season that the Redblacks scored 40 or more in a game and they did it in basically three quarters. Defensively, they are obvious issues that need to be corrected after last week's historic collapse. The secondary was not good vs. the Argos, allowing McLeod Bethel-Thompson to complete 25 of 37 pass attempts for 300+ yds and four touchdowns. Maybe there is hope for Manziel in this game?
With Manziel getting benched after throwing FOUR first half interceptions last week, he can only get better. The Als' offense has yet to top 23 pts in a game this season, but won't have to in order for this one to fly Over the total. That's because their league-worst defense is allowing 34.6 PPG. Last week didn't even mark a season-high in pts allowed as they gave up 56 to Winnipeg in Week 2. Being down 28-0 at the end of the first quarter allowed for Hamilton to take their foot off the gas early and you have to wonder just how many pts the Ti-Cats could have put up had they kept trying. They gave up 473 total yds to Ottawa in the first meeting, which barely stayed Under. Expect more points this go around. 10* Over Als/REDBLACKS
|08-10-18||Hamilton v. Winnipeg -5||Top||23-29||Win||100||81 h 6 m||Show|
10* Winnipeg (8:30 ET): Last week, Hamilton made for one of the easiest bets in my life as I cashed them as seven-point road favorites at Montreal. They won 50-11, completely outclassing the Als (led 41-3 at half!) and their embarrassment of a QB, Johnny Manziel. The idea that a QB that had just come to a team (the worst one in the league, no less!) two weeks prior and would be thrust into the starting position was laughable. So, clearly any assignment from here on out will be tougher for the Ti-Cats. This one in particular is going to be a challenge as they have to visit Winnipeg to play a rested Bombers team that's also off a big win. I'll lay the points Friday night.
Winnipeg is off a home and home sweep of Toronto, winning 38-20 on the road, then 40-14 at home. Two of the team's three losses this year have come by just a field goal. Their four wins have come by an average of 30.5 points per game. Obviously that average will start to come down eventually. But, tonight I look for the rested Blue Bombers to come out quite motivated. They're looking to avenge their largest defeat of the season, which came at Hamilton, 31-17 back in Week 3. But that game saw them play w/o the services of QB Matt Nichols, who is now back in the fold. This is going to be a much better team than the one that faced the Ti-Cats last month.
Four first half interceptions of Manziel quickly turned last week's game into a joke for Hamilton. They actually led 28-0 after 15 minutes, which is the largest lead for ANY TEAM IN CFL HISTORY after the 1st quarter! That much-needed win snapped a three-game losing skid, all of which came as favorites. Tonight marks the first time since Week 2 that the Ti-Cats will be underdogs. While that might make it seem like there's some value, I think it also speaks to the respect commanded by the Bombers when at full strength. Only unbeaten Calgary has outscored its opposition by a wider margin so far this season. With a rested home team looking for revenge, Hamilton is going to find things much more difficult Friday night. 10* Winnipeg
|08-03-18||Hamilton -7 v. Montreal||Top||50-11||Win||100||11 h 1 m||Show|
8* Hamilton (7:30 ET): Montreal is - quite easily - the worst team in the entire CFL. They've won just one time all season and that was back in Week 3 as 11-pt dogs at Saskatchewan. They've been outscored by 100 pts in six games overall and things have gotten so dire here that the team has decided to bring in Johnny Football as their new starting QB. Ironically, it was tonight's opponent that originally had Manziel's rights before trading him to the Als just a couple weeks ago. Obviously, there will be a lot of hype surrounding this game, but that works to our advantage as Montreal is being WAY overvalued in this spot. Manziel has not played pro football - of any kind - since 2015 and will be starting here just two weeks after coming to Montreal. Lay the points.
Also helping to undervalue the favorite here is the fact Hamilton is off three consecutive outright defeats. Two were against Saskatchewan (home and home) and the other last week, 21-15 to Ottawa. In the case of the last two losses, turnovers have killed the Ti-Cats as they're -4 in that department. The team is now 2-4 SU on the year (w/ wins over Edmonton and Winnipeg), yet has been outscored by just five points. They absolutely hammered Montreal in both meetings last year, winning by a combined score of 76-16. Granted they lost the game outright, but the fact the Ti-Cats were six-point favorites at Saskatchewan just last month makes them look like a "real steal" by comparison here.
The last five QB's to make their CFL debuts have all lost. So that's what Manziel is up against here. He will be the fourth different starting QB for the Als in the last four games, something we have not seen from any CFL team this century. I just can't see him playing all that well. Rather, this is a desperate act by a bad team playing at home and looking to boost attendance. Again, the Als are without question the worst team in the league this year and the gap is significant between them and the rest of the field. They are very likely to go all season w/o being favored in a single game. Getting a full TD at home sounds like a value, but not when you're this bad. Consider they've gotten 8.5 or more pts from the oddsmakers in all but one game this season and are being outscored by 16.7 PPG. 8* Hamilton
|08-02-18||Saskatchewan +7 v. Edmonton||Top||19-26||Push||0||26 h 1 m||Show|
8* Saskatchewan (10:00 ET): After sweeping a home and home w/ Hamilton (were underdogs in both games), the Rough Riders lost at home to Calgary last week, 34-22 as 7.5-pt dogs. Even though they didn't cover, there's no shame in that result, given that they were up against - easily - the best team in the league. This week finds them smack dab in the middle of a Stampeders' sandwich as they'll again face Calgary in Regina next week. They'll certainly have more time to prepare for that rematch (16 days) than they do here vs. Edmonton as it'll be just four days in between games for the Riders when they take the field Thursday night. Tough as that may sound, the points are plentiful here and the team is 3-1 ATS as a dog TY w/ three outright wins.
Edmonton is 4-2 SU (2-4 ATS) and has a claim to be CFL's second best team. They hammered lowly Montreal last week, 44-23, as 10.5-pt road chalk. That game took place on Thursday, so it's a full week off for the Eskimoes. But after dominating the Als so thoroughly (outgained them 513-303), might this be a bit of a letdown spot for the home team? I certainly think that could be the case. Last week was also just the second time that the Eskimoes covered the spread. Two of their four wins have been by three points or less. While their defense remains one of the league's best, they are allowing a virtually identical number of points per game to Saskatchewan. I'm not sure the offense is prolific enough to make up the difference required to cover the spread.
The Riders are also getting back two key contributors for this game, one on each side of the ball. QB Zach Collaros is expected to make his season debut Thursday night and that obviously makes the offense a whole lot more dynamic. Originally, Collaros wasn't going to return to Week 10, so this early return is a key bonus. He's the bigger of the two returns, but DB Nick Marshall should definitely help on the other side of the ball as well. Plus, Marshall being back means Duron Carter is back to being a slot receiver. While the number of PPG allowed are nearly identical from the two defenses here, Saskatchewan allows fewer YPG and I believe will have the edge at the LOS. They like to the run the ball on offense and can exploit a poor Edmonton run defense. In a divisional matchup like this, my view is that a spread like this is simply too high. Edmonton is just 7-15 ATS its L22 home games while Saskatchewan is 8-2 SU/ATS following a loss. 8* Saskatchewan
|07-28-18||Calgary v. Saskatchewan OVER 47||Top||34-22||Win||100||13 h 10 m||Show|
10* Over Stampeders/Rough Riders (9:00 ET): Calgary is undefeated so far (5-0), having allowed 14 pts or fewer in every game. Because of that defensive performance, the Under is also 5-0 for them. The Under is also 5-0 the L5 meetings w/ Western Division rival Saskatchewan. But tonight's O/U line is really low and w/ the Stamps averaging a healthy 29.0 PPG, all it should take here is a mediocre offensive effort from Saskatchewan for the Over to cash. That's what I'm calling for.
At this point, there's no denying that Calgary is again the class of the league. They've scored the most points in the league while also giving up the fewest. Every other team in the league has a least two losses and no one can touch the Stampeders' +99 point differential. The next best point diff in the league belongs to Winnipeg (+62) and rival Edmonton is the only other squad above +5. QB Bo Levi Mitchell appears to be fine and will be a go Saturday night. While perhaps we shouldn't read too much into it, the Stamps did beat the Rough Riders 39-12 in the preseason.
The Riders come into this big Week 7 matchup off B2B upsets, both over Hamilton in a home-and-home. But this will obviously be a big step up in class for them as they were only 1-2 SU before the pair of upsets occurred. Last week saw them achieve season-highs in both points (31) and total yards (396). They very likely won't be touching those numbers here, but they also won't have to (for our purposes). The Over is 7-3 in Saskatchewan's L10 July games and this one should pretty easily "sneak" past the number. 10* Over Stampeders/Rough Riders
|07-06-18||Ottawa v. Montreal OVER 48.5||Top||28-18||Loss||-105||11 h 8 m||Show|
10* Over Ottawa/Montreal (7:30 ET): Montreal is the consensus worst team in the CFL this season, but don't tell that to Saskatchewan, whom the Als upset LW (as 11-pt underdogs), 23-17. (Ironically, the Rough Riders pulled an upset of their own last night!). That result was a far cry from the first two of the season for the Als, who scored 10 pts each in losses to B.C. and Winnipeg. Against the latter, they gave up 56, so it certainly wouldn't be illogical to expect some defensive regression tonight at home vs. the REDBLACKS. Ottawa has played only two games in 2018 and the results have been quite different w/ the first being a 40-17 beatdown of Saskatchewan (at home) while the second was a 24-14 loss at Calgary. I like the Over here as I think the REDBLACKS are poised to score a lot tonight while the Als are going to have to play catch up.
Four turnovers were huge for Montreal in last week's upset. So was the connection between QB Drew Willy and WR Chris Williams, but unfortunately Willy isJ likely out for this game. But I don't think that's as big of a loss as you might think considering the first two games of the season. Backup Jeff Matthews has been getting all the first team reps in practice this week and should be the starter Friday night. Note the Montreal offense had 13 two and outs LW, the most by any team in five seasons. So a switch from Willy might actually be an improvement. This defense has a lot of new faces, thus you have games like what you saw against Winnipeg two weeks ago.
CFL games are averaging just over 50.0 PPG this season, so this O/U line is just a tad bit on the low side. Ottawa ran into a stout defense LW in Calgary, but should find things a lot easier this week. Remember, they scored 40 in the season opener. Last season, they swept the Als (were just 5-10 SU otherwise!), holding them to just 34 pts total. All three games went Under as well. I just have a "feeling" that we're in store for a higher scoring game tonight. 10* Over Ottawa/Montreal
|06-29-18||Winnipeg v. Hamilton OVER 58||Top||17-31||Loss||-112||11 h 16 m||Show|
10* Over Winnipeg/Hamilton (7:00 ET): Both of these teams are coming off impressive Week 2 victories, both on the road no less. The Bombers took advantage of Montreal (many figure to do that this season), beating them 56-10 w/ a 589-168 edge in total yardage. It was a nice bounce back after dropping the opener to Edmonton, 33-30. Hamilton beat Edmonton LW, 38-21, rolling up 521 total yds in the process. That too was a bounce-back after the Ti-Cats lost in Week 1, 28-14. Obviously, neither side has much difficulty scoring, so I feel its quite reasonable to expect a high-scoring affair Friday night at Tim Horton's Field. Take the Over.
