BC Lions (-3) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Thursday, July 30: 8:35 PM ET
The Bombers are coming into this game off a short week with a banged up starting quarterback, not exactly a recipe for success. The Lions, meanwhile, are looking to bounce back from a tough home loss to the Argonauts that saw them blow a 21-point lead early in the second quarter. To me, this game hinges heavily on the lower body injury that will keep Nick Moore from facing his former team. Moore is Willy’s security blanket, so the Bombers will need Justin Veltung and Julian Feoli-Gudino to step up in his absence. For this reason, I’m taking the Lions straight-up and against the spread.
Pick straight-up: BC
Pick against the spread: BC
Saskatchewan Roughriders at Edmonton Eskimos (-10)
Friday, July 31: 9:05 PM ET
This game is a no-brainer. Rookie pivot Brett Smith will make his first career start against a vaunted Eskimo defence that shutout the ‘Riders in their most recent trip to Commonwealth Stadium. To say that Smith is being thrown to the wolves would be unfair to an Eskimo pass rush that, in reality, is probably more capable of damaging opposing quarterbacks than most wolf packs. Covering the spread in this one would be enough for the ‘Riders to deem this game a success — winning it outright is likely out of the question. As much as I hate eating ten points, I’ll take the Eskimos straight-up and against the spread.
Pick straight-up: Edmonton
Pick against the spread: Edmonton
Montreal Alouettes at Calgary Stampeders (-4.5)
Saturday, August 1: 7:05 PM ET
This game is the toughest pick of the week. The Alouettes dominated the Stampeders on July 3rd in rookie pivot Rakeem Cato’s CFL debut and should be well-rested coming off the bye week. Montreal’s defence hasn’t skipped a beat since starting middle linebacker Bear Woods was lost for the season to a torn pectoral muscle, a unit that will receive a ton of attention if former Missouri pass rusher Michael Sam makes his much-anticipated CFL debut in this contest. For me, this game will come down to how well Bo Levi Mitchell is able to move the ball behind a patchwork offensive line without the assistance of Jon Cornish. With their hometown crowd behind them, I’ll take the Stamps straight-up, but not to cover.
Pick straight-up: Calgary
Pick against the spread: Montreal
Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-4)
Monday, August 3: 7:05 PM ET
I simply cannot wait to watch this game. The Argonauts have been the CFL’s most impressive team so far this season, winning three of four games on a month-long road trip across western Canada to kick-off the 2015 campaign. The Ti-Cats, meanwhile, are coming off an impressive come-from-behind win against the ‘Riders and are 7-0 at Tim Hortons Field. Game on. These two teams (and fan bases) hate each other and I can’t wait to see them go to battle in what is sure to be a tight game. It’ll be interested to see if C.J. Gable is able to build off his season debut versus the Roughriders against a stingier double-blue defence. I’ll take the Ti-Cats by less than a field goal.
Pick straight-up: Hamilton
Pick against the spread: Toronto
Season record straight-up: 10-10
Season record against the spread: 11-8-1
John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk