|Date||Match Up||Rating||Score||Result||Profit||Lead Time||Analysis|
|10-09-23||Ottawa +6.5 v. Montreal||3-29||Loss||-110||3 h 32 m||Show|
In a rematch of last week's game at Ottawa, I'm grabbing the points with the revenge-minded Redblacks. Prior to Montreal's win last week, the previous four meetings (and six of the previous seven) between these teams had each been decided by 7 points or less. Ottawa has played very well here the past few years. In fact, they're 11-1 ATS their last 12 visits here. They don't want to get swept in the season seres and will be fighting with everything they've got. Grab the points. *Bone-Crusher
|10-06-23||Edmonton Elks +8.5 v. Toronto||Top||12-35||Loss||-110||11 h 6 m||Show|
The record isn't there but Edmonton has played much better than many people realize. Since their tough start, the Elks have won 4 of their last 7 games, a streak which coincides with Tre Ford taking over at QB. The 3 losses all came by single digits. Their last 3 road games have resulted in 2 outright wins and a 4-point loss. QB Ford, who ranks among the CFL leaders in terms of passing accuracy (70.1%), QB rating (108.7) and rushing yards (514), has been a big difference. He'll face a Toronto team with a banged-up secondary. The Elks are coming off a bye and inspired to try and make a late playoff push. They've won their last two visits to Toronto. Off a loss to Winnipeg and having already locked up top spot in the East, the Argos could easily look past the Elks. Edmonton will come to play. Grab the points! *CFL GOY
|08-26-23||Hamilton v. BC -10||Top||30-13||Loss||-110||42 h 6 m||Show|
The Big Cats are playing Saturday in Vancouver but only one of them really has any claws. The Lions almost made a comeback in week 10 vs. the Riders while the Ti-Cats offered up the first win of the season for the lowly Elks. The Lions are 2-0 after a straight up loss this season and have outscored their opponents 72-28 in those two games. Both of those games were in Vancouver.
In their last 2 games the Ti-Cats have averaged 210 yds passing/game while the Lions have averaged 388 yds passing/game. 3rd string QB Powell threw a TD pass his first game in relief back on July 13th, but since then he has started 3 games and thrown 3 INTs and no more TD passes.
There are also some stark contrasts in team stats between the two squads. The Lions are 3rd in the CFL in avg points/game while the Ti-Cats are 9th in avg points against/game. The Lions are 2nd in net offence/game while the Ti-Cats are 8th in opposition net offence/game. The Lions are 1st in avg passing yds/game while the Ti-Cats are 7th in opposition passing yds/game. I could go on how high the Lions’ defence is in key stats and how low the Ti-Cats’ offence is in the related category, but I won’t. You get it. This is a mismatch and you should clearly lay the points and go with the Lions.
|08-18-23||Winnipeg -4 v. Calgary||Top||19-18||Loss||-110||20 h 20 m||Show|
The Stamps are running out of runway here to salvage their season. They need to get back on track but are in the middle of a string of games against the Lions, Argos and Bombers; the elite of the CFL. It isn’t going to happen this week. QB Maier is just too inconsistent. His last loss to the Bombers he only got 122 yards passing. In 4 of his last 9 games he has less than 170 yards passing. That doesn’t come close to cutting it in the pass happy CFL. He leads the CFL in INTs thrown and has the lowest passer efficiency rating among qualified QBs at 78.7. This is bad news against a Bombers’ “D” that has the 2nd best opponents’ pass efficiency rating (77.9) and opponents’ avg yards/pass (7.4).
On the other side of the ball the Bombers lead the CFL in passing yards and are 2nd in rushing yards. Calgary’s “D” is in the bottom half of the CFL in both for opponents rushing and passing categories.
The Bombers are 5-1 in their last 6 after an ATS loss while the Stamps are 1-5 in their last 6 ATS vs. the West. The spread is less because Brown will start in place of Collaros but Brown has too many weapons at his disposal. Lay the points and take the Bombers.
|08-17-23||Edmonton Elks v. Hamilton -5||Top||24-10||Loss||-110||18 h 37 m||Show|
I’m not going to make the mistake I made after the Bombers’ last bye week and their subsequent annihilation of the Lions, nor the scare the Elks, off their bye week, threw into the Bombers. The Ti-Cats are coming off a bye week and with a new OC in successful CFL coach Milanovich having two weeks to prepare, the Elks will be in trouble. It is also instructive to note that the Ti-Cats are 10-1 ATS in their last 11 when coming off a bye week and the Elks are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 vs. the Ti-Cats.
It won’t help that the Elks will be without their leader on defence, DB Purifoy, as well as starting DE Brown.
Both teams are at or near the bottom of the league in most important offensive and defensive stats so we aren’t expecting a Picasso here but should see two rejuvenated offenses as the Elks will go into their second game with their new OC, Jackson, as well. Both teams will not start the QB they started the season with. Lay the points and go with the Ti-Cats coming off their bye week.
|08-11-23||Saskatchewan v. Montreal -4.5||Top||12-41||Win||100||18 h 46 m||Show|
The Roughriders have a short turnaround and have to travel for this one. With an inexperienced QB, a banged up D-line, O-line and WR corps this will be difficult for the Riders to be prepared for. It is also important to note that teams off only 4 days rest this season are 2-7 straight up and ATS. The Riders are also 0-6 ATS in their last 6 against teams with a winning record.
Other things are more even as they are side by side in most team defensive categories in the CFL team stats rankings except for opposition offensive TDs, 1st downs allowed and avg. first down yards allowed, where the Als are 1st or 2nd and the Riders are 4th or 6th. It is hard to compare offensive team stats as most of the Riders’ were achieved under the auspices of injured first string QB Harris and QB Fajardo is a game time decision for the Als.
Although the Als are 2nd to last in terms of sacks allowed they have only allowed 3 in their last two outings. Last week the Als also had four OLs ranked in the top ten for performance against the pass rush by PFF analysis. The Als are also last in sacks made but the addition of last year’s outstanding western defensive player DL Lemon two games ago started to pay dividends last week as he made 2 sacks, an INT and was the 4th rated DL by PFF analysis.
Taking this all together makes this a fine play to lay the points and go with the Als.
|08-10-23||Winnipeg -12 v. Edmonton Elks||Top||38-29||Loss||-110||24 h 15 m||Show|
These are two teams from different planets. Bombers are coming off a thrashing of the Lions while the Elks were shutout by the Lions the week before their bye. The Bombers are 6-2 while the Elks are 0-8 and on a 21-game home losing streak. It makes for a wild money line and lots of points for the spread lines.
The Bombers are first in seven offensive categories while the Elks are last in 5 different defensive categories. There is no need to discuss the Elks’ sorry offensive stats rankings. They are starting 3rd string QB, Canadian Ford, hoping to jump start an offense coming off its second shutout of the season. Given that the Bombers are 1st in sacks made and the Elks are 6th in sacks allowed it could be a long night for Ford.
Taking a close look at recent point spread history for these teams gives credence to the expectation of the Bombers to lay the points as high as they will be. The Bombers are 5-3 ATS in their L8 and 6-2 ATS in their last 8 vs. the Elks. In their last 3 vs. the Elks they have won by at least 14 points. The Elks, having lost 21 in a row at home are 3-18 ATS in that stretch, are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 this season and 0-4 ATS after a bye week. None of this bodes well for the Elks so it is clear we should lay the points and take the Bombers on this one.
|08-06-23||Ottawa v. Saskatchewan +2.5||Top||24-26||Win||100||41 h 27 m||Show|
The CFL has slowly begun to figure RedBlacks’ new sensation, QB Crumb, out. It already began two weeks ago vs. the Stamps as they put an LB in place to “spy him.” They didn’t quite get it down pat, but last week the TiCats did as they put pressure on him and suffocated him in the pocket. He ran as many times as he completed passes. That is not a way to succeed in the CFL. The RedBlacks have five receivers either out or questionable with injuries. That won’t make it any easier for Crumb.
The Roughriders held both the Lions’ and the Argos’ offences in check over the last two weeks and should have an easier time of it vs. the RedBlacks.
This is backup QB Fine’s 3rd start in a row. He should be starting to feel more comfortable and his solid numbers over the past two weeks should translate into points. Take the points and the Riders for the win.
|08-05-23||Montreal -2.5 v. Hamilton||Top||27-14||Win||100||21 h 57 m||Show|
With the Argos running away with the East title, second place is still up for grabs. By winning this, the Als could put the TiCats to bed and make it between the Als and the RedBlacks. Given that star offseason signing QB Mitchell is out again long term and Hamilton is down to their 3rd string QB this should be it. The Als won handily, 38-12, in the first meeting between these two and would take the season series with a win Saturday.
QB Fajardo has been outstanding after a down year last season and is 4th in pass efficiency, 3rd in yds/pass and 1st with the lowest interception rate. On top of that the Als have the highest graded O-line according to PFF. 3rd stringer Powell for the TiCats has the lowest avg. passing depth in the league so he won’t be able to threaten the Al’s defense. Powell has come in to lead an offense that sports the 2nd worst turnover ratio, INTs thrown and penalty rate. And to top it off Hamilton’s last two starting LTs are hurt, which will be dangerous for the backside outside rush.
