Ticats moneyline marks the spot; Manziel questionable for Alouettes

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Welcome to Week 11 of the Canadian Football League

Edmonton at Hamilton: The Edmonton Eskimos got the benefit of facing the league worst Montreal Alouettes last week and the result was a 40-24 blowout win but it didn’t come without some concerns for the Esks. The defense was once again lackluster allowing a QB making his first ever CFL start (on the road to boot) to move the football with a great deal of precision and effectiveness against them.

 The Als offense racked up 275 total yards which all things considered was a good night for them. The schedule makers did Edmonton absolutely no favors here with the Eskimos facing a very quick turnaround from Saturday night’s home win against Montreal as they will be forced to travel all the way out east to Hamilton to face the Ticats here on Thursday night making this a very short week of practice and prep time for the road team. 

Hamilton is fresh and rested coming out of their bye week to host Edmonton here. Their last game action was a tough 29-23 road loss to Winnipeg in a game where penalties and turnovers really cost the Ticats a win. They outgained the Blue Bombers by 120 yards but couldn’t overcome all the mistakes. The bye week came at a good time for Hamilton because they have been dealing with some key injuries but they are hopeful to get defensive back A.C. Leonard and WR Jalen Saunders back for this game. 

Ticats head coach June Jones will have ample time to throw some tricks and winkles into the playbook for this game which is something he has often liked doing. Edmonton is just 1-3 ATS on the road this season and that lone road pointspread cover was against Montreal and to me this scheduling spot is too tricky for me to recommend anything other than Hamilton as you couldn’t ask for a better setup for the home team nor much worse of a spot for the road team.

Best Bet – Hamilton ML -125. Note: I have opted to bet the moneyline here rather than laying -1.5 or -2 points.

Toronto at Montreal: Another week and another loss for the Montreal Alouettes at the hands of Edmonton as they now fall to a CFL worst 1-8 on the season. Antonio Pipkin made his first ever CFL start at QB for Montreal after just a couple practices after Johnny Manziel was ruled out of playing in that game due to being in concussion protocol. Pipkin actually didn’t play that bad considering the tough circumstances he was in but once again the Alouettes defense was a complete and utter failure. 

Montreal surrendered 40 points for the 4th time this season in 9 games and this horrendous stop unit remains truly incapable of shutting down or even neutralizing any offense in this league. The defense can’t generate a pass rush and can’t cover receivers down the field on a weekly basis and these problems keep repeating themselves. Toronto on the other hand is starting to get some swagger back after a rough start to the season. 

Johnny Manziel may return from his concussion and start in this game if he is ready but that has yet to be determined. Since starting out 1-5, Toronto has won B2B games in comeback fashion defeating Ottawa and BC. Don’t look now but the Argos are now 2-0 since McLeod Bethel-Thompson took over the reins as their starting QB. Bethel-Thompson has shown a very important ability to make clutch plays at key times and he made big plays in both comeback bids for the Argos. 

The bye week paid dividends prior to the BC game as head coach Marc Trestman designed a solid game plan offensively to showcase the strengths of Bethel-Thompson and also got RB James Wilder Jr. involved early and often. Montreal games have gone OVER the total in three of the last four weeks and that isn’t by accident. OVER

Winnipeg at Calgary: Neither of these teams is likely going to be in a good mood when these two West Division foes square off in Calgary on Saturday. The Blue Bombers had their win streak snapped in an ugly loss to Ottawa while the Stampeders saw their undefeated start to the season come to an end in Saskatchewan against the Roughriders. 

Winnipeg was a flat and lethargic football team from start to finish in their loss to Ottawa last week getting outgained by 80 yards in a 44-21 loss. The defense got gashed both on the ground and through the air by Trevor Harris and the Redblacks offense. Things got so bad that QB Matt Nichols after the game called out the Winnipeg fans at the game for booing him in the latter stages. 

Nevertheless, Winnipeg has typically been a good bounce back team following a bad game as their 4-0 ATS record off a loss indicates in their last 4 tries in that role. However, Calgary has been the king of not allowing one bad performance to turn into another one and it has been that way consistently every single season for the Stamps. 

Calgary dropped to 7-1 last week in their 40-27 loss in Saskatchewan as offense, defense and special teams all let the Stamps down as Calgary was guilty of making mistakes and playing poorly in all three phases of the game. 

I’d expect a much different and more intense Calgary team off that type of loss and it should set us up for a very good game to watch here but a tricky one to bet especially because once again there are no bargains to be had on Calgary laying more than a TD and it’s worth noting the Stampeders are 1-3 ATS in their last 4 games indicative that the betting markets are on to this team being the class of the league.

Saskatchewan at BC: One of these teams is likely to be left out of the playoffs making this a very important game between the Saskatchewan Roughriders who with their impressive win against Calgary improved to 4-4 and the BC Lions whose tough, down to the wire loss in Toronto last week dropped them to 3-5 on the season. 

When BC beat Edmonton at home two weeks ago, the defense played its best half of the season in the second half of that win. The defense took a bit of a step back last week as the Lions had trouble containing the Toronto offense in the second half as consistency remains a problem for BC who are still seeking B2B wins for the first time this season. The BC offense was solid although QB Travis Lulay struggled in the 4th Qtr with the game on the line which ultimately proved to be BC’s undoing. 

However, the greater problem with BC is the defense which is still seeking to play a strong game for all four quarters. Saskatchewan’s offense was a big question mark to me going into last week off a bye with Zach Collaros making only his second start back since returning from injury and on the heels of the release of star WR Duron Carter. However, Saskatchewan ended putting forth one of their best offensive performances of the season and it came against the CFL’s best defensive team.

Collaros looked confident and other weapons at receiver especially Jordan Williams-Lambert and Shaq Evans stepped up and had huge games for the Riders and showed the coaching staff their potential to adequately fill the void left by the departure of Carter. BC is a small home favorite here which is right where my numbers had this game as well. 

Saskatchewan certainly has the superior defense which is an intriguing betting proposition considering their underdog status in this game but the question is can they withstand prosperity after a massive win which handed the league’s only previous undefeated team their first loss of the season? We’ll find out a lot about both teams here.

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