Here’s a preview of this week’s Canadian Football League schedule.
Ottawa -7.5 at Calgary (56.5): Ottawa won its season opener in blowout fashion by a score of 40-17 with the Redblacks offense under QB Trevor Harris looking sharp, piling up 345 passing yards to go along with 114 yards on the ground against a Saskatchewan defense that looked thoroughly dominant previously in a Week 1, 27-19 victory against the defending Grey Cup champion Toronto Argonauts.
Calgary is 2-0 to begin the season so it’s been more of the same for a Stamps squad that has perennially won 13 or more games during the regular season.
Situationally, a slight edge to Ottawa who have been off since last Thursday while Calgary had to play in Toronto on Saturday night, making this a bit of a short week for the home team. OTTAWA
Winnipeg +4.5 at Hamilton (55.5): The Winnipeg Blue Bombers rolled right over the hapless Montreal Alouettes last week with a 56-10 win as very short favorites and the game was every bit as lopsided as the score suggests. The Winnipeg defense struggled against Edmonton’s high powered offense but shut down Montreal’s anemic offense last week so the answer as to how good the Bombers stop unit is probably lies somewhere in between.
This matchup against a good Hamilton offense with QB Jeremiah Masoli at the controls and June Jones head coach/OC calling the plays should pose a good challenge for this still evolving Winnipeg defense. Masoli was a shining light for the Ticats in an impressive 38-21 road win in Edmonton against the Eskimos last week. If the weather proves to be decent in Hamilton take OVER, which is 13-3 in Winnipeg’s last 16 road games.
BC Lions +6.5 at Edmonton (54): The BC Lions are this week’s CFL team entering off a bye week. The Lions played in Week 1 and took care of business against the dreadful Montreal Alouettes picking up a 22-10 home win. Edmonton won their season opener in Winnipeg, 33-30, but couldn’t follow it up in a very poor defensive performance, and penalty filled one, against Hamilton last week as the Eskimos went down to defeat, 38-21, losing outright as 7 point home favorites.
Neither QB Mike Reilly nor the potent Eskimos offense were as sharp but lack of discipline also cost the Eskimos big time as they were flagged a ton of times, especially on defense. BC QB Jonathon Jennings still has a lot to prove in what could be his “make or break” season as a No. 1 QB in this league. Edmonton is 4-1 SU and ATS in the last five meetings against BC since 2016. EDMONTON
Montreal +10.5 at Saskatchewan (46): The Montreal Alouettes have been a trainwreck the last few years. It hit a new low last season as they finished a dismal 2017 season at 3-13 SU, 4-14 ATS including a horrific and embarrassing 0-11 SU and ATS finish to the season. The Alouettes are on a remarkable run of failure: 0-13 SU and ATS in their last 13 regular season games dating back to the middle of last season. The question now is not whether you want to bet Montreal at this time (clearly nobody will want to) but whether or not the number and the pointspread, the great equalizer, have finally caught up with how bad and dysfunctional this Montreal Alouettes team truly is. It’s become clear the betting markets haven’t caught up in their last 13 games.
Montreal was slight +2 home underdogs last week in spite of their epic run of futility ATS and now they are catching double digits on the road against Saskatchewan for this Saturday night matchup. Is the adjustment enough? That is the ultimate question.
I am not sure it is. Saskatchewan is 1-1 but their one home game was an impressive showing in beating up Toronto. They were blown out in Ottawa last week but also had to deal with losing their starting QB Zach Collaros during the game, who was subsequently replaced by Brandon Bridge. Collaros has a head injury and is questionable for Saturday so the Riders QB situation is up in the air for this game.
Nevertheless, the betting markets have not only been wrong but dead wrong for over three months on how bad this Montreal team is.
Until I see evidence they have correctly adjusted to the sheer ineptitude of this football team, I am compelled to keep betting against the Alouettes just like I did last week and have been doing for a while now, especially considering 12 of Montreal’s 13 consecutive SU and ATS losses have been by margins of 12 points or more. The one thing Saskatchewan showed in Week 1 at home was a ferocious and dominant defense.
The Riders stop unit took a step backward last week in Ottawa, but now playing back at home on one of the strongest home fields in the CFL against a very weak offense, I think this is the spot and the matchup for “Riderville” to get their swagger back in a big way.
Best Bet: SASKATCHEWAN