The other problem for the TiCats is their “D” has been less than stellar. They had a solid outing against a mediocre offense in the RedBlacks but are worst in the league in points allowed, opposition TDs, avg. 1st down plays against and 2nd worst in avg. rush yds against, number of opposition 1st downs, opposition pass efficiency allowed, 30+ yard plays allowed, and opposition yards/play. Time to lay the points and go with the Als.
|08-04-23||Toronto -8 v. Calgary||Top||7-20||Loss||-110||44 h 48 m||Show|
Eventually the Argos undefeated string will end but not this week. They are 6-0 straight up and ATS. Their offence sputtered a bit last week but between their top notch “D” and their special teams they still put up over 30 points and kept the RoughRiders out of the end zone until garbage time. The Stamps only pulled off field goals last weekend vs. the Als.
The Stamps are coming off only 4 days rest and their chaotic offense under QB Maier is too mistake prone for the Argos with their league leading +16 turnover ratio, not to take advantage of. Maier has thrown 11 INTs while the Argos have made 16 INTs. The Stamps rush game averages only 85 yds/game (7th in the league) and only 51 yds/game for the last 3 games while the Argos only allow 63 yds/game (2nd in the league). This should make it even tougher for the Stamps pass game.
The Stamps do not match up well with the Argos in so many ways and will not be able to make up the spread.
|07-29-23||BC -7 v. Edmonton Elks||Top||27-0||Win||100||19 h 22 m||Show|
The sad sack Elks are in tough. This won’t be the night they win their first in 20 games at home or when they cover the spread. The Lions are just too good.
The Lions’ “D” is first in the CFL in points allowed and net offence allowed. The Elks’ offence is last in points scored and net offence. The Lions’ “D” is second in sacks while the Elks offence has allowed the 3rd most sacks in the league. QB Cornelius for the Elks has the worst pass efficiency rating (for qualified QBs) in the league and the Lions have the best pass defence in the league. The Elks have given up the most turnovers, most interceptions and have the worst turnover ratio (-6).
Have you heard enough yet? The Elks allow 144 yds/game rushing (worst in the CFL) and the Lions get their star RB Mizzell, back in the lineup.
And just for a clincher the Lions are 4-0-1 ATS in their last 5 while the Elks are 2-5 ATS in their last 7.
The Elks are in big trouble. They were shutout last game against the Lions. Saturday will not be enough of an improvement to stop the Lions. Pick the Lions and lay the points.
|07-29-23||Saskatchewan +11 v. Toronto||Top||13-31||Loss||-110||39 h 44 m||Show|
The Argonauts have been a juggernaut but not as heavy a favorite as the books are offering. They will be missing a couple of receivers and DL Costigan. Modest losses to say the least. What isn’t accounted for is the return of at least 2 and maybe 3 receivers to the Riders lineup. The Riders will also get starting center Godber back to stabilize their problematic O-line in front of 2nd string QB Fine who will have had a week of reps, film and confidence building after a tough outing against the vaunted BC Lions defence. With Godber back the rush game must improve some which in turn will improve the pass game.
On defence the Riders get stud DL Lanier back to add to a pass rush that was successful vs. the Lions last week. The Riders also signed all-star and INT leader in 2021, Washington. Although he won’t start he should get a chance to make a difference
When comparing the two squads, some key areas are very close. In opposition net offence allowed, the Riders are 3rd and the Argos are 4th and in first downs allowed those positions are reversed. In points allowed the Riders allow 24.5/game while the Argos allow 22.2. In passing “D” the Argos are 8th which should allow a little more success for QB Fine. When all is said and done, expect the Riders to lose the game but to cover the spread.
|07-28-23||Hamilton v. Ottawa -3.5||Top||16-12||Loss||-108||43 h 26 m||Show|
It looks like QB Mitchell will be back for the TiCats this week. It really isn’t any reason to be excited as he has some daunting stats to take note of. He didn’t do well for the Stamps last season and lost his place to Maier. But this season his rough ways continued with a 58% completion rate, 53.3 passer efficiency rating and 4 INT vs. 1 TD pass to start out with before he was hurt. He is returning to play against the best “D” in the league for avg. rushing gain against, 2nd best rush yards against/game and 3rd best in first downs allowed. His own offence had a very weak run game against the Stamps last week with only 38 yards total on the ground. It could even be worse this week. DB Dandridge for the RedBlacks has the second most INTs in the league. He along with the rest of the Red Blacks “D” will be looking to feast on an O-line that has to pass block all game long and adding to their 4th highest sack total in the league at Mitchell’s expense.
On the other side of the ball Crumb will have even more reps in practice as starting QB to fine tune his game against a Hamilton “D”
that has allowed the most points against, TDs and yards/play in the CFL. They are also 2nd to last in first downs allowed. Crumb will also have little to fear against a defence with the 2nd least INTs and least turnovers caused. With the Red Blacks top rated run game (that includes Crumb himself), Crumb will have plenty of options and time for his pass game. Clearly you should lay the points and take Ottawa for this one.
|07-22-23||Saskatchewan v. BC -10||Top||9-19||Push||0||17 h 49 m||Show|
The Riders have devoted fans across the country. No one wants to rain on their enthusiasm. Sorry Riders fans, this doesn’t look good. You are going to have to pick the Lions on this one even when your boys are given maybe double digit points.
It starts with injuries. QB Harris is out for the season. Starting center Godber is out and maybe LT Council. The Riders O-line has struggled immensely giving up 4 sacks/game (7 last week) against a Lions’ pass rush that has the 2nd most sacks in the league. The Riders are last in avg. rushing gain on 1st down. The Lions’ “D” allows the 2nd least avg. yards rushing on 1st down. QB Fine is starting his first game. It could get ugly for pass protection. And even if he has some time occasionally, the Lions’ “D” is 1st or 2nd in almost every category in the league on pass defense.
On the other side of the ball the Riders will be missing MLB Dean, DL Lanier and at least two starting DBs. Their “D” has been solid this year but won’t be able to get off the field with all the 2 and outs the Rider “O” will serve up. And the Lions’ run game is rounding into form. It will allow their very solid O-line to set up solid pass protection for QB Adams to find his bevy of star receivers (Whitehead, Rhymes, Hatcher and now Hollins) and pick apart the hurting Rider “D”. To add insult to injury the Lions are coming off a bye week (teams are 6-1 this season after a by week) and are healthy. They are 5-0 ATS in their L5 at home and 7-3 ATS in their L10 after a bye. So, Riders fans, hold your nose, lay the points and take the Lions. Everyone else, just leave your nose out of it.
|07-15-23||Winnipeg -9.5 v. Ottawa||Top||28-31||Loss||-110||16 h 33 m||Show|
The points offered in the Saturday game between the Bombers and the RedBlacks are the largest for a Bombers’ game since October 2022 when they were playing the hapless Elks. It seems like a lot until you look at the state of the RedBlacks’ offence. They are down to their 4th string QB who has never started a CFL game. In relief last week he threw 2 INTs on a team that already leads the CFL with 8 INTs given up. He is up against a Bomber D-line that is 2nd in the CFL in sacks and has the 2nd best rushing defence in the league. Given that the RedBlacks depend on their running game (3rd best in the CFL), all the Bombers need to do is fill the box to stuff the run and sit back while their D-line harries new QB Crumb and feast on his inexperienced attempts. The points on offer for this game would need to be well into double digits to make this viable to go against the Bombers.
Don’t forget, the RedBlacks are last in the league in all four major passing categories (average gain/pass, passing TDs, 30+yards passing plays, passing efficiency). This is not going to miraculously improve in this game. Although the RedBlacks “D” has been respectable this season, they won’t be able to hold down the fort when they are on the field for most of the game. In the above-mentioned passing categories, the Bombers are 4th, 2nd, 2nd and 1st and in rushing yards/game they are 1st. It should prove to be a long night for the RedBlacks and no problem for you to lay the points and pick the Bombers.
|07-14-23||Toronto -5.5 v. Montreal||Top||35-27||Win||100||20 h 37 m||Show|
The Argos and the Als are early season favs in the Eastern Conference. Argos are missing LT Cage and MLB Williams and LB Muamba. But their defence has been one of the top without those two LBs and with a rotating cast of DLs. Heninger is the only major absentee for the Als on the DL as top DB Evans is slated to return. The major problem for the Als is their O-line, healthy or not, just can’t seem to get the job done for the rushing game. The Als were last of all the teams that played last week, for rushing performance. This week they face an Argos “D” that is first in the CFL in run yards against, average run yards against and rush TDs. Given that the Als have also surrendered the most sacks in the CFL on QB Fajardo they will be in a tough place. With no threat of a run game, the Argos will be able to pin their ears back and go for it when Fajardo will be having to pass so often.
On the offensive side of the ball, except for the Als' week run game the two teams are a saw off.
Coach Dinwiddie of the Argos has his team 5-2 when coming off a bye week. The Argos were 2-1 in the series against the Als last season (losing only a mean nothing game in the last week of the season).
The Argos are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 and 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 against Eastern Conference opposition. The Als are in tough so lay the points and go with the Argos.
|07-09-23||Montreal v. BC -7||Top||19-35||Win||100||18 h 46 m||Show|
The Lions and the Als both had their offences humbled last week. Given that these two teams possess the top two defenses by the numbers, this could be a tough week. They are 1st and 2nd in terms of points allowed by the opposition offence, net offence allowed/game, passing yards allowed/game, and the opposition’s passing efficiency. The Als also are second in the league in interceptions which after throwing 6 picks last week will not be welcome news for Lions’ QB Adams. BC does have the highest average passing yardage/game and passing TDs but Montreal counters with the highest passing efficiency rating and average gain/pass.
