Slam Dunk picks: Juicy line value

Two rivalry affairs plus a couple games with vital playoff implications are on the board this week.

There is value to be had in some large lines while the Bombers and Eskimos are somewhat surprising favourites – but the home field factor is playing a role for both those squads.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-7) at Toronto Argonauts (3-11)
Friday, October 12, 7:30 p.m. EST

Even though Hamilton and Toronto are in very different playoff positions when rivals play you can throw the standings and records out. And consider the Argos have played much tougher ball at BMO Field as all three of their wins have come in TO.

James Franklin has been reinserted as the double blue starting quarterback after nearly leading an improbable fourth-quarter comeback in B.C. during Week 17. Franklin orchestrated two touchdowns drives – clearly providing an energy boost – while throwing the ball with authority. If the throw to Duron Carter for a major is any indication, those two have built a connection which could be dynamic.

Both of the Ticats wins against Toronto came in the Labour Day game and ensuing rematch, but it was McLeod Bethel-Thompson behind centre. Franklin provides a new challenge for Hamilton defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville.

Line: Ticats favoured by 8 points
Pick: Toronto
Bet: $21 spread returns $20

Saskatchewan Roughriders (10-5) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8-7)
Saturday, October 13, 2 p.m. EST

There seems to be a consensus that Saskatchewan handled Winnipeg easily in the first two meetings, however, each margin of victory was by one score.

The Bombers did go through a major mid-season slump but that seems to be in the past. Matt Nichols is playing better, Andrew Harris continues to be a dominant force on the ground and Winnipeg still leads the CFL in scoring.

Consider the teams scoring differential: Winnipeg +101 and Saskatchewan +13. At some point, the numbers are going to turn in the Bombers favour, which could be happening at the ideal time of the season: the stretch run.

Line: Bombers favoured by 3.5 points
Pick: Winnipeg
Bet: $22 spread returns $20

Ottawa Redblacks (8-6) at Edmonton Eskimos (7-8)
Saturday, October 13, 5 p.m. EST

After beating Calgary in Week 13, Edmonton has dropped three straight falling to the bottom of the West Division. Beating an East opponent on home turf is an absolute must if the Eskimos have real playoff visions.

Problems up front have put Mike Reilly under pressure regularly and Edmonton must find a way to protect the star quarterback as he’s taken way too many hits – in the last three outings especially. Saskatchewan rang up a bunch of pressures, five sacks and intercepted Reilly three times but the Esks still had a chance to win thanks to Mike Benevides’ defence.

Line: Eskimos favoured by 3 points
Pick: Edmonton
Bet: $23 spread returns $20

B.C. Lions (7-7) at Calgary Stampeders (12-2)
Saturday, October 13, 8 p.m. EST

A much different Lions club played Calgary within one score in Week 8 at McMahon Stadium.

B.C. comes to town with DeVier Posey at boundary receiver, Tyrell Sutton makes his debut as a Lion bringing his physical running style to compliment the slasher, Jeremiah Johnson, while Micah Awe and Bo Lokombo anchor the defence at their respective linebacker spots. Roster upgrades and B.C. controlling their playoff fate are two strong reasons to play on the Lions.

Line: Stampeders favoured by 10 points
Pick: B.C.
Bet: $21 spread returns $20

Season record against the spread: 30-22-2

Money line: 4-3
Teasers: 2-1
Over/under: 0-1

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