The 2016 CFL regular season approaches the halfway point this week, with eight of the nine teams playing their ninth game of an 18-game schedule. While Calgary has been able to create some breathing room in the West Division title race with last week's upset of British Columbia in a game where I had taken the Lions minus three points, the title race over in the East is shaping up to be a wild one with a game and half separating all four team in that division.
For this week's free CFL pick for Doc's Sports, I have turned my attention to a classic West Division rivalry between two teams headed in opposite directions. This mismatch presents a great opportunity to cash in on the favorite despite the huge pointspread that has been set by the oddsmakers for this game.
CFL Week 10 Betting Overview
British Columbia and Ottawa will get things started in Week 10 with a Thursday night interdivision matchup in which the RedBlacks are favored by 2.5 points at home and the total line is set at 57.
The Lions are coming off a very flat performance against Calgary last week in a game they lost by 28 points as three-point home favorites. They are now 5-3 straight up on the year, and it was just the second time in their first eight games they failed to cover against the spread. Ottawa has now dropped three of its last four games SU while going 0-4 ATS, with last week's embarrassing 43-19 loss to Montreal as an 8.5-point home favorite to really tightening things up in the East.
In the first of two Friday night games in the CFL, Winnipeg will put its current three-game winning streak on the line (SU and ATS) with trip to Montreal in a game that is listed as a "pick". The total line for this interdivision tilt has been set at 48.5.
The changeover to Matt Nichols at quarterback has made all the difference in the world for the Blue Bombers, who closed as underdogs in all three of their recent wins. They are now 4-2 SU (4-1-1 ATS) in their last six games. It has been hit or miss betting on the Alouettes all season long with a 3-5 record (SU and ATS). They have averaged 35.3 points per game in their three wins and 13.4 PPG in five losses.
Sunday night's matchup between Hamilton and Calgary should be a good one. The Stampeders have the best SU record in the CFL at 6-1-1, and they are listed as 4.5-point home favorites in this interdivision clash. The total line has been set at 53.5, and it has gone "over" in three of the Tiger-Cats last four games.
The big news in Hamilton the past two weeks has been the return of quarterback Zach Collaros to the starting lineup after missing some extended playing time recovering from a knee injury. Calgary quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is ranked second in the CFL in total passing yards (2.534) and tied for first in passing touchdowns (14), so we could see quite the aerial show in this game.
CFL Free Pick of the Week: Saskatchewan Roughriders at Edmonton Eskimos
Speaking of rough rides, Saskatchewan is off to a 1-7 SU start with a 2-6 record ATS after winning just three games all last season. It comes into this West Division matchup against the Eskimos as a heavy 13.5-point road underdog, with the betting line for the total set at 56.
Last week against Hamilton, the Roughriders were blasted out of the stadium as 10.5-point road underdogs in a 53-7 pasting that dropped them to 0-4 SU (1-3 ATS) on the road this season. Going back over their last 18 road games, they are a dismal 3-14-1 ATS.
The prospect for any kind of turnaround in the near future does not look good even with quarterback Darian Durant back in the lineup. Saskatchewan not only has the lowest scoring offense in the league with an average of 18.1 PPG, but its defense has allowed the most points as well in giving up an average of 35.8 PPG.
It has been anything but smooth sailing for the defending 2015 Grey Cup Champs with an even 4-4 SU (3-4-1 ATS) start, but the Eskimos appear to be headed in the right direction with back-to-back victories (SU and ATS) against Montreal and Toronto by a combined 34 points in their last two games.
Mike Reilly continues to lead the league in passing yards with 2,843, and Edmonton has gotten a strong effort on the ground from running back John White with 354 rushing yards. The key to covering an almost two-touchdown spread could hinge on another big night from Reilly if White's hand injury keeps him out of the lineup, but I am quite confident that Edmonton's offense as a whole will be at its best in front of the home crowd at Commonwealth Stadium this Friday night.
The Eskimos have won seven of the last eight meetings SU, including their first game this season against Saskatchewan, and they have an 8-2 edge ATS in the last 10 games in this division matchup.
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