CFL Betting News and Notes Week 1

CFL Betting News and Notes Week 1

2014 CFL Season Preview
By Sean Murphy
Covers.com

The 2014 CFL season will kick off on Thursday night in Winnipeg as the Blue Bombers host the Argos. There will be nine teams competing for the ultimate prize this year, as Ottawa has re-joined the fold. The B.C. Lions are currently favored to hoist the Grey Cup, with Saskatchewan and Calgary not far behind.

Here’s a look at how all nine teams stack up entering the new campaign.

East Division

Montreal Alouettes (2013: 8-10 SU, 11-7 ATS)


Odds to win division: +250
Odds to win Grey Cup: +706

Why to bet the Alouettes: Montreal might possess the best receiving corps in the CFL, led by Jamel Richardson, S.J. Green and emerging young talent Duron Carter. Former Heisman Trophy winner, QB Troy Smith has big shoes to fill, but does have the pedigree to succeed, and he’ll get plenty of help. The East Division might be a little watered down with the addition of expansion Ottawa, perhaps opening the door for an Als bounce-back year.

Why not to bet the Alouettes: The Anthony Calvillo era has come to an end, and that obviously leaves more questions than answers. That’s not to mention the fact that the Als lost a pair of offensive line standouts to retirement in the offseason, and did little to improve their team by way of free agency or the draft.

Grey Cup outlook: Poor. Inconsistency will plague the Als on both sides of the football, leading to a likely third place finish in the East Division.

Toronto Argonauts (2013: 11-7 SU, 9-8-1 ATS)

Odds to win division: +150
Odds to win Grey Cup: +639

Why to bet the Argos: The face of the league is also the face of the Argos in QB Ricky Ray. While health has been an issue in recent years, if Ray can stay on the field, the Argos will be among the best offensive teams in the league once again.

Why not to bet the Argos: Toronto will be forced to go with a running back by committee approach after Chad Kackert’s sudden retirement. Losing cornerback Patrick Watkins and versatile QB Zach Collaros won’t help matters either. It remains to be seen whether the Argos have enough depth to contend in the East.

Grey Cup outlook: Average at best. Scott Milanovich has proven to be a first class head coach, but he’ll need to do some of his best work to get the Argos back to the Grey Cup this year.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (2013: 10-8 SU, 9-9 ATS)

Odds to win division: +200
Odds to win Grey Cup: +700

Why to bet the Ti-Cats: Credit Ti-Cats management for shaking things up after reaching last year’s Grey Cup. Henry Burris wasn’t getting any younger, and the move to a younger, more versatile QB in Zach Collaros should give the offense another shot in the arm. In fact, most of Hamilton’s offseason focus was placed on improving the offense.

Why not to bet the Ti-Cats: How long will it take Collaros to get up to speed with the offense? There are also a number of questions on the defensive side of the football, where the Ti-Cats did little to improve prospects in the offseason.

Grey Cup outlook: Good. The Ti-Cats will be hungry to get back after getting embarrassed by the Riders last November.

Ottawa Redblacks (2013: N/A)

Odds to win division: +500
Odds to win Grey Cup: +1800

Why to bet the Redblacks: There’s reason for optimism in Ottawa, even if it is the Redblacks inaugural campaign. While they are starting from scratch, the cupboard is by no means bare. Henry Burris will start the season under centre, while RB Chevon Walker and WR Paris Jackson give them much needed explosiveness all over the field. Ottawa’s defensive roster is filled with veterans.

Why not to bet the Redblacks: It’s obviously going to take some time for the roster to mesh. We did see some promising signs in the preseason, but it’s important not to get too carried away with those exhibition results. Ottawa may contend with its Eastern counterparts, but the West will be another story.

Grey Cup outlook: Not a chance. The Redblacks will simply be looking to build toward the future this year. As long as the product they put on the field is entertaining, it’s a win for the city of Ottawa.

West Division

Calgary Stampeders (2013: 14-4 SU, 11-6-1 ATS)


Odds to win division: +200
Odds to win Grey Cup: +404

Why to bet the Stampeders: Calgary has two of the league’s best (some would say backup) quarterbacks in Drew Tate and Bo Levi Mitchell. Who will get the starting nod remains to be seen, but it’s a nice problem to have in the CFL, where durability tends to be an issue. With former Most Outstanding Player winner Jon Cornish in the backfield, neither Tate or Mitchell will have to shoulder the entire load.

Why not to bet the Stampeders: Has the window closed on the Stampeders? It seemed as if they peaked two years ago, when they reached the Grey Cup in Toronto. While they were terrific in the regular season a year ago, the playoffs were a different story.

Grey Cup outlook: Good. However, they’re going to need the offense to hum under the guidance of Tate or Mitchell.

Saskatchewan Roughriders (2013: 11-7 SU, 8-9-1 ATS)

Odds to win division: +200
Odds to win Grey Cup: +397

Why to bet the Roughriders: Darian Durant is back under centre, giving the Riders some continuity on offense. They’ve got plenty of depth all over the field, which is a good thing given some of the offseason departures. Don’t sleep on the Riders defense either, one of the most underrated units in the league.

