Slam Dunk picks: Fading Johnny Football?

While there is plenty of hype around Johnny Manziel starting his first CFL game, the sharps are fading Johnny Football on the betting line.

Manziel’s former team the Hamilton Tiger-Cats opened as six-point favourites and the spread has reached a full touchdown, which means money being tabbed on the Ticats.

We’re about making all the Money Manziel possible so let’s get to it right quick.

Ottawa Redblacks (4-2) at Toronto Argonauts (1-5)
Thursday, August 2, 7 p.m. EST

First-time starting quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson versus Noel Thorpe. First-time starting cornerback Trumaine Johnson versus Diontae Spencer. CFL debuts at critical spots for Toronto should be two areas where the Redblacks can win those phases of the game.

Bethel-Thompson has seen Ottawa’s defence already in the pre-season, but he struggled against back-end roster players throwing two interceptions. Thorpe’s unit allowed just one touchdown on the road in Hamilton last week. The Ticats have a more experienced quarterback in Jeremiah Masoli than Bethel-Thompson and more playmakers on offence.

Line: Redblacks favoured by 6 points
Pick: Ottawa
Bet: $22 spread returns $20

Saskatchewan Roughriders (3-3) at Edmonton Eskimos (4-2)
Thursday, August 2, 10 p.m. EST

Chris Jones and company have nearly a full complement of players, standout strong-side linebacker Derrick Moncrief is injured, going into Edmonton where the Riders have played the Eskimos tough since Jones left the city.

Duron Carter returning to the offensive side of the football could be the most impactful of the roster moves Saskatchewan had made, which include Zach Collaros starting at quarterback and boundary corner Nick Marshall both healed from injury setbacks. Carter has the ability to make unbelievable plays and draw plenty of attention to allow one-on-one matchups elsewhere on the field.

Line: Eskimos favoured by 7 points
Pick: Saskatchewan
Bet: $24 spread returns $20, $10 money line returns $20.50

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2-4) at Montreal Alouettes (1-5)
Friday, August 3, 7:30 p.m. EST

Some dude named Johnny Manziel makes his first CFL start.

Manziel’s agent Erik Burkhardt wants his client to ‘put it on‘ the collective Ticats ‘ass’. The odds are stacked against Manziel but there are qualities the Alouettes clearly feel the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner has to beat the numbers.

Former teammate and quarterback counterpart Jeremiah Masoli plays better on the road than at home and he’ll have a fully healthy group of receivers to utilize in the passing game: Brandon Banks, Chris Williams, Jalen Saunders, Luke Tasker and Terrence Toliver. While Jerry Glanville has schemed a fierce Ticats defence that features high calibre talent at every level.

Manziel knows Hamilton’s defensive personnel well having practised against them for roughly two months, but that works both ways.

Somehow it just feels as though Manziel creates enough energy and excitement for the birds to be worth taking the points.

Line: Ticats favoured by 7 points
Pick: Montreal
Bet: $11 spread returns $10

Season record against the spread: 12-8

Money line: 2-2

Teasers: 2-1

Over/under: 0-1

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