Week 11 in the CFL kicks off on Friday night with a ‘quick rematch’ between Edmonton and Calgary, the first of four games this weekend. The CFL plays I’ve posted here at EOG have gone 19-5 this year and there’s an attractive side position in this latest renewal of the ‘Battle of Alberta’:

CALGARY STAMPEDERS AT EDMONTON ESKIMOS SEPTEMBER 9, 2011 6:05 PM PACIFIC

So what to make of the Edmonton Eskimos? They started the season looking downright unbeatable winning their first five games, but went into the tank hard losing their next three. More problematic was the manner in which they lost—they were downright uncompetitive on both sides of the ball in marked contrast to their well balanced offense/defensive play of the early part of the season. On Monday, they played like a team possessed and desperate for a victory as they went into Calgary’s McMahon Stadium and throttled the Stampeders 35-7. So did the bye week cure what ailed the Eskimos?

Much of the problem in Monday’s loss was a bad game from the erratic Henry Burris. At his best, Burris is as good as any quarterback in the CFL but on Monday he was far from it passing for only 133 yards, throwing a pair of interceptions and being sacked twice. His Edmonton counterpart Ricky Ray wasn’t phenomenal by any stretch but did complete a couple of touchdown passes in the victory.

Most sports handicappers know that in this type of ‘quick rematch’ affair where teams play a pair of games in quick succession it’s often wise to look at the team that lost the first game to reverse form in the rematch. In this case, however, we’re not as readily inclined to do that. This is the third time that the Eskimos and Stampeders have played this year, with Edmonton winning both previous games on the road. In addition to the win on Labour Day, the Esks’ won 24-19 on July 23 as +3 road underdogs.

The aforementioned result makes the price on this game curious to say the least. As noted at the outset of this preview, the Eskimos have had their ‘ups and downs’ this season there isn’t anything that would result in this swing in the price. Calgary has played relatively well since then, but not well enough to justify them being a -6 point choice on a neutral field which this line suggests.

The Stampeders won all three games last year in decisive fashion, but it’s readily apparent this is just a different Edmonton team from top to bottom. It would be a surprise if Burris regains his form in a matter of several days and this could be just a bad tactical matchup for Calgary. The Stampeders are a perfect 6-0 as a road favorite of 3 or less since 2009, but this price offers no respect for a dramatically improved Eskimos team. The recent slump for Edmonton was more of a crisis of confidence than any sort of deep rooted personnel issue. Kavis Reed has been an impressive emotional leader in his short coaching career and there’s every reason to expect that he’ll be able to build on the Esks’ success of earlier this week. Look for Edmonton to win this game outright in front of their Commonwealth Stadium faithful.

Bet Edmonton Eskimos +3 over Calgary Stampeders

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