Slam Dunk picks: Finding value in large favourites

If heavy favourites are your jam the CFL slate is full of them.

Edmonton and Winnipeg are double-digit favourites while Ottawa and Calgary are nearing touchdowns, four substantial spreads. But there is value to be had.

Edmonton Eskimos (3-2) at Montreal Alouettes (1-4)
Thursday, July 26, 7:30 p.m. EST

The Eskimos take the field in La Belle Province after a bye week and the Terrell Owens situation behind them.

Mike Reilly leads the league’s best passing attack with Duke Williams and Derel Walker the top two weapons and C.J. Gable returns to the lineup recovered from two nasty hits to the head. Lots of playmaking ability on Edmonton’s offence.

Vernon Adams – not Johnny Manziel – starts at quarterback for the Als with the most dangerous playmaker in Chris Williams traded to Hamilton as part of the package to land Manziel. The Als offensive line seems to have improved on the periphery, but Montreal has allowed a league-worst 17 sacks. Adams is mobile, but he’s only had one month to learn the offensive playbook. If Matt Shiltz was starting it might have been a different line.

The Alouettes average margin of defeat in four losses: 21.25.

Line: Eskimos favoured by 10 points
Pick: Edmonton
Bet: $11 spread bet returns $10

Toronto Argonauts (1-4) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (3-3)
Friday, July 27, 8:30 p.m. EST

Winnipeg went into Toronto and beat the boatmen handily 38-20 as three-point road favourites in Week 6. The rematch comes in the Peg with the line reflecting the damage done in the big smoke.

The Argos best pass rusher Shawn Lemon was traded to the B.C. Lions and multi-threat running back James Wilder Jr. might not play, two critical differences from one week ago when Toronto lost by 18. Turnovers played a major role and for the Double Blue to have any chance those issued must be fixed.

Expect Marc Trestman’s group to be laser focused and prepared after the drubbing at BMO Field.

Line: Bombers favoured by 10.5 points
Pick: Toronto
Bet: $11.50 spread bet returns $10

Calgary Stampeders (5-0) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-2)
Saturday, July 28, 9 p.m. EST

So you’re up to date, the last Calgary and Saskatchewan met the Riders stunned the Stamps at McMahon Stadium 30-7 and the other game in 2017 was a 15-9 defensive slobber knocker.

Playmaking receiver Eric Rogers was recovering from a torn ACL during those contests and one has to imagine Chris Jones locks Duron Carter on Calgary’s best receiver in a matchup that could ultimately decide the outcome.

Chris Jones was able to corral Bo Levi Mitchell and the Stamps offence last season, but the franchise quarterback had an ailing throwing shoulder. That setback has since healed which means the real test comes Saturday.

Line: Stampeders favoured by 6.5 points
Pick: Saskatchewan
Bet: $11 spread bet returns $10


Points in the Stampeders-Riders tilt will be at an ultra-premium.

The DeVone Claybrooks-led Calgary defence yields less than 10 points per game. On the Saskatchewan sideline, Jones is known as a defensive guru. Any points scored will be hard earned.

All the chinstraps will be buckled up tight.

Line: 47
Pick: under
Bet: $23 returns $20

Season record against the spread: 11-6

Money line: 2-2

Teasers: 2-1

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