So where do the opportunities exist in this standoff. First of all BC’s WR Whitehead returns to action, making Sunday’s game the first all season that will feature him with Hatcher and Ryhmes (last season’s only three 1000 receivers on one team). Second, the Als will be missing two starting DBs, Evans and Lyon, so that will reduce QB Adams’ fear of picks. Evans has been especially effective as he is tied for the league lead in interceptions (BC will be missing one Starting DB). But third and most tellingly, the Als have allowed the 2nd most sacks in the CFL this year. The Lions’ defense has made more sacks than any other CFL team. That in tandem with the Als’ weak running game should spell a long night for QB Fajardo.
Historically the Als have not fared well in Vancouver as they have only two wins since 2000. It doesn’t look like the Als will break that string of defeats in Week 5 either. Pick the Lions and lay the points.
|07-06-23||Edmonton Elks v. Saskatchewan -7.5||Top||11-12||Loss||-100||21 h 34 m||Show|
The Elks can’t catch a break. Still winless, they are coming off of 3 games in 11 days and a short week to prepare for their second road game in a row. Their O-line is still in a state of chaos with two more injuries, as QB Cornelius will return after losing his starters' role for last week. Consequently, they have allowed the most sacks in the CFL. The Elks are also last in offensive points and net yards in the CFL.
To make matters worse their defense is last in total points allowed, last in rush yards allowed and they have allowed the most big plays(20+yds. rush, 30+ yds pass) of any “D” in the league. They are not in a good place in so many ways. Their pass “D” is a little more respectable but they are going against the 2nd top passer in the league in QB Harris.
The Riders also have injury problems on their O-line but they at least are coming off a bye week. Two starters on the O-line are out and one more is questionable. Even so they still have the 3rd most productive ground game in the CFL with the dynamic duo of Hickson and Morrow. Given the Elks weak pass rush 9last in the league) and rush defence the Riders shouldn’t be troubled.
As if the Elks don’t have enough problems they also have discipline problems as they have the 2nd most penalty yards against while the Riders have the 2nd least.
All of this points to a Riders win and covering the spread.
|07-03-23||BC -3 v. Toronto||Top||24-45||Loss||-110||42 h 44 m||Show|
It is only week 4 and already we have a big game between the last two remaining undefeated teams. Some pundits are calling it a pick ‘em match up. I disagree strongly. This means they will bail out and offer an over/under pick. But there is a clear play here.
The easiest way to make sense of it is to look at the quality of the opposition each team has played. Much like Saturday’s game, one team has gone up against much tougher opponents. BC has played the Bombers (now 3-1), the Stampeders and of course the weak Elks. Toronto has faced the RedBlacks (1-2) and the TigerCats (0-3).
Against weaker opposition the Argos’ defence has allowed more than 100 yards more per game than the Lions’ defence. The have also allowed opposing QBs to complete 77% (9th in CFL) of their passes while the Lions have allowed only a 57% (2nd in CFL) completion rate. BC’s stingy “D” has allowed a meager 7 pts/game while the Argos have allowed 22 pts/game.
Yes the Argos are near the top with 399 yds/game offence, 37.5 pts/game and only 1 sack allowed but they have not faced anything close to the Lions’ defence which leads the league with 11 sacks. To add to their level of difficulty on Monday, the Argos will be without their starting LT Cage (a crucial position against league sack leader Betts who humbled all star LT Bryant in week 3).
The Lions will be missing one of their star receivers, Whitehead, but they will have two of last year’s 1000 yard receivers back in the lineup. Rhymes and Hatcher missed the game against the Bombers but will return to give QB Adams more weapons. The Argos will also be missing MLB Williams and LB Muamba, so the CFL’s second leading rusher Mizzell will be harder to handle. It seems clear that the play is for the Lions to cover the spread.
|07-01-23||Winnipeg -6 v. Montreal||Top||17-3||Win||100||18 h 10 m||Show|
The Bombers were humbled last week against the Lions. They are a veteran team. They don’t lose their focus and run around like angry young men in practice to get back on track. They know that they have what it takes. Many of them took practices off this week to lick their wounds and reset. Star defender Jeffcoat will be back on the D-line and veteran CB Houston will be back in the secondary after being out against the Lions. They know Alouettes QB Fajardo has a banged-up O-line that has already averaged 5 sacks against a game to start the season and will be eager to take advantage.
The Alouettes defence has done well against 2 of the 3 worst teams in the CFL so far this season. But now they are banged up with MLB Williams and star DB Evans on IR. DL Heninger may not play either. Bombers QB Collaros will have taken note and his proud veteran O-line will want to make amends after surrendering an unheard of 7 sacks against the Lions last week. The Bombers run game is 2nd best in the CFL in yards/game and without their starting MLB the Als will be in tough. Look for the Bombers and their varied passing and running attack to win and cover the touchdown.
|06-25-23||Toronto v. Edmonton Elks +6.5||Top||43-31||Loss||-107||20 h 56 m||Show|
Everyone is high on the Argos after their 2022 Grey Cup win and week 2 victory over the TigerCats. But they were not dominant, especially in the air. The Elks improved defence held powerhouse BC to 22 points and QB Harris and Saskatchewan’s passing attack to 17 points. They haven’t given up a rush TD yet and that is the only way the Argos got TDs in their first game.
The Elks haven’t’ won at home in a long time but they are 8-2 in their L10 at home vs. the Argos and 7-3 overall in their L10 vs. the Argos. The Argos are missing their top 2 receivers for this game and their starting C Ciraco is a game time decision. Chad Kelly hasn’t proven himself yet; only one full game and relief in the Grey Cup last year.
Everyone is focused on the struggles of Elks’ QB Cornelius. He hasn’t been impressive, that’s for sure but the Argos will be missing monster DL Oakman and LB Muamba so the Elks’ iffy O-line might have a bit of a chance to help Cornelius out a little more.
6.5 is a lot of points to give the Elks on this one. I think they have a good chance to make use of those points and keep it close. Pick the Elks on this one.
|06-24-23||Saskatchewan +3.5 v. Calgary||Top||29-26||Win||100||18 h 8 m||Show|
After years at or near the top the Stampeders were humbled last season and are still moving in a downward direction. Hard to believe they are favored over the Roughriders who had some bad luck with illness and injury last year. The brothers Dickenson are going to do battle with the Roughriders’, Craig in a much more precarious situation than Dave has been after years of success with the Stamps. This desperation has filtered down into Craig’s Roughriders who are playing like there is no tomorrow.
With veteran QB Harris at the helm the Roughriders had passing success against the Bombers last week that even outstripped what BC did in their surprising domination of the Bombers this week. Meanwhile new starter Maier for the Stamps was humbled against BC and only had modest success against the lowly Redblacks last week.
Roughriders’ all-stars Moncrief(LB) and Marshall(CB) return this week as do starters Hawkins(LT) and Kelly(OL). These upgrades to the O-line should allow Harris to do even more of his magic.
Maier and the Stamps will be missing their top WR Begleton as well as top RB Carey and starting LT Coker is still out. As Maier still really hasn’t found his footing he could struggle.
ATS the Stamps are 2-8 over the last 10 after a win and 7-20 in their last 27 home games. Hard to believe the Stamps are so heavily favored. Take the points on offer to the Roughriders as they should win going away.
|06-11-23||Saskatchewan +2.5 v. Edmonton Elks||Top||17-13||Win||100||17 h 28 m||Show|
These are the two with the lowest total for expected wins this season in the West. And rightfully so after they both struggled to get out of the basement all last season. The Elks haven’t won at home since 2019. They will finally win some but not this one.
They made some big changes in the off season that will take a while to come together. Three new targets for QB Cornelius in MOP finalist Lewis and newcomers Moore and Dunbar should help him improve his numbers. RB Brown who came in part way through last season and was very effective will have a whole season to provide another option for Cornelius. The weak link in all of this is the O-line which made things difficult for their QB. Trying to sort things out with all his new receivers will be difficult under pressure
The Roughriders also had O-line problems last season. The biggest difference is that their D-line has some emerging stars in Laniers and Robertson and newcomer Johnson and solid Dean at LB that will be able to better take advantage of the Elks weak O-line. The Roughriders also have veteran QB Harris who has come over from the Alouettes with teammate Wieneke as well as Walker from the Elks. They have a better chance of gelling quickly than the Elks passing game does. And the Roughriders also have the dynamic duo of Morrow and Hickson at RB that were very successful before going down with season ending injuries last season. Grab the points and look for the Roughriders to score the minor upset.
|06-09-23||Hamilton v. Winnipeg -5||Top||31-42||Win||100||25 h 52 m||Show|
The Bombers have decided to run it back, keeping a veteran laden roster for another go at the Grey Cup. They have the least amount of changes in a league that has huge turnover year to year. This should be effective at least for the first few games of the season as they will all be on the same page. Only center Couture is gone from the O-line (although he was injured much of last year and replaced by this year’s starter Kolankowski). All the skill positions on offence have returned and on defense Bighill (MLB) and DEs Jeffcoat and Jefferson are back. This should bode well to start the season but lets check back on this in the Fall.