As the final score illustrated, it was an absolute beatdown by the Blue Bombers LW at Molson. The big story of the game was the performance of rookie QB Chris Streveler, who went 18 of 22 for 196 yards and added 55 more on the ground. He had three touchdowns. By the way, those numbers were all from the FIRST HALF! It was 34-7 by halftime, effectively putting the "game to bed" after 30 minutes. Sure, they won't be as prolific in one half tonight, but I certainly believe they are capable of matching those numbers over the full course of the game. This is a team that has scored 86 pts in two games so far. Of course, they also gave up 33 in Week 1 and tonight will be a far greater test defensively than it was LW vs. the inept Als.
Hamilton pivot Jeremiah Masoli is currently working on a streak of seven straight 300+ yard games that obviously dates back to last season. The big difference LW is that Masoli was backed by a run game that went for 196 yds. That was a huge increase over the 56 they gained on the ground vs. Calgary. Masoli should have no problems throwing the ball here against a Bombers defense that allowed 400 yds through the air to Edmonton. Running the ball might not come that easy. But in this, their home opener, the Ti-Cats should come out looking for a fast start. The road team won in a blowout in both meetings last season, 30-13 and 39-12, but here I look for a more competitive game where both sides put plenty of points on the board. 10* Over Winnipeg/Hamilton
|06-16-18||Montreal +8 v. BC||Top||10-22||Loss||-106||14 h 40 m||Show|
|11-26-17||Calgary -7 v. Toronto||Top||24-27||Loss||-115||11 h 45 m||Show|
10* Calgary (6:00 ET): It's time for the 105th Grey Cup and it should come as no shock to see that Calgary is once again involved. The league's preeminent franchise of the last decade, the Stampeders are making their third appearance in this game in the last four years. They will be looking to erase the memory of LY's heartbreaking loss to Ottawa and win their first Grey Cup since 2014. Toronto has won more Grey Cups than any franchise in league history (16), but they are only a 10-9 SU team as it always seems as if the Eastern Division comes into this game looking significantly weaker on paper. Of course, such was the case LY when Calgary lost to Ottawa, but revenge will be theirs this year, even though the Argos should have the edge in crowd support w/ the game taking place in Ottawa.
After a poor end to the regular season (lost 3 straight!), Calgary won the Western Division Final (6th straight year appearing in that game!) over rival Edmonton last week, 32-28 as five-point chalk. This is the fourth time in five years they finished first in the West and 10th straight year they've won at least 10 games. But they actually enter this game on a five-game ATS skid. Nevertheless, they have beaten Toronto eight straight times and covered each of the last five. In the two matchups this year, the Stamps outscored the Argos by more than a 2:1 margin (64-31) and outgained them by 248 total yards! Botth wins came by at least 16 points even though they trailed in each!
Remember that before the "slump" at the end of the regular season, Calgary was 13-1-1 its first 15 games. Toronto, who finished in last place in 2016, has made a big jump this season and at no point this season have they been more than a game above .500. At one point, they were 4-7 SU and appeared to be going "nowhere fast." Credit them for winning six of their last eight, but they play in the weaker division and have only outscored the opposition by 30 pts all season. Compare that to Calgary, who has a league best point differential of +178. Defensively is where the Stamps are superior here as they are allowing only 18.1 PPG, a league low. They are also #1 against the pass, forced the most turnovers and have the most sacks. The running game has been huge for Toronto during their late season surge w/ production nearly doubling in that area since Week 13. But I don't look for them to have much success here. Last time these teams faced off, the Argos were held to just 18 yards rushing and didn't have a single offensive touchdown. 10* Calgary
|09-04-17||Edmonton +12 v. Calgary||Top||18-39||Loss||-125||75 h 22 m||Show|
10* Edmonton (3:00 ET): What a difference a couple of weeks can make. Two weeks ago, Edmonton was undefeated (7-0) and the toast of the league. Now, following losses to Winnipeg and Saskatchewan, they're 7-2 and back in an all-too familiar place, which is looking up at rival Calgary in the standings. But they're starting to get healthy again w/ both WR Adarius Bowman and linebacker Adam Konar expected back in the lineup today after long absences. Edmonton has had a terrible time in the past covering on Labour Day as they are 0 for 11 ATS their L11 Week 11 matchups. But while the Stamps have won the last five LD matchups by an average of nine points and never trailed in the last four, four of those have been decided in the final three minutes. This time Edmonton is a double digit dog and a great value. Take the points.
The Eskimos are off their worst game of the season as they were beaten soundly (at home!) by Saskatchewan, 54-31, as 5.5-pt favorites. Five turnovers certainly did not help there as QB Mike Reilly played - easily - his worst game of 2017. Interestingly, total yards in that game were basically even, so the turnovers really did play a large role in determining the final score. Skeptics will point out that Edmonton has zero wins this year over a team that currently has a winning record, but the market has simply shifted far too much against them here. Previously, they have not been an underdog of more than 4.5 pts. They also have beaten 5-5 B.C. twice. Their YPG differential of +70 exceeds that of Calgary.
The Stamps are the hottest team in the league right now as they've won and covered five straight. However, three of those wins/covers came against Eastern Division foes, so critics could poke a hole in their resume as well. It was a very close game when they won at B.C. two weeks ago (21-17). Other than that, they've gotten to play Toronto twice and Hamilton in the last four weeks. Incredibly, they're a bigger favorite this week than they were last against the Argos. That makes no sense to me. The Calgary defense has been quite stingy of late, but Edmonton's offense will test them as Reilly should have a bounce back game. Stampeders QB Bo Levi Mitchell has been pretty up and down himself of late. Bottom line is that in a rivalry game such as this, you should expect a closely played affair and Edmonton is being way undervalued due to past Labour Day struggles. 10* Edmonton
|09-03-17||Winnipeg v. Saskatchewan UNDER 61||Top||24-38||Loss||-110||52 h 12 m||Show|
10* Under Winnipeg/Saskatchewan (4:00 ET): Considering they've only outscored opponents by 30 pts this season, the Blue Bombers should feel a little fortunate to be 7-2 SU right now. Consider that this week's opponent, Saskatchewan, has outscored its opponents by 48 points yet is only 4-4 SU. The Bombers come into Sunday's game riding a five-game win streak w/ four of those victories coming by a TD or less and three by three points or less. Since losing to Calgary back in Week 3, 29-10, they've scored at least 33 pts in every game. As for the Rough Riders, they are off B2B very impressive perfomances, first whipping B.C. 41-8, then last week beating Edmonton (on the road) 54-31. I have zero opinion on the side here, but the total looks a little high, probably due to both teams' recent form. I'll take the Under.
This annual Labour Day clash has typically gone the Riders' way the last several seasons. However, for the 1st time in eight years it won't be Darian Durant starting at QB in this game. Kevin Glenn now leads the charge and while it's been 95 total pts for Saskatchewan the last two weeks, let's not forget that this is an offense that's been held to 16 pts or fewer three times this season. Also, the defense has been feasting off turnovers the last two games (11!), something that I don't think they can count on here as Winnipeg QB Matt Nicholls has not thrown an INT in his last 178 pass atttempts. The Bombers offense does lead the league w/ an average of 34.2 PPG, but I feel the Riders should slow them down some as they are second in the league in points allowed per game w/ just 25.8.
There's been a big shift in the O/U line here compared to the first meeting, an overtime game that was won by Winnipeg (43-40) in Manitoba. Six of the last eight meetings between these Western Canadian rivals have gone Over but today's game has the highest O/U line of any of them. It's also the highest O/U line in any game for both teams this season. Similar to Winnipeg, there's simply no way that Saskatchewan can continue scoring the way they have the last two games. Therefore, I look for this one to stay Under what I believe to be a pretty inflated number (TEN points higher than first meeting!). 10* Under Winnipeg/Saskatchewan
|08-26-17||Toronto +10 v. Calgary||Top||7-23||Loss||-110||29 h 32 m||Show|
10* Toronto (9:00 ET): The Argos are off one of the most impressive performances of this CFL season. It was certainly their most complete game. I had them, in a revenge spot from the previous week against Montreal, and they rolled to a 38-6 win and cover. With the Als losing again Thursday, Toronto now finds itself all alone in first place in the weak Eastern Division. The task is certainly tougher this week, but the spread is also larger, as they face the Stampeders on the road. As per usual, Calgary is the class of this league. They too are off an impressive win, 21-17 at B.C., though the margin of victory was nowhere near what Toronto's was last week. The Stamps' four-game SU and ATS win streak does include a 41-24 victory at Toronto. But, armed w/ revenge for a 2nd straight week, I believe the Argos plus the points are the way to go again.
Earlier, I said that last week was - easily - Toronto's most complete performance of the season. I wasn't joking. They outgained Montreal 466-140 in the 38-6 win. Clearly, the key was the return of QB Ricky Ray, who threw for 377 yards and four TD's, all in first half. The game was over by halftime as the Argos were up 35-0. However, let us not discount the job the defense is doing here. Not only do they lead the league in yards per game allowed (305.9), but sacks (30) as well. That's despite being w/o several key players. They're now closer to full strength on that side of the ball and thus I expect the results we've seen to continue. Of course, Ray is healthy now too and that's the biggest difference for this team.
While Toronto has the league's best defense, Calgary has the top offense. They are rolling up almost 400 yards per game. This team rarely loses at home. In fact, they've won 13 straight at McMahon Stadium. But might the pointspread catch up with them finally? They are 2 for 2 ATS as a double digit favorite so far. But those games were against Saskatchewan and Hamilton, the league's two last place teams and the latter being - easily - the worst team in the league. The Stampeders have hardly played the hardest schedule in the league to this point. Last week was their toughest matchup to date as they won only 21-17 at British Columbia. Winning in B.C. is not easy, but QB Bo Levi Mitchell completed only 48 percent of his passes, which is worrisome. Also, you have to wonder if this will be a lookahead for Calgary as they have the annual home and home against rival Edmonton looming. Toronto is undervalued here, plain and simple. 10* Toronto
|08-19-17||Montreal v. Toronto -1.5||Top||6-38||Win||100||8 h 16 m||Show|
10* Toronto (4:00 ET): For the second week in a row, these Eastern Division rivals meet. Last week, it was in Montreal and the Alouettes prevailed 21-9 as 7.5-pt favorites. As you can tell from that final score, it was a game dominated by the Als defense, which is giving up the fewest number of points per game in the East (2nd overall, behind Calgary). But something else that needs to be mentioned here is that Argos' QB Ricky Ray didn't play last week. He'll return Saturday and this time the game will be played at BMO Field in Toronto. Ray's return is critical, as you can tell from how the line has swung for this rematch. Despite not playing at all last wk, Ray is still 2nd in the the league in passing yards and has thrown for 300+ in every game he's finished so far. He is # 1 in the league w/ 25 pass completions of 20+ yards. Lay the very short number here.
