Free Weekly CFL Picks Against the Spread
Each week during the Canadian Football League season our handicappers break down all the game match ups looking for the best bet on every match. Visit weekly for our handicapping analysis and CFL against the spread picks.
The Roughriders limped out of the gate last season with just one SU victory in their first 11 games and last Thursday’s loss to Montreal could signal another slow start this year. Kevin Glenn is Saskatchewan’s new starting quarterback and he ended Week 1 with 298 yards passing while connecting on 31 of his 44 passing attempts. He will probably have to put the ball up that many times this week as well, but in the end I am going with the Blue Bombers both SU and ATS.
Eskimos’ quarterback Mike Reilly was the most proficient passer in the CFL in 2016 with close to 5,500 yards and he got off to a fast start this season with 315 yards passing and two touchdown throws in last week’s win. John White rushed for 104 yards on 14 carries for an average of 6.12 yards per carry. This is just too much production for Montreal to keep pace with, but my ‘best bet’ pick in this matchup is the UNDER on the total line.
Toronto should be riding high following its stunning 32-15 upset against Hamilton as a 3.5-point home favorite this past Sunday. Not to take anything away from Ricky Ray’s 506 yards passing while completing 32 of his 41 attempts, but the fact that the Argonauts gained just 39 yards on the ground in that game could come back to haunt them against a BC team that can beat you in so many ways. Take the Lions and the point as slight road underdogs in this inter-division tilt.
Calgary got a big effort from Bo Levi Mitchell throwing the ball last Friday night with 376 total passing yards and two touchdown throws. The Stampeders scored the last 14 points in regulation to send this game into overtime and I see the momentum from those two scores carrying over to this Thursday’s game at home. Lay the points in this one and bank on Calgary asserting itself as the best team in the CFL right now with a SU win that covers the current spread.
The Argonauts will once again turn the keys to the offense over to Ricky Ray for as long as he can stay healthy this season. The receiving corps are a bit depleted with the loss of both Kenny Shaw and Diontae Spencer and there are still some big question marks with a defense that allowed a league-high 568 points last season. Lay the points on the road team in this one with Hamilton covering the 3.5 points.
BC finished second to Calgary in the West last season and it will rely heavily on Jonathon Jennings to close that gap in 2017. He was the league’s third-leading passer with 5,226 yards, but there was some concern with his league-high 15 interceptions. The Lions were the third-highest scoring team in the CFL last year behind Calgary and Edmonton and I think that both of these division rivals are going to fire things up on Saturday night to take this game OVER the 58-point total.
Ottawa parted ways with Ernest Jackson and Chris Williams as a big chunk of an offense that averaged 27 points per game in 2016. Trevor Harris takes over the reins at quarterback on a fulltime basis with the retirement of Henry Burris and he will have to quickly get up to speed with new receivers Diontae Spencer and Kenny Shaw. It could take a few games for things to gel so I am going with Calgary to successfully avenge that Grey Cup loss both SU and ATS.
Montreal will turn to another veteran quarterback in Darian Durant to try and reverse its fortunes from a 7-11 record in 2016 that once again ended any hopes of a return to the playoffs following a two-year hiatus. The Allouettes have some legitimate weapons in newcomer Ernest Jackson and last season’s leading pass catcher Nik Lewis. Montreal still has the edge on defense in this matchup and I am leaning towards it covering the six points at home to get the new CFL season under way.
It will be a tall task for Ottawa to keep things close this Sunday at BMO Field against one of the most dominant teams in the recent history of the CFL. The only way Calgary loses this game is if it beats itself with turnovers and sloppy play. That has not been the case the entire season so I do not see any reason why that would be the case in the biggest game of the year.
Lay the nine points and go big with the Stampeders to put the finishing touch on one of the most impressive runs to a CFL title this league has ever seen.
There is always a concern with a touchdown spread in a big division showdown, but Calgary has to be chomping at the bit to get back on the field. Rust will not be a factor from the three-week layoff in a lopsided Stampeders’ victory that covers the seven points.
Reilly looks like he will be ready to go and that just adds another big headache to Ottawa’s plate in light of the Eskimos’ power running game. I have been betting the CFL West against the East all season long and I am not going to stop now.
These two teams staged a wild home-and-home series back in October with a total of 72 points scored in Game 1 followed by 67 total points in Game 2. Winnipeg won both of those contests SU and ATS, but I am leaning towards BC getting the SU win this time around. I think it will once again be a three-point game either way so I am going with Winnipeg to cover in a matchup with the four points while the total goes OVER the 56 points.
The only real chance that Hamilton has to advance past this round hinges on quarterback Zach Collaros playing at a very high level. He has battled through injuries all season long, but he was still seventh on the list in passing yards with 2,938 and he moved up to fourth in touchdown throws with 18. The problem against the Eskimos could be a defense that allowed the third-most points (27.9) in the league.
The West Division has dominated these inter-division matchups all season long and that is not about to change this Sunday in Hamilton. Lay the 2.5 points and take the Eskimos to advance.
You never want to think that a team would lose on purpose, but the motivation level for Edmonton to win its season finale is not all that high. The starters may sit in this one so I would go with the UNDER on the total line as a “best bet” pick.
BC needs one more win against its bitter division rivals to ensure that it hosts next week’s West semifinal. The Lions have been a bit shaky down the stretch with a 3-3 record (SU and ATS) in their last six games, but they completely dominated last week’s game on the road by holding Saskatchewan to just 256 yards of total offense. Look for another strong defensive effort at home this time around in another low-scoring battle that stays UNDER the closing line.
Hamilton has failed to cover in its last four home games and this streak continues with Montreal covering ATS with the 3.5 points.
Despite last week’s poor showing, I would still go with Winnipeg to even the score with a SU win on the road.
This will be the first game in this season-ending home-and-home series against a bitter division rival and I actually like their chances to play the role of spoiler as two-point home underdogs after going 7-1 ATS over their last eight games.
Take Winnipeg in this inter-division tilt as the best team in the East is clearly no match for the second-best team in the West.
I am not sure they have what it takes to beat Edmonton on Friday night, but both teams should put enough points on the board to take this game OVER the set 56-point total line.