Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-3.5) at Toronto Argonauts
Friday, September 11: 7:35 PM ET
Casey Creehan almost had me fooled. After failing miserably in his first two years as a defensive coordinator (Hamilton, 2012; Winnipeg, 2013), Creehan’s 2015 Toronto Argonaut defence got off to hot start this season. Second-year linebackers Greg Jones and Cory Greenwood were wreaking havoc all over the field, newcomer A.J. Jefferson was dominating opposing receivers, and rookie Devin Smith recorded two interceptions in just his first four games. Since then, Toronto’s defence has fallen off tremendously, giving up an astonishing 1,161 passing yards in its past three games. With Hamilton coming into this game with the league’s #1 pass offence (294.4 yards per game) and fresh off a dismantling of the Argos on Labour Day (400 passing yards), I see the Tabbies coming away with a ten-point victory.
Pick straight-up: Hamilton
Pick against the spread: Hamilton
Saskatchewan Roughriders (-1) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Saturday September 12: 6:35 PM ET
I broke my promise to pick against the ‘Riders until they won last week when I took Saskatchewan to beat Brian Brohm’s Bombers in the Labour Day Classic. This week, with Winnipeg starting a professional-level quarterback, I’m taking the blue and gold to win the Banjo Bowl. Simple as that.
Pick straight-up: Winnipeg
Pick against the spread: Winnipeg
Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Eskimos (-1)
Saturday September 12: 9:35 PM ET
After a disappointing 0-4 record versus the Stamps a year ago, Eskimo head coach Chris Jones opted to play defensive tackle Eddie Steele at guard on Labour Day in hopes of upgrading his offensive line. Since then, Jones has traded for former Bomber Chris Greaves and signed former Eskimo/Cincinnati Bengal Matt O’Donnell to a lucrative free agent contract — both of whom could start Saturday. As much as Greaves and O’Donnell should help jump-start Edmonton’s offence — particularly if Mike Reilly is able to start his first game since week one — I can’t pick against a surging Stampeder squad that hasn’t lost since July. Getting a point against the spread is just a bonus.
Pick straight-up: Calgary
Pick against the spread: Calgary
Ottawa RedBlacks at BC Lions (-4)
Sunday September 13: 4:05 PM ET
This is the wackiest line of the week. Travis Lulay will miss the Lions’ next four to six games with a sprained MCL, leaving former NFL veteran John Beck and rookie Jonathon Jennings as BC’s lone pivot options for the next month. Beck has looked decent in spot duty behind Travis Lulay, but, as demonstrated by Robert Marve and James Franklin, there’s a fine line between succeeding as a reliever and succeeding as a starter. Ottawa, meanwhile, has quietly amassed a 5-4 record on the season and could easily be second in the east by the end of the week. I’m taking the RedBlacks in this game and the points.
Pick straight-up: Ottawa
Pick against the spread: Ottawa
Season record straight-up: 28-16
Season record against the spread: 22-21-1
John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk