Edmonton Eskimos @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Spread: Hamilton -6.5
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats continue to impress. They are coming off their most impressive win and performance of the season last week in a 33-13 win against Winnipeg on the road handing the Blue Bombers their first home loss of the season. Hamilton keeps seeing improvement with each game from QB Dane Evans and the offense while the defense has been one of the better stop units all season long in the CFL. Edmonton is in an awkward position right now as the Eskimos appear to be just about locked in to the 4th-place spot in the West Division. It will be tough for them at 7-7 to catch the three teams ahead of them in the division who are all at 9 wins with only a few games left in the season. Edmonton will likely be crossing over to the Eastern side of the playoff bracket next month so the sense of urgency for them may not be there week-to-week moving forward. QB Logan Kilgore continues to fill in for injured starting QB Trevor Harris for Edmonton and he did play much better last week albeit against a reeling Ottawa Redblacks team. Hamilton has had some recent struggles as home favorites but the Ticats at less than a TD are the only side I would bet here in a game where they can clinch 1st place in the East Division with a win. I do think this total is a bit low with Logan Kilgore performing better last week at QB for Edmonton and Hamilton’s offense and their QB Dane Evans scoring 30 points in three of their last four games and also in each of their last two home games. Over 46.5 is my strongest stance for this contest.
Calgary Stampeders @ Montreal Alouettes
Spread: Calgary -2.5
Calgary won four straight games heading into its bye week and now returns off the bye here to face the Montreal Alouettes. The Stampeders are in a battle with Winnipeg and Saskatchewan for the top spot in the West so every game is important for them down the stretch. QB Bo Levi Mitchell has gotten better with each start since his return from injury and the defense has managed to hold things together in spite of some injuries that have recently occurred for the Stamps on that side of the football. Montreal suffered a tough loss on the road against BC last week in a game where Vernon Adams missed it due to suspension. The Als will have him back at QB for this game but the Alouettes’ slim chances of tracking down Hamilton for 1st in the East took a big hit with that loss and Hamilton’s big road win against Winnipeg. This is a bigger game for the road favorite off a bye week and it’s worth noting this is the first time in the last 10 head-to-head meetings that Calgary has been laying less than a FG against Montreal. The Stampeders were favored by more than a TD in every other meeting. There is legitimate value to back Calgary here in a very optimal spot and a potential troublesome spot for the home team.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Saskatchewan Roughriders
Spread: Saskatchewan -5.5
All of a sudden we are seeing adversity hit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers who have largely enjoyed a very strong season. They have lost two straight games after blowing a 20-point fourth-quarter lead to Montreal and following that up losing to Hamilton at home last week, their first home loss of the season, as the Bombers were dominated on both sides of the football. Winnipeg’s defense has allowed 54 points in its last five quarters of action, which is staggering because the Blue Bombers have had one of the best defenses in the CFL all season. QB
Chris Streveler’s inconsistency in the passing attack continues to hurt the team to a certain degree as Winnipeg has really become a one-dimensional offense. If they can’t run the football, they struggle. Saskatchewan has won back-to-back games against Montreal and Toronto but have had problems against Winnipeg, going 0-2 ATS this season against the Blue Bombers as well as 1-4 SU, 0-5 ATS in their last five meetings. QB Cody Fajardo and the offense picked apart Toronto’s suspect defense last week but they have only scored 29 points in two games combined against Winnipeg this season. Three of Saskatchewan’s last four home wins have been by 5 points or less. I like Winnipeg in this spot as a great “buy low’ opportunity as people have started to sour on them after back-to-back losses. I still think this is one of the best teams in the CFL in spite of the struggles last week and we’ll see a much better game from Winnipeg here against a team they have matched up well with in recent meetings.
Toronto Argonauts @ BC Lions
Spread: BC -9
Two teams playing for exercise essentially will face off in this game as the Toronto Argos and BC Lions meet in a battle between two non-playoff teams. BC is certainly in its best form of the season right now with the Lions on a 3-1 SU, 3-0-1 ATS streak in their last four games but two wins came against a pathetic Ottawa squad and the other was last week against Montreal, which was playing that game without its #1 QB. BC has not been favored by more than a TD all season and it is just 1-2 ATS when favored by any margin this season. The BC offense with QB Mike Reilly has scored 94 points in its last three games combined and there has been an improvement in this squad with its offensive line, which was absolutely awful early in the season and the defense has now held each of its last five opponents to 23 or fewer points. Despite BC playing better in recent weeks, I’m not prepared to lay almost double digits here against Toronto. It’s an Argos or pass situation for me in this game, especially with an offense that is still somewhat capable of putting up points.
CFL Week 17 Best Bet: Calgary -2.5 -110