Ottawa RedBlacks at Edmonton Eskimos (-6)
Thursday, July 9: 9:05 PM
I have a tremendous amount of respect for Chris Jones as a head coach and defensive coordinator. With an extra week to prepare for Henry Burris and company, I have no doubt that Jones will have his defence ready to go after an embarrassing week one performance versus Toronto. With that being said, the Eskimos are a mess on the offensive side of the ball. Matt Nichols was very poor in relief of Mike Reilly in week one, while, even with the return of Greg Wojt from the one-game injured list, the interior of the Eskimos’ offensive line is frighteningly sub-par. For the third straight week, I’m taking Ottawa and the points.
Pick straight-up: Ottawa
Pick against the spread: Ottawa
Montreal Alouettes at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (-3.5)
Friday, July 10: 7:05 PM
This is a tough game to call. On one hand, the Bombers have owned the Alouettes since 2013, taking four out of their last five contests (a stunning statistic, considering Winnipeg has won just ten games over the past two seasons). On the other hand, these clubs are headed in two completely different directions. Montreal dominated the defending Grey Cup champions last week with rookie quarterback Rakeem Cato’s breakout performance earning him comparisons to the likes of Doug Flutie, Tracy Ham, and Warren Moon. Meanwhile, the Bombers crumpled after an early injury to Drew Willy, dropping a 52-26 decision to the Ti-Cats in front of their home crowd at Investors Group Field. Though the injury to Bear Woods leaves me tempted to take Winnipeg in a tight contest, I just can’t trust the Bombers at home.
Pick straight-up: Montreal
Pick against the spread: Montreal
Saskatchewan Roughriders at BC Lions (-3)
Friday, July 10: 10:05 PM
This is the easiest pick of the week. Though I’ve yet to pick Saskatchewan this season, the ‘Riders match-up really well against BC. The Lions’ defensive line was dominated at the point of attack last week by an Ottawa offensive line that, while solid, isn’t as strong as their green-and-white counterparts. I also expect former Lions Kevin Glenn and Jacques Chapdelaine to pull out all the stops against a team I’m sure they’d love to beat. I’m taking the Roughriders and the points.
Pick straight-up: Saskatchewan
Pick against the spread: Saskatchewan
Toronto Argonauts at Calgary Stampeders (-6)
Sunday, July 5: 3:35 PM
As the old saying goes, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” This week I’m counting on a Stampeder victory to prevent me from feeling foolish after Calgary’s no-show in Montreal turned out to be the lone blemish on my picks last week. As much as Toronto is a tempting pick here — Trevor Harris and company have been extremely impressive on the road in Fort McMurray and Regina so far this season — I just can’t bet against John Hufnagel when he’s had ten days to prepare for a game. I’m taking the defending champs and eating the six points.
Pick straight-up: Calgary
Pick against the spread: Calgary
Season record straight-up: 5-3
Season record against the spread: 6-2
John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk