Last Updated: 2019-08-25
Dominique Davis did us in early last night, throwing three first-quarter interceptions in his six passing attempts for the game, and Ottawa was down 20-0. To the Redblacks’ credit they fought their way back into the game and still had a chance for the backdoor cover until their fifth turnover of the game led to a Saskatchewan TD in the final minutes and handed us the loss. Expect Jonathon Jennings to be named Ottawa’s starter when the team returns to action after a bye week.
An early start for today’s CFL game, which begins at noon EST, as Montreal faces Toronto in what’s billed as Touchdown Atlantic and the first meeting of the year between the two teams. The Alouettes are favored by 7 and the total is 54.
The game will be played at Croix-Bleue Medavie Stadium, in Moncton, N.B., which is on the campus of the University of Moncton, so it’s not a home game for either team, but is probably the equivalent of the NFL visiting Mexico City. Montreal is a little over 600 miles from Moncton, while it’s 932 miles from Toronto.
Zach Collaros is still injured for Toronto and James Franklin is out, so the Argos will again turn to McLeod Bethel-Thompson at quarterback no matter how hard they try to replace him. He’s made it a little harder to do that the past couple of weeks, throwing for 543 yards and five touchdowns against zero interceptions and added 82 yards on the ground.
My man Vernon Adams is off one of his best weeks in his career, leading Montreal to an overtime victory against Calgary in which he threw for 407 yards and two TDs, but was also picked off twice early. He added a pair of rushing TDs and has seven on the season, the same number of TD passes he has. But the game has to be a huge confidence boost for Adams, who previously would have been benched after throwing a pair of early picks.
Tough game to call here, as my numbers are home and away and don’t really have a method of predicting neutral field games, which is the case in this one.
The Argos have played a little better the past few weeks, while Montreal is still a little difficult to trust as touchdown favorites, so will go ahead and take a shot on the Argos +7 in this one.
END OF AUG. 25 PICKS
Two games on today’s Canadian Football League schedule, with a pair of rematches that will have a tough time living up to the first meeting.
Ottawa at Saskatchewan: The Redblacks took a 44-41 victory back in Week 2 in a game that saw more than 900 yards of total offense, but Ottawa has had a tough time trying to duplicate that effort, as they’ve scored 20 or more points just once in seven games since that one. Last week was especially dismal, as they fell to Hamilton 21-7 in a game that saw quarterback Dominique Davis get benched. The former East Carolina quarterback has just two TDs and seven interceptions since that first meeting. The Roughriders are rolling along and have won five of six since that game, but do have a home-and-home series with Winnipeg next week, so perhaps a bit of looking ahead on the part of Saskatchewan, although the loss in the first meeting should help nullify that to an extent.
The Roughriders are favored by 10 with a total of 48.5 and I have the Roughriders winning this one by a 25-18 finals, so will take a shot with the Redblacks as double-digit underdogs in this one.
Hamilton at British Columbia: The Tiger-Cats took a 35-34 decision a few weeks ago, rallying in the fourth quarter for the victory, and are now favored by 3.5 points on the road with a total of 48. Dane Evans was decent at quarterback for the Tigers-Cats, throwing for 300 yards, but was also picked-off twice. He didn’t rush the ball, which is a bit of a surprise in the CFL, but the team may have told him to be a little careful after the loss of Jeremiah Masoli.
It’s been a disappointing season for British Columbia, who is just 1-8 straight-up and 2-7 against the spread. While quarterback Mike Reilly is going to get the bulk of the criticism, which happens after you sign as a free agent, it’s the BC defense that has been atrocious all year, allowing 30 or more points in eight of the team’s nine games so far this season. Their lone win came in the game where the defense showed up in an 18-17 victory over Toronto. I have this one 29-24 for the Tiger-Cats, but will just sit this one out and see how the game transpires.
END OF AUG. 24 PICKS
Still laboring in the CFL with a 12-17 record, after going 1-1 in each of the last two weeks, so you know things are going bad when you can split and see your winning percentage increase.