Hamilton is a different story. They brought in declining QB Levi-Mitchell and star MLB Thurman from Calgary, star RB Butler from BC and DL Sayles from the Bombers to name a few newcomers. They will take awhile to gel. There is a good argument that Levi-Mitchell may not thrive. Behind one of the best CFL O-lines in history (by the metric of sacks allowed) and with the leading CFL rusher Careyin Calgary, he has declined precipitously over the last few seasons. In 2021 he threw for 8 yds/completion and a sad 10 TD/13 Int ratio. In 2022 it was a 9 TD/6 Int ratio where due to injuries and performance he ceded the starters’ role to Maier. His Hamilton O-line is not going to afford him the same luxury. This may not be pretty.
Part of the T-Cats’ personnel turnover was not positive as they lost three all-star starters in the secondary. Winnipeg’s vaunted passing attack should excel.
The Bombers’ home record was 8-1 in 2022 while the TiCats’ road record was 2-7.
In their last 5 in June, against the spread the Bombers are 4-1. The TiCats are 1-4 against the spread vs. Winnipeg and 1-3-1 against the spread in Winnipeg. Clearly you should lay the points and go with the Bombers to beat the spread.
|06-08-23||BC +3 v. Calgary||Top||25-15||Win||100||26 h 57 m||Show|
This rematch of last season’s West semi-final is a great way to start the season. Historically, the Stamps have a wide edge in games at McMahon Stadium but so many of those legends have moved on. Thurman and Orimolade are gone from the interior of a stout defense. From one of the most outstanding O-lines in recent history, left tackle Dennis is gone and his replacement Coker is on IR. Left guard Williams is also on IR so Jake Maier’s back is going to be vulnerable. Starter Jamerson from the secondary is also on IR. Rick Campbell and his savy staff will have taken notice.
This will also be a new experience for QB Maier as he is the man this year and no longer the eager understudy. It will be a new kind of pressure. BC shut him down in the West semi-final. It will be interesting to see what adjustments are made.
Vernon Adams will have to prove that he can continue to be a solid game manager and not just “Big Play V.A.” It looked that way last season as he threw for 6 TDs and only 1 interception in the six games he started and went 12 for 12 in preseason. His trio of 1000+ yard receivers, Rhymes, Whitehead and Hatcher (on IR for this game) are back. Cottoy, Hollins and McInnis are all superb options that will make up for Hatchers’ absence. B.C. is also missing an O-line starter as newcomer Schleuger is out. They are hopeful Couture (from the Bombers) can mesh with his old teammate Chungh on this years’ O-line.
It is sort of traditional to go with the under for at least the first couple of games of the season as defences are ahead of the offences but both of these squads look ready to put up points; especially BC. That would be the easy play but the hot play is BC to cover the spread by winning the game.
|07-02-22||Montreal v. Saskatchewan -4.5||Top||20-41||Win||100||9 h 52 m||Show|
It’s a quick turnaround for the teams here and a rematch from last week when Montreal picked up its first win of the season, in shocking fashion, with a 37-13 beatdown of Saskatchewan. Needless to say, I see things going a bit differently this time around.
The Als’ defense stepped up big last week by recording three interceptions and eight sacks. But that was at home and they were coming off a bye. There’s no rest advantage this week and the game is at Mosiac Stadium.
Saskatchewan has already recorded two home wins in 2022. They beat Hamilton and Edmonton by a total of 34 points.
Something that must be pointed out about last week is that total yardage was basically even.
The Roughriders are definitely the better team in this matchup and come from the much stronger division. I believe we’re getting an oddsmakers’ discount here because of last week’s result. Lay those points.
|08-17-19||Montreal v. Calgary -6.5||Top||40-34||Loss||-114||92 h 12 m||Show|
The set-up: After a slow start, the Stampeders can ill afford to take the foot off the gas for the rest of the season. Calgary is in the playoff mix and I think it’ll pull away down the stretch for the comfortable cover. A victory today and the Stamps are in a tie for first place in the division, but a loss and they could wind up all the way in fourth. Note that while covering only once in four games at home this year, Calgary is still 3-1 SU. And despite the Als being 9-2 ATS in their last 11, I definitely believe that they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time here.
The pick: The Alouettes are getting QB Vernon Adams Jr. and RB William Stanback this week, but one has to wonder how effective they’ll be after each sat out last weekend with injury? The Stamps have finally adjusted to QB Nick Arbuckle running the show, entering this one having gone 4-2 SU in their last six. I’m banking on Montreal finally taking a step back here vs. this determined home side. Lay the points.
Calgary Stampeders 10* play
|07-13-19||Montreal v. Ottawa -9||Top||36-19||Loss||-110||20 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: The RedBlacks suffered a humbling 29-14 loss at home to the Blue Bombers last weekend and I believe they’ll take out their frustrations on the very contented Alouettes, who scored the 36-29 upset win at home over the Ti-Cats last time out. Montreal got 203 yards and three rushing TD’s from William Stanback last weekend, but I have a hard time seeing the RB producing the same effort here. Ottawa didn’t help itself last week either by posting 110 penalty yards on ten flags.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Montreal is just 3-5 ATS in its last eight as a road dog in the 7.5 to 14 points range, while Ottawa is still 11-6 ATS in its last 17 vs. the division. The stage is set for a big bounce back performance for the RedBlacks. Lay the points.
10* COACH’S CLINIC on Ottawa.
|07-01-19||Toronto +11 v. Saskatchewan||Top||7-32||Loss||-110||60 h 49 m||Show|
The set-up: Toronto won two in a row in the pre-season and then it had a Week 1 “bye.” Last weekend it lost its early momentum and looked flat in the embarrassing 64-14 home loss to the red hot Ti-Cats. With that awkward game out of the way, I believe the hungry visitors keep tonight’s contest much more competitive. Saskatchewan won’t be lacking for motivation either after back-to-back losses to open the 2019 campaign.
The pick: The Riders looked decent in their 44-41 loss at Ottawa, as Cody Fajardo was 27 of 34 in the setback. However, I think the home side gets caught “looking past” the lowly and desperate visiting side. Note as well that Toronto is 7-2 ATS in its last nine following a loss by 40 points or more, while Saskatchewan is just 3-8 ATS in its last 11 after allowing 40 points or more in its previous outings. Grab the points.
|06-15-19||Winnipeg v. BC||Top||33-23||Loss||-104||15 h 9 m||Show|
The set-up: BC acquired the biggest free agent on the market in the offseason in QB Mike Reilly, who returns to his former team. Reilly signed a large four year contract and the Grey Cup Champion and ex MVP will be expected to step up quickly and pay immediate dividends. The Blue Bombers have fared well vs. the Lions ATS over the last few seasons, but QB Matt Nichols is coming off a poor 2018 in which he had just one three-hundred yard game. Nichols will be leaning heavily upon the CFL’s leading rusher Andrew Harris.
The pick: These teams are no strangers to each other obviously, but I think that Reilly is the difference maker on opening night. The Leo’s hit the road for three straight after this and I think they put the foot on the gas and find a way to get the job done at the end of the night.
BC Lions (Moneyline)
|11-18-18||Winnipeg v. Calgary -4.5||Top||14-22||Win||100||148 h 36 m||Show|
The set-up: The 11-8 Winnipeg Blue Bombers get ready to take on the 13-5 Calgary Stampeders in the CFL West Final and in my opinion, home field can not be overlooked as a very real deciding factor/advantage for the Stamps. Winnipeg has won six of seven and QB Chris Streveler has a 29/18 TD/INT. Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell has 5,124 yards and a 35/14 TD/INT.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but Calgary is 7-2 ATS in its last nine home games as a favorite in the 3.5 to 7.5 points range. Lay the points, play on the Stamps.
|11-11-18||BC +3 v. Hamilton||Top||8-48||Loss||-120||143 h 30 m||Show|
The set-up: BC Lions’ QB Travis Lulay is completing just over 60 percent of his passes for 2,494 yards, 13 TD’s and 11 INT’s. The BC ground game averages 94 YPG. Defensively the Lions allow 26.3 PPG and 361.3 YPG. While BC enters the playoffs having split its last six games, the Ti-Cats enter having lost three straight. Note that Hamilton has lost three of its last four at home. QB Jeremiah Masoli has been a bright spot with a 28/18 TD:INT.
The pick: Take it for what you will though, but Hamilton is a poor 2-6 ATS in its last eight at home, while BC is 5-2 ATS in the last seven in this series. The Ti-Cats are currently being outscored by 7.7 points average during their three-game skid and everything points to another letdown here as well. Grab the points.
|07-21-18||Winnipeg -2 v. Toronto||Top||38-20||Win||100||27 h 34 m||Show|
The set-up: Winnipeg will be eager to get back on track here after falling 20-17 at BC last weekend, a game in which it held a 17-0 half-time lead. The Blue Bombers open a home and home set against an Argos team which just finished splitting a home and home series with the Eskimos.
The teams: Winnipeg QB Matt Nichols threw three second half INT’s last weekend and his team would fall to a disappointing 2-3 on the season. RB Andrew Harris though was a bright spot with 139 yards on the ground. Harris now leads the league with 449 rushing yards over five games.
