Here’s the slate of Week 13 games in the Canadian Football League.
BC -2 vs. Ottawa (52): Schizophrenia has been the word of the CFL season so far. Most teams have been up and down like yo-yo’s in terms of their week-to-week performance level and these two teams squaring off on Friday night to kickoff Week 13 fit that mold. Ottawa crushed a solid Winnipeg team, putting up over 40 points in the process on the road, and followed it up with a dismal and horrendous performance, particularly on offense, losing at home 21-11 to the team with the worst record in the CFL, the Montreal Alouettes, as hefty 16.5 point home favorites. Ottawa will attempt to rebound here in BC against the Lions.
The good news for the Redblacks is they have done well against BC notching victories in three straight meetings. However, the offense remains inconsistent despite the abundance of talent that Ottawa has at the skill positions. BC checks in off a bye week, giving them a chance to hit the reset button with the Lions sitting dead last in the tough and competitive West Division.
BC needs to get their offense going. It showed some positive signs in QB Travis Lulay’s first few starts since replacing Jonathon Jennings but the Lions were held to 44 points combined in losses to Toronto and Saskatchewan in their last two games before the bye. BC lost 27-18 to Calgary on the road in their lone previous game following a bye week earlier this season but they did cover the number as double digit road underdogs. BC is 3-1 SU and ATS at home this season. OVER 52
Hamilton -5 at Toronto 52.5: This game is the first of three Labor Day weekend rematches taking place in the CFL in Week 13. Hamilton defeated Toronto 42-28 on Monday night at home covering as 8.5 point home favorites in a game they were clearly the superior team. Fourteen of Toronto’s points came off turnovers but in terms of moving the football up and down the field, Hamilton’s offense, led by QB Jeremiah Masoli, had their way with what has been a subpar Toronto defense for the majority of the season.
The Argos gave up 543 total yards while gaining just 221 total yards, which indicates the statistical dominance for the Ticats in this game. Toronto’s stop unit is ranked either 8th or 9th (last) in the CFL in every major category. Toronto Argos QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson has not been able to follow up his good performances at home when going on the road. He led Toronto to two comeback wins at home against Ottawa and BC but has managed just 459 passing yards in the last two games, both road losses, going 0-2 SU and ATS at Montreal and Hamilton.
One injury note out of last week’s encounter between these two rivals is Hamilton WR Jalen Saunders who left the game with a knee injury and may not be able to return for Saturday’s rematch in Toronto. This becomes a massive game for Toronto in the East Division chase as a loss here would push them three games behind Hamilton for 2nd and they would lose the head-to-head tiebreaker as well. Toronto has won B2B home games and will need to hope their recent success at BMO Field continues here.
Saskatchewan +3.5 at Winnipeg (53): I endured a tough defeat with my Best Bet in Week 12 last week as I took Winnipeg +3.5 against Saskatchewan in a game where the Blue Bombers fell short and ultimately lost, 31-23. Saskatchewan had an INT return on defense which set them up at the one-yard line and a punt return TD for 14 of their points, which ended up proving to be costly for Winnipeg. In the 4th Qtr with the game on the line, Saskatchewan emerged as the team that made all the key plays on both sides of the football.
QB Zach Collaros and the Riders offense put up points when they had to while Winnipeg’s offense continued its recent pattern of not producing with the game on the line, sending them to their third consecutive loss, marking the first time the Blue Bombers have lost three straight games since 2015.
The passing game in particular has been a problem area for Winnipeg and Sunday’s loss was proof that without RB Andrew Harris and his production there wasn’t a whole lot else happening positively for the offense. Saskatchewan is getting hot at the right time of the season as last weekend’s home win against Winnipeg was their third straight win and fourth straight pointspread cover.
The defense keeps making plays for Saskatchewan at critical times and they rank 2nd or 3rd in rush, pass and total yards allowed per game. Winnipeg is in revenge mode at home laying 3.5 points. Winnipeg played well enough to win last week but simply didn’t play well on either side of the football in the 4th Qtr, which has now been their main problem in each of their last two games against Calgary and Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is hot (and they are the underdog here) and Winnipeg is making this no bargain to back the avenging Blue Bombers side in this game.
Calgary -3 at Edmonton (53.5): The Calgary Stampeders overcome a late deficit and an injury to QB Bo Levi Mitchell that he kept playing through to come back and beat the Edmonton Eskimos on a last second game winning FG, notching a 23-20 win last week. Mitchell sustained the injury to his left knee in the 3rd Qtr but only missed one drive and came back on the field with a brace on that knee. Mitchell eventually helped the Stamps to a come-from-behind victory, marking their seventh straight win on Labor Day against Edmonton.
Calgary also lost one of their top receivers, Kamar Jorden, to injury and Edmonton also lost their top WR Derel Walker in the loss. Edmonton’s defense was their primary area of concern early in the season but lately it’s been their offense, which when clicking can be one of the best offenses in the CFL, that has sputtered. Edmonton was shutout in the second half of their loss in Hamilton to the Ticats two weeks ago and the Eskimos only mustered 3 points in the second half of this game.
The potential long-term absence of Walker could be a big one for Edmonton as he is QB Mike Reilly’s best deep threat in the passing game and would require more production from the likes of Duke Williams and Kenny Stafford at wide receiver for the Eskimos. The Calgary defense continues to be strong as the Stamps are the CFL league leaders in total yards, rushing yards and points per game allowed and completely shut down a very potent Eskimos offense throughout the entire second half.
The Eskimos offense two weeks in a row has been figured by their opponent coming out of halftime and it will be incumbent upon head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Maas to make better adjustments to keep this offense productive in the latter half of games.
Calgary found a way to sweep both ends of the home-and-home series against Edmonton last year on Labor Day weekend and the following week; and much like Winnipeg, Edmonton has not shown up and played their best in the 4th Qtr, making them a tough team to trust in a pointspread range such as this where the Eskimos have to win the game straight up or come very close to doing so in order to cash a ticket.