Ray went down two weeks ago, in the second half vs. Calgary, a game the Argos lost 41-24. Thus last week marked the end of a very consistent stretch for this offense, one that had seen them score between 24 and 27 points for five consecutive weeks. The Eastern Division, as per usual, seems to be weak with Montreal currently leading Toronto by one-half game in the standings. Both teams are currently below .500. So a win here would actually put the Argos in first place despite them being w/o their starting QB for the last game and a half. Also adding to the importance is the fact Toronto has failed to cover the spread in five consecutive games. They desperately need some momentum and I think Ray's return provides that.
The Montreal defense is strong, but it's the team's strong suit almost by default as the offense has scored 21 pts or fewer in five of seven games this year. As Saskatchewan showed last week, exacting revenge can sometimes be easy. One week after losing at B.C. 30-15, the Rough Riders whipped the Leos 41-8 at home. That's the blueprint I'm following here and it should be pointed out that the Als are just 3-8 ATS their L11 times off a SU win. 10* Toronto
|08-18-17||Calgary v. BC UNDER 56.5||Top||21-17||Win||100||21 h 6 m||Show|
10* Under Calgary/B.C. (10:30 ET): Two of the CFL's top three teams collide tonight in Western Canada with the 5-3 Lions hosting the 5-1-1 Stampeders. Both teams are chasing first place Edmonton, who just lost for the first time last night (at Winnipeg). That loss actually put the Bombers into second place, so whomever loses here will really be "up against it" in a Western Division that seems more loaded than ever. You may be surprised to find the Stamps favored on the road here, but they actually own the league's best point differential and are off a bye. But even though they've scored 101 pts the past two games, I have zero interest in laying this number of points on the road. Therefore, we turn to the total. Let's go Under.
Calgary is #1 in the league in points per game (36.3), but has scored 31 pts or fewer in four of seven games. Their scoring average is greatly aided by the 60-1 rout of Hamilton that took place three weeks ago. They are also #1 in points allowed as three times they've given up 10 points or fewer. I expect the Stamps' defensive line, led by Charleston Hughes (six sacks already) to dominate this game. Last week saw B.C.'s offensive line get owned by a Saskatchewan front that isn't anywhere close to as talented as what they'll see today.
The Leos are looking to rebound from a dismal showing last week where they were blown out 41-8 by the Rough Riders. Obviously, we should expect them to score more this week, but HC Wally Bueno seems to have a decision to make at QB w/ both Jonathan Joseph and Travis Lulay struggling. There were six turnovers last week and like I said earlier, the defense they'll face here is much stingier. But I think a big key here is the fact that the Leos are a perfect 3-0 Under this season when the total is 55 pts or higher. Also, the Under is 5-1 the past six meetings here in B.C.. Make it six out of seven after tonight. 10* Under Calgary/B.C.
|08-12-17||Winnipeg v. Hamilton +2.5||Top||39-12||Loss||-115||50 h 29 m||Show|
10* Hamilton (7:30 ET): Oh those poor Taibbis. Hamilton, still the league's only winless team, dropped to 0-6 last week w/ a 33-28 loss at Edmonton, who happens to be the league's only unbeaten. Mind you, it was a game effort (as the final score indicates) and the second time in three weeks that they've played the Eskimoes tough. Of course, everyone still remembers how the Ti-Cats got crushed two weeks ago at Calgary (lost 60-1!) and that loss combined w/ the winless record all but ensured they'd be a home dog in this spot. I said taking the points was the way to go last week (easily covered as DD dogs) and the same holds true here as Winnipeg is a team certanly unaccustomed to the role of road chalk. This should be Hamilton's 1st win of the season.
Winnipeg is coming off B2B close wins, first over Montreal (41-40) and then LW at Ottawa (33-30). The defense has surrendered 40+ pts three times this season, yet the Bombers are somewhat surprisingly 4-2 SU w/ one of those losses coming against B.C., a game where they blew a huge lead. But the L2 wks it has been them pulling the rabbit out of the hat. First, they rallied back from a 40-28 deficit against the Als (w/ less than two minutes to go!) to win by one. Last week was more of the same as they found a way to score twice in the final five minutes at Ottawa, including a GW FG w/ no time remaining. Eventually, all the good fortune will catch up w/ them however and I can't see a team allowing 34.8 PPG continuing to win at this rate. They've actually been outscored in their six games. This will be just the third time this year that the Bombers have been favored. They're 1-1 ATS in that role so far, both games coming at home.
While Hamilton is the only team allowing more points per game than Winnipeg, their number is skewed due to that one disastrous performance at Calgary two weeks ago. Keep in mind that the L4 wks have seen the Ti-Cats have to play the three top teams in the league, including Edmonton twice. QB Zach Collaros threw for a season-high 3 TD's last week (against a much better defense than he'll face here) and he's 3-0 SU all-time vs. the Bombers. Tonight marks just the third home game for Hamilton and they just changed defensive coordinators, so expect that unit to play w/ some fire. 10* Hamilton
|08-12-17||Winnipeg v. Hamilton UNDER 60||Top||39-12||Win||100||50 h 29 m||Show|
8* Under Winnipeg/Hamilton (7:30 ET): This is a matchup of the two worst defenses - in terms of points allowed - in the league. But despite that, I'm going to "go out on a limb" and call for the game to be lower scoring than expected. The Over has been a good bet w/ both Winnipeg and Hamilton with the former going Over four straight games and the latter five straight. But the Ti-Cats just made a defensive coordinator change and that should lead to some inspired play on that side of the ball. They are last - by a mile - in points scored as well (at 19.7 per game). Take the Under.
Winnipeg has been very fortunate to win each of the last two weeks. Both times they scored twice in the closing minutes to pull out victory from the jaws of defeat. Eventually, that good fortune will end though and this may just be the week. To date, they've faced a slate of far easier opponents than has Hamilton. Tonight's O/U line is also likely to close as the highest for any Bombers game this season, which is key. I realize they've been involved in plenty of shootouts thus far, but this game doesn't figure to be one of them.
As I said earlier, the Ti-Cats are easily the lowest scoring team in the league. Their only chance at achieving victory tonight is in low-scoring game. This too figures to be their highest O/U line to date and in fact, by a pretty wide margin. The previous high was set LW (at 55.5) and that one didn't go Over until they scored a TD in the final three minutes. The last three meetings between these two have all stayed Under, none of them having an O/U line greater than 52.5. The Under has also cashed in 22 of Hamilton's last 30 home games. 8* Under Winnipeg/Hamilton
|08-05-17||Saskatchewan v. BC UNDER 56||Top||15-30||Win||100||11 h 44 m||Show|
10* Under Saskatchewan/British Columbia (7:00 ET): This is the lone divisional matchup on the Week 7 slate and it takes place in Western Canada w/ 4-2 B.C. hosting 2-3 Saskatchewan. As I've written previously, B.C. is a team that received a good amount of "Grey Cup love" in the offseason and they've somewhat justified that hype in a fast start to the season. Both losses came against Edmonton, who is still unbeaten. In my opinion, this is the best team in the league outside the province of Alberta. As for Saskatchewan, they're better than that 2-3 record, something they illustrated LW w/ a 38-27 win over Toronto. The Leos lost by a similar score (37-26) LW to the Eskimos, but the spread has grown throughout the course of the week, indicating the sharper dollars may be on them Saturday night. But the line has gotten a bit too high for my liking, thus I'll avoid the side altogether and instead look at the total.
Scoring has been on the rise this year in CFL. Entering this week, there is only one team (idle Montreal) whose games aren't averaging at least 54 total points per game. The first three games of Week 7 have all season 60+ pts scored w/ the Over a perfect 3-0. All of last week's games went Over as well w/ a minimum of 61 pts scored in all four. I'm calling for the Over trend to come to screeching halt tonight, however. This will be just the third road game for the Rough Riders. The first two saw them score only 16 and 10 pts respectively, both games staying Under. Keep in mind that their defense has allowed more than 27 pts in one game this season as well.
The Leos may have gone Over in three straight, but I think their defense is better than the number of points allowed might seem to indicate. Note that Saskatchewan's 38-point effort (also gained season-high 435 total yds) last week came off a bye and was at the expense of a Toronto team whose defense ranks near the bottom of the league in terms of points per game allowed. On offense, the Lions are still w/o QB Jonathon Jennings and his absence was felt LW as the team scored only 26 pts, their second fewest in any game this season. Furthermore, their 319 total yds gained did mark a season-low. As a result, take the Under here. 10* Under Saskatchewan/British Columbia
|08-04-17||Hamilton +10.5 v. Edmonton||Top||28-33||Win||100||14 h 5 m||Show|
10* Hamilton (9:30 ET): This line is a direct result of what happened last week when the Ti-Cats were humiliated in Calgary, losing 60-1. The loss drops them to 0-5 SU (CFL's only winless team) and they're now a real ugly 7-20-2 ATS their last 29 games overall (1-8 ATS L9 road games). So, needless to say they're not being given much of a shot here (on the road) against the league's lone unbeaten, Edmonton, who moved to 5-0 last week w/ an impressive 37-26 home win over B.C. But it sure does appear as if the "sharp money" hasn't "taken the bait" in this one as the line has come down - rather significantly - despite the majority of bets actually being placed on the Eskimos. I'll take the points w/ the "unpopular" side here as well as there's no way Hamilton can be as bad as they were last week. They should come out highly motivated for this encounter.
In terms of the value we're getting here, look no further than the previous meeting for a point of reference. These teams met just two weeks ago, in Ontario, and Edmonton checked in as only a three-point favorite for that game. They won, but only by a score of 31-28. So you can see how much influence last week had on the oddsmakers here. We're now able to get several extra points of value that we wouldn't have otherwise. Note that Hamilton actually led that first meeting, 25-13, before succumbing to a fourth quarter comeback. They still led 28-23 w/ two minutes remaining and Edmonton did not take its first lead of the game until the GW TD was scored w/ 23 seconds to go. Close games have been the rule and not the exception in CFL this year, so taking points (especially this many) onlky seems natural.