The Argos go with QB James Franklin again, as he makes his third start in place of the injured Ricky Ray (lost for the season.) Last week Franklin looked to receiver SJ Green, who had 110 yards on ten catches last weekend. Previous to that though Green had just 105 yards total over three games to open the season. RB James Wilder Jr. looked pathetic last week though with just 26 yards of offense.
The pick: Take it for what you will as well, but Winnipeg is a perfect 3-0 ATS in its last three as a road favorite of three points or less, wile Toronto is a terrible 11-17 ATS in its last 28 when playing the role of underdog. I think Nichols bounces back, while all sins point to Franklin and company struggling again. Lay the points, play on the Bombers.
|07-19-18||Saskatchewan +11.5 v. Hamilton||Top||31-20||Win||100||69 h 29 m||Show|
The set-up: The Roughriders are 2-2 and the Ti-Cats are also 2-2. Hamilton doesn’t have a QB controversy on its hands right now, with Jeremiah Masoli under center. Saskatchewan has issues at the QB position however, with Brandon Bridges seeing time for an injured Zach Collaros this year. Regardless of that fact though, I believe the visitors will keep this one a lot more competitive than what this line would suggest.
The teams: Note that the Riders have won five of their last seven road games outright. Bridges will be leaning heavily on his run game here, a unit which has so far averaged 103.8 YPG. Jerome Messam so far has 110 yards on 32 carries. Defensively though Saskatchewan has been tough, allowing 23.8 points and 366 yards per game. Keep your eyes on Derrick Moncrief, who leads the teams with 20 tackles thus far.
Masoli is so far completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,378 yards and four touchdowns. He also has four INT’s though. The ground game is averaging 114.8 YPG, led by Mercer Timmis, who has 175 yards and four touchdowns already. Hamilton has also been strong on the defensive side this year, allowing an average of 21 points and 338.8 YPG.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but Saskatchewan is 5-2 in is last seven following its bye week, while Hamilton is still only 4-10-2 ATS in its last 16 home games. The Roughriders have won four straight in this series and while I’m definitely not calling for an outright upset here or anything like that, as I stated off the top, I do believe that everything points to this one coming right down to the wire. Grab as many points as you can, play on Saskatchewan.
|07-14-18||Winnipeg v. BC +4.5||Top||17-20||Win||100||14 h 47 m||Show|
The set-up: While I wouldn’t be completely shocked by an outright upset, I look for the hungry home side to at the very least take this one right down to the wire. In fact, it’s an “immediate revenge” scenario after BC lost 41-19 in Winnipeg last weekend. BC has struggled against Winnipeg for a couple of years now, but I expect that trend to finally start going the other way this weekend.
The teams: Winnipeg got a big game defensively from LB Adam Bighill, who faced his former team for the first time last week as he’d post six tackles and make two interceptions. QB Matt Nichols was pretty mediocre though, going 16 of 27 for 162 yards.
BC comes in focused, as it comes in off back-to-back losses, allowing 82 points in the process. The Lions struggled on both sides of the ball last week, but desperation breeds motivation in my opinion. Both the struggling Jon Jennings and the injured Travis Lulay took snaps in practice this week.
The pick: Note that the Blue Bombers are interestingly just 2-6 ATS in their last eight after scoring 40 points or more in their previous contest. I’m banking on BC bouncing back and fighting for its life in this revenge spot in front of the home town crowd. Grab the points.
|07-13-18||Toronto v. Edmonton -9.5||Top||15-16||Loss||-105||34 h 18 m||Show|
The set-up: Toronto was down starting QB Ricky Ray and it was a 3.5 point underdog at home to these very Eskimos last week and the winless Argos would prevail outright with the 20-17 victory. Suffice it to say, I think it’s going to be pay-back time in a big way in Alberta on Friday night.
The teams: The 20 points scored by the Argos was the most they’ve put up so far this year and the 17 points allowed was the least. QB James Franklin was an efficient 16 of 22 for 217 yards, with one passing and one rushing touchdown. Declan Cross caught the winning TD pass with three minutes to play. RB James Wilder Jr. had 120 rushing yards and a score as well.
The Eskimo’s looked “out of sorts” from the “get go” last week, but I think a little home cooking is just what the doctor ordered for Edmonton to get back on track. QB Mike Reilly was still decent in the setback, going 28 of 40 for 370 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Reilly leads the league in passing with 1,390 yards and seven major scores. 12 penalties for 126 yards was just too much for Edmonton to overcome in the end though.
The pick: Neither team has been very good for bettors over the last few seasons, but I think the difference will be the immediate “revenge factor.” Edmonton hurt itself with sloppy and undisciplined play last week and I have a hard time seeing the home side not coming in completely focused here as it looks to atone for its sub-par effort. Toronto backup Franklin looked decent at home last weekend, but I think he’ll stumble in this hostile environment. Everything points to a blowout, lay the points.
|07-12-18||Calgary -3.5 v. Ottawa||Top||27-3||Win||100||32 h 32 m||Show|
The set-up: Calgary comes in off its bye and I look for it to continue its unbeaten 3-0 start to the 2018 campaign with another convincing victory here. These teams met in Calgary in Week 3 and the Stamps prevailed 24-14 and suffice it to say, I think an even bigger blowout is in the cards tonight.
The teams: Bo Levi Mitchell had 251 yards and two touchdowns, while Don Jackson had 84 yards a TD for Calgary in Week 3 week over Ottawa. Redblacks’ QB Trevor Harris though had just 135 yards and pick before being pulled.
Mitchell so far has 872 yards and six TD’s this season, while Jackson already has 294 yards rushing.
Harris bounced back last week in Ottawa’s 28-18 win at Montreal with 342 yards and three TD’s, but clearly he’s going to have a much more difficult time tonight against the league’s No. 1 defense, a unit which has given up just 34 points over three games thus far.
The pick: Calgary is interestingly 6-1 ATS in its last seven Thursday night games, performing well on the “short week” (despite coming off its bye), while Ottawa is a terrible 2-5 ATS in its last seven following a victory. Expect a rested and focused Calgary to pull away for the comfortable win/cover as the game comes down the stretch.
|07-07-18||Edmonton -3 v. Toronto||Top||17-20||Loss||-106||68 h 51 m||Show|
The set-up: Toronto won the 2017 Grey Cup in a stunning upset of the Calgary Stampeders, but so far the team has looked horrible in 2018 with an 0-2 start. Edmonton will look to take advantage here now and build off its 41-22 home win over the Lions last week.
The teams: CJ Gable had a career day rushing for Edmonton last week, going for 165 yards on 23 carries, while also adding a TD for the Esks. Mike Reilly was 22 of 30 for 326 yards and three major scores, while also rushing for a TD. WR D’Haquille Williams had six catches for 129 yards.
Toronto has so far managed just 26 points on the season and with starting QB Ricky Ray out for the season with a neck injury (career ending?) James Franklin is suddenly being thrust into a very difficult situation. Franklin was an unremarkable 8 of 13 for 65 yards and a rushing score in relief of Ray last week.
The pick: Note that Edmonton has covered in five of its past six road games. Note that Toronto is just 4-10 ATS in its last 14 against clubs with winning records. The injury to Ray is devastating for an Argo’s team which was already struggling across the board. I think Reilly and company come in and calmly conduct their business and take full advantage of this favorable situation. Lay the points.
|07-06-18||Ottawa -7.5 v. Montreal||Top||28-18||Win||100||46 h 46 m||Show|
The set-up: Ottawa lost 24-14 in Calgary last week and it’ll be eager to return to the winners circle in this favorable matchup on Friday night. Montreal was a 10.5 point home underdog to Saskatchewan last weekend and it pulled off the huge 23-17 outright upset. Can anyone say “letdown spot” in Week 4?
The teams: Redblacks’ QB Trevor Harris struggled against Calgary’s elite defense, going 13 of 29 for 135 yards and an INT. The only bright spot on offense was RB William Powell, who had 113 yards on the day. And while the offense looked terrible overall, the defense was pretty good, forcing three turnovers in the end.
Montreal’s defense looked great last week as well, holding the Roughriders to 278 total yards. The offense though wasn’t great, with just 264 yards. QB Jeff Mathews was 8 of 12 for 98 yards.
The pick: Ottawa though has covered five straight in Montreal and I think everything points to that strong trend continuing here. Also note that the Redblacks have covered their last four following a loss. The moral of the story behind this pick, is to not “over-react.” Everything points to a blowout from start to finish in this one in my opinion, play on Ottawa.
|07-05-18||Hamilton v. Saskatchewan +7.5||Top||13-18||Win||100||23 h 22 m||Show|
The set-up: The Hamilton Tigercats went 1-1 on a season opening road trip and then returned home for a convincing 31-17 victory over Winnipeg in Week 3. The Roughriders will be hungry here though, as they come in sitting at just 1-2 and off a humbling 27-13 loss to lowly Montreal as a 10-point fav last time out.
The teams: Saskatchewan was 2-0 in this series last year, but the Roughriders clearly can’t take anything for granted against this much improved Hamilton team.
Hamilton’s Jeremiah Masoli had 369 yards an a TD last week for the Ti-Cats and the defense held the Bombers to just 280 yards. The run game also looked decent as Mercer Timmis had two short TD runs.
QB Brandon Bridge had to start in place of the injured Zach Collaros last week for Saskatchewan and while he’d stumble in that one, I think he’ll be much more competitive this time around.
