There are many kinds of fixings to be sampled on the Thanksgiving CFL spread.
Favourites of varying sizes across the board with playoff implications in each game: let’s get to the main course.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-7) at Ottawa Redblacks (8-5)
Friday, October 5, 7:30 p.m. EST
Winnipeg walks into the nation’s capital revenge-minded and with more on the line than Ottawa. The Redblacks put a 44-21 smackdown on the Bombers in Week 10, that game will be top of mind for Mike O’Shea’s bunch and the blue and gold are in a close race for a playoff spot in the highly competitive West Division.
If the Bombers defence keeps stacking games – Richie Hall’s unit held Mike Reilly to his lowest passing yards total (164) of the season in an impressive Week 16 effort – Winnipeg becomes the real Grey Cup contender many pundits felt they could be when the season kicked-off.
Line: Redblacks favoured by 1.5 points
Bet: $20 money line returns $20
Toronto Argonauts (3-10) at B.C. Lions (6-7)
Saturday, October 6, 7 p.m. EST
Toronto’s season has snowballed in a negative way and the storm hasn’t stopped like the 30-plus centimetres which fell on them as the team decided to stay in Calgary while preparing for the trip to B.C. Place. The Argos have lost five in a row, James Wilder Jr. won’t play and Marc Trestman’s group has been lifeless on the road at 0-6.
The Lions must beat the Argos to legitimately remain in playoff consideration. Coming off a beatdown in the Hammer expect a fully engaged B.C. squad in the comfortable home setting.
Tyrell Sutton is on the roster for the first time, which should provide a physical presence on the ground, adding a new dimension to the Lions offence that it hasn’t had since Brandon Rutley was healthy.
Line: Lions favoured by 7 points
Bet: $21 spread returns $20
Calgary Stampeders (11-2) at Montreal Alouettes (3-11)
Monday, October 8, 1 p.m. EST
Remarkably Calgary has lost four straight games in Montreal – the last win came in 2013 with Kevin Glenn at quarterback before Bo Levi Mitchell became the franchise man.
Something about Quebec just disagrees with the Stamps and playing in the 1 p.m. window makes it feel as if it’s 11 a.m. Calgary time.
The Alouettes gave Saskatchewan about all the Riders could handle with Johnny Manziel managing 138 yards through the air, even though everyone focused on the two touchdown balls. Manziel hype notwithstanding there is line value in Montreal.
Line: Stampeders favoured by 12.5 points
Bet: $22 spread returns $20
Edmonton Eskimos (7-7) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (9-5)
Monday, October 8, 4 p.m. EST
Some signs point to an Edmonton bounce back after the surprising and disappointing effort against Winnipeg which resulted in a 30-3 loss in Week 16.
Mike Reilly almost certainly won’t be held under 200 yards passing again, the special teams should be better if just for the boost a new coach can provide and the defence, considering the circumstances, played well.
However, Edmonton has struggled against the blitz and Chris Jones will dial up various looks to take advantage until the big men up front display the ability to consistently block it up.
Saskatchewan beating Edmonton could be vital in clinching a home playoff game and what better place to do it than at home in front of a rocking Mosaic Stadium crowd.
Line: Riders favoured by 4 points
Bet: $21 spread returns $20
Season record against the spread: 27-21-2
Money line: 3-3