Edmonton may be the league's lone unbeaten, but they are nowhere close to having the best scoring differential. That belongs to the rival Stampeders (+109). In fact, the Eskimos have only outscored their five opponents this year by a cumulative 23 points, or an average of LESS than 5.0 per game. They were nine-point favorites here at home back in Week 2, but failed to cover against Montreal in a 23-19 win. In fact, last week's win over B.C. was the team's first this year by more than four points. This is a classic "buy low" scenario as Hamilton is not as bad as it looked last week. 10* Hamilton
|08-03-17||Calgary v. Toronto +5.5||Top||41-24||Loss||-110||12 h 11 m||Show|
10* Toronto (7:35 ET): Calgary has been the class of this league for the last several years and if you had any doubt that would continue into 2017, they sent a message "loud and clear" last Saturday w/ a 60-1 beatdown of Hamilton. But as good as the Stamps have been, I can't help but think this is a classic overlay as they now have hit to hit the road for the first time in three weeks. Their last road game, at Montreal, resulted in an outright 30-23 loss as four-point favorites. You can bet Toronto will be fired up for this one as the Argos are off a 37-28 loss at Saskatchewan, which also took place last Saturday. I'm always leery of laying points on the road, no matter the sport, and CFL is no different. Take the points here.
Toronto did not fare well against Calgary last season, as they were swept in the season series. They lost by 18 and 28 points respectively and going back further have actually dropped six in a row to the Stamps (last win was in '13). But even though they lost LW, the Argos are a better team this year than last. QB Ricky Ray has thrown for at least 300 yards in every game this season and as a result the offense is averaging an impressive 404 YPG. Their scoring average is "just" 25.3 points per game, but they've topped that in every game but one, a disappointing Week 2 effort where they lost to B.C., 32-15. The defense is allowing just 342 yards per game, so this team is a lot better than the 3-3 SU record shows.
Meanwhile, all of Calgary's statistics are going to be skewed because of last week. It is interesting to note however, that the Stamps (4-1-1) are still "just" +66 YPG compared to their opponents while the Argos are +62 YPG, a very comparable number. In terms of yards per game gained, these are the top two offenses in the league right now. Tip your cap to the pivot Ray, who is on pace to break the legendary Doug Flutie's single-season passing mark of 6,619 yards. His fewest number of passing yards in a game this season is 323 and he's averaging 363 YPG. He's completing 69.2% of his pass attempts as well. That Toronto defense also happens to lead the league in sacks w/ 19, so don't be surprised if they make life for Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell quite uncomfortable. 10* Toronto
|07-29-17||Hamilton v. Calgary OVER 55.5||Top||1-60||Win||100||14 h 6 m||Show|
10* Over Hamilton/Calgary (9:30 ET): The Stampeders, routinely the class of this league, are off to another fine start this year at 3-1-1. But at the same time, they find themselves in the unaccustomed position of looking UP at a pair of teams in the Western Division standings, those being Edmonton and B.C. That makes tonight's home game against winless Hamilton (0-4) a spot where they cannot afford to trip up and as you can tell from the line, the oddsmakers are pretty confident that they will not. But the number is too high for my tastes and instead we'll be looking at the total. Part of what makes this such a mismatch on paper is the fact the Stamps are one of three teams in the CFL to currently be averaging more than 30 PPG. The Ti-Cats are second to last in points allowed, giving up 35.2 PPG. Therefore, I'm on the Over.
|07-24-17||Ottawa v. Toronto -3||Top||24-27||Push||0||32 h 22 m||Show|
10* Toronto (7:30 ET): What a terrible spot this is for Ottawa, who is playing for the second time in less than a week. Technically, this is still considered a Week 5 matchup, but the reality is that Toronto essentially has had a bye (last played on 7.13) while Ottawa is playing its sixth game of the season and doing so w/ only four days to prepare. Considering the Argos are at home, this price looks especially cheap. Already this season, they've gone to Ottawa and upset the Redblacks, 26-25 as 4.5-pt dogs. That's actually the lone game of the year that the defending Grey Cup Champs haven't covered, but I anticipate a far more lopsided result this time around. I took the points last time around w/ the Argos and this time will lay 'em!
Ottawa did win last Wednesday, beating Montreal 24-19 in what was their first win of the campaign. But it was greatly aided by the Als turning the ball over four times, thereby nullifying a 493-420 edge they had in total yards. Also, take note that the Als were driving w/ a chance to win before being stopped on downs (inside the Redblacks' 20-yd line) w/ less than three minutes remaining. I look for Toronto QB Ricky Ray to take advantage of what should be a tired Redblacks defense here as Ray is the lone CFL pivot to throw for 300+ yards in every game this season. He's closing in on Doug Flutie's career CFL record.
I give Toronto a big edge on special teams in this matchup as return man Martese Jackson recorded 339 yards in the previous game. While the Argos still lost to Winnipeg, 33-25, they did so despite having an edge in total yardage. Turnovers were again the story there as a -2 ratio doomed them. This is Toronto's first home game since 6.30, so you have to figure they'll be highly motivated to go out and perform well in front of the fanbase. But again, I have to go back to handicapping the situation here and the fact the Argos have had so much more time to prepare cannot be understated. If you recall my analysis from the first matchup of the year between these teams, I stated that the Redblacks would regress severely in 2017 and that they have (and will continue to do). 10* Toronto
|07-21-17||Winnipeg v. BC -4||Top||42-45||Loss||-105||34 h 21 m||Show|
10* British Columbia (10:00 ET): Prior to the season commencing, the Leos were getting plenty of "Grey Cup love." We're starting to see why. After dropping the season opener in disappointing fashion (30-27 to Edmonton), they've won three in a row, all on the road. Now they return home to face a Winnipeg team that's off to a somewhat surprising 2-1 start. Normally, I might be unwilling to "touch" a game like this, but b/c of the chance B.C. may be w/o its starting QB, we are able to get an incredible value on them here. In case you are unaware, backup Travis Lulay came in last week and threw for 436 yards in the 41-26 win at Hamilton. That set the record for most yards passing by a QB that did not start the game in CFL history! Lay the points here.
Moving forward, B.C. will obviously want Jonathon Jennings back at the pivot position. But last week showed there isn't any kind of significant drop off w/ Lulay in there. He completed over 80% of his passes w/ three TD's in the win. Winnipeg is hardly any kind of defensive stalwart as in their lone road game to date, they gave up 40 points and that was against Saskatchewan. Lulay is no newcomer to this league either; he's won 40 games in his CFL career and was voted Most Outstanding Player back in 2011. I have to say that I was a bit shocked to find that the Bombers have covered the L5 meetings between these Western Division rivals. They'd even won four in a row - straight up - before a one-point win by the Leos last November. But the tides have turned and now B.C. is the better team - by far. Quite simply, it's time for some payback.
While B.C. soundly beat Hamilton last week, even overcoming four turnovers, Winnipeg was a little fortunate to beat Toronto as they were actually outgained in the contest (354-336). Meanwhile, B.C. outgained Hamilton 507-424. The Bombers clearly benefited last week from a +2 turnover margin. Don't look for that to happen again Friday as the Leos had only three TO's in the first three games before more than doubling that number last week. Also, despite giving up over 400 yds LW, the Leos defense has proven itself to be stout. They'd allowed just 31 pts total the previous two games. 10* British Columbia
|07-14-17||Calgary -4.5 v. Montreal||Top||23-30||Loss||-110||21 h 39 m||Show|
8* Calgary (7:00 ET): Calgary, who has been the CFL's best team over the past three seasons (despite winning only one Grey Cup), is off to yet another strong start here in 2017. They are w/o a loss (2-0-1) and have won B2B in impressive fashion after opening the campaign w/ a tie against Ottawa (Grey Cup rematch). At 34.3 PPG, they are - easily - the league's highest scoring team. Montreal is somewhat at the opposite end of the spectrum. Their games - on average - are the lowest scoring in the league right now at just 38.0 points per game and that's largely due to an offense that is averaging a league-low 17.3 PPG. While that number is likely to start going up, I feel the Als are severely outclassed here. Lay the short number.
Close games have generally been the rule this year in CFL, but the Stampeders are off an easy 29-10 win last week, on the road, over Winnipeg. They forced three turnovers and shut the Blue Bombers out in the second half. Something curious when examining past head to head matchups between these two is that the Stamps have failed to cover any of the past five meetings. They've actually lost three of them outright, including LY's lone visit to Molson Stadium, by a score of 17-8 as nine-point chalk. Considering the respective trajectories of the two franchises during this time, Montreal holding a 3-2 series edge makes little sense. But what it has done is create a ton of value on the road favorite here. One would have to go all the way back to 2013 to find the last time the Stamps were favored by fewer than five points in a game against the Als.
Montreal has yet to score more than 20 points in a game this season. Calgary's 29 pts last week were their fewest scored in any game to date this year. That right there should tell you what the Als are up against here. Montreal is just 3-11 ATS its L11 home games and keep in mind it's one win this year came by a single point over Saskatchewan, who was the worst team in the league last year. Calgary has covered 8 of its last 11 road games. I just can't understand why the line would be so low here as the Stamps are clearly the better team and probably due to cover against the Als anyway. 8* Calgary
|07-14-17||Calgary v. Montreal OVER 48.5||Top||23-30||Win||100||21 h 38 m||Show|
10* Over Stampeders/Alouettes (7:00 ET): Calgary, who has been the CFL's best team over the past three seasons (despite winning only one Grey Cup), is off to yet another strong start here in 2017. They are w/o a loss (2-0-1) and have won B2B in impressive fashion after opening the campaign w/ a tie against Ottawa (Grey Cup rematch). At 34.3 PPG, they are - easily - the league's highest scoring team. Montreal is somewhat at the opposite end of the spectrum. Their games - on average - are the lowest scoring in the league right now at just 38.0 points per game. That helps to explain this low total we have here (Als are 3-0 Under so far), but I believe we've reached a point where there's significant value in taking the Over. Also, these teams are probably "due" for a relatively high scoring game as the Under has cashed in the last six matchups. Take the Over.
Last year's two matchups were both low-scoring. The home team won each time, holding the visitor to just eight points! I would not look for a repeat of that here. Calgary has scored at least 29 pts in every game so far. Though they did just hold Winnipeg to only 10 points in a dominating win last week, note that they allowed 31 and 39 pts in the two games against the Redblacks to open the season. They also allowed 400+ yards both games. Something else to note is that the Over is 6-2 for the Stamps following an ATS win. I really liked what I saw from the receiving duo of Daniels and Jordan last week.
