Thankfully the end of the CFL season is upon us with the playing of the Grey Cup on Sunday, which is the CFL equivalent of the Super Bowl. We’re 28-35 on the season, which is a huge disappointment after the past few seasons, as never really could get untracked all year. Sure, the injuries to every starting quarterback in the league didn’t help, but that’s no excuse for such an ugly performance. We have chipped away a little bit the past few weeks, going 5-2 in the playoffs, which is all you can really try to do when you get yourself in a good-sized hole.
That said, it’s quite as dismal as it may look at first glance, as we still have the Blue Bombers going on our season wager, even though they find themselves 3.5-point underdogs to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the game. The total dropped down to 51.5 from 52 today.
Mike O’Shea and Orlondo Steinauer, the two coaches, are former teammates and know a little about each other and both teams show some of their coaches’ tendencies, so it could be a pretty decent game to watch on ESPN2.
Hamilton didn’t miss a beat after Dane Evans took over for the injured Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback and if he stays in Hamilton, we’ll have a major quarterback controversy next season. But that’s in the future and right now Hamilton is only worried about Sunday., where they will try to make it three straight wins over Winnipeg this season, winning 23-15 at home and then taking a 33-13 win at Winnipeg, which was the game the Blue Bombers realized they weren’t going to get far with Chris Streveler at quarterback, although he did have one of his better statistical games, but it still was the team’s fourth loss in five games with him under center.
It wasn’t more than two weeks after that game the Blue Bombers traded for Zach Collaros on the final day to make trades in the CFL. He led Winnipeg to a victory over Calgary late in Octobers and has gotten significant playing time since then, with Streveler primarily coming in on running downs, since he is by far the better runner of the two.
Since we have the Blue Bombers to win the Grey Cup going, will stay away from the game, but those who also have Winnipeg to win the Cup could look to hedge some of their wagers, either straight-up by taking Hamilton on the moneyline. Taking the Tiger-Cats on the spread could backfire if Hamilton wins by three points, so if you want to guarantee a profit on the game, you’re pretty much stuck with the moneyline and laying the -170 for a couple of units to ensure you pick up a few units on the game.
Looking at the total, it’s a bit interesting that the total came out as high as it did after the teams played two lower-scoring games and the fact that Hamilton has the best defense in the league. However, Winnipeg is getting solid play from Collaros and when the Bombers are clicking they can put up points on the board. With the weather expected to be somewhat nice, at least by Calgary standards in November, will take a stab on the over 51.5 in the Grey Cup.
END OF NOV. 24 PICKS
We split last week in the CFL playoffs and are down to the final three games of the year, beginning with the conference finals today and then the Grey Cup. Been an ugly season in the CFL, and football in general so far this year, but can just plug away and hope things get better.
Edmonton at Hamilton: A lot of people wrote off the Tiger-Cats after the season-ending injury to Jeremiah Masoli, but the Hamilton defense took charge and helped lead the team to a 15-3 record, best in the CFL. Dane Evans was solid at quarterback and didn’t make the mistakes that could cost his team games, which is one reason why Hamilton is favored by 6.5 in this one and the total on the game is 50.
Trevor Harris won’t find the Hamilton defense as inviting as he did last week in Montreal, when he completed 36 of 39 passes for 421 yards and hit 22 straight completions in the first half.
Hamilton was undefeated at home during the year and defeated Edmonton both times the teams met during the regular season, winning 30-27 in Edmonton and then thumping the Eskimos 42-12 at home.
It’s going to be cold, after all this is Canada in November, but it doesn’t look as though we’re going to see adverse weather, so will take a shot on the over 50 in this one.
Winnipeg at Saskatchewan: The Roughriders are favored by 3 and the total is 44.5, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers visit in the Western Finals. Winnipeg was my early choice to win it all, but the team definitely missed Matt Nichols after he was injured, as Chris Streveler isn’t that good a passer, which is a must in the CFL. Last week, the Bombers used Zach Collaros and Streveler at quarterback and it worked, as they pulled the upset against Calgary. Collaros completed just 11 of 21 passes, but he did throw for 191 yards and a touchdown, while Strevler did what he does best and carried 13 times for 82 yards and didn’t throw a pass. Expect more of the same today, although Streveler may throw a few times to keep the ‘Riders’ defense honest.
