The second half of the 2016 CFL regular season gets underway this week with an extended schedule of five games right through the Labor Day holiday. There is little doubt that the Calgary Stampeders have been the class of the CFL through the first half with a straight up record of 7-1-1 while going a profitable 7-2 against the spread. They currently hold a game and half lead over British Columbia in the West Division title race.
The East Division remains wide open with all four teams in the mix. I have turned my attention to Thursday night's Ottawa at Montreal game for this week's free CFL pick in a battle between the first and last place teams in this title race.
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CFL Week 11 Betting Overview
Week 11 gets underway early with Toronto's first of two games on this week's slate. The Argonauts will play host to BC in their first game as three-point underdogs, with the total set at 54.5. The Lions upended Ottawa last week 29-23 as 2.5-point road underdogs to improve to 3-1 SU in their last four games and to 5-1 ATS in their last six outings.
Toronto is coming off a bye after dropping back-to-back games to Winnipeg and Edmonton at home its last two times out. Despite the brand new digs at BMO Field this season, the Argonauts are 1-4 both SU and ATS at home this season.
Moving to Sunday's Winnipeg at Saskatchewan game, the Blue Bombers come in as one of the hottest teams in the CFL with a four-game SU winning streak in which they have closed as underdogs in all four contests. They will square off against the 1-8 SU (3-6 ATS) Roughriders as 4.5-point road favorites with BetOnline. The total line for this West Division matchup has been set at 51.5.
Look for fireworks on the scoreboard Sunday night with Winnipeg averaging 33.3 points during this four-game run and Saskatchewan allowing an average of 35.4 points through its first nine games.
Monday's holiday double-header starts off with a big showdown in the West between Edmonton and Calgary. The Eskimos come into this game as 6.5-point road underdogs, with the total set at 54.5. They have looked a bit more like defending CFL Champs with SU victories in their past three games, and they have gone 3-1 ATS in their last four outings.
The Stampeders' current SU winning streak stands at six games, and they have covered in their past four contests with the total staying "under" each time. This will be the first game in a home-and-home series between these two bitter rivals.
Toronto is back in action on Monday as a 7.5-point road underdog against Hamilton. The betting line for the total in this game has been set at 54.5. The Tiger-Cats dropped a tough 30-24 decision against Calgary last week as four-point road underdogs to fall to 4-5 on the year both SU and ATS. They opened the 2016 season with a 42-20 rout of the Argonauts as five-point road underdogs.
CFL Free Pick of the Week: Ottawa RedBlacks at Montreal Alouettes
Ottawa is clinging to a half-game lead over Toronto in the East at 4-4-1 SU, but it has now lost four of its last five games while failing to cover ATS in all five contests. The RedBlacks did have quarterback Trevor Harris back in the starting lineup in last week's loss to BC, but this offense as a whole has struggled to find the end zone the last five games with an average of 22.8 points.
Montreal is 3-6 on the year (SU and ATS), and its offense has been even more anemic at times with an average of 14.2 points in six losses this season. It has been feast or famine with Kevin Glenn at quarterback. And even though he did throw for 283 yards while completing 76.3 percent of his 38 passing attempts in last week's loss to Winnipeg, he was picked off four times, with one interception going all the way back for a touchdown.
The RedBlacks have been listed as 2.5-point road favorites for Thursday night's East Division tilt, but I am dialed into the "under" on a 49-point total line as this week's free CFL pick for Doc's. These two split the first two meetings this season, with the total split as well, and the current trends and playing form of both teams make this likely a low-scoring battle this time around. The total has stayed under in three of Ottawa's last four games overall and it has stayed under in 10 of Montreal's last 14 games at home.
Most times when two struggling teams meet, you can expect to see some pretty bad offense from both sides. Harris could give the RedBlacks on boost on offense. However, if Glenn has another rough outing throwing the ball, the Alouettes could be in big trouble behind a running game that has been absent the past few weeks.
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