CFL Betting Notes – Week 1A new season of football in the CFL gets underway this week with the first four games in an 18-game schedule that leads to the postseason battle for this year’s Grey Cup.
Toronto took a page from Ottawa’s stunning upset against Calgary in the 2016 championship game by upending the Stampeders last November in the 2017 Grey Cup title game.
Calgary remains the clear favorite to finally win a CFL title this season at +200 futures odds with [...]. Edmonton is second on that list at +600 followed by Toronto and Winnipeg at +650. Hamilton rounds out the Top 5 at +700 betting odds.
(2017 Records - Straight Up, Against the Spread)
Thursday, June 14
Edmonton Eskimos (12-6 SU, 10-7-1 ATS) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (12-6 SU, 13-5 ATS)
Point-spread: Edmonton -6
This is a big season opener for Edmonton after finishing third in the West last year behind Winnipeg on a head-to-head tiebreaker. The Eskimos went on to beat the Blue Bombers in the playoffs 39-32 as three-point road favorites, but they would rather be playing at home this time around in the quest for a CFL title. Mike Reilly is back as the team’s starting quarterback after leading the league in passing yards (5,830) in 2017. He was also at the top of the list in touchdown throws with 30.
The Blue Bombers were dealt a major blow to their offense when quarterback Matt Nichols went down with a knee injury that has him listed as out for the season opener. In his place, Alex Ross got the start in Winnipeg’s final preseason game. However, the betting line for Thursday’s game reflects the question marks surrounding the quarterback situation. The Blue Bombers generated little offense on the ground with 57 yards rushing in a 34-21 loss to British Columbia this past Friday.
-- Edmonton has gone 5-2 against the spread in its last seven games against the Blue Bombers and the total has gone OVER in four of the last five meetings in Winnipeg.
Friday, June 15
Toronto Argonauts (9-9 SU, 9-9 ATS) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (10-8 SU, 7-11 ATS)
Point-spread: Saskatchewan -1
Total: 52 ½
The reining CFL Champions begin their title defense the same way they earned it; behind veteran quarterback Ricky Ray. When healthy, he is one of the best pure passers in the CFL. He played in 17 of 18 games last season and threw for 5,546 yards and 28 touchdowns, while completing an impressive 71 percent of his 668 passing attempts. Slotback SJ Green was his top target with 1,462 yards and 10 touchdowns on 104 receptions. The ground game will be anchored by James Wilder Jr. after gaining 872 yards last season in 15 games.
The Roughriders turned the corner last season with 10 wins after going just 5-13 in 2016. They made the playoffs as a crossover team from the West, but they lost to Toronto 25-21 in the opening round as three-point road underdogs. Zach Collaros started nine games for Saskatchewan last year, but he is another quarterback that has struggled to stay healthy. He played into the third quarter of the final preseason game before Brandon Bridge took over the reins.
-- Toronto has posted an 8-3-1 record ATS in its last 12 road games against Saskatchewan and the total has stayed UNDER in four of the last five meetings overall.
Saturday, June 16
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6-12 SU, 9-9 ATS) at Calgary Stampeders (13-4-1 SU, 8-10 ATS)
Point-spread: Calgary -9
The Tigers-Cats have been front page news in the States heading into the new season with the addition of former Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Johnny Manziel to the roster. June Jones, who was a head coach in the NFL with Atlanta continues to stick with Jeremiah Masoli as his starter, but that could be subject to change if Hamilton falls behind early on Saturday night. The Tiger-Cats started last season with eight straight-up losses before turning things around with a 6-4 record over their last 10 games.
Calgary has been the best CFL team in the regular season for the past two years, but its quest for a Grey Cup came up short in back-to-back losses to Ottawa and Toronto in the title game. The Stampeders started the 2016 season with a stunning Week 1 loss to BC as 2 ½-point road favorites. Last season, they had to settle for a SU tie against Ottawa in Week 1 as six-point favorites on the road. They closed out the 2017 campaign with a 0-6 record ATS in their final six games.
-- Hamilton has been able to cover in five of its last seven road games against Calgary and the total has stayed UNDER in nine of the last 11 meetings overall.
Montreal Alouettes (3-15 SU, 8-10 ATS) at British Columbia Lions (7-11 SU, 8-8-1 ATS)
Point-spread: BC -6 ½
Montreal has nowhere to go but up as the longest shot in the CFL futures (+1800) to win the 2018 Grey Cup. In an effort to get things going in the other direction after winning just three games last season, Mike Sherman was brought in as head coach after making a name for himself in the NFL. It appears that Drew Willy will get the call at quarterback after getting the majority of the reps in the preseason.
The Lions finished last in the West in 2017 in light of some stiff competition from the other four teams, but there is still enough talent on both sides of the ball to stay in the mix this time around. Jonathon Jennings is penciled in as BC’s starter at quarterback after throwing for 3,639 yards and 16 touchdowns in 15 starts last season. He also tossed 19 interceptions, which were the most in the league. The Lions added quarterback Cody Fajardo as a free agent in the offseason.
-- BC is 16-5 ATS in its last 21 home games against Montreal and the total has stayed UNDER in 11 of the last 16 meetings at BC Place.