Here is this week’s CFL betting preview, taking a look at the three CFL Week 2 matchups.
SASKATCHEWAN ROUGHRIDERS @
Spread: Ottawa -5.5, Total: 44
The Saskatchewan Roughriders lost the game and their No. 1 QB last week in a 23-17 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Roughriders’ offense was their major area of concern heading into the season with a suspect offensive line and a thin skill-position group, but now they must worry about the health of QB Zach Collaros, who left the game with a head injury after taking a cheap shot from Ticats LB Simoni Lawrence. Saskatchewan will split the reps between their No. 2 and 3 QBs, Cody Fajardo and Isaac Harker. I don’t like that because often playing multiple QBs in a game prevents either one of them from getting into any sort of rhythm. The Ottawa defense is a formidable one and it held a good Calgary offense and the best QB in the CFL, Bo Levi Mitchell, to just 318 total yards. Ottawa’s offense had a little bit of good and bad last week in its outright 32-28 win as a 8.5-point underdog against Calgary. The Redblacks put up 401 total yards, including 112 on the ground from new starting RB Mossis Madu, but QB Dominque Davis, in his first CFL start, also had 4 INTs. A product of the success of a totally revamped Ottawa offense was a Calgary defense that lost several key cogs from last year’s group. It will be much tougher for Ottawa’s offense against a Saskatchewan defense that is loaded with playmakers along all three units. The Roughriders held the mighty Ticats’ offense to just 232 total yards. There has been a landslide of money pouring in on the Under in this game, and I certainly agree with that sentiment. I also lean toward taking the points with Saskatchewan in what should be a tight, defensive battle.
BC LIONS @ EDMONTON ESKIMOS
Spread: Edmonton -4, Total: 55.5
The BC Lions have the potential to be a very good football team, but last week was proof that it will take time for that to happen. BC was thoroughly controlled by Winnipeg throughout last week’s 33-23 home loss to the Blue Bombers. The Lions have a ton of new faces on both sides, especially on defense where they have 7 new players, along with new coaches, coordinators and a new QB in Mike Reilly. The lack of chemistry and cohesion was evident last week and now the Lions will be tested by an Edmonton Eskimos squad that beat Montreal 32-25 in their season opener. The Eskimos played a near flawless game on offense. QB Trevor Harris was outstanding in his first game with his new team, completing 32-of-41 passes for a 78% completion rate with 3 TDs and no INTs. The offensive line played well in spite of the absence of injured starting left tackle Sir’Vincent Rogers, and it got solid performances from RB C.J. Gable and its receiving corps, especially Ricky Collins Jr. The defense is filled with a lot of change for Edmonton with a lot of new players and a new coordinator. It played a solid game last week against the Alouettes until Montreal QB Antonio Pipkin was replaced by Vernon Adams Jr., who sparked the Alouettes to a pair of TD drives and a valiant comeback attempt that fell short. Edmonton has not been good in the home favorite role for a few seasons, and last week was more proof of that. This is a tough game from a side perspective, but I’ll lean slightly to taking the points with BC in what has the potential to be a high-scoring affair. The Over has cashed in four of the last five meetings in Edmonton between the Lions and Eskimos.
HAMILTON TIGER-CATS @
Spread: Hamilton -3.5, Total: 52 The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will look to improve to 2-0 on Saturday as they face the rival Toronto Argonauts after Hamilton defeated Saskatchewan last week in their home opener. The Ticats’ offense appears to be strong once again this season. QB Jeremiah Masoli has a solid offensive line and a slew of talented receivers. The area of the team that Hamilton needed to address in the offseason was defense, which was a decent group but not an elite stop unit last season. The Ticats improved their defense with a couple of big-time acquisitions and quality additions to the defensive line and LB corps, and the defense played a solid game last week. Toronto’s offense will be led by QB James Franklin, who is being given another shot to prove he can be a No. 1 QB in the CFL after a mediocre 2018 season. The Argos have some questions on the offensive line, but they do have some skill position talent for Franklin with RB James Wilder Jr. and WR’s Derel Walker, S.J. Green and Armanti Edwards all giving this Argos team some good playmakers. The defense is rebuilt, however, along with new schemes and new head coach Corey Chamblin having to retool the worst defense in the CFL as no team gave up more points than Toronto last season. Hamilton has moved the ball with ease in recent headto-head meetings against Toronto, but the Argos have improved their level of skill-position talent surrounding Franklin and will get to face a Hamilton defense playing without its leader and captain on defense, LB Simoni Lawrence, who will serve the first game of a two-game suspension. The Over is 6-0 in the last six meetings between these teams, and I’ll look for more of the same here and make the Over my Week 2 Best Bet.
CFL Week 2 Best Bet: Hamilton/Toronto Over 52 -110