CFL games are averaging 52.9 points per game this year, almost an identical number to last year. So Montreal is way off the pace thus far and likely in store for what I call a "market correction." It should be noted that two weeks ago, the O/U line for their matchup vs. Edmonton was 55 pts. The defense has been impressive so far, but they haven't faced an offense quite like the Stamps yet. As for the offense, three straight games below 20 points is hard to do in this league, so if anything, they're just "due" here to put a season-high on the board. 10* Over Stampeders/Alouettes
|07-08-17||Hamilton +2 v. Saskatchewan||Top||20-37||Loss||-105||54 h 24 m||Show|
10* Hamilton (10:00 ET): For the second consecutive week, whatever homefield advantage Saskatchewan might hope to enjoy is mitigated by the fact they'll be facing a team off a bye. I played against the Rough Riders in this same spot last week and sure enough they fell to Winnipeg, 43-40 in overtime. Defenders will point out that the Riders held a 10-0 advantage after the first quarter, but they also trailed 34-23 entering the fourth. Being that it was the first ever regular season game played at the new Mosiac Stadium, that will be a tough loss to get over. Meanwhile, the Ti-Cats have had more than two full weeks to stew over an embarrassing 32-15 loss at Toronto in Week 1 where they were actually 3.5-pt favorites. That's the most lopsided single-game result of the CFL season to date and as a result, I think Hamilton is primed for a bounce back.
The Ti-Cats did not end 2016 well, dropping six of their final seven games w/ the lone win coming in OT (against eventual Grey Cup Champ Ottawa!). They also haven't had much luck at the betting window either, going just 1-8-1 ATS their L10 games. I say that latter record signals a market correction is forthcoming. Note that last year, they were favored against the Riders in both matchups and beat them 53-7 at home. They were 5.5-pt favorites here in Regina, although they did lose that game 20-18. But now that the market has shifted to them being an underdog, they are where the value lies.
Saskatchewan, as I said last week, is somewhat unaccustomed to the role of favorite. They were chalk all of three times last season, two of those coming in the first three games. After last week, they have now lost outright each of the last four times they have been favored. Going back to the start of the 2015 season, the Riders have been favored nine times and lost outright EIGHT of them! The last time they won and covered as chalk was September of '15. I'm 2-0 ATS in Saskatchewan games this season and plan on making it 3-0 ATS here. 10* Hamilton
|07-08-17||Toronto +4.5 v. Ottawa||Top||26-25||Win||100||51 h 15 m||Show|
10* Toronto (7:00 ET): Two full weeks of CFL action are in the books and once again close games have been the "rule" and not the exception. Six of the first eight games have been decided by four points or less. Interestingly enough, the two games that have not both involved Toronto. The Argos opened the year by thrashing Hamilton, 32-15, as 3.5-pt home dogs. I was fortunate enough to be on them there. Last week, however, they came out on the short end of the stick as this time they were blown out, 28-15 by B.C. (I was not on that game). Now they hit the road for the 1st time in 2017 and anticipating a close game, I'll again back them in this spot. The opponent is the defending Grey Cup Champion Ottawa, but the Redblacks have struggled in the defense of their title, opening 0-1-1.
At least Redblacks' backers have profited this year as the team is 2-0 ATS. The first two weeks were both rematches of LY's Grey Cup against Calgary. In Week 1, here at home, it was a 31-31 tie as the Redblacks blew a 14-point lead. The following week, in Calgary, their defense let them down in a 43-39 loss. While the Stampeders are arguably the class of the CFL, you have to be a little concerned over the Redblacks' defense, or rather lack of it, as they've allowed an average of 418 YPG so far. Compare that to Toronto, who has outgained their first two foes by 121 YPG. Granted, that's due to the one dominant performance against Hamilton, but I certainly believe the Argos are more than capable of keeping this one close, if not take the game outright.
The number of sacks, league-wide, continue to decline. But don't tell that to the Argos' defense, which leads the league w/ nine. No other team has more than five. On offense, QB Ricky Ray threw for 500+ yards in Week 1 before predictably coming down to Earth last week against B.C. I look for a bounce back here. What's key to keep in mind here is that Ottawa was a very fortunate Grey Cup winner in 2016. They won the East Division w/ a losing record (8-9-1) and negative point differential (-12) before getting hot in the playoffs. They are due for some major regression in 2017. They are just 2-7 ATS their L9 games as a favorite. Meanwhile, the Argos are due to reverse LY's poor finish at the betting window where they closed on an 0-7 ATS run. Take the points. 10* Toronto
|07-01-17||Winnipeg +1.5 v. Saskatchewan||Top||43-40||Win||100||14 h 39 m||Show|
8* Winnipeg (9:00 ET): Being that the CFL is a nine-team league, one team is off every week. In Week 1, that was the Blue Bombers, who are eager to build off LY's pretty decent 11-7 SU campaign that saw them qualify for the postseason. Their first opponent will be Saskatchewan, a team I played in Week 1. Catching a generous number, the Rough Riders stayed within the number throughout and eventually lost by just a single point at Montreal. The Riders did outgain the Als in that one, ever so slightly (395-332), but it still wasn't enough as a late FG miss sealed their fate. Here, there's been a change in who's favored, which is always a bit of an interesting proposition. To me, the value resides w/ the rested Blue Bombers.
The Riders will not be lacking for motivation in this, their home opener. Tonight should be special in Regina as the doors are officially opened at brand new Mosiac Stadium. But, something we see across all sports (especially NFL) is that often times, home teams tend to struggle in new stadiums. Might the "pomp and circumstance" tonight in Regina serve as a distraction for the home team? Remember that this was the worst team in the CFL last year at 5-13 straight up and they were outscored by 180 points over the course of the year. They were swept by Winnipeg and while they still did manage to go 2-0 ATS, such as SU/ATS split is no longer possible here now that they're the slight favorite Sat night. Note that they were 4.5-pt dogs for LY's annual visit from the Bombers.
Winnipeg has reason for optimism entering '17. They were 10-3 SU w/ Matt Nichols at the helm and the starting QB is more than ready to go for tonight's season opener. The Bombers also had the best road record in the league LY at 7-2 straight up. I give them the edge at the all-important "pivot" (QB) position w/ Nichols over the wildly inconsistent Kevin Glenn. Glenn did not throw an INT last week, but let's see if that's still the case after this week when he faces the defense that led the league in turnovers last year w/ 59. In its lone game off the bye last year w/ Nichols at the helm, the Bombers went into Montreal and won 32-18. 8* Winnipeg
|06-30-17||Montreal +8.5 v. Edmonton||Top||19-23||Win||100||59 h 37 m||Show|
10* Montreal (10:00 ET): Right off the bat, this seems like a heavy "tax" to lay in a battle of 1-0 teams. Granted, Montreal only won its game by a single point at home, 17-16, over a Saskatchewan side that was generally considered the weakest in the entire CFL last year. But it took a last second FG for Edmonton to prevail in B.C. in Week 1, 30-27, after blowing all of a double digit lead. Coming home is obviously big for the Eskimos and they have to feel confident here knowing that they've won and covered seven straight meetings w/ the Als. But back in their customary role of underdog, Montreal is offering a ton of value in Week 2 as I don't expect them to go down easy, if they even go down at all! Take the points.
The Alouettes were not favored many times in 2016 (just THREE times total and never by more than a field goal!). So I had no problem fading them as seven-point chalk in the opener last week. While that ticket cashed wire-to-wire, I have to admit that I came away impressed w/ the Als defense, which - for a second straight year - appears set to dominate. Last year, they allowed the fewest number of points per game in the Eastern Division and second fewest in the entire league (behind only Calgary, obviously). Allowing only 16 pts in the opener was certainly a good sign, especially when juxtaposed w/ the Edmonton defense which struggled last year and gave up 27 pts in Wk 1.
Close games have been the rule and not the exception so far this year in the CFL. Four of the five games have been decided by one score (the exception being my 10* Game of the Week for Week 1 - Toronto 32-15 over Hamilton). So that's another reason to want to grab the points here. Last year did see the Eskimos win both meetings by double digits, but I anticipate a far closer affair here. QB Darian Durant didn't post blowaway numbers in the Week 1 victory over the Rough Riders, but he did manage to complete 20 of 31 pass attempts and he wasn't sacked nor did he throw an interception. Expect the Als to be a gritty underdog in this one, keep the game low scoring and as was the case w/ their opponent last week, keep the game within the number throughout. 10* Montreal
|06-25-17||Hamilton v. Toronto +3.5||Top||15-32||Win||100||8 h 11 m||Show|
10* Toronto (4:00 ET): These two provincial (Ontario) rivals play the final game of the Week 1 CFL slate. Thus far, every game this season has been close w/ last night's 30-27 win by Edmonton at BC being the largest margin of victory by any team this year. That right there leads to automatic consideration of the underdog for this one, especially w/ the dog being at home. The Argos are off a very disappointing 2016 where they went both 5-13 straight up and against the spread. But they did manage to beat the rival Ti-Cats here at BMO Field, 33-21 as a 6.5-point dog. That win and cover happened to snap an 8-game ATS losing streak in the rivalry and I believe there's more to come and the rivalry starts to shift the Argos' way. Take the way.
As you might expect, a last place finish brought a lot of changes for Toronto this year. There's a new GM, Jim Popp, who for two decades was the architect over in Montreal. He brought over a familiar name to be head coach, that being Marc Trestman, who won a Grey Cup for the Als, not to mention coached in the NFL w/ the Chicago Bears. Trestman should work well w/ veteran QB Ricky Ray, who enters 2017 w/ the fourth most passing yards in the history of the CFL. Furthermore, the Argos were able to reach out to Montreal for another key addition, this one coming on the defensive side of the ball. Shockingly, the 2016 Most Outstanding Defensive Player in the East Division, Bear Woods, was released by the Als. Toronto wasted little time in picking him up and that should lead to immediate dividends on that side of the ball.
Hamilton has a veteran pivot (QB) of its own, Henry Burris, but it's the Ti-Cats' defense that I'm worried about entering the season. Two key members of what was supposed to be an outstanding secondary - Emanuel Davis and Abdul Kanneh - are both starting the year on the injured list. Look for the experience Ray to exploit those absences. Not only that, but three former Ti-Cats defenders now line up for the Argos. 10* Toronto
|06-24-17||Edmonton v. BC -3.5||Top||30-27||Loss||-120||21 h 50 m||Show|
8* British Columbia (10:00 ET): I've seen the Leos get some "Grey Cup love" this offseason. Were those prognostications to be anywhere near accurate, one would certainly have to think laying this short number. Last season was a big bounce back campaign in B.C. as HC Wally Bueno's return to the sidelines led to a big improvement in the team's win total from 7 (in 2015) to 12. The Lions' season officially ended in the Western Final w/ a loss to their rival, Calgary, by a lopsided score of 42-15. Of course, you don't need to ask B.C.'s Week 1 opponent, Edmonton, about how tough the Stampeders are. They were swept by the Stamps last season, part of a disappointing 10-8 SU regular season, after taking the Grey Cup home in 2015.
