Photo by Scott Grant / CFLPhotoArchive.ca

The most perplexing line of the CFL season: Winnipeg seven point favourites against Calgary.

Best in the West is on the line Thursday night in the Manitoba capital and while the Bombers started strong (5-0) their two-game Southern Ontario swing set them back (0-2).

The Stampeders enter the contest 5-2 but more importantly are 4-1 since Bo Levi Mitchell suffered a pectoral muscle injury and Nick Arbuckle stepped in as the starter at quarterback. Arbuckle has been efficient as a passer, protected the football, made some plays while riding a stingy defence and timely special teams contributions during his stint as the main man behind centre.

Calgary has found multiple ways to win – come backs, shoot outs, blow outs, grind outs – all for flat out wins. Dave Dickenson’s group puts dubs in the ‘W’ column at a high rate. Considering the variety of styles the Stampeders can play successfully, it’s a shock to see them as full touchdown underdogs.

Calgary Stampeders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers
Thursday, August 8, 8:30 p.m. EST

Being able to bet Calgary without laying points is rare. Saddle up on the horses and make it a big one.

Line: Bombers favoured by 7 points
Pick: Calgary
Bet: $22 spread bet returns $20

B.C. Lions at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Saturday, August 10, 7 p.m. EST

At 5-2 and 1-6 the Ticats and Lions are at opposite ends of the overall CFL standings. Hamilton would be first by virtue of their head-to-head victories against Calgary and Winnipeg respectively. B.C. barely has one win.

Even though historically the Lions haven’t travelled East and played well, it’s an ideal spot for B.C. Mike Reilly and company are coming off a bye week where changes were made, most importantly, up front to protect the franchise quarterback. Reilly must be protected – not just upright before the ball is thrown. He’s taken far too many hits to start the season.

The Lions have been blown out in three straight games and need to string the streak the other way or their season could be all but over by Labour Day. If B.C. shows up and plays at a level which matches the overall talent on the roster, the Lions are a lock to cover the touchdown plus a field goal margin.

Line: Ticats favoured by 10 points
Pick: B.C.
Bet: $22 spread bet returns $20

Season record against the spread: 10-12

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Justin Dunk is the pre-eminent CFL insider and unabashed supporter of Canadian quarterbacks. He is one of the founders of the new 3DownNation.