A new season of football 'North of the Border' gets underway with Week 1 of the 2017 CFL regular season. This league offers avid sports bettors a great opportunity to get an early jump on another winning year instead of waiting for the NFL to start up this fall. Along with my weekly selection packages for the CFL, I will once again be releasing a 'free pick" every week for Doc's Sports as an added bonus to my coverage of this league.
CFL Week 1 Betting Overview
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The first game on this week's slate is an inter-division clash on Thursday night between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes. The current betting line has Montreal favored by 6.5 points at home with the total set at 50. The Roughriders have been able to cover against the spread in six of their last eight games as underdogs, and the Alouettes are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven season openers.
The Alouettes have a 4-1 edge ATS in their last five home games against Saskatchewan, and the total has stayed "under"or ended as a "push" in 17 of the last 21 meetings in Montreal.
Friday's featured matchup in the CFL is a rematch of last season's Grey Cup title game between the Calgary Stampeders and the Ottawa RedBlacks. Calgary closed as 9.5-point favorites in that game but ended up on the wrong end of a 39-33 loss in overtime. They come into this season opener as a three-point road favorite with the total set at 55.
The Stampeders are 5-2 ATS in their last seven road games as favorites and they are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against Ottawa. The total has gone "over" or ended as a push in the last five meetings.
The final game on the Week 1 slate is an East Division tilt between the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Toronto Argonauts. The Tiger-Cats are listed as 3.5-point road favorites for this Sunday's clash, and the total has been set at 54. They are 0-6 ATS in their last six games as favorite and Toronto is 0-6 ATS in its last six games as an underdog so something has to give in this one.
Hamilton has gone 8-1 ATS in the last nine meetings, and the total has gone over or ended as a push in five of the last six meetings in Toronto.
CFL Free Pick of the Week: Edmonton Eskimos at British Columbia Lions
Saturday night's West Division showdown should be the best matchup on the board in Week 1 featuring two of the top passing quarterbacks in the league running two of the highest-scoring offenses. The Lions have been listed as three-point home favorites for this 10 p.m. (ET) start at BC Place, and the betting line for the total has been set at 58.
Edmonton's Mike Reilly led the CFL in passing yards last season with 5,554 while completing 70.8 percent of his 633 attempts. He was second on the list in touchdown throws with 28, and he led an offense that averaged 30.5 points per game.
Jonathon Jennings led the way for BC last season on an offense that basically matched the Eskimos' scoring average with 30.3 PPG. He was third in the CFL in both total passing yards with 5,226 and touchdown passes with 27. He completed 67 percent of his attempts, but he was also picked off a league-high 15 times.
Offense should prevail in this matchup as well considering that both teams did have their issues on defense last season. The Eskimos allowed an average of 27.6 PPG in 2016, and BC's defense was not all that much better with a points allowed average of 25.2.
The home team in this matchup has won the last six meetings SU, and the Lions have a 4-1 edge ATS in the last five games. BC has been able to cover in six of their last eight games when closing as a favorite. Opening day trends also favor the Lions with Edmonton going just 4-11 ATS in its last 15 season openers.
This should be a very entertaining game with both teams moving the ball through the air and putting points on the board. Even though it could be a wild one, I still have BC covering the three points at home.
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