Why not to bet the Roughriders: Kory Sheets and Weston Dressler will both be trying out south of the border this Summer, leaving a pair of substantial voids in the Riders offense. While both could return, that wouldn’t be likely to happen until Labour Day.

Grey Cup outlook: Not as good as the odds indicate. Could a letdown be in order after the Riders won the Grey Cup in their own backyard last year?

B.C. Lions (2013: 11-7 SU, 9-9 ATS)

Odds to win division: +180
Odds to win Grey Cup: +323

Why to bet the Lions: The Grey Cup host has ultimately hoisted the trophy in each of the last two years, and it’s the Lions turn this Fall. The sky is the limit for a team that’s loaded with stars on both sides of the football. The addition of QB Kevin Glenn gives the Lions a nice veteran presence behind Travis Lulay.

Why not to bet the Lions: The Lions offensive line is young and inexperienced. It won’t matter who is taking the snaps if the line can’t protect. We’ve seen this story play out before, with the Lions receiving plenty of hype prior to the start of the season, only to disappoint. We’ll see if that holds true this year.

Grey Cup outlook: Excellent. On paper, the Lions are the favorite for good reason. The added motivation of hosting the Grey Cup should serve them well.

Edmonton Eskimos (2013: 4-14 SU, 8-10 ATS)

Odds to win division: +500
Odds to win Grey Cup: +1000

Why to bet the Eskimos: Last season was a rebuilding year, plain and simple. Expectations aren’t all that high this year either, but the potential is there for the Esks to make a move. Mike Reilly has cemented his role as the team’s starting QB. The addition of former Argos defensive coordinator Chris Jones, not to mention CB Patrick Watkins bolsters an already promising defensive corps.

Why not to bet the Eskimos: Make no mistake, the Esks are still in rebuild mode. In a tough West Division, they’re unlikely to contend, but would look at six or seven wins as a major positive moving forward. If Reilly can’t stay healthy, the offense could be in serious trouble.

Grey Cup outlook: Poor. The Eskimos will be a fun team to watch, and should make positive strides, but shouldn’t be involved in too many Grey Cup conversations.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2013: 3-15 SU, 5-12-1 ATS)


Odds to win division: +1000
Odds to win Grey Cup: +1200

Why to bet the Blue Bombers: New head coach Mike O’Shea should provide a breath of fresh air to a struggling Blue Bombers franchise. After ranking last in both scoring offense and defense a year ago, there’s nowhere to go but up for the Bombers. QB Drew Willy takes over the offense and the move should pay dividends in short order.

Why not to bet the Blue Bombers: Outside of O’Shea and Willy, there are few reasons for optimism – this year at least. The Bombers are in a similar position to that of the Eskimos last year. They know the direction they’re headed in, but not quite sure how to get there. We’ll see plenty of growing pains again in 2014.

Grey Cup outlook: Poor. Unless O’Shea is able to pull off a miracle in his first year in Winnipeg, the Bombers will likely be looking at a five or six win season.

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Toronto Argonauts vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers Preview
By Tom Wilkinson

Toronto Argonauts vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers

CFL Odds: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Toronto Argonauts on Thursday in the opening game of the 2014 CFL season. The Toronto Argonauts won the East Division last season while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers finished last so it is no surprise to see the road team favored in this opener. The Toronto Argonauts have also owned this series of late, winning 7 of the last 10. They won all three meetings a year ago and covered two of the three games.

Here is a look at Thursday’s season opener and CFL picks.

Huge Edge at Quarterback for Toronto Argonauts

The Toronto Argonauts have one of the top quarterbacks in the CFL in Ricky Ray while the Winnipeg Blue Bombers have problems. The team is counting on Drew Willy as their starter and Brian Brohm as the backup. Willy has four career CFL starts while Brohm has none.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Defensive Injuries

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers defense has major problems heading into the opener on Thursday. Three starters, linebacker Korey Banks, cornerback Donovan Alexander and defensive back Alex Suber are all questionable. The Winnipeg Blue Bombers defense is not very good to begin with and with three starters banged up they figure to have a long night on Thursday against Ricky Ray and the Argos offense.

Game Trends

The Argonauts are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in June. The Argonauts are 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 road games. The Argonauts are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games in Week 1. The Blue Bombers are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games in June. The Blue Bombers are 0-3-1 ATS in their last 4 home games. The Argonauts are 3-0-1 ATS in their last 4 meetings in Winnipeg. The Argonauts are 3-1-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.

The Under is 14-3 in the Argonauts last 17 games in June. The Under is 5-2 in the Blue Bombers last 7 games in June. The Under is 10-4 in the last 14 meetings in Winnipeg.

CFL Picks

I think this should be a good road win to start the season for the Toronto Argonauts so I will lay the points.