As I mentioned in our power ratings update, one of the things that has made this season a bit of a challenge is the number of quarterback injuries that have transpired and look no farther than tonight’s game to see a pretty big one, as Winnipeg’s Matt Nichols is going to miss the next four to six games with an injury suffered against British Columbia last week.
Chris Streveler will get the start for the Bombers in his place and after having a decent rookie season, he’s been pretty bad in mop-up duty this season, throwing one touchdown and being picked off three times after throwing 11 TDs against five picks a year ago. Getting first-team reps all week should help him a little bit, even if it is a little bit of a short week.
Winnipeg still leads the West with a 7-2 record and one of those victories was a 28-21 win over the Eskimos in which Nichols threw three touchdown passes. He did have just 200 yards passing, as Edmonton dominated the stats, holding a 445 to 283 total yardage advantage and a 12:40 time of possession advantage, but were stopped on down three times. But the biggest difference was Edmonton being forced to settle for seven field goals, while the Bombers scored four touchdowns.
The Eskimos are favored by 7 and the total is just 46.5, as the game features the two best defensive teams in the league, while Edmonton leads the league in a lot of the passing categories, with Trevor Harris leading the league in completions, attempts and yards, with the Eskimos throwing the ball 40 times per game.
The game also features the top two rushers in the CFL in Andrew Harris for the Bombers, and Edmonton’s CJ Gable, but it would serve the Bombers a little more if they can get the ground game going.
My numbers have Winnipeg winning this one 28-25, although you do have to factor in the loss of Nichols, but not so sure that’s going to be enough for the Eskimos to cover the touchdown spread. Tough game to get a read on, but will go ahead and take Winnipeg plus the points and hope to see the defense and the running game do what they’re capable of.
END OF AUG. 23 PICKS
A pair of games in the CFL today, where a couple of start quarterbacks are out in Jeremiah Masoli and Bo Levi Mitchell, depriving me of the chance to see a couple of former Eastern Washington quarterbacks going at it in the late game.
Hamilton at Ottawa: The Tiger-Cats are favored by 2 and the total on this one is 48.5, although that’s not factoring in the absence of Masoli, although as good as he is, not quite so sure he’s worth as much as he’s being credited for. I have the Tiger-Cats winning this one 32-23. Former Tulsa Hurricane quarterback Dane Evans looked decent for the Tiger-Cats last week, guiding his team to a 35-34 victory over British Columbia, but Hamilton shouldn’t have been in a position where they needed to rally for the win over a hapless Lions team. While there are a number of new players on both teams this season, Ottawa knocked the Tiger-Cats out of the playoffs last season, so this is a pretty big revenge game for the ‘Cats. Ottawa’s Dominique Davis hasn’t done a whole lot of good things this season, partly because he simply hasn’t had the time to throw and even though Masoli is out, Hamilton owns the better defense of the two teams, so will take a shot on the Tiger-Cats here.
Montreal at Calgary: The Alouettes see the return of quarterback Vernon Adams for this one, while Stampeders quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is still, so we’ll see another start from Nick Arbuckle, who has done a solid job. The Stampeders are favored by 5 and the total here is 49.5. Montreal hasn’t won a game without Adams this season and he’s a huge improvement over the other two quarterbacks on the Alouettes roster, but leading rusher William Stanbeck is going to be out for this one again. I have Calgary winning 29-16, so surprised this line is so low, even though the Stamps are 4-7 ATS after a loss since 2017. Half of Calgary’s eight games have been decided by four points or less this season and the Stampeders do begin a home-and-home series with Edmonton next, so not really a great spot for them in this one. Will just stay away from this one, which is a bit of a tough call from a handicapping perspective.
END OF AUG. 17 PICKS
Just one game in the CFL tonight, where we are still limping along with an 11-16 record after a dismal start to the season, as British Columbia visits Winnipeg and the Blue Bombers are favored by 10 with a total of 52.5. The Bombers were favored by 11 earlier this morning.