The pick: With a game to make adjustments after losing Collaros, I think Winnipeg will look a lot better this week. This is Hamilton’s third road game in the first four weeks and after playing at such a high level, including posting back to back SU/ATS victories, everything finally points to a letdown in my opinion (note that Hamilton is 0-2 ATS in its last two after two more SU wins, while Saskatchewan is 6-4 ATS in its last ten after two or more consecutive SU losses.) Grab as many points as you can, play on the Roughriders.
|06-30-18||Montreal +11.5 v. Saskatchewan||Top||23-17||Win||100||106 h 58 m||Show|
The set-up: The Als are coming off an embarrassing home loss and they’ll be eager to quickly erase that memory. They now perhaps thankfully hit the road for a matchup against an equally as hungry Roughriders side in Saskatchewan. Montreal is 0-2 to open the season, while Saskatchewan is 1-1.
The teams: Montreal will be eager to avoid its first 0-3 start since the 1996 season. QB Drew Willy will be expected to step up here. In all fairness though, he hasn’t been terrible over the first two games, completing 68.3 percent of his passes for 392 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. The combination of Ernest Jackson and Chris Williams has been decent with 196 receiving yards. The ground game has been poor with 72 yards per game, but the major problem has been on the defensive side, so far allowing 39 points and 444 yards per game.
Riders’ QB Zach Collaros hasn’t been great in the early going, with 309 yards, two touchdowns and two picks. The ground game has been decent with 102.5 yards per game average. The defense though has been nothing special, allowing 29.5 points and 375 yards per game.
The pick: It’s not going to be a pretty season for the Als, but they couldn’t have asked for a better opponent to try and score an upset against. Saskatchewan has looked poor overall and while I’m not in fact going to predict an outright victory, I do think that the stage is set for a competitive battle. Grab the points, play on the Alouettes.
|06-29-18||Winnipeg +4.5 v. Hamilton||Top||17-31||Loss||-109||80 h 4 m||Show|
The set-up: Both the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tigercats come in with identical 1-1 records. The Blue Bombers though have won six of their last eight road games and while I would of course not be completely shocked by an outright upset, I will in the end recommend grabbing the points.
The teams: Winnipeg is led by QB Chris Streveler, who has 424 yards, six touchdowns and two interceptions. His favorite targets have been Darvin Adams and Weston Dressler, who have combined for 195 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The ground game has been dominant as well, averaging 191 yards per contest thus far, with Andrew Harris leading the charge with 135 on 29 carries. The defense hasn’t been shabby either, allowing 21.5 points and 341 yards per game.
Hamilton has lost six of its last eight home games. QB Jeremiah Masoli so far has 676 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions over the first two games. Jalen Saunders and Luke Tasker have combined for 325 receiving yards and two major scores. Defensively the Ti-Cats are allowing 24.5 points and 388.5 yards per game.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but Winnipeg is 21-8 ATS in its last 29 on the road, while Hamilton is just 3-10-2 ATS in its last 15 at home. After back-to-back road games to open the season, I think Hamilton suffers a predictable letdown here, leaving the back door open for the hungry visitors. Play on the Blue Bombers.
|06-22-18||Winnipeg -3 v. Montreal||Top||56-10||Win||100||11 h 6 m||Show|
The set-up: Both teams come in off Week 1 losses. Winnipeg lost a 33-30 heartbreaker at home to the Edmonton Eskimos, while Montreal had a predictable letdown in BC. The Bombers lost their starting QB in the final preseason tune-up, but their backup played well and I think he’ll carry that progression over here.
The teams: Winnipeg was forced to start Chris Streveler in Week 1 due to the injury to Matt Nichols. Streveler though posted a respectable first performance with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Darvin Adams and Weston Dressler combined for 120 receiving yards and two touchdowns. RB Andrew Harris had 77 yards on 14 carries, part of 137 total yards on the ground for Winnipeg. The Blue Bombers looked poor on the defensive side, but clearly the team catches a break facing the impotent Al’s offense.
Montreal QB Drew Willy had 281 yards, one TD and one INT against the Lions last week. Note though that Willy has one or less touchdown passes in each of his last eight games. Montreal’s ground game stalled as well with just 78 total yards. RB Tyrell Sutton was a bright spot with 65 rushing yards on 15 carries. The Al’s looked decent defensively, allowing 300 yards and 22 points, led by Chris Ackie with six tackles.
The prediction: Take it for what you will though, but Winnipeg is 21-8 ATS in its last 29 on the road, while Montreal is just 5-16 ATS in its last 21 at home. Not only that but the Blue Bombers are 6-1 in their last seven played in Montreal. The Al’s offense is still a major question mark and I have a hard time seeing the unit keeping up with Streveler and company. Lay the points.
|06-16-18||Montreal v. BC -6.5||Top||10-22||Win||100||83 h 49 m||Show|
The set-up: Montreal only won three games last year and I think it’ll struggle on the road to open the 2018 campaign. The Lions struggled last year as well with just seven victories, as BC would miss the postseason for the first time since 1996. The Lions though feature depth and veteran leadership which I believe will help the team on Opening night. Everything points to a home side blowout.
The teams: Montreal is now led by coach Mike Sherman, former Green Bay head boss. Drew Willy is experienced under center and he has a trio of decent playmakers in BJ Cunningham, Tyrell Sutton and Ernest Jackson. Note though that the defense finished dead last in total points allowed last season and that side of the ball is once again expected to be the team’s weak point.
BC missed the playoffs, but it still finished third in the CFL in passing yards a year ago. Top receivers Bryan Burnham, Emmanuel Arceneaux and Jon Jennings are all back to make amends. Like their counterpart today, the main issue for the Lions last season was on the defensive side of the ball.
The pick: Take it for what you will though, but the Al’s are 0-6 ATS in their last six on the road and just 5-16 ATS in their last 21 in BC. I like the Lions to put on an offensive show in front of the home town crowd on Opening weekend as everything points to another road letdown for the still re-building Als. Play on BC.
|06-16-18||Hamilton +9.5 v. Calgary||Top||14-28||Loss||-110||80 h 50 m||Show|
The set-up: Calgary is always one of the top teams favored to win the Grey Cup (at least over the last decade.) Hamilton though won’t be rolling over and while I’m going to stop short in calling for the outright upset, I do expect the hungry visitors to at the very least keep this one close enough with the big spread.
The teams: Hamilton has won just 13 games over the last two seasons, but it got a spark over the last two months with the addition of oft-maligned QB Johnny Manziel. Manziel is starting as the backup QB, but the ex Texas A&M pivot will be expected to come in and replace starter Jeremiah Masoli at some point. Returning from last year are the team’s top two receivers in Luke Tasker and Jalen Saunders, a duo which combined for over 2,300 receiving yards and 11 TD’s. The Ti-Cats achilles heel was on the defensive side of the ball a year ago, but the return of key players such as Richard Leonard and Larry Dean is expected to help the unit make strides in 2018.
Calgary has lost the Grey Cup in each of the last two seasons in heart-breaking fashion and while it’ll be coming into the 2018 campaign with a collective “chip on its shoulder,” I think it will in fact come in a bit complacent here against its lowly non-conference opponent. The offense is once again led by Bo Levi Mitchell, who has 19,000 yards and 115 TD’s over four years as a starting QB with the team. The Stamps were the best defensive team in the league last year, allowing 349 total points, while also collecting 50 sacks.
The pick: Take it for what you will though, but the Ti-Cats are 6-0 ATS in their last six road games, while the Stamps are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven in this series when playing in front of the home town crowd. This one has “competitive battle” written all over it.
|06-14-18||Edmonton v. Winnipeg +7.5||Top||33-30||Win||100||33 h 26 m||Show|
The set-up: Winnipeg might be without starting QB Matt Nichols to open the 2018 campaign, but the Blue Bombers won’t be lacking for motivation on Opening Night after Edmonton knocked them out of the Western semi-final last year 39-32. Winnipeg won both regular season meetings a year ago though and I look for the hungry home side to at the very least, keep this one close enough to comfortably sneak in through the back door with the large spread that it’s been afforded.
The teams: Edmonton went 12-6 during the regular season in 2017, before then falling to Calgary in the West Final. The Eskimos feature one of the best QB’s in the league in Mike Reilly, who will have to start the season without two of his top targets in Adarius Bowman (went to Winnipeg in the offseason) and Brandon Zylstra (signed by the Minnesota Vikings.)
As mentioned above, the Blue Bombers won’t have Nichols under center, meaning that rookie Chris Streveler is “the next man up.” Streveler looked pretty good in two preseason games, going 13 of 19 for 184 yards, two TD’s and an INT. But the Bombers have a bunch of talent on both sides of field, including Bowman, Nic Demski and LB Adam Bighill. In 2015 Bighill was named the CFL’s top Defensive player.
