We are eight weeks into the 2016 CFL regular season, and the betting trends are still heavily favoring road underdogs at a winning percentage of almost 73 percent. I tried to ride that trend last week with Montreal as a seven-point road underdog against Edmonton, but the Eskimos went on to win that game by 11 points.
Looking at this week's action, I decided to go against that trend with my free CFL pick for Doc's Sports by focusing on a home favorite with BetOnline in a huge showdown in the West Division.
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CFL Week 9 Betting Overview
Week 9 starts things out on Friday night with an East Division matchup between Montreal and Ottawa, with the RedBlacks favored by nine points at home. The betting line for the total has been set at 49. The Alouettes slipped to 2-5 both straight up and against the spread with last week's loss, and the total has stayed "under" in five of the seven games behind an offense that is averaging just 18.6 points a game.
Ottawa has a slim half-game lead over Toronto for the division lead at 4-2-1 SU, but it falls to 3-4 ATS. The total has stayed under in three of its last four games. The RedBlacks won the first meeting this season 28-13 on the road in a game that closed as a "pick'em". They have now won their last four games against Montreal both SU and ATS.
In the first of two Saturday games, Edmonton will go on the road to face Toronto as a three-point favorite with the total set at 53. The Eskimos snapped a three-game skid with last week's win to improve to 3-4 (SU and ATS). The defending Grey Cup champs will be looking for another strong effort from quarterback Mike Reilly, who leads the CFL in total passing yards (2,481).
The Argonauts (4-3 SU and ATS) will try and bounce back from a stunning 34-17 loss to Winnipeg as four-point favorites at home. They are now just 1-3 both SU and ATS in their first four games in their new home venue at BMO Field.
Later on Saturday night, Saskatchewan and Hamilton will square off in an interdivision battle, with the Tiger-Cats listed as 10-point home favorites. The total for this game has been set at 53. The Roughriders continue to struggle at 1-6 SU (2-5 ATS) after winning just three games last season. They are averaging 19.7 points a game on offense while allowing a league-high 33.3 points a game on the other side of the ball.
Hamilton has dropped its last two games SU and ATS to fall to 3-4 both ways on the year. It is just 1-3 ATS this season when closing as a favorite, and the total has stayed under in all four of those games.
CFL Free Pick of the Week: Calgary Stampeders at British Columbia Lions
The top spot in the West Division will be on the line this Friday night when the Calgary Stampeders travel to BC Place to face off against the rival British Columbia Lions. Calgary is 5-1-1 SU (5-2 ATS) and holding a slim half-game lead over BC and it comes into this game as a three-point underdog with the total set at 56.
This will be the third meeting this season, with the home team winning the first two games by a combined five points, so I am expecting another close battle this time around as well. The total has been split 1-1; staying under in BC and going over in Calgary
The Stampeders' fast start has been fueled by a defense that has only given up more than 20 points once in their last four games, but it happened to be against the Lions in a wild 44-41 overtime victory in Week 6 as five-point home favorites. Defense did rule the day in Week 1 when Calgary lost at BC 20-18 as a 2.5-point favorite on the road.
I have to go with the Lions minus the three points in this matchup despite the fact that they have lost six of the last seven meetings in this division clash. The better play could be BC -150 on the moneyline with the home team once again coming away with the SU win.
I am banking on the revenge factor for this pick after the Lions blew a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter of that Week 6 overtime loss. BC quarterback Jonathon Jennings shredded Calgary's secondary for 374 passing yards and three touchdowns, but two late-game interceptions helped spoil his team's upset bid. Since that loss, he has been almost unstoppable with 637 yards passing and four touchdown throws in convincing wins against Montreal and Hamilton.
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