These Western Division rivals split LY's two meetings, the home team winning both times. They also have a history of close matchups w/ the last five meetings, again all won by the home team, decided by seven points or less (one in OT). But I've got reason to believe the Leos roll here in the season opener. The hype coming out of Western Canada certainly seems justified as QB Jonathon Jennings appears ready to break out. This will be his second year starting at the pivot position and he has possibly the best receiving duo in the league at his disposal, Emmanuel Arcenaux and Bryan Burnham, plus the team added Chris Williams via free agency. The Lions should have no problem scoring in 2017 and that should leave an Eskimos defense that regressed badly LY w/ a uneasy feeling. On their own defensive side of the ball, B.C. returns largely all of LY's top talent including a very talented secondary group.
Edmonton lost Derel Walker to the NFL and one of it's major FA signings this past offseason (LB Corey Greenwood) was lost to injury in training camp. This defense is simply nowhere near as stout as the group that brought home the Grey Cup in 2015. Greenwood was brought in to replace the already departed Deon Lacey. QB Mike Reilly admitted that the loss of his top receiver, Walker, will be tough. I expect the Esks to struggle in this one. 8* British Columbia
|06-22-17||Saskatchewan +7 v. Montreal||Top||16-17||Win||100||33 h 59 m||Show|
8* Saskatchewan (7:30 ET): Our 2017 CFL opener features two teams coming off losing campaigns in 2016. In fact, the Rough Riders finished a league-worst 5-13 straight up. Montreal wasn't much better (7-11 SU) and didn't make the playoffs either, losing a tiebreaker w/ Hamilton for the final spot. The Als did sweep the season series last year against the Riders, winning 41-3 here at home and 19-14 (as 6.5-pt dogs) on the road. But for a team that was outscored over the course of the season, this price range seems a bit "rich." Consider this; only TWICE last season were the Alouettes favored to win a game! Take the points in this Week 1 matchup.
Now, Saskatchewan is already dealing w/ some early season attrition as two receivers - Chad Owens and Rob Bagg - won't be suiting up here in Week 1. But that's alright. Naaman Roosevelt (1,000+ yards) and Ricky Collins Jr (48 catches last year) are still around. I've also seen some consternation over the fact the Riders only wrapped up their preseason slate five days ago in B.C. That, I feel, has only served to drive this line up much higher than it should be. The other big storyline here is that pivot (QB) Darian Durant is now suiting up for the Als opposed to the Rough Riders. Again, just another reason the line is too high.
On defence, the Riders will be led by Willie Jefferson, who is a strong contender to lead the CFL in sacks this season. Expect Jefferson to make life uncomfortable for former teammate and now opponent, Durant. Last season was the first since '12 that the Als swept the season series, so history is on the Rough Riders side here as it's been a LONG time since they dropped three in row to this particular opponent. The Riders also made a GREAT signing in the offseason, bringing in top offensive lineman Derek Dennis over from Calgary. Last season, Dennis was the top OL in the entire league. I see Montreal's D taking a step back this year. 8* Saskatchewan
|11-27-16||Ottawa +10.5 v. Calgary||Top||33-39||Win||100||9 h 55 m||Show|
10* Ottawa (6:00 ET): The Stampeders are the overwhelming favorites here, but it is the REDBLACKS that are in this game for a second consecutive season. Obviously, there is no denying that the Stamps should be favored as they were - by far - the best team in the league this year. They come into the Grey Cup sporting a 15-2-1 SU record and have outscored opponents by over 200 pts over the course of the season. For the sake of comparison, Ottawa has actually been OUTSCORED this season. Calgary just rolled B.C. in the Western Final, 42-15, and led that game 32-0 at halftime. But let's not discount what Ottawa did, upsetting Edmonton 35-23 as two-point dogs in spite of a -3 turnover margin. I'm taking the points here.
Since Ottawa returned to the league three years ago, these teams have met a total of six times. Calgary has four wins, all by double digits. But the other two games have seen Ottawa produce a win and a tie. The tie came earlier this year and while Calgary won the rematch in Alberta, 48-23, let's note the line. They were eight-point favorites at McMahon Stadium in September. Now they're laying more points at a neutral setting. For what it's worth, the Stamps two losses and tie all came away from home this year. With this game being played in Toronto, the REDBLACKS should "feel more at home" and have the edge in crowd support.
As always, we can use public perception to our benefit. The CFL certainly isn't the most "public" sport, but overwhelmingly, everyone is picking the Stampeders to win here. Because of that, we have an inflated line. Because they clinched the Western Division, Calgary has played only one meaningful game in the L7 weeks (last week). For 7.5 quarters, Ottawa played them really tough in the regular season, not just in the tie, but the rematch in Calgary was actually an eight-point game w/ just five minutes remaining. The Stamps scored two late TD's there for somewhat of a misleading final. Ottawa has the best passing attack in the league (6,000+ yards!) and QB Henry Burris didn't even play in either regular season matchup w/ Calgary. Meanwhile, the Redblacks defense held Jerome Messam to just 128 yards total in the two games. I look for this to be a close and exciting Grey Cup! 10* Ottawa
|09-05-16||Edmonton v. Calgary -6.5||Top||24-45||Win||100||15 h 42 m||Show|
8* Calgary (3:00 ET): The more things change, the more they stay the same. Calgary is yet again the best team in the CFL w/ a 7-1-1 record and +93 point differential. No other team in the league has outscored its opponents by more than 34 points this season. Since losing in Week 1 (by 2 at BC, I was on the right side of that one!), the Stampeders haven't tasted defeat since. They enter Mark's Labour Day Weekend on a six-game win streak and what's been most impressive is they're not just winning, but covering as well. The team is 7-1 ATS since dropping the opener and they've been the favorite in all but one of those games. Two wins over second place British Columbia and last week's 30-24 triumph over Hamilton have clearly established the Stamps as the team to beat.
Meanwhile, Edmonton has definitely taken a bit of a step back from LY's Grey Cup campaign. They're only 5-4 SU and have the worst ATS record in the league at 2-5-2 ATS. After leading the league in defense (19.6 PPG allowed) in last year's championship season, that unit has regressed all the way down to eighth (27.4 PPG allowed) so far in 2016. That's the easiest reason to cite for the struggles thus far, though it does appear they're righting the ship w/ three consecutive victories here in August. The Eskimos won but didn't cover last week against Saskatchewan as they were big 13.5-pt favorites (won 33-25). That victory also saw them lose starting RB Jon White to injury, potentially a major loss moving forward.
For those of you that are potentially "new" to the world of CFL betting, this provincial rivalry is probably the most fierce in the league. The Stampeders had beaten the Eskimos seven straight times before losing three in a row to them last season, including the Western Division Final. So this now becomes a big revenge spot for them at McMahon Stadium. Very interesting is the fact Calgary is a perfect 11-0 ATS its L11 games on Labour Day Weekend while Edmonton is 0-11 ATS! That's no coincidence as the rivals play every year on the holiday. The bottom line is that the Stamps are 37-9-1 (.787) when Bo Levi Mitchell starts at QB, unbeaten at home this year (4-0) and #1 in the league in defense (20.6 PPG). They've also allowed the fewest sacks and have the top turnover margin. Laying less than a touchdown in this spot, I like them to win and cover. 8* Calgary
|08-31-16||BC v. Toronto OVER 54||Top||16-13||Loss||-115||12 h 31 m||Show|
10* Over British Columbia/Toronto (7:30 ET): Back on August 19th, I played against B.C. and they got absolutely hammered at home by Calgary, 37-9. They responded from that embarrassing setback by going to Ottawa and picking up a 29-23 outright win as 2.5-pt pups. That win leaves the Leos 1.5 games back of Calgary in the Western Division. This week's opponent is Toronto, who is looking to bounce back from B2B embarrassing defeats here at home. It's not just that the Argos lost those games, it's that they lost them by a combined 40 points! When these teams met back in Week 3, it was a much different story for Toronto as they won 25-14. But I wouldn't expect anywhere near that kind of defensive performance here. Take the Over.
Scoring has been up this year in CFL and B.C. is third in the league at 29.3 points per game. Just think of where their scoring average would be were it not for the nine-point effort against Calgary or the 14-point effort vs. Toronto. The Argos are actually second to last in points allowed this season (27.5 PPG), so the defensive effort in the first meeting seems quite strange. B.C. actually gained nearly 400 yards total offense in that game, but was done in by four costly turnovers. In the four games between the losses to Toronto and Calgary, the Lions scored 40, 41, 38 and 45 points. They were basically right on their average last week, but that was against a better defense than the one they'll face here. Something else to consider about B.C. is the fact that despite making a league-high 34 trips inside the red zone, their offense is converting at only a 53% clip. They should be scoring more points per game.
The Argos have given up a total of 80 points the L2 games. That's not good. Last week saw Edmonton roll up an impressive 472 total yards of offense on them. While I don't see the defensive play getting any better this week, how could the play on the other side of the ball NOT improve? It was a season-low 245 total yards vs. the Eskimos w/ only 70 of that coming through the air. QB Ricky Ray is back under center and w/ a full compliment of receivers, I anticipate this group making massive improvement this week. 10* Over British Columbia/Toronto
|08-28-16||Hamilton v. Calgary OVER 54||Top||24-30||Push||0||54 h 25 m||Show|
10* Over Hamilton/Calgary (7:00 ET): Over its last three games (all wins), the Stampeders have given up 15 pts or less every time. But tonight they face a Hamilton team that just scored 53 points in its last game, an absolutely bludgeoning of the Rough Riders. What's interesting to note is that these are the two highest scoring teams in their respective divisions. Calgary leads the league at 31.0 points per game and has been above that scoring average in four of its last five games overall. They're at home tonight where they average 38.3 PPG. Hamilton leads the East w/ a 29.9 PPG scoring average. They too have been over that scoring average four of the last five games and obviously way above last week. I'm on the Over this week.
Over the last two weeks, there has been a dramatic increase in scoring league-wide in the CFL. Last week, the average points per game total per team was 30.3. Through the first three games this week, there has been at least 50 pts scored in every game. The key for Hamilton has been the return of QB Zach Collaros, who threw for five touchdown passes last week and five different Ti-Cats found the end zone. The offense gained over 500 yards. It was the third time in four weeks that the Over hit in one of their games. I just don't think that the linesmakers have made this number high enough. Three times in the last month, Hamilton has scored at least 37 points.