The pick: Take it for what you will, but Edmonton is just 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games in June, while the Bombers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 against the West. While I’m going to stop short in calling for the outright, I’m banking on the home side keeping this one competitive until the final moments. Grab the points.
|08-17-17||Edmonton v. Winnipeg +1||Top||26-33||Win||100||31 h 22 m||Show|
The set-up: The 7-0 Edmonton Eskimos look to keep their perfect record intact when they visit the 5-2 Winnipeg Blue Bombers Thursday at Investors Group Field. QB Mike Reilly is completing 72.7 percent of his passes for 2,329 yards with 13 TDs and four INTs. He leads an offense which ranks first in YPG (429.3 per) and first in passing yards(332.7 YPG). The Eskimos average 29.1 PPG (3rd-best) but just one of the team's seven wins have come by more than seven points (an 11-point win), hence the team's mediocre 3-3-1 ATS mark. The defense allows 333.9 YPG to also rank third-best. Winnipeg is 5-2 SU & ATS and enters off three straight wins, scoring 41, 33 and 39 points, respectively. QB Matt Nichols completes 68.9 percent of his passes for 2,024 yards with 13 TDs and four INTs. Winnipeg scored just 10 points in losing its second game of the season but has scored 33 points or more in its other six games. Defensively, the Blue Bombers allow 31.6 PPG (8th) on 402.1 YPG (7th).
|08-13-17||BC -2 v. Saskatchewan||Top||8-41||Loss||-110||21 h 47 m||Show|
The set-up: The 5-2 BC Lions visit Mosaic Stadium on Sunday to take on the 2-4 Saskatchewan Roughriders. The BC Lions are unbeaten against all CFL teams not named Edmonton, which by the way is a perfect 7-0. Jonathon Jennings began the season as BC's No. 1 QB but was injured in Week 4. Veteran Travis Lulay took over and threw for 436 yards in that Week 4 contest. He's completing 73.7% of his passes and averaging 359.3 YPG while lead the Lions to 35.3 PPG. Defensively, BC is allowing 27.7 points and 397.3 yards per game. The Roughriders have split their last four games, including 30-15 at BC last week. Saskatchewan enters this contest 2-4. QB Kevin Glenn is completing 70.7 percent of his passes for 1,784 yards with 11 TDs and six INTs.
|08-05-17||Saskatchewan v. BC -7||Top||15-30||Win||100||10 h 25 m||Show|
The pick: The BC Lions have had no problems so far this season, except for going 0-2 vs.the Edmonton Eskimos. Then again, Edmonton stands at 6-0 on the season. BC played and beat Saskatchewan in each of the last two weeks of the 2016 season, outscoring the Roughriders by a combined score of 65-24! Saskatchewan has moved the ball and scored points at home here in 2017 (38.2 PPG in three contests) but has scored a total of just 26 points (13.0 per) in two road losses. Expect more road woes for the Roughriders in this one. Make BC a 10* play
|08-03-17||Calgary -4.5 v. Toronto||Top||41-24||Win||100||55 h 16 m||Show|
The set-up: The 4-1-1 Calgary Stampeders visit the 3-3 Toronto Argonauts at BMO Field on Thursday. Bo Levi Mitchell is completing 63.9 percent of his passes for 1,832 yards with 10 TD passes and three interceptions. He leads an offense that ranks No. 1 in total yards (425.5 per) and is the CFL's highest scoring team (35.5 PPG). That goes perfectly with a defense that leads the CFL in allowing a modest 20.2 PPG. Toronto Argonauts averages 421.7 YPG (second) but yards haven't translated into points, as the Argonauts are averaging only 25.3 PPG (ranks 7th of 9 teams). QB Ricky Ray is completing 69.2 percent of his passes for 2,282 yards with nine TD passes and just three interceptions. Toronto is allowing 27.2 points and 361.3 yards per game.
|07-29-17||Hamilton +13.5 v. Calgary||Top||1-60||Loss||-115||58 h 30 m||Show|
The 0-4 (0-3-1 ATS) Hamilton Tiger-Cats will look for their first win of the 2017 season Saturday night at McMahon Stadium against the 3-1-1 (2-3 ATS) Calgary Stampeders. QB Zach Collaros is completing 61.8 percent of his passes for 1,041 yards with three TD passes and four interceptions. Hamilton ranks 9th in passing yards and 8th in rushing yards, leaving them 9th overall at 310.2 YYPG, as well as being the league's lowest scoring team at 22.3 PPG. If the team's lack of offense weren't enough, Hamilton is allowing 35.2 points (8th) and 488.2 yards per game (9th). Calgary is a solid offensive team, ranking third in both poinst scored (30.6 per) and YPG (411.4). QB Bo Levi Mitchell is completing 63.9 percent of his passes for 1,635 yards with nine TDs and three interceptions. Calgary's defense allows just 24.0 PPG, second-best in the league.
|07-22-17||Saskatchewan v. Calgary -10||Top||10-27||Win||100||58 h 10 m||Show|
The set-up: The 1-2 Saskatchewan Roughriders will take on the 2-1-1 Calgary Stampeders Saturday at McMahon Stadium. The Roughriders are off their first win of the season (37-20 at home over Hamilton), after opening 0-2. Saskatchewan lost 17-16 at Montreal to start the season but QB Kevin Glenn has thrown for 728 yards and six TDs the last two games, leading the Roughriders to 40 points (lost by three in OT) and 37 (17-point win). The Saskatchewan defense has allowed 326.0 YPG (first) but 26.7 PPG, which ranks fifth. Calgary is 2-1-1, having played three of their first four away from home. QB Bo Levi Mitchell is completing 65 percent of his passes for 1,382 yards with seven TD passes and just two INTs in 163 pass attempts. Calgary allows more than 90 YPG than Saskatchewan (419 to 326) but about the same amount of points, 27.5 per to 26.7.
|07-19-17||Montreal v. Ottawa -4.5||Top||19-24||Win||100||13 h 35 m||Show|
The set-up: The 2-2 Montreal Alouettes will play the 0-3-1 Ottawa Redblacks Wednesday night at TD Place Stadium in Ottawa. Montreal has played three of its first four at home, losing its lone road game 23-19 at Edmonton (note: Eskimos are 3-0 to start the 2017 season). QB Darian Durant is completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 940 yards with four TD passes and four INTs but is somewhat helped by the league's top rushing attack (109.2 YPG). The bigger help is a Montreal defense allowing a league-best 21.2 PPG. The Redblacks are still looking for their first win of the season after a 0-3-1 start. QB Trevor Harris is completing 71.5 percent of his passes for 1,379 yards with eight TD passes and just two INTs. He leads an offense which has played well, averaging 29.0 PPG (4th-best). However, Ottawa's defense has allowed the most points (123) in the league and its 30.8 PPG average ranks 7th of nine teams, ahead of two teams that have played just three games.
The pick: The Alouettes are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 road games but Ottawa has won five of the last six meetings against Montreal. Yes, Ottawa is win-less but along with a 31-31 tie, the three losses have come by 4, 1 and 2 points! The Redblacks aren't nearly as bad as their record and are, as the saying goes, "due!" Maybe, overdue? Make Ottawa an 8* play.
|07-14-17||Ottawa +6 v. Edmonton||Top||21-23||Win||100||84 h 50 m||Show|
|07-13-17||Toronto +3 v. Winnipeg||Top||25-33||Loss||-110||59 h 31 m||Show|
The set-up: The 2-1 Toronto Argonauts and 1-1 Winnipeg Blue Bombers meet Thursday at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg. Toronto QB Ricky Ray has completed 70.1 percent of his passes for 1,199 yards with four TDs and just one interception. He may have had just one TD pass in last week's home win over Hamilton but he threw for 506 yards and did not throw an INT in 41 pass attempts, while leading the Argos to 32 points. The defense was excellent, holding the Tiger-Cats to 15 points on 258 yards with just 12 FDs. Toronto is allowing 22.7 points and 361 YPG after three games (more on that later). Winnipeg opened with a 43-40 OT win at Saskatchewan but then returned home to lose 29-10 to Calgary. QB Matt Nichols threw for 331 yards with four TDs and just one INT in beating the Roughriders but was not nearly as good against Calgary, with two INTs and one TD pass, while leading the Blue Bombers to just 10 points!
|07-08-17||Hamilton +1.5 v. Saskatchewan||Top||20-37||Loss||-110||108 h 0 m||Show|
The set-up: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders meet Saturday in CFL action at Mosaic Stadium in Saskatchewan. Both teams are looking for their first win of 2017, as Hamilton has opened 0-1 and Saskatchewan 0-2. The Tiger-Cats lost 32-15 at Toronto in Week 1 and took last week off. Zach Collaros won the starting QB job but threw for a modest 242 yards in Week 1, without a TD pass and one INT. Running games are not the most important aspect of any CFL team but Hamilton will need to improve on its 16 yard rushing effort against the Argonauts! It's been "close but no cigar" for the Roughriders to open the 2017 season. They lost 17-16 at Montreal in Week 1, then lost 43-40 (in OT) at home to Winnipeg in Week 2. QB Kevin Glenn is completing 72 percent of his passes for 675 yards, five touchdowns and three interceptions. The running game has averaged 61.5 yards per contest. The defense played well in Week 1 but then allowed 43 points on 430 yards in Week 2 (team also allowed 261 return yards).
|07-07-17||Calgary -3 v. Winnipeg||Top||29-10||Win||100||82 h 21 m||Show|
The set-up: The Calgary Stampeders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers meet Friday in CFL action at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg. The Stampeders have opened the 2017 season with back-to-back games against Ottawa, winning 43-39 at home in Week 1 and then playing to a 31-31 tie in Week 2 at Ottawa. QB Bo Levi Mitchell is completing 63.3 percent of his passes for 671 yards and is off to a great start with seven TD passes without an INT (he has 37 TD passes over his last 19 games). However, Calgary's defense is not off to a good start, allowing 35 points and 461 yards per game. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers didn't play in Week 1 but were able to outlast the Saskatchewan Roughriders 43-40 in double overtime last week on the road. QB Matt Nichols is off to a strong start, completing 63.9 percent of his passes last week for 331 yards with four TDs and just one interception.
|07-01-17||Winnipeg v. Saskatchewan +1||Top||43-40||Loss||-110||105 h 2 m||Show|
The set-up: The CFL's second week concludes Saturday night when the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Saskatchewan Roughriders meet at Mosaic Stadium in Saskatchewan. The Blue Bombers will be making their 2017 debut in this game, after finishing 11-7 last year and losing in the West semifinals. Matt Nichols returns at QB after throwing for a modest 18 TDs last season. The Blue Bombers averaged 27.6 PPG but allowed 25.2 PPG, so it's no surprise the team was 10-8 ATS. The Roughriders are looking to even their 2017 record at 1-1, after losing 17-16 in Week 1 to the Montreal Alouettes. QB Kevin Glenn completed 70.5 percent of his passes against Montreal for 298 yards (one TD and one INT) but the offense produced just 16 points.
