Toronto Argonauts @ Montreal Alouettes
Spread: Montreal -10.5
The Montreal Alouettes lost 35-24 in Winnipeg last weekend to the Blue Bombers and that ensured they will finish 2nd in the East Division and host the East Division Semifinal on November 10th. In theory, Montreal doesn’t have much at stake for the remainder of the regular season but I wouldn’t expect the Alouettes to roll over here returning home after a tough loss. The Alouettes offense has certainly thrived under the guidance of QB Vernon Adams Jr. but it was a tough day for the defense against the Blue Bombers last week and allowing over 400 total yards in the defeat. There is still 3 games left for the ALouettes and I expect them to want to put forth a good showing here. Toronto defeated Ottawa 28-21 last week in a battle of two teams that will miss the playoffs this season. It was a much better offensive game for QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson and the Argos offense and the defense was able to contain the sputtering Ottawa offense which had a first time starting QB in Will Arndt. I don’t expect the Argos defense to be anywhere close to as good here as it’s worth noting prior to last week, Toronto surrendered 55 and 41 points in their two games prior to that against Calgary and BC. The Over is certainly a bet that makes sense to me here. Toronto’s offense is better than their defense and Montreal’s offense is also better than their defense right now as well.
Saskatchewan Roughriders @ BC Lions
Spread: Saskatchewan -5.5
The BC Lions made a valiant run at trying to get back into the race but they were officially eliminated from playoff contention last week in their 19-6 loss to the Edmonton Eskimos. The Lions hopes in that game and their hopes
for the playoffs were dashed the moment QB Mike Reilly suffered a fractured wrist injury and had to leave the game. Reilly underwent wrist surgery early this week and is out for the season. Danny O’Brien took over at QB after Reilly’s exit last week and couldn’t move the football with much success at all against the Eskimos defense which had one of their best performances in a while. It’s hard to envision BC being fired up here after the bitter pill of losing their starting QB and any playoff hopes in last week’s loss. Saskatchewan is looking to bounce back after a hard fought 30-28 loss in Calgary last week in the battle for 1st in the West Division. That makes this a vital game for the Roughriders to bounce back and try to keep pace with the division leading Stampeders.
QB Cody Fajardo and the offense got going after a slow start but it was too late to pull off the comeback as the Riders defense had a tough time getting consistent stops against Calgary QB Bo Levi Mitchell and a good Calgary offense. That being said, this will be a big step down in class for the Saskatchewan defense against a BC offense down to their #2 QB who wasn’t very good in last week’s game. Saskatchewan has taken all the $$ being bet up from pk all the way to -5.5 and I still see value on the Riders at less than a TD. Saskatchewan is 5-0 SU and ATS in their last 5 meetings against BC.
Ottawa Redblacks @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Spread: Hamilton -17.5
This is a really tough one to gauge. Ottawa is not good at all and their offense was once again anemic last week in another loss as QB Will Arndt got his first ever CFL start and now this Redblacks offense which has scored 21 or fewer points in 8 straight games must face arguably the best defense in the CFL as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have been playing outstanding on that side of the football. All that being said, Hamilton is laying a massive number here at -17.5 as home chalk in a very dubious spot because they officially clinched 1st place in the East Division with Montreal’s loss to Winnipeg last week. The Ticats will host the East Final next month so the remaining games of the regular season for this Hamilton team are essentially just fine tuning for the playoffs and trying to stay healthy. Hamilton’s ‘A’ game with QB Dane Evans and the offense and their defense against a limited Ottawa offense is certainly good enough to win this game by 3 TD’s or more but I’m not fully convinced we’ll get a maximum level of focus and intensity from the Ticats here and that has me reluctant to lay these big points. Ottawa is on a truly dismal 0-8 SU, 2-6 ATS slide in their last 8 games however the last two losses to Toronto and Edmonton were at least competitive defeats by a TD or less. It’s probably a hold your nose and take the dog or pass type of game for me but I think I’ll sit this one out.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Calgary Stampeders
Spread: Calgary -7
The Calgary Stampeders big win against Saskatchewan last week put them in
sole possession of 1st place in the West Division for now but they are still in a tightly contested three way battle with Saskatchewan and their opponent in this game Winnipeg for 1st place in the division. Winnipeg snapped a three game losing streak by registering a 35-24 win at home against Montreal last week. It was a better performance from the offense and QB Chris Streveler in particular who had a much needed good performance in the passing game after having struggles in that capacity for weeks and RB Andrew Harris put in a dominant showing running the football for 166 yards on the ground. The Blue Bombers defense also had a few subpar performances in a row but played much better as well last week holding the Alouettes to just over 300 total yards. Winnipeg scratched out a 26-24 home win against Calgary in the only previous meeting between the teams this season. The Blue Bombers are 4-1 ATS as underdogs this season while the Stamps are just 1-7-1 ATS when laying more than a FG this season. The trends point toward Winnipeg and I agree with that.
CFL Week 19 Best Bet: Saskatchewan -5.5 -110