Calgary has been at 35 pts or above three times in the last four weeks. They are hosting a team that has gone 6-2 Over its last eight road games. The thing that jumps out at me however is the fact that the last seven meetings between these two have all stayed Under the total. That's a trend that's due to reverse itself in my opinion. I think that pretty soon we're going to start seeing much higher CFL totals. But until the linesmakers adjust, time to act accoringly. 10* Over Hamilton/Calgary
|08-19-16||Calgary +3 v. BC||Top||37-9||Win||100||62 h 17 m||Show|
10* Calgary (10:00 ET): Like most, I have these rated as the top two teams in the league coming into Week 9. Already, this will be the third matchup of the season between Calgary and British Columbia. I cashed the Leos in Wk 1 when, here at home, they upset the Stamps by a score of 20-18 as 2.5-pt dogs. I came back w/ the Stamps in the rematch in Week 6 and while they did exact revenge, they failed to cover, winning only 44-41 as 5.5-pt chalk. A big key there, which ended up superseeding the revenge angle, was the fact B.C. was off a bye. The rematch ended up going into OT after Calgary rallied back from 15 pts down at the start of the 4Q. For this rubber match, I'm sticking with the Stamps as the rest is equal and they are a much better value. Take the points.
So, the Stamps have gone from a 2.5 pt fave in British Columbia to a slight dog this time around. Yes, they lost that first meeting, but they led in the fourth quarter until a Lions punt return that ended up deciding the game (blocked three punts in the game). Though the Leos are off to the solid 5-2 start, it has not come w/o a fair share of close calls. There was a comeback from 13 pts down to beat Saskatchewan in Wk 4. Last week, they blew a 32-12 halftime lead and needed a late TD to escape Hamilton 45-38. That's twice in the last three weeks they've allowed at least 38 points. A real statistical oddity is that the Lions are 0-6 ATS the L6 years in Week 9. An additional note on the line is that this is the most points BC will be laying since they were beaten outright in Week 3 (here at home) by Toronto.
The non-cover against BC is Calgary's lone ATS loss in the L6 wks. They just beat Saskatchewan twice in the L2 wks, holding the Riders to just 25 pts total. Over the L3 years, this team is now 34-8-1 straight up, easily the league's best record during that time. Another key here is that Calgary is 5-1 vs. the Western Division this year while B.C. is just 2-1 in division matchups. (The West is the much tougher division). As alluded to above, the Calgary defense has been anchoring this team, allowing a league-low 21.7 points per game. This is just the second time the Stamps have been a dog this year and they covered the first (tied Ottawa). 10* Calgary
|08-13-16||Hamilton +3 v. BC||Top||38-45||Loss||-115||104 h 4 m||Show|
10* Hamilton (10:00 ET): Both teams here have gotten to enjoy more than a full week's rest coming into this Week 8 matchup, but I believe that the time off was more beneficial to the underdog Hamilton than it was to the favored Leos. I don't really believe in the concept of "momentum," but suffice to say B.C probably didn't need or want the eight days off after drilling Montreal on the road, 38-18 as a one-point choice. That was their third straight cover, all on the road, improving them to 5-1 at the betting window this year. Meanwhile, the Ti-Cats come in off an embarrassing 37-11 home defeat at the hands of Winnipeg where they were 5.5-pt favorites. They'll certainly be eager to bounce back in this spot & I'll take the points.
The big news for this week's game, from the Hamilton perspective, is that they'll have QB Zach Collaros back under center for the 1st time in 2016. Last September, he suffered an ACL tear and has been out ever since. That was a big blow to the franchise. Remember that last season saw Collaros right in the middle of MOP (Most Outstanding Player) discussion. With him in the lineup, the team has gone 16-9 SU the L2 years and made an appearance in the 2014 Grey Cup. Without him, they are just 6-11 SU (3-3 this year). Last year, scoring dropped by more than 14 PPG and the offense gained 62.5 fewer yards per game when Collaros wasn't in the lineup. His return, in my view, makes the Ti-Cats the favorite to win the East. Don't forget that Hamilton sports the second-ranked defense in the league right now, giving up just 25.2 points and 310 yards per game.
This is also a revenge spot for the Ti-Cats, who lost 28-3 at home to B.C. back in Week 2. That was the first of three games this year where Hamilton turned the ball over at least four times. Not surprisingly, those games also represent their three losses on the year. Road teams still are 17-10-1 SU this year in CFL and Hamilton comes in sporting a 3-1 mark away from Tim Horton's while B.C. has scored just 14 and 20 points in its two home games thus far. With their leader back, ample rest and revenge, I believe we have a live dog on our hands this week. 10* Hamilton
|08-06-16||Edmonton +4 v. Ottawa||Top||20-23||Win||100||106 h 39 m||Show|
10* Edmonton (7:00 ET): We're nearly through seven weeks of CFL play and there's only one team that has yet to cover a single time. That would be defending Grey Cup Champion Edmonton, who comes into this week's battle vs. Ottawa at 0-4-1 ATS. The Eskimos are only 2-3 straight up as well, so this team has clearly fallen short of expectations. The season got off to an auspicious start when they lost outright, on their own field, to Ottawa in a rematch of LY's Grey Cup. Saturday represents a chance at revenge for that 45-37 (as six-point favorites) loss. Looking at the two lines, I'd say the oddsmakers have overadjusted here as the REDBLACKS don't exactly come into this game in top form either (B2B losses). Take the points.
I'd say the most disappointing result to date for the Eskimos took place last week as they lost again at home, this time to Winnipeg, 30-23 as nine-point chalk. That game saw Edmonton fall into an early 11-0 hole and trail throughout as they allowed a backup pivot (QB) and former teammate, Mike Nicholls, to complete 78 percent of his pass attempts for over 300 yards. Clearly, something is wrong with this defense, which led the league in points allowed last year. There's been a stunning 13.2 PPG increase from 2015, but the season is still young and there's time to turn this around. Though Ottawa is actually the top offensive team in the league right now, I'd consider that shocking as they've already had to employ four different quarterbacks in just five games.
I think it's important to note that Ottawa's Week 1 win in Edmonton came in overtime, which only came about after they made a 55-yard field goal w/ no time left in regulation. It was their first win over the Eskimos since returning to the league in 2014. This will be the first time they are favored. They have lost outright as faves each of the L2 weeks, first to Saskatchewan and then Toronto, and have not won at home this season (0-1-1). Edmonton has pretty impressive offense in its own right w/ QB Mike Reilly currently on pace to break the franchise record for passing yards in a season. He leads the league in that category and has now thrown for 300+ yards in eight consecutive contests dating back to last year. If he does so again here, he would tie a CFL record. 10* Edmonton
|07-31-16||Toronto v. Ottawa UNDER 49||Top||23-20||Win||100||115 h 38 m||Show|
10* Under Argos/REDBLACKS (7:30 ET): East Division leading Ottawa ranks right near the top of the league in points per game (31.6) and overall only two teams (Edmonton, Saskatchewan) see more total points per game scored in their contests. They've alternated Overs and Unders through their first five games with last week, a 30-29 loss to Saskatchewan, being an Over. That game saw them lose on a FG in the final 70 seconds, so you know they'll be motivated here and they have a definite advantage over their opponents as in three added days of rest. But Toronto is near the top of the league in fewest points allowed (24.0 PPG). They are also 9-2 Under their L11 games overall, including the first meeting this season w/ the Redblacks. Take the Under here.
That first Toronto-Ottawa meeting saw a higher total than this one. So an Over player might see a little value here especially after the Redblacks defense just allowed a first time starter in Saskatchewan's Mitchell Gale to throw for 354 yards last week. Now for a second straight week, they face another first time starter. That would be Logan Kilgore, who has big shoes to fill w/ Ricky Ray being out for the next 3-6 weeks with a sprained MCL. Yes, I had the Argos last week (Monday) as they beat Montreal 30-17, but if you had a chance to check out the analysis, perhaps you'll recall the downward trajectory I referenced in regards to Scott Milanovich's offenses over the L4 years. They've dropped from a third place ranking down to sixth last season. This year's average of 25.0 PPG has them in seventh.
Ottawa also now finds itself in the midst of a quarterback dilemma. Last week saw the league's top rated passer, Trevor Harris, go down w/ a leg injury on the second drive and not return. He's out here. Now you might say there's nothing to worry about given the Redblacks still ended up scoring 29 pts last week w/ backup Brock Jensen completing 20 of 29 passes for 271 yards. But now it's back to Henry Burris, the Week 1 starter who got hurt himself. Despite Ottawa's offensive prowess, I expect Burris to be a bit rusty in this one. Note that the Under is 9-4 when the Redblacks are off an ATS loss. That first meeting between these teams also saw a punt return for a touchdown and an INT set Toronto up inside the Ottawa 10-yd line. Take those plays away and you have a much lower scoring game. 10* Under Argos/REDBLACKS
|07-29-16||BC v. Calgary -5||Top||41-44||Loss||-106||93 h 53 m||Show|
10* Calgary (10:00 ET): Back in Week 1, I took BC when they upset the Stamps, 20-18 as 2.5-pt home dogs. That was one of the few wins by a home team in the first few weeks of the season. It also required a come from behind effort from the Leos, who trailed 17-12 entering the final quarter. They actually never led until a 4Q punt return, which proved to be the difference in the game. How ironic that it was a punt return for a TD that won the game for BC as earlier in the game Calgary had actually blocked three punts (but failed to take advantage). One of the three resulted in a first and goal from the one, but the Stampeders failed to score. Clearly, this is a big revenge game as far as Calgary is concerned and I think they win big.
Since losing in Week 1, the Stamps have not tasted defeat again. I cashed my 10* CFL Game of the Year on them in Week 2 when they destroyed Winnipeg, 36-22. Following that, they tied Ottawa (on the road) 26-26, but then recouped off a bye to beat up the Bombers again, this time on the road, 33-18 as five-point chalk. Despite a 2-1-1 mark, I would still consider this perhaps the best team in the league. Keep in mind that this is just their second home game of the season and not only have they covered six of their last seven games overall here at McMahon Stadium, but they are also 6-1 ATS the L7 times hosting BC. I can't say enough about the job done by pivot (QB) Bo Levi Mitchell, who has now thrown a TD pass in 19 consecutive games and is 30-7-1 overall as a starter.
Yes, I'm fully aware that BC is off a bye here. Like Calgary, through the years we've seen the Leos do quite well with the added week of rest. But not here. Note that while they did win their last game by 13 pts, they actually trailed Saskatchewan by 13 earlier in the game. It was their largest come from behind victory in eight seasons. Going back to last season, this team is just 2-6 ATS following a SU win. The win over the Riders also came at a price as two starters were lost to injury. Three outright wins thus far is impressive, but the bottom line is that Calgary is rarely asked to lay this few points at home. The revenge angle absolutely matters here and I'll lay the points. 10* Calgary
|07-25-16||Montreal v. Toronto -6.5||Top||17-30||Win||100||154 h 13 m||Show|
10* Toronto (7:30 ET): Both of these Eastern Division rivals will have been off for at least 10 days when they take the field Monday night at BMO Field. Both are also coming off humbling defeats. Toronto's came here at home, 30-20 against Ottawa, leaving them 2-2 on the young season. Montreal, meanwhile, got crushed 31-7 by Hamilton, which leaves them at 1-2. Interestingly enough, the Argonauts have now lost both home games, but are 2-0 on the road. The Alouettes have lost both of their home games, but are 1-0 on the road. These unusual dichotomies will come to an end here, however, as I'll call for the Argos to win big. Lay the points.