The Lions’ defense has been bad all season, as just once have they held the opposition to fewer than 33 points and that was against Toronto, the worst offensive team in the league. That also happens to be the only game they’ve won this year. Last week, British Columbia scored 34 points and it still wasn’t enough, as Hamilton rallied from a 15-point deficit in the fourth quarter.
British Columbia has played a little better than their record indicates, but have come unglued in the fourth quarter in a couple of games. The Lions have not outscored a team in the fourth quarter all season.
This isn’t an ideal spot for Winnipeg, however, as the Bombers are coming off a tough win against Calgary and have Edmonton on tap. Winnipeg did defeat British Columbia 33-23 in the opening game of the season, so there’s definitely the potential for a letdown.
The Bombers are 2-0 as a home favorite of 10 or more points, while the Lions have gone 2-0 as double-digit underdogs, losing by four and by one, so something will have to give. Double-digit favorites are 5-7 and 55-60-1 over the years.
I have this one 36-18 for Winnipeg and it’s a bit of a tough game to get a feel for. The numbers say to take the Bombers, but the situation isn’t very good for Winnipeg, while the Lions’ defense makes taking the points tough to stomach, as they haven’t got the job done.
The first half line has Winnipeg favored by 6.5 with a total of 26.5, which is pretty much what you’d expect; maybe the Bombers -6 in the half after the move in the full game line. For the season, teams are averaging 13.3 points in the first half of games and 11.7 in the second, so the first halves have seen a bit more scoring.
The Bombers score 19.6 points in the first half, while allowing 10.1 and the Lions score 13.6, while allowing 15.6, so both teams have had a tendency to play higher-scoring games than the league average. It was 17-14 at the half when the teams met in Week 1, so going to take a shot on the first half over in this one.
END OF AUG. 15 PICKS
Strange night last night, as the Saskatchewan game was called with three minutes remaining in the third quarter per CFL Weather Protocol. Some sportsbooks declared Saskatchewan a winner, while others used the infamous 55-minute rule, which requires football games to go 55 minutes, so we’ll call it no action for record keeping purposes.
The CFL week wraps up with the game between the British Columbia Lions and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, where the home team is favored by 11.5 and the total on the game is 51.
The Lions weren’t expecting to be sitting at 1-6 after signing Mike Reilly at quarterback as a free agent and most likely thought they’d be in the mix for the playoffs, but things have been pretty dismal for British Columbia so far, as the offensive line has been atrocious, and Reilly has been under pressure much of the time.
As a result, the Lions are having too many 2-and-outs, which leaves their defense on the field far too much, and it’s showing, as the Lions have allowed 33 or more points in six of their seven games, including 83 points the last two weeks in a home-and-home series with Saskatchewan.
The Lions have promised some moves on the offensive line, but it’s unclear how much that’s going to help, as replacing a bad player with another bad player isn’t likely to produce different results.
Hamilton is still getting used to life after Jeremiah Masoli, as the former Oregon Duck is out for the rest of the season and Dane Evans did a decent job in his first start. The former Tulsa quarterback completed 19 of 29 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown and added 35 yards on the ground in four carries. But still, he’s no Masoli, but that’s not really a knock on Evans, but more of a testament to how Masoli runs the Tiger-Cats’ offense.
My numbers have this one 34-19 for Hamilton, although Masoli is worth a few points, so basically we’re right around the number on both the side and the total.
The Lions do have a couple of trends in their favor as teams who have allowed at least 35 points in each of their last two games have gone 49-24-2 ATS in their next contest, although away dogs haven’t fared quite as well, going 17-12-1. Away dogs who allowed 40 or more points their previous game are 35-28-2 against the number and double-digit away dogs with at least 12 days between games are 4-2 against the number.
Double-digit favorites off a straight-up loss have just gone 17-23 against the number, so while the majority of the trends aren’t exceptional, they do seem to be pointing to the Lions, so will take a shot on the away dog in this one.
END OF AUG. 10 PICKS
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