The 2014 CFL regular season is almost half-complete. After this week’s games, the power picture heading into the race for the Grey Cup will be clear. Though the league’s two dominant squads, Calgary and Saskatchewan, are both on multi-game winning streaks and appear to be head-and-shoulders above the field, talent-wise, there are some intriguing matchups to consider this week, including the first of two back-to-backs for some of the most interesting teams in the league.
Friday, August 29th – Ottawa at Montreal
The Ottawa RedBlacks and the Montreal Alouettes will meet for the first time this season in CFL betting action on Friday night, with the Alouettes having managed to pick up just one ATS victory in their four home games so far this season – and Ottawa sitting at 0-4 ATS on the road. Overall Montreal is an ugly 1-7 SU and 2-6 ATS heading into their Week 10 outing with the expansion RedBlacks.
Ottawa is 0-4 against the spread on the road this year, a statistic that seems too cut-and-dried to ignore. But Montreal is 1-3 at home against the spread. With both teams in the middle of long losing streaks (five games for Ottawa, six for Montreal) it’s tough to make a pick. Ultimately, the QB situation in Montreal combined with the occasional Swiss cheese defense they put on the field gives Ottawa an advantage. Look for the RedBlacks’ burgeoning secondary to make a big difference in the first half.
Pick – Ottawa 20 Montreal 19
Sunday, August 31st – Winnipeg at Saskatchewan
The Saskatchewan Roughriders have won five straight this season. They have made the Winnipeg Blue Bombers their traditional whipping boy. Winnipeg is improving this season, but as the Bombers head to Saskatchewan on Sunday afternoon, they do it with trepidation. The Roughriders are dominant, looking to leverage a big win this weekend with a potential upset by Edmonton against Calgary to take over as the league’s best team.
Saskatchewan beat the Bombers by six points just three weeks ago, on Winnipeg’s turf, a margin that should have been wider. That being said, Winnipeg is coming off the narrowest of wins at lowly Montreal, a game in which the Alouettes simply outplayed the Blue Bombers. Back-to-backs against the Roughriders is probably too much to ask of a team that just slipped past the worst side in the CFL.
Pick – Saskatchewan 24 Winnipeg 16
Monday, Septemper 1st – Edmonton at Calgary
The Oilers’ offense has a lot to prove on Monday night, in a marquee matchup against the CFL’s best team on their home turf. Yes, Edmonton is riding a 3-game winning streak, but so are the Stampeders. This Labour Day contest is looking like a repeat of the squads’ first meeting in late July. In that game, Calgary won on the road by four points, after a low-scoring game decided by defense and stamina.
Don’t overlook that this is the first of a back-to-back for the Oilers and Stampeders. Calgary’s got a big question mark at the RB position in the personage of the recently-returned and rusty Jon Cornish, who was at the peak of his game this past July in Calgary’s win. The Oilers will clamp down on defense and return the favor from earlier this season, stealing one on the road in Calgary.
Pick – Edmonton 28 Calgary 24