WEEK 7 CFL ANALYSIS AND A BEST BET

By Ian Cameron  () 

Calgary Stampeders

@Ottawa Redblacks

Spread: Calgary -5 | Total: 51

The Calgary Stampeders played a lackluster game by their standards one week ago but it was still good enough to take care of business against the still winless Toronto Argonauts by a score of 26-16. Calgary’s offense really never got going last week as it was held to just 276 total yards and that was against a below-average defense. QB Nick Arbuckle has now had back-to-back average at best performances filling in for injured #1 QB Bo Levi Mitchell and the ground attack has not been able to take much pressure off the passing game. Calgary enjoyed a 4 TO margin in the victory and yet still couldn’t pull away from Toronto in that game. The Calgary defense has managed

to hold it together and play well in recent weeks in spite of the cluster injuries they’ve battled specifically along the defensive line. Ottawa has three straight losses after a 2-0 start and were blown out 31-1 in Winnipeg against the league-leading undefeated Blue Bombers last week. Dominique Davis didn’t play for Ottawa in last week’s loss due to injury as Jonathon Jennings made his first start at QB for the Redblacks. The offense never got on track as it was held out of the end zone for the entire game. Jennings had 1 INT and only completed 6-of-15 passes for a paltry 45 yards. Ottawa’s offense was horrendous, although some of that has to be credited to facing the best defense in the CFL which Winnipeg has right now. It won’t be any easier for Ottawa to get its struggling offense that has put up 34 points in the last three games combined turned around against a Calgary squad that has allowed 16 or fewer offensive points in each of its last three games. Prior to a 27-3 win for Calgary in Ottawa last season, the Stamps had consecutive ties in their last two visits to Ottawa against the Redblacks. I’m not sure I’m comfortable laying 5 on the road with

Calgary in spite of Ottawa sputtering badly of late but the Under is certainly a wager I’ll be looking at here.

Toronto Argonauts

@Edmonton Eskimos

Spread: Edmonton -12.5 | Total: 52.5 The Toronto Argonauts are now 0-5 SU on the season but they did barely eke out a pointspread cover in last week’s 26-16 loss at Calgary and they actually showed some small signs of progress in the loss. Toronto’s offense moved the football effectively against Calgary. QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson had 343 passing yards and a strong 76 percent completion rate leading the Argos offense to their best output

of the season with 417 total yards yet they only scored 16 points. Drives stalled in Calgary territory repeatedly and most of all the Argos couldn’t hang on to the football whenever they had it in their possession. Toronto had 2 fumbles lost and Bethel-Thompson threw 4 INT’s. The Argos had a lot of success moving the football but the parade of turnovers kept them from paying off any of those good-looking drives with points. If they manage to negate the turnovers that plagued them, this could be an offense that has the potential to at least improve upon the rough start they’ve had as the Argos still have some weapons to work with like Derel Walker and Armanti Edwards at WR along with RB James Wilder Jr. On the flip side, the Edmonton Eskimos will be looking to respond after a terribly flat and lethergic performance against the Montreal Alouettes on Saturday in a 20-10 defeat.

It was a hot and steamy afternoon for football in Montreal and Edmonton was just not sharp at all from the beginning. QB Trevor Harris and this high-powered Eskimos offense finally had their first true bad game of the season held to just 320 yards and Harris threw his first 2 INT’s of the season. I would expect a major bounce back performance back home for this talented offense that has too many good skill position weapons on it to have two poor performances in a row especially against a Toronto defense that is far from great and also could be somewhat shorthanded as cornerback Abdul Kanneh and defensive lineman Cleyon Laing are questionable to suit up for the Boatmen. Toronto is a bad football team at 0-5 to be sure, but it has covered in defeat in two of its last three games. There is some evidence the point spread is now accurately reflecting where this team is at. It’s worth mentioning Edmonton is 0-2 ATS laying more than a FG this season. The Eskimos, especially with their propensity to take bad penalties, are not a team I trust laying close to 2 TDs given their long-term ATS woes as favorites of more than a TD. The total interests me the most. Toronto should be able to score some points and find the end zone if it doesn’t turn the ball over. The team should have scored more than just 16 points last week while Edmonton is primed to have a much better showing on offense here against a subpar and weak defense. The Eskimos have scored 71 points in their two previous home games combined against Montreal and BC.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Spread: Winnipeg -2 | Total: 54