Of course, home teams across the Great White North have struggled this season. Incredibly, they are just 4-13-1 straight up in all games. That's pretty remarkable. Eventually though, the tide will turn. We saw Saskatchewan win at home on Friday, for starters. Now it's Toronto's turn. Note that they did lead Ottawa 13-0 here before the wheels came off (scored 30-7 the rest of the way). Offensively, the Argos are having their issues, but right now Montreal has it much worse as the Als come in averaging just 14.0 points per game and have scored a total of 20 the last two games. These home struggles for Toronto and the rest of the league just seem odd. One thing is for certain; the Argos remember a 34-2 loss here to the Als last season.
I mentioned Toronto's offense earlier and it is struggling. They are last in the league in YPG, which is quite uncharacteristic for a Scott Milanovich coached team. Over the L4 years, his offenses have ranked third, fourth, fourth and sixth respectively. While that's a downward trajectory, this group has nowhere to go but up right now. One good thing is they haven't turned the ball over in three weeks. The defense, I though, did it's job vs. the REDBLACKS last week. That game was basically decided on a punt return for touchdown. Yes, Kevin Glenn returns at pivot (QB) this week for the Als, but this team is just not right presently as multiple injuries have hurt them, literally and figuratively. 10* Toronto
|07-08-16||Saskatchewan +11.5 v. Edmonton||Top||36-39||Win||100||104 h 17 m||Show|
10* Saskatchewan (10:00 ET): These are the two teams that have already had bye weeks. Both are also 0-1. Edmonton, the defending Grey Cup champion, has had two weeks to prepare here after suffering an opening week loss to Ottawa at home. That was a Grey Cup rematch and saw the Eskimos lose 45-37 (as 6-pt favorites) in overtime while getting outgained 569-433. Had it not been for a +3 turnover margin, Edmonton likely doesn't even get into OT. Meanwhile, Saskatchewan was the last team to start its season and also fell at home, 30-17 to Toronto, a game where I won w/ the Under. Despite losing outright, the Rough Riders actually outgained the Argos, 385-245. I'm taking the points here.
If you've followed the CFL at all, then you know the first two weeks have seen underdogs "clean up." All four won outright in Week 1. A favorite finally covered in the final game of Week 2 (Calgary over Winnipeg), which as you know was my 10* Game of the Year. This line opened as the biggest line of the young CFL season to date. It's a clear reaction to Edmonton losing their first game at home and that Saskatchewan finished 2015 w/ the worst record in the league (3-15). But I expect the Rough Riders to keep this one close throughout. Note that they have lost seven of the past nine meetings with the Eskimos dating back to '13. But six of those games have been decided by eight points or less.
Playing in a new offense and coming off an ACL injury which robbed him of his 2015 season, Saskatchewan pivot (QB) Darian Durant really impressed me last week. He completed 31 of 48 pass attempts for 308 yards. He was not the reason the Riders lost the game; it was pretty much the two non-offensive TD's Toronto scored. Remember that Edmonton's defense just gave up nearly 600 yards of offense in its first game on a frightening 9.2 yards per play. So, I expect Saskatchewan to score more this week than they did last. Once again, taking the points is the way to go "North of the Border." 10* Saskatchewan
|07-01-16||Winnipeg v. Calgary -8.5||Top||22-36||Win||100||81 h 8 m||Show|
10* Calgary (10:00 ET): In case you didn't know, all four favorites lost outright in CFL Week 1. I went against three of them and two will play here. Winnipeg lost first as the Bombers went down courtesy of Montreal, 22-14 as 2.5-pt home chalk. We knew the Als defense might be very good, but that was a downright pitiful showing from the Blue Bombers. As for Calgary, they played the final game of the weekend and suffered what was likely the most crushing loss, 20-18 at B.C. They should be quite irritated as a a result and I anticipate them dominating a division foe that they have owned for some time now. Going back to the final meeting of the 2011 season, the Stamps have taken 9 of the previous 10 meetings, six of them by double digits. Lay the points here w/ what will be an angry favorite out for retribution.
Calgary's offense was not getting the job done last week, but certainly had chances with THREE blocked punts in the first half. But it was another key special teams play, a fourth quarter punt return for touchdown by B.C. that swung the game. I think that it's critical to remember the Stampeders were one of the two best teams in the league a year ago w/ a 14-4 SU regular season. At home, they were a dominant 9-1 straight up with an average margin of victory of 12.1 points per game. Winnipeg was the lowest scoring team in the league on the road at just 21.1 PPG. It's important to note that Calgary led last week for the entirety of the first three quarters and did not relinquish the lead until allowing the punt return. It's a game they feel they "should have had" and now it's time to take things out on a lesser opponent.
Meanwhile things go from "bad to worse" for the Bombers here as they'll be w/o WR Weston Dressler. While Dressler was lost early in Week 1, he had already made three pretty big catches by that point and the offense clearly suffered without his services. Considering the kind of offensive line issues that are present here and what Montreal was able to do last week, I expect the Stamps' defensive line to have a field day. Their offense - led by QB Bo Levi Mitchell and RB Jerome Messam - should put up big numbers here as well. 10* Calgary
|06-30-16||Toronto v. Saskatchewan UNDER 51.5||Top||30-17||Win||100||57 h 8 m||Show|
10* Under Argos/Riders (10:00 ET): Host Saskatchewan was the one team that had Week 1 off. One thing is for certain and that's it didn't pay to be a favorite last week in the CFL - literally - as all four chalk teams lost their respective games outright! Toronto was one of them, in their first ever game in their brand new home stadium. Now they travel across the country to face a rested foe that's likely been "chomping at the bit." That foe is also eager to erase the memory of a disastrous 2015 campaign where it went only 3-15 straight up and surrendered a league-high 31.3 points per game. Defensively, the Rough Riders should be better in 2016 and I think that'll show in their season opener as I'm on the Under here.
Toronto didn't just lose, they lost badly last week. The final score read: Hamilton 42, Toronto 20. Something to keep in mind is that the Ti-Cats were w/o one of their stars on defense, Ted Laurent. The fact the Argos could then muster only 261 total yards is not a good sign, especially now that they take their act out on the road for the first time. Aside from a 14-point third quarter, the Argos really couldn't do much against Hamilton. Note that one of their 3Q TD's was set up by a fumble return that gave them a very short field to work with. They also allowed a defensive touchdown, so really if you take those two plays away the game is a lot lower scoring.
For Saskatchewan, this will be the first game in over a year for pivot (QB) Darian Durant. I'd expect him to be a bit rusty and when you throw in the fact that this is the Rough Riders' first game, a slow start should take place offensively. This is also a completely remade roster under 1st year HC Chris Jones and that too can contribute to some early season "growing pains." I mentioned earlier that this was the worst defensive team in the league last year. Well, that's one area where I certainly project improvement. The Over was 12-6 in Riders' games a season ago including 2-0 in games vs. Toronto. Both had lower totals than this game however, and the one played here in Mosaic Stadium went to double OT where an extra 26 points were scored after regulation. We're due for an Under here. 10* Under Argos/Riders
|06-25-16||Calgary v. BC +3.5||Top||18-20||Win||100||19 h 29 m||Show|
10* British Columbia (10:00 ET): So far, home teams are 0-2 SU/ATS this CFL season, but here we have our lone home dog of the week, British Columbia, who is catching points against Calgary in a renewal of a long-standing Western Division rivalry. It's a rivalry that the Stampeders have really owned going back to the end of 2014 w/ five consecutive wins and covers. But I feel tonight's season opener marks a breakthrough for the Leos, who will be welcoming back Wally Buono to the sidelines after a four-year sabbatical. Take the points.
Three of Calgary's four regular season losses last year came on the road. Them being favored here in B.C. is somewhat foreign territory. In recent years, there have been a couple times where the line closed as a pick 'em, but one would have to go back a very long time to find the last time the Stamps were actually favored to win a game here at B.C. Place. It's a bit of a new era in Calgary with RB Jon Cornish retiring and John Hufnagel turning over the headset to Dave Dickenson, who makes his head coaching debut. The Stamps also lost long-time DC Rich Stubler. Do not be surprised if this perennial power stumbles a bit in 2016, at least early on in the season.
The return of Buono, one of four head coaching changes in the West Division alone, should bring back fond memories for Lions fans as the last year he coached (2011), the team ended up winning the Grey Cup. Of course, it's not as if Buono lost familiarity with the organization as he'd been serving as GM for the last four seasons. I feel not enough people are talking about the Leos right now as they are coming off a 7-11 SU season, but they're certainly undervalued in this revenge spot as they will take the field w/ a 35-9 playoff loss and 31-21 preseason loss fresh in their minds. 10* British Columbia
|06-24-16||Montreal +2.5 v. Winnipeg||Top||22-14||Win||100||12 h 46 m||Show|
|06-23-16||Hamilton +5 v. Toronto||Top||42-20||Win||100||13 h 58 m||Show|
10* Hamilton (7:30 ET): Provincial rivals open this CFL campaign w/ the Argos hosting the Ti-Cats. Both teams went 10-8 last year and thus met in the first round of the playoffs w/ Hamilton coming out on top (at home) 25-22. Toronto supporters will want to focus on the pivot (QB) situation here as well as the revenge angle, but I don't think we should be selling Ti-Cats QB Jeremiah Masoli short just yet. All things considered, the value is on the dog in this one.
Masoli looked great in the 2H vs. Ottawa in LY's Eastern Final and I'm confident he will step in and play well for Hamilton under starter Zach Collaros returns. He looked good in both preseason games, completing 15 of 24 passes for 179 yards. CJ Gable is probably the league's best dual-threat running back. Defensively, this team gave up the fewest points in the East Division last season and was #3 overall in the league. Perhaps most important of all though is that they took all four matchups w/ Toronto last season. The three regular season wins all came by eight points or greater.
With a new outdoor stadium and a healthy Ricky Ray, there is plenty of optimism surrounding the Toronto team right now. But there are still big-time question marks defensively and I feel the Ti-Cats will be able to score enough points here to keep it interesting, if not pull off an outright victory. There is going to be a lot of pressure on the Boatmen here. Not only did Hamilton sweep last year's season series, but they have covered 9 of the previous 10 meetings. 10* Hamilton