Slam Dunk picks: home dogs primed to eat

Three substantial home underdogs stand out on the Week 4 CFL betting card.

Saskatchewan, Montreal and Toronto are all getting more than a field goal in friendly confines and while all three clubs having losing records, the lines appear to be an overreaction. So let’s see if we can take advantage.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-1) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-2)
Thursday, July 5, 9 p.m. EST

The Riders quarterbacks couldn’t have played much worse as Canadian Brandon Bridge and David Watford managed completion percentages in the 40’s and both were picked off, twice, while losing to Montreal last week.

Jeremiah Masoli enters Mosaic Stadium as the league’s leading passer and brings Brandon Banks along – a small, speedy receiver similar to Diontae Spencer and Chris Williams who Duron Carter struggled against in the past two starts at defensive back.

Saskatchewan has lost two in a row, Hamilton winners of two straight. If the same teams played in Week 1 or 2 the Riders would have been favourites. However, the current streaks and circumstances have made the line as large as it could possibly be for Week 4.

Chris Jones doesn’t care what the fans think, but for his own sake expect a full effort from the Riders.

Line: Ticats favoured by 6.5 points
Pick: Saskatchewan
Bet: $11 returns $10

Edmonton Eskimos (2-1) at Toronto Argonauts (1-2)
Saturday, July 7, 5:30 p.m. EST

Marc Trestman and the Argos had a perfectly timed bye week.

After Ricky Ray went down and was carted off the BMO Field grass with a neck injury, the 38-year-old is expected to miss the rest of the season, Trestman had extra time to prepare James Franklin. There are some personnel men in the CFL who believe – based on what Ray put on film through two games in 2018 – that Toronto could be improved on offence with Franklin as the signal caller.

Line: Eskimos favoured by 3.5 points
Pick: Toronto
Bet: $11 returns $10

B.C. Lions (1-1) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (1-2)
Saturday, July 7, 8:30 p.m. EST

You can see ‘it’ when teammates talk about Matt Nichols.

The franchise quarterback infuses a burst of energy into the Bombers lineup. Along with a well-built roster, a healthy Nichols makes Winnipeg a legitimate Grey Cup contender. Each of the top three aerial playmakers, Weston Dressler, Darvin Adams and Adarius Bowman have an unspoken chemistry with Nichols that takes a while to develop.

Chris Streveler did an admiral job filling in as a rookie and he could be a potential future star, but Nichols makes the offence the best in the league – 554 points and the only squad to average 30-plus points per game last season under No. 15’s guidance.

When the original line was made, the Bombers were 3.5-point favourites and it’s been driven up to 5.5. Laying less than a touchdown is worth the value considering what Nichols means to the offence and head coach Mike O’Shea admitting his team got their butts kicked in Hamilton.

Line: Bombers favoured by 5.5 points
Pick: Winnipeg
Bet: $11.50 returns $10

Bonus: four-team, six-point teaser

Knocking the Redblacks and Bombers down to pick ’em range, sign us up.

Picks: Saskatchewan, Ottawa, Toronto and Winnipeg
Bet: $10 returns $30

Season record against the spread: 5-5

Money line: 2-2

Teasers: 1-1

Bankroll: $392 from $393 starting budget

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