Saskatchewan had a solid season and won two of the three games against Winnipeg this season, but think Winnipeg has the better overall team and if they can get some production from the passing game, have a solid chance of pulling off another upset, so will take Winnipeg +3 (-105) in this one.
END OF NOV. 17 PICKS
A rare winning week in the CFL last week and now we’ll hit the first round of the playoffs, where we have two games on tap and next week will be the conference finals. Still, a dismal 26-35 in the CFL this season, as I wasn’t able to adjust enough for backup quarterbacks after all nine starters were knocked out of games at some point of the season.
Edmonton at Montreal: The Edmonton Eskimos advanced to the playoffs as a cross-over team, meaning they had a better record than the third-place team in the East. Six of the nine CFL teams advance to the playoffs, three from each division, but if the fourth-place team in one division has a better record than the third-place team from the other division, they “cross-over” and take that spot in the playoffs, which is why Edmonton is in the East as far as playoff bracketing goes.
The Eskimos were 8-10 during the season and 3-6 on the road, with all three wins coming against the non-playoff teams. After starting the season 6-3, the Eskimos finished on a 2-7 run, which is why they’re on the road.
After an ugly season last year, the Alouettes are back in the playoffs and much of that has to do with the play of Vernon Adams, who actually started the season as the No. 2 quarterback and was called on after Antonio Pipken was injured in the opening game. The fact that Pipken was named the starter over Adams is one reason I won’t jump on the Khari Jones bandwagon as being a great coach.
Montreal was 4-1 straight-up as a favorite, but just 1-4 against the spread, although they’re just favored by 2 in this one with a total of 50. Believe Montreal gets the win in this spot, so will take the Alouettes -2.
Winnipeg at Calgary: The Stampeders are favored by 5.5 in this one and the total is down to 48. The Stampeders had a chance to claim the No. 1 spot in the West but were upset by Winnipeg and Montreal down the stretch, which knocked them down to No. 2. The loss to Winnipeg was particularly painful, as the Stampeders had a 9-point lead entering the fourth quarter, but were outscored 10-0.
Still, Calgary was 8-2 in its final 10 games, so it’s not as though they’re falling apart or anything. On paper, the Stampeders are the better team, especially with Winnipeg QB Matt Nichols out, s Chris Streveler hasn’t been very impressive throwing the ball, but he can run, which makes up for some of his ineffectiveness.
These two teams have a habit of playing close games and with the Bombers 6-1 ATS as an underdog this season, going to have to take Winnipeg +5.5.
END OF NOV. 10 PICKS
A rare win in the CFL last night and now a trio of games, but it wouldn’t be the CFL this season without some sort of quarterback issue and this week it’s Cody Fajardo, who may not be able to start for Saskatchewan in a game the ‘Riders need to clinch the West.
Edmonton at Saskatchewan: The teams played week and it was the Roughriders who came away with a 27-24 victory on the final play of the game to put themselves in position to wrap-up the West title and have the West Final played at home. Fajardo is expected to be a game-time decision. Quarterback won’t be an issue for Edmonton, who left starter Trevor Harris off of the active roster for this one, not wanting to do anything that could jeopardize his health. Instead, they’ll turn the ball over to Logan Killgore, who will be without one of his better targets in Greg Ellingson, who is also on the one-game injured list. The line has dropped from Saskatchewan -10 to -9.5, although there are still 10s out there if you want to lay -120. Instead, will take a shot on the under 47.
Toronto at Hamilton: The Tiger-Cats are favored by 11.5 and the total is 53 on this one, a game in which Hamilton has nothing to play for, as they’ve sewn up the East title and will host the winner of next week’s Montreal vs. Edmonton contest. Hamilton is resting a number of starters, including quarterback Dane Evans and a couple of the team’s top receivers. The Argonauts will likely get some different players into the game, which makes them also a bit risky in this spot. The total is on the high side, especially when you factor in that Hamilton has the best defense in the league. Will just stay away from this one.
