Edmonton Eskimos (-2) at BC Lions
Thursday, August 6: 10:05 PM ET
The Eskimos have won four straight games on the strength of the CFL’s most dominant defensive unit. Chris Jones’ blitz-happy defence has allowed just thirty-seven points over its past four contests, a statistic that — particularly considering the CFL’s new rules — is simply impossible to ignore. The Lions, meanwhile, come into this contest licking their wounds after a disappointing ten-point loss to the Bombers last Thursday. If Travis Lulay was unable to move the ball effectively against Winnipeg, how can he possibly do the same versus Edmonton? This pick is easy.
Pick straight-up: Edmonton
Pick against the spread: Edmonton
Montreal Alouettes (-1.5) at Ottawa RedBlacks
Friday, August 7: 7:35 PM ET
This is the toughest pick of the week. Ottawa comes into this game well-rested from the bye week and took the CFL 2015 season opener against Montreal by a score of 20-16. That game was played before the emergence of rookie Rakeem Cato, a young man whose passer rating (101.1) is virtually identical to that of Ricky Ray’s from his rookie season in 2002 (101.3). Though I’ve picked the RedBlacks three times this season (including week one against Montreal) I’m going with the rookie pivot in this one.
Pick straight-up: Montreal
Pick against the spread: Montreal
Saskatchewan Roughriders at Toronto Argonauts (-9.5)
Saturday, August 8: 7:05 PM ET
Toronto finally gets an opportunity to play at home after spending the first six weeks of the CFL regular season on the road. The Argos’ most recent loss to Hamilton does little to tarnish what was an otherwise successful road trip out west and I have full confidence that Scott Milanovich will have his team ready to play this contest on a short week. Saskatchewan, meanwhile, is terrible. Brett Smith will be making just his second career start at quarterback for the ‘Riders and, while the Toronto defence isn’t as fearsome as the crew in Edmonton, it’s hardly one to shake a stick at, either. I like the Argos in this contest, but not enough to eat 9.5 points.
Pick straight-up: Toronto
Pick against the spread: Saskatchewan
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-7)
Sunday, August 9: 7:05 PM ET
The major storyline coming into this contest is the sheer dominance the Ti-Cats have displayed at Tim Hortons Field. Since the Coffee Grounds opened midway through the 2014 season, Hamilton is 7-0 in the regular season and 8-0 overall at their new digs. With a healthy Ted Laurent in the middle of a stifling Hamilton defence, I don’t much like the Bombers chances in this game. Winnipeg’s best chance of notching a win in Steeltown is Drew Willy repeating the same type of dominant performance he had against BC a week ago, something that will be aided by the return of slotback Nick Moore. It should be noted that despite the lop-sided final score of the latest meeting between these two teams (Hamilton 52, Winnipeg 26), that game was a competitive 10-7 contest until Willy was taken out with a viscous head shot late in the first quarter.
Pick straight-up: Hamilton
Pick against the spread: Hamilton
Season record straight-up: 13-11
Season record against the spread: 13-10-1
John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk