It wasn’t quite as easy as we ‘drew it up’ but our torrid run to start the CFL season continued on Thursday as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers won and covered over the BC Lions to run our record to 15-1 ATS. Two games on Friday but both are tricky matchups that offer very little in terms of wagering value:
MONTREAL ALOUETTES AT HAMILTON TIGER CATS 3:35 PM PACIFIC
This was a tricky matchup to begin with and it isn’t made any easier by the injury status of Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo. Calvillo is slated to start after he left last week’s loss at Saskatchewan due to ‘blurred vision’ after a hard hit. There are few players at any level of football tougher than Calvillo, but this is the sort of injury that raises all sorts of red flags. Is Calvillo just trying to ‘tough it out’? Did he suffer a concussion that either he or the team is downplaying? In any case, it’s not a lock that Calvillo immediately resumes his excellent form of earlier this season. Hamilton has some liabilities, but they’ve got a great defensive front and can mount a fearsome pass rush. With the Alouettes’ offensive line not always holding up their end of the competitive bargain, this could be a potentially disastrous situation for Montreal.
The Alouettes have a good backup in former Florida State standout Adrian McPherson. He started slowly in relief of Calvillo but started to improve as the game progressed. McPherson has looked competent when pressed into service in previous years, though the Alouettes have a tendency to experience some transitional difficulties from Calvillo to the more mobile signal caller. This could put a lot of pressure on the inconsistent Montreal defense this week against a Tiger-Cats offense that is finally playing up to its abilities. It could also change the offensive dynamics for the entire Montreal offense to a more run oriented attack than they usually exhibit with Calvillo at the controls.
After a slow start to the season the Ti-Cats have looked very good in their last two games and have evened their YTD record at 2-2. Hamilton’s defense hasn’t been the problem this year—the Ti-Cats are #2 in scoring defense—but their offense sputtered badly in the first two games. They’ve started to live up to their abilities on that side of the ball with quarterback Kevin Glenn and running back Avon Coubourne returning to form. The Als’ defense is nothing special and their secondary is especially vulnerable, meaning that the Tiger Cats offense could have another big day.
Montreal is just a mediocre ATS investment overall and on the road, while Hamilton has been a very solid home play. If we had to take a position on this game we’d likely go with Hamilton/Under but just too many variables that could potentially change the entire complexion of the game for us to take any type of financial stake.
TORONTO ARGONAUTS AT EDMONTON ESKIMOS—6:35 PM PACIFIC
Montreal’s injury issues at quarterback are nothing compared to those of the Toronto Argonauts. Cleo Lemon took a nasty helmet to helmet hit in the first quarter of last week’s loss to Winnipeg and will be relegated to ‘backup’ status here. The starting job for this week at least will go to Dalton Bell, who is in his third year in the league. Bell publicly says he aspires to be as good as his adversary in this game, Edmonton’s Ricky Ray but obviously he’s got a long way to go. He’s saying all of the right things:
“Am I going to be ‘the guy?’ It’s kind of out of my hands. I’m going to go out there and give everything I’ve got to help this team win. That’s all I can guarantee.”
The quarterback position has been a running storyline—some would say a ‘running gag’ since Doug Flutie left in the late 1990’s to resume his NFL career. Since Flutie led the Argos to back to back Grey Cup Championships in 1996 and 1997 and then returned to American pro football being a signal caller for the Boatmen has been as dangerous as being a drummer for Spinal Tap (the fictitious rock band in the classic film ‘This Is Spinal Tap’). Toronto has tried nearly two dozen quarterbacks since then—and Bell is the latest.
It’s no secret that we love this Edmonton Eskimos team. We’ve been on them in all four of their games this year and through this point of the season we’d make the case that Kavis Reed has done the best turnaround coaching job in any North American sport. We’re not sure that Edmonton is quite ready to be laying more than a TD—even at home against a struggling Toronto side. The Eskimos have been a horrendous favorite during the last three years going 5-13 against the number. Were this a situation where we were laying a smaller price this wouldn’t be a concern but we’re hesitant to use an improving team in a situation where they need to get a margin to cash our ticket. The Edmonton defense has been ‘exposed’ at various points this season and while we don’t think that Dalton Bell will be able to do enough to get Toronto the win we’re concerned that he could keep the Argos in the game or at the very least get them a back door cover.
In some ways, this is a potential ‘letdown’ spot for the Eskimos—their next two games are against the CFL’s “other” significantly improved team, the defensively tenacious Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the defending Grey Cup champion Montreal Alouettes. In other words, this is potentially a very dangerous spot for the 4-0 Eskimos. We’ll pass on the side but if we had to take a position we’d hold our nose and bet the Argos plus the points.
The total is more interesting—given the letdown potential for the home team and the offensive struggles and quarterback issues for the Argos we don’t expect this to be a high scoring game. 3 of the L4 in the series as well as 9 of the last 15 at Edmonton have failed to exceed the total, and there’s a lot of situational factors that have us thinking this one will also stay ‘Under’.
Bet Toronto/Edmonton Under 49′
168 total views, 2 views today