WEEK 16 CFL ANALYSIS AND A BEST BET

By Ian Cameron  () 

Hamilton Tiger-Cats @

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Spread: Winnipeg -4.5

Total: 48

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers seemed to have their game under control against the Montreal Alouettes last Saturday and appeared to be rolling toward yet another victory. Then the fourth quarter happened. Winnipeg led 37-17 heading in to the fnal quarter but Montreal incredibly ripped off 21 straight points and 3 TDs in the fnal 15 minutes to storm all the way back and wind up winning 38-37 in one of the biggest comebacks of the season. It was a comeback so big this game was highlighted on the popular “Bad Beats” segment on ESPN SportsCenter for anyone on Winnipeg either on the money line or laying -2.5 in that game. The Blue Bombers appeared shocked after the game’s conclusion with head coach Mike O’Shea and the players failing to come up with the words to explain what just happened. The offense had one of its best games of the season since QB Chris Streveler took over the position for an injured Matt Nichols, but it was shockingly the usually terrifc defense that couldn’t stop or contain the Montreal offense or QB Vernon Adams Jr. in the fourth quarter. Winnipeg will most assuredly be in a very focused and motivated type of mood on Friday night hosting the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in this showdown of division leaders. Hamilton is 1-1 on its current three-game road trip, defeating Edmonton last week and controlling most of that game and probably should be 2-0 as they were largely better than Calgary two weeks ago for most of that game. The Ticats offense and QB Dane Evans continues to get better with each week and the defense is currently leading the CFL in fewest points allowed per game. This is a fantastic matchup between the two teams with the best records in the CFL right now and a potential Grey Cup preview. Winnipeg has been far too good at home this season (6-0 SU, 5-1 ATS in six home games) to bet against them in this spot especially with the Blue Bombers likely chomping at the bit to bounce back after the fourth-quarter collapse against Montreal last weekend. However, Hamilton has yet to lose a game by more than 5 points since Dane Evans became the starting QB and the Ticats are not an easy team to bet against in this price range as underdogs. I’ll lean Under the total here with Winnipeg’s defense looking to atone for not holding the lead against Montreal last week and the league leading-scoring defense in Hamilton on the opposite side of the feld for this game.

Edmonton Eskimos @

Ottawa Redblacks

Spread: N/A

Total: N/A

No line for this game yet due to the unknown status of Edmonton QB Trevor Harris, who was injured two weeks ago and didn’t play in a loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats last week. It will be Logan Kilgore making his second consecutive start at QB for Edmonton if Harris once again can’t play. It may not matter who is at QB for Edmonton in this game because this is a lifeless and pathetic Ottawa Redblacks squad right now that the Eskimos simply must and should beat handily. Ottawa has been embarrassing week after week and non-competitive in every recent game. The Redblacks are 1-10 SU, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games and each of their last five losses have been by 14 or more points. Ottawa plans on going with a dual QB system in this game with head coach Rick Campbell saying that Jonathon Jennings and Dominque Davis will share reps for this game, but I don’t think it matters because neither QB has proven they can play well and be effective leading this struggling Redblacks offense which hasn’t scored more than 18 points in six straight contests. Edmonton isn’t exactly in sparkling form either right now having lost four straight games but those were two losses against Calgary and one each against Hamilton and Winnipeg. All of those teams are elite squads. This opponent isn’t. This is a one-way game for me. I’m either betting on Edmonton or nothing here. In fact, if Harris doesn’t play and Kilgore does, it will likely give us a better price to fade what appears to be an absolutely dead and buried Ottawa team.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

@ Toronto Argonauts

Spread: Saskatchewan -6.5

Total: 49.5

The Saskatchewan Roughriders at 8-4 are just a half game behind Winnipeg and Calgary who are tied for 1st in the West Division at 9-4, so every game for them is a big one in the short term as the Riders try to stay in the hunt for 1st in the division which gives you a bye to the Division Final and home-field advantage in that game. Outside of a really bad day in Winnipeg a few weeks ago in a 35-10 loss, it’s been consistency and winning for the most part for Saskatchewan during its current 7-1 SU run. QB Cody Fajardo and the offense has improved steadily during the season while the defense remains a formidable force ranking in the top three in the CFL in rushing yards, passing yards and total yards allowed per game. Toronto keeps playing hard but they just aren’t a very good football team and are now at 2-10 SU this season. The Argos fell behind big early against the Calgary Stampeders last week and couldn’t recover even though they did all they could to get back in it in the second half. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson continues to be in a pattern of playing well in some games and lackluster in others and the same goes with the defense. That being said, Toronto’s effort level has been solid even during the struggles lately making them not the easiest team to automatically fade in this price range but I can’t say I’m in a rush to go against Saskatchewan here either.

Montreal Alouettes @

BC Lions

Spread: BC -4.5

Total: 49.5

The BC Lions, a 3-10 team, are 4.5-point favorites at home against the 7-5 Montreal Alouettes. How can that be? It shows the importance of Montreal QB Vernon Adams Jr., who has been terrific for the Alouettes but will not play in this game after he was suspended for one game for a helmet swinging incident that took place on the field in last week’s comeback win against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. It’s a massive loss for the Alouettes offense and that means Matt Shiltz will take over at the QB position for this game. Shiltz has a very porous 2-7 TD-INT ratio in the past two seasons with the Alouettes in limited action and I don’t trust him fully going on the road in his first start of the season against a BC Lions team that does appear to be playing with some pride and spirit down the stretch of what has been a tumultuous and frustrating season for them. BC has won two straight games albeit against a lifeless Ottawa team, but BC has gone 3-0 ATS in its last three games, which shows the competitive nature we have seen from the Lions. They haven’t packed it in on the season and veteran QB Mike Reilly has played very well in recent games for BC on offense and the much-maligned offensive line has finally started to protect its QB. The Lions defense has finally taken a step forward to holding opponents to 46 points in its last four games combined for an average of just over 12 points per game allowed during that span. I definitely like the Under in this game as I expect Montreal’s defense to try to make amends for a rough performance to Winnipeg last week and on the flip side, I don’t trust Montreal’s offense to light up the scoreboard and pile up points in bunches with an inexperienced QB under center against a BC defense that is playing its best football of the season right now.

CFL Week 16 Best Bet: Montreal/BC Under 49.5 -110

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