I have been lining bettors' pockets for a number of years handicapping the sports that may not make to the front page of the paper, and starting this week I will be applying my expert skills covering a new season of football in the CFL.
There is money to be made right now 'north of the border' with my selection packages for the CFL. As an added bonus, be sure to check Doc's home page every Thursday for my free CFL pick of the week.
CFL Week 1 Betting Overview
Week 1 of the new CFL season opens things up on Thursday night with an interesting rematch from last season's Grey Cup Playoffs with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats traveling to Toronto to face the Argonauts at the brand-new BMO Field.
These two met in the opening round of the East Division playoffs in 2015, and the Tiger-Cats completed a four-game season sweep with a tight 25-22 victory to advance to the division finals. They failed to cover as two-point home favorites in that game after winning the three regular-season matchups both straight up and against the spread. BetOnline has opened Toronto as a five-point home favorite for Thursday's season opener with the total set at 54.5.
In other CFL action, the Montreal Alouettes will go on the road to face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in a matchup between two of the bottom feeders in the CFL last year. Montreal managed to win only six games, and the Blue Bombers finished one game worse at 5-13. Both teams were a bit better ATS at 8-10.
BetOnline's CFL futures to win this year's Grey Cup paint a bleak picture for any kind of major turnaround for either team with Alouettes set as +1000 long shots followed by Winnipeg's +1200 odds, which are the longest on the board. The Blue Bombers have the slight edge in Friday's matchup as two-point home favorites with the total set at 50.
In one half of Saturday's CFL double-header, the Calgary Stampeders will look to get off to a strong start as 3.5-point favorites on the road against the West Division rival British Columbia Lions. The total line for this game has been set at 48, and it has stayed "under" in three of the last five meetings.
Calgary tied Edmonton in the West standings last season at 14-4, but it went just 8-10 ATS. The Lions were a playoff team at 7-11 SU (8-9-1 ATS), but they were no match for the Stampeders in a 35-9 loss in the opening round as nine-point road underdogs. BC comes into this season opener with a costly 4-11 recond ATS in its last 15 home games against Calgary.
CFL Free Pick of the Week: Ottawa RedBlacks at Edmonton Eskimos
Ottawa was the big story in the CFL last season with a 12-6 SU record in the regular season and a run all the way to the 2015 Grey Cup title game after winning just two games the year before in its inaugural season as the expansion RedBlacks. That run ended with a tough 26-20 loss to Edmonton as seven-point underdogs. This Saturday night they will try and avenge that loss as 6.5-point underdogs on the road with the total line set at 54.
The Eskimos won the West Division on a tie-breaker over Calgary, and they went on to beat the Stampeders 45-31 in the division finals as three-point home favorites before getting past Ottawa in the title game. One of the biggest strengths of this team during this entire title run was a stingy defense that led the league in points allowed (18.9).
Head-to-head in this matchup, Edmonton has a SU five-game winning streak against Ottawa as the expansion RedBlacks with a 3-2 edge ATS. The total has stayed under in four of those five games, including the last two contests in 2015. Ottawa averaged a healthy 25.8 points per game last season, but in all three meetings against the Eskimos it failed to score more than 20 points.
I am looking for another tight defensive battle on Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium with the RedBlacks once again struggling to find the end zone. With a higher-than-expected total line of 54, I am going with the "under" in this game as my free CFL pick of the week.
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