Free CFL Week 1 Picks from Expert Canadian Football Handicapper
The start of a new season of football in the NFL is still months away, but sports bettors looking for their football fix can turn to a brand new season of games 'north of the border' with action in Week 1 of the 2018 CFL regular season. 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. Check out my handicapper page here .
CFL Week 1 Betting Overview
Turning to Friday's action, the defending Grey Cup Champion Toronto Argonauts begin their title defense on the road against the Saskatchewan Roughriders as slight 1.5-point favorites . The total for this game is set at 52. The Argonauts are 8-3-1 against the spread in their last 12 road games against Saskatchewan, and the total has stayed "under" in four of the last five meetings overall.
Saturday's doubleheader of CFL action gets underway with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on the road against the Calgary Stampeders. Calgary has been opened as a heavy nine-point home favorite with the total set at 53. The big offseason addition to the Tiger-Cats' roster was former Cleveland Brown quarterback Johnny Manziel. However, Jeremiah Masoli is still penciled in as the starter. Hamilton has covered in five of its last seven road games against Calgary.
Later Saturday night, the Montreal Alouettes travel to BC Place to take on the British Columbia Lions as 6.5-point underdogs. The total for this inter-division clash has been set at 49. BC won both meetings last season to extend is current winning streak against Montreal to five games both straight up and ATS.
CFL Free Pick of the Week: Edmonton Eskimos at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Edmonton advanced to the West Division Finals last season against Calgary after beating the Blue Bombers 39-32 as a three-point road favorite in the opening round of the Grey Cup Playoffs. The Eskimos will open this season as seven-point road favorites for Thursday's 8:30 p.m. tilt at Investors Group Field in Winnipeg. The total for this West Division showdown has been set at 50 points.
Expectations are running high for the Eskimos as +600 second-favorites to with the 2018 Grey Cup title, but they will once again have to get past Calgary as a +200 favorite to win this year's league championship. Quarterback Mike Reilly led the CFL in passing yards last season with 5,830 while also tossing a league-high 30 touchdown throws. This was a major reason why Edmonton's offense averaged 28.3 points per game.
Winnipeg matched Edmonton's SU 12-6 record last season and won a tie-breaker for the No. 2 seed in the West with a two-game sweep of the Eskimos in the regular season. The Blue Bombers would probably be slight favorites at home for Thursday night's season opener if quarterback Mike Nichols was in the starting lineup. He hurt his knee in preseason practice, so Winnipeg will have to turn to Chris Streveler as its starter in Week 1. This will be the rookie's first start in the CFL.
Even with Nichols out of the lineup, I am surprised that Winnipeg is getting seven points at home in what has been a heated division rivalry over the past few seasons. This is a big number in my book that creates a heavy lean towards the Blue Bombers to, at the very least, cover. Both teams know how to put points on the board, and Streveler has enough weapons around him to keep pace on the scoreboard. I also think that Winnipeg has the clear edge on defense.
Edmonton has gone a costly 5-11 ATS in its last 16 season openers with a 3-8 mark ATS in its last 11 games in the month of June. I also like the fact that Winnipeg has covered in 10 of their last 14 West Division games.
Take the points in this one with the Blue Bombers covering ATS.
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