The pick: Winnipeg won seven of nine road games last season (also 7-2 ATS) and then lost (but covered) in a 32-31 loss at BC in the playoffs. Does that mean the Blue Bombers are the play? Not so fast. The Roughriders have a game under their belts (it's Winnipeg's first game since November of 2016) and the team's "D" put forth an excellent effort. Montreal was held to just 17 points on 16 FDs at home. In a near pick'em contest, I'll make the home team an 8* play.
|06-30-17||Montreal +8.5 v. Edmonton||Top||19-23||Win||100||82 h 52 m||Show|
The set-up: The Montreal Alouettes eked out a 17-16 win in Week 1 at Saskatchewan, while the Edmonton Eskimos edged the BC Lions 30-27 on the road. The two teams meet Friday at the Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton. Montreal QB Darian Durant passed for 233 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Edmonton QB Mike Reilly tortured opposing defenses in 2016 with 5,554 passing yards, as well as finishing second in the league in both TD passes (28) and rushing TDs (9). He passed for 315 yards, two TDs and zero INTs in the three-point win over the Lions.
|06-30-17||BC +1 v. Toronto||Top||28-15||Win||100||79 h 3 m||Show|
The set-up: The BC Lions and Toronto Argonauts meet Friday at the BMO Field in Toronto. The Lions lost 30-27 at home in Week 1 to Edmonton and look for their first victory of the season, tonight. The Lions scored 27 points last week but QB Jonathon Jennings didn't have a TD pass (no INTs, either), while passing for a modest 264 yards. Toronto opened with an easy 32-15 win over Hamilton and while QB Ricky Ray had just one TD pass, he didn't throw an INT, completed 78 percent of his passes and threw for 506 yards!
|06-25-17||Hamilton -3.5 v. Toronto||Top||15-32||Loss||-105||56 h 54 m||Show|
The set-up: The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Toronto Argonauts meet Sunday in CFL action at the BMO Field in Toronto. The Tiger-Cats are hoping for a better season in 2017, after finishing 7-11 last year and then losing 24-21 to Edmonton in the East Semifinal. Hamilton has possibly the best 1-2 QB punch in the league with Zach Collaros and Jeremiah Masoli both playing well last season and proving they can lead the team. However, it looks as if Collaros will be the go-to guy this year now that he's finally healthy. Toronto has nowhere to go but up after finishing with a CFL-worst 5-13 record (Saskatchewan was also 5-13). The Argonauts scored only 383 points last year (21.3), with only Saskatchewan scoring less (350 points). On defense, no team allowed more points than Toronto's 568 (31.6 per). If Ricky Ray stays healthy, Toronto's offense will be in good hands. However, while Ray has more than 54,000 career passing yards, he has played just 12 games the last two years. The fact that the Argonauts lost their top-two receivers from a year ago is also a concern, even though Ray is healthy to open the 2017 season.
|06-22-17||Saskatchewan +7 v. Montreal||Top||16-17||Win||100||31 h 39 m||Show|
The set-up: The Saskatchewan Roughriders (West Division) ended last year with losses in their last three games and finished 5-13. However, they were a much more respectable 9-9 ATS. That said, the Roughriders pretty much have nowhere to go but up. They allowed 530 points (only the East's Toronto allowed more in giving up 568) and no team in the CFL scored fewer points than Saskatchewan's 350. QB Darian Durant, who is a two-time Grey Cup champion, is gone and finding a new starting QB among Kevin Glenn, Brandon Bridge or Marquise Williams will be a priority. The Roughriders open their season in Montreal tonight, against the Alouettes. Montreal plays in the East and despite winning their final three games finished 7-11 last year, a season in which none of the four teams in the East were able to finish with a winning record. Durant, who threw for more than 3,800 yards last season, is now Montreal's starting QB. I'm sure he'd love to have a big game against the ex-teammates.
The pick: It's no surprise that the West is the much tougher division (four of the West's five teams topped .500, with only Saskatchewan under. 500) and Saskatchewan went 7-3 ATS over its last 10 games, overall (4-1 ATS in their last five road games). Having a consistent and reliable QB such as Durant makes Montreal a better team in 2017 but I have no interest in laying points (about a TD) with a team which is 3-9 ATS in its last 12 home games. Make Saskatchewan a 10* play.
|08-04-16||BC v. Montreal +3||Top||38-18||Loss||-108||57 h 25 m||Show|
The set-up: The 3-2 B.C. Lions are second in the five-team West, right behind 3-1-1 Calgary, while the host 2-3 Montreal Alouettes sit last in the four-team East. However, after cruising 41-3 past the Saskatchewan Roughriders the Riders last week, the Alouettes feel as if the team is coming together at it gets set to host the Lions. Meanwhile, two late interceptions cost B.C. last week against Calgary, as the Lions lost 44-41. Still, the Lions are 2-1 SU and 3-0 ATS on the road, in the early going. The pick: The B.C. Lions say they have turned the page following last week’s heartbreaking overtime loss in Calgary but the Lions figure to have a very difficult time bouncing back from allowing 22 fourth-quarter points in their last game, before losing in OT. QB Jonathon Jennings threw for 374 yards and three TDs to go along with 44 rushing yards last week but what the critics will point to is the costly fourth quarter interception, which led to the game-tying points and the one in the end zone to seal the Lions’ fate. Meanwhile, the Alouettes are primed to build of their last game. QB Glenn completed 237 of 36 passes for 299 yards (two TDs / zero INTs) and Montreal added 238 in return yards as well. These clubs split their two meetings last year with the road team winning each time but it’s the home team for us in this one, off last week’s results. 10* play on Montreal.
|07-31-16||Toronto +10.5 v. Ottawa||Top||23-20||Win||100||92 h 33 m||Show|
The Toronto Argonauts are coming off a spirited 30-17 home win over Montreal, and they come into this Sunday's game at Ottawa as a double-digit underdog. The Redblacks are sitting in the top spot in the East, but are coming off their first loss of the season, at the hands of the last place Saskatchewan Roughriders. My money is on Toronto plus the points.
Selection: This is a play on the Toronto Argonauts (10*)
|07-25-16||Montreal +7 v. Toronto||Top||17-30||Loss||-115||164 h 31 m||Show|
The Montreal Alouettes are sitting in last place in the East, trailing Toronto by just one game. The two teams meet tonight at BMO Field, and Toronto is a significant favorite. Montreal has shown plenty of positive signs in just three games so far, and I expect the Als to make a game of it.
|07-22-16||Ottawa v. Saskatchewan +7||Top||29-30||Win||100||93 h 52 m||Show|
The Saskatchewan Roughriders will host the CFL best Ottawa Redblacks at Mosaic Stadium Friday, and the Riders are a big home dog here. Ottawa is still undefeated, while Saskatchewan is 0-3, still in search of it's first win. I'll take the point here as I think the home team isn't getting enough respect.
|07-21-16||Calgary v. Winnipeg +5.5||Top||33-18||Loss||-110||69 h 32 m||Show|
The Calgary Stampeders will take on the Bombers in Winnipeg Thursday night, and only one point separates these teams in the Western Conference standings. The Stamps are coming off a 26-26 draw versus the Redblacks two weeks ago, and should be well rested ahead of tonight's game. The Bombers came up just short in a 20-16 home loss to Edmonton, but they look good getting points here at home tonight.
|07-14-16||Edmonton -3 v. Winnipeg||Top||20-16||Win||100||77 h 53 m||Show|
The defending Grey Cup champions will play their third game of the season on the road at Winnipeg, and the Bombers have lost two of their first three games so far. The Eskies offense has been firing on all cylinders, scoring a total of 76 points in just two games. I think Edmonton will prove to be too much for the Bombers defense to handle.
Selection: This is a play on the Edmonton Eskimos (10*)
|07-13-16||Ottawa +1 v. Toronto||Top||30-20||Win||100||52 h 43 m||Show|
The Ottawa Redblacks come into Toronto tonight as the CFL's only undefeated team. The Argos have bounced back from a poor performance in their home opener, winning back-to-back games on the road at B.C. and Saskatchewan. This looks like it could be a shootout, and my money is on the visitors.
Selection: This is a play on the Ottawa Redblacks (10*)