This is certainly the game of the week in the CFL as the 5-0 Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the lone remaining undefeated team, travel to Hamilton to take on the 4-1 Tiger-Cats with the Ticats coming into this much anticipated clash off their bye week. Winnipeg has been the league’s best and most consistent team to this point at 5-0 SU and ATS. The Blue Bombers have been excellent in all phases. Winnipeg has gotten stellar play from QB Matt Nichols with 12 TDs and only 1 INT on the season, RB Andrew Harris continues to be the best running back in the CFL, and they have a solid group of receivers, led by Darvin Adams, Lucky Whitehead, Nic Demski and Drew Wolitarsky. This group operates behind what I consider to be the best offensive line in the CFL. The defense has been every bit as stout with a strong defensive line, featuring Jackson Jeffcoat and Willie Jefferson, the best LB in the CFL in Adam Bighill anchoring that unit, and a rock solid secondary that has allowed only 3 passing TDs in the last 3 games combined. However, this is as good a scheduling spot for a very good Hamilton Tiger-Cats squad to hand Winnipeg its first loss. The Ticats are at home and well rested off a bye week that has allowed them to focus on this game and also get some of their players currently nursing minor injuries healed. Hamilton is a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS at home and has been tough to beat on this field. QB Jeremiah Masoli and the Ticats offense are dangerous and will provide the biggest test of the season for this terrific Winnipeg defense that has enjoyed the luxury of feasting on some weaker teams and offenses in the last two games against Toronto and Ottawa. This will be the biggest challenge for Winnipeg to maintain

its unbeaten record, but until I see this team lose a

game or fail to cover a point spread, you won’t see me betting against the vaunted Bombers. They look like the clear best team in the CFL right now and I’d only bet Winnipeg here in this game, especially laying less than a FG. I would also consider the Under here because of the magnitude of this game on both sides. Winnipeg’s defense is fantastic, and Hamilton’s defense has played very well on its home field, allowing 23 points or fewer in each previous home contest.

Saskatchewan Roughriders @ BC Lions

Spread: Saskatchewan -3 | Total: 52.5 The BC Lions freefall continued last week in the first game of this home-and-home series against the Saskatchewan Roughriders as BC lost 38-25 and fell to 1-5 SU and ATS. The most excruciating part of this latest Lions defeat is that the first half last week may have been their best half of football this season. The offense finally put some drives together and points on the board as QB Mike Reilly moved the team and the offensive line at least took some steps forward even though the Riders still got plenty of pressure from their front seven and pushed the pocket backward on multiple occasions against a struggling Lions offensive line. However, that offensive line also finally gave BC some holes to run the football as the Lions outgained the Riders 122-101 on the ground. The turning point was a devastating kickoff return TD allowed by BC in the final seconds of the first half turning a BC lead into a halftime deficit. Saskatchewan seized the momentum from there and carried it into the second half when it started to pull away from BC. It was a small step of progress for BC, but it was another loss that left the coaches, players and fans feeling more frustrated than anything else. The question is: Can the small improvement in BC’s all-around play last week despite the result not being what the team wanted be enough to make to inspire and produce even better performance from the Lions in this week’s rematch against the Roughriders? Saskatchewan shut down the BC offense after halftime while its offense, led by QB Cody Fajardo, had a bounce-back performance after being held to 10 points in a 37-10 loss to Calgary two weeks ago. This is Saskatchewan’s third road game of the season, but it is 0-2 SU, 1-1 ATS in its previous two with a pair of losses against Hamilton and Ottawa in the first two weeks of the season. We saw a high-scoring affair last week. I would expect something a little bit different here in the rematch. It’s worth noting the total last week was 50.5 but this week it is 52, so we’ve seen a 1.5-point increase in the total. I believe this is a good spot and number to go the other way with the Under.

CFL Week 7 Best Bet: Winnipeg -2 -110

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