2018 CFL Season Win Totals Predictions
We are just one week away from kickoff between the Edmonton Eskimos and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who have the honor of getting the 2018 CFL season underway. As Week 3 of the preseason wraps up this coming weekend, what better way to prime ourselves for 21 weeks of fast-paced, high-scoring, immensely-entertaining football than by breaking down each of the nine team's season win totals and let you know how we expect each team to fare.
In the CFL the one constant (other than the obscure rules) is change. Three of the eight teams will be starting a new quarterback under center, and all of them will have almost an entirely revamped wide receiving corps to work with. The beauty of opening weekend is that each team believes they are better than the previous year and will do whatever it takes to make the ultimate dream come true and win a Grey Cup title.
These season win totals are courtesy of 5Dimes and are some of the best lines available to bet on.
British Columbia Lions - "Over" 6 -150, "Under" 6 +130
The BC Lions come into this season looking to make amends for last season's 7-11 record and send legendary coach Wally Buono into retirement with a Grey Cup win. The Lions were a middling team last year in all offensive categories, and they return both Travis Lulay and Jonathan Jennings under center. Both QBs suffered injuries at one point during the season last year, so avoiding the QB carousel would serve the Lions well. They also have a wealth of RB options, but their O-line is the weak link. They gave up the most sacks in the league and have done very little this offseason to rectify that. The West Division is always much more competitive than the East, so the Lions will need to make hay against the East in order to reach seven wins this year. Unfortunately for Buono, the Lions don't have what it takes to contend this year, so he will have to head into retirement off another terrible season. Take "under" 6.
Calgary Stampeders - " Over " 11 -13 0, "Under" 11 +110
The Calgary Stampeders have been the class of the West Division for the last few seasons. They come into the 2018 campaign on the heels of back-to-back West Division titles but have fallen short in the big game both times. This year they return their starting QB in Bo-Levi Mitchell, but they also lose one of the best running backs in the league in Jerome Messam. Messam is going to be a big loss for the Stamps as his ability to keep defenses honest allowed the WRs time and space to make a play. This receiving corps is very young, and it will be interesting to see if they can steepen the learning curve and carry the team to the summit of the West Division once again. Two consecutive championship game losses will have an effect on any pro sports team, so this is why I like the "under" 11 wins here. Too much energy spent over the last two years, and the rest of the West Division has gotten better.
Edmonton Eskimos - " Over " 11 -105, "Under" 11 -115
The Edmonton Eskimos are one of the two teams I am very high on this year. They return last year's Most Outstanding Player, Mike Reilly, and I expect him to put up similar numbers to what he did last season (447/654 for 5,830 yards and 30 TDs and 12 rushing TDs). They return the same receiving unit, with the exception of Brandon Zylstra, who made the jump to the NFL with Minnesota. They have a solid O-Line and gave up just 27 sacks last year, which was best in the league. They also have a completely healthy and talented defensive unit across the board and have motivation to become just the seventh team to win the Grey Cup on home soil. With a regression in Calgary expected, I expect the Eskimos to be the team to wrestle away the West Division crown. Take "over" 11.
Hamilton Tiger Cats - " Over " 9 -13 0, "Under" 9 +110
The Hamilton Tiger Cats are in a bit of a precarious situation heading into this 2018 season. They signed Jeremiah Masoli to a contract to be a starter only to go out and sign Johnny Manziel to potentially replace him. Whoever starts at QB, they will be in tough to hit the double-digit win column for a few reasons. The first being they have a very poor defense. They ranked either 7th or 8th out of nine in yards, passing yards and points per game allowed last year and did not do anything to get better. Yes, the players are one year older and more experienced, but returning everyone who contributed to that poor defense might be a curse instead of a blessing. The Ti-Cats do have a very talented receiving corps that could exploit teams if the game plan is right, but it should take Manziel a full season to adapt to the Canadian game if in fact he does take over the starting role (it's going to happen). The East Division is definitely the weaker of the two divisions, but I just can't see the Ti-Cats going from 6 wins to 10 in the matter of one season. Take the "under".
Montreal Alouettes - " Over " 5 -11 0, "Under" 5 -110
The best chance the Alouettes have to avoid finishing in the basement of the Eastern Division is riding their defense for 20 games. The Al's have a new DC in Rich Stubler and will be heavily reliant on that side of the football to keep them in ball games. The Als essentially have a QB controversy between two pivots who leave much to be desired. Veteran Drew Lilly and inexperienced QB Matt Shiltz are going to have to perform miracles in order for the Als to essentially double their win total from last year. The East may be weak, but every single team in the league is better than the Als right now. Take the "under".
Ottawa RedBlacks - " Over " 8 +130, "Under" 8 -150
The RedBlacks stunned the CFL world two seasons ago by capturing the Grey Cup and then followed that up with an 8-win season last year. The RedBlacks will be behind the eight ball this season right out of the gates for two reasons. The first being they have a lot of new personnel to break in and get familiar with and the second being the schedule. They play Calgary twice in the first five weeks and have to deal with the Riders and Als. That has an 1-3 start written all over it. Not sure if they can get to eight wins by implementing new systems on both sides of the football. Take the "under".
Toronto Argonauts - " Over " 9 +145, "Under" 9 -165
The Toronto Argonauts come into the 2018 season on the heels of an improbable Grey Cup victory last season over Calgary. The "double blue" return their starting QB, Ricky Ray, and have a very exciting prospect in James Franklin ready to make an impact on a moment's notice. Ray is the starter and should benefit once again from having his receiving corps fully intact this season. The only significant problem to speak of is the potential lack of run-game, with all new RBs in the mix to learn and produce in the Marc Trestman scheme. The defense should be just as good as they were last year when they were top-3 in total yards per game, pass yards per game and rushing yards per game. The East Division is relatively weak once again this year, so I don't see any reasons why the "double blue" can't improve on their nine-win campaign from last year. Take the "over".
Saskatchewan Roughriders - " Over " 8 -12 0, "Under" 8 +100
The Roughriders are one of three teams in the CFL that will be starting a new QB when Zach Collaros lines up under center for the first time on June 15. Collaros should benefit from a change in scenery as last year he struggled in Hamilton -- then again, so did everyone else. The Roughriders also add RB Jerome Messam to the equation, which will give them a much better rushing game to go along with a respectable and dynamic set of receivers. The only problem with the Roughriders is that they are inexperienced on the O-Line and have limited options if someone were to go down with an injury. This was a 10-win team last season, so a regression is entirely possible. I believe the number is right on point, so I'd side with the "under" in order to avoid paying vig.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers - "Over" 10 -125, "Under" 10 +105
The key to the Bombers season will be the health of their starting QB, Matt Nichols. Nichols suffered a hand injury late last year and disappointed in the opening playoff game. If Nichols can stay healthy, the offense has a ton of weapons to exploit and the potential to put up a ton of points on the board. It's hard to envision a team that won 12-games last year improve on that total, but I do believe the Bombers are in a much better position to hit double-digit wins than the current West Division favorites - Calgary Stampeders. Take the "over".
Doc's Sports expert handicappers will have Canadian Football League picks every week of the 2018 season. Our experts that will offer picks are: Indian Cowboy , Raphael Esparza , Vernon Croy, Scott Spreitzer , Alan Harris, and Strike Point Sports . CFL is one of the easiest sports to beat as the bookies just don't spend much time setting the lines. But our experts do take the time to handicap these games thoroughly, and they can spot weaknesses in the numbers very easily. Get $60 worth of premium members picks free .
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