Calgary at British Columbia: The Stampeders are favored by 7.5 with a total of 46 in a game they need to win to finish No. 2 in the West and clinch a home game in the playoffs. Mike Reilly won’t be playing in this one for British Columbia, so a little surprised the line isn’t higher here, as the Lions have nothing to play for and Danny O’Brien was pretty average two weeks ago before the Lions had a bye last week. Have to take the Stampeders in this one and lay the points. Also took Calgary -4.5 in the first half, so two different wagers on the Stamps.
END OF NOV. 2 PICKS
Thankfully the CFL regular season is coming to a close, as it’s been a dismal season for me. After the past couple of seasons was certainly expecting a little better this season, but things don’t always go according to plan in the world of sports betting.
Just one game on the slate tonight, as Montreal visits Ottawa in what is essentially a meaningless game, as the Alouettes will be hosting Edmonton in the first round of the playoffs next, while the Redblacks will be cleaning out their lockers for the season after the game.
Montreal is favored by 9 and the total is 51, while the Alouettes are favored by 5.5 with a first-half total of 25.5.
Montreal’s primary task in this one is to come out of the game healthy, but they do want to see Vernon Adams throw for 184 yards to give him 4,000 for the season. He didn’t play the entire game last week and I don’t expect him to do so again, even though the Alouettes will probably come out throwing often to give him a shot at the milestone, but they’re not about to take too many chances with their QB, as they have little chance of doing anything in the postseason without Adams.
Montreal tends to start out a bit on the slow side, as they average just 6.7 points in the first half on the road, while allowing 13, while the Redblacks average 9 points and allow 13.2, but have to think this game is a little bit different, with the Alouettes throwing frequently. Not sure if they will have success or not, but Montreal would love to see Adams get 180 yards in the first half and let him sit on the bench in the second half. The Alouettes are also resting a few other players or will play some starters sparingly.
For Ottawa, the Redblacks have been dismal regardless of location and a little bit worse on the road, so expecting to see them at least put forth some effort. Davis gets the starts at quarterback after missing some time due to injury and ineffectiveness and for him it’s essentially an audition for a job next year, as Ottawa will go out and find a better option for its starter.
Taking a stab on the first-half over here, as I think Montreal will do all they can to help Adams get his yards and with a few defensive starters on the bench, believe Ottawa will make a few plays.
END OF NOV. 1 PICKS
Another stinker in the CFL on Friday, as the game went over the total in the fourth quarter, putting us on the wrong side of that one. Now, we’re faced with three games on the slate today.
Hamilton at Montreal: Both teams are locked into their playoff spots and have nothing to play for here, although the Tiger-Cats are making an effort to win out and are favored by 3 with a total of 52.5. The Alouettes are resting players again this week, with William Stanbeck – the second-leading rusher in the league – is one of those players. Jeremiah Johnson is a solid back-up and the Alouettes may give the ball a little more than normal in this one. Hamilton’s Dane Evans had a huge game a week ago, but think he’ll have a tougher go of things in this one. Even though Montreal hasn’t said anything about resting Vernon Adams it wouldn’t be a shock if he doesn’t go the entire game, as Montreal’s fate in the playoffs depends on having him in the line-up. Will take the under 52.5 in this one.
Ottawa at Toronto: Ugly game here, with the two worst teams in the league battling it out and Toronto is favored by 5.5 with a total of 52.5. The Argos are expected to use Michael O’Connor at quarterback in this one at some point in the game, although it will likely be late in the game. McLeod Bethel-Thompson should get the start and I’d expect him to play as long as he’s doing well, at least until the second half, when the Argos could decide to take a look at a few of their other Qbs. Will also take this one to land under the total, as I have it 27-22 for Toronto.
Saskatchewan at Edmonton: Trevor Harris returns at quarterback for the Eskimos after being on the six-game injured list and Edmonton needs him to regain for in a hurry, as they’ll be traveling to Montreal for the first round of the playoffs in a couple of weeks. The roughriders have a golden chance to win the West after Calgary fell to Winnipeg last night, but don’t expect the Eskimos to go down quietly. The Roughriders are favored by 1.5 with a total of 46.5. I have the Eskimos winning 27-24 and will take a shot on the home dog in this one.
END OF OCT. 26 PICKS