Bet on CFL Games

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TORONTO (11 - 8) at WINNIPEG (3 - 15) - 6/26/2014, 8:35 PM

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
TORONTO is 3-2 against the spread versus WINNIPEG over the last 3 seasons
TORONTO is 5-1 straight up against WINNIPEG over the last 3 seasons
3 of 6 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
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MONTREAL (8 - 11) at CALGARY (14 - 5) - 6/28/2014, 3:05 PM

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
CALGARY is 4-0 against the spread versus MONTREAL over the last 3 seasons
CALGARY is 3-1 straight up against MONTREAL over the last 3 seasons
2 of 4 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
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EDMONTON (4 - 14) at BRITISH COLUMBIA (11 - 8) - 6/28/2014, 6:05 PM

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
BRITISH COLUMBIA is 4-2 against the spread versus EDMONTON over the last 3 seasons
BRITISH COLUMBIA is 5-1 straight up against EDMONTON over the last 3 seasons
3 of 6 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
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HAMILTON (12 - 9) at SASKATCHEWAN (14 - 7) - 6/29/2014, 7:05 PM

Top Trends for this game.
SASKATCHEWAN is 60-40 ATS (+16.0 Units) when playing on a Sunday since 1996.
HAMILTON is 8-1 ATS (+6.9 Units) as a road underdog of 3.5 to 7 points over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
SASKATCHEWAN is 4-1 against the spread versus HAMILTON over the last 3 seasons
SASKATCHEWAN is 4-1 straight up against HAMILTON over the last 3 seasons
3 of 5 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

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JUNE 26, 8:30 PM
TORONTO vs. WINNIPEG
Toronto is 13-3-1 ATS in its last 17 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Toronto's last 9 games when playing Winnipeg   
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Winnipeg's last 9 games when playing Toronto
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Winnipeg's last 14 games when playing at home against Toronto

JUNE 28, 3:00 PM
MONTREAL vs. CALGARY
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Montreal's last 8 games on the road
Montreal is 2-4 SU in its last 6 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 6 of Calgary's last 8 games when playing Montreal
Calgary is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Montreal

JUNE 28, 6:00 PM
EDMONTON vs. BRITISH COLUMBIA
Edmonton is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against British Columbia
The total has gone OVER in 11 of Edmonton's last 15 games   
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of British Columbia's last 7 games at home
British Columbia is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games at home

JUNE 29, 7:00 PM
HAMILTON vs. SASKATCHEWAN
Hamilton is 1-13 SU in its last 14 games when playing on the road against Saskatchewan
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Hamilton's last 9 games   
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Saskatchewan's last 7 games when playing at home against Hamilton
The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Saskatchewan's last 10 games

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CFL Betting Notes - Week 1
By David Schwab
VegasInsider.com

A brand new year of CFL action is ready to kick things off this Thursday night in Winnipeg as the 2014 regular season gets underway. The big news heading into a new season, in addition to a new labor contract between the owners and the CFL Players Association, is the expansion to nine teams with the addition of the Ottawa RedBlacks, who will be a part of the East Division.

To balance things out geographically, the Blue Bombers will now be playing out of the West Division along with the 2013 Grey Cup Champion Saskatchewan Roughriders, who will close-out the first week of action this Sunday at home against Hamilton in a rematch of last year’s championship game.

Thursday, June 26

Toronto Argonauts vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

Line: Toronto -4½
Total: 53½

Toronto won the East Division last season with a straight-up record of 11-7, but it was stunned by Hamilton 36-24 in the East Division Finals as a five-point home favorite. The Argonauts finished the regular season with a 9-8-1 record against the spread overall and they were a profitable 6-2-1 ATS on the road. The total went OVER in 10 of the 18 games.

The Blue Bombers followed-up a disappointing 6-12 campaign in 2012 with a dismal 3-15 SU mark that was the worst in the league last year. They were slightly better ATS at 5-12-1, but closed things out by covering in just one of their last eight games. The total went an even 9-9 overall with six of the games going OVER at home.

The Argonauts are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four trips to Winnipeg and they are 3-1-1 ATS in the last five meetings overall. The total has stayed UNDER in 10 of the last 14 meetings at Investors Group Field. The road team has won five of the last seven meetings SU and the total has gone OVER in three of the last four games between these two.

Saturday, June 28

Montreal Alouettes vs. Calgary Stampeders

Line: Calgary -7
Total: 54½

Montreal remains one of the premier franchises in the CFL, but it comes into this season fresh off an 8-10 SU (11-7 ATS) losing season in 2013. The Alouettes will also start the year without long-time veteran quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who finally decided to retire after coming into the league in 1994. Despite the losing record, Montreal was a solid bet on the road last season with a 7-2 mark ATS.
   
The Stampeders won the West Division last season with the CFL’s best overall record at 14-4 SU, but their run in the playoffs was cut short with a 35-13 loss to Saskatchewan as five-point favorites at home in the West Final. They went 11-6-1 ATS in 2013 with a 5-3-1 ATS record at home. The total went OVER in six of their nine games at home.

In the two meetings last season, Calgary won both ends of an early season home-and-home series both SU and ATS. The Stampeders outscored Montreal by a combined 19 points and the total went OVER the 49½-point closing line in a 38-27 victory as seven-point home favorites at McMahon Stadium. It stayed UNDER the 53½-point line in their 22-14 road victory against the Alouettes as two-point underdogs.

Edmonton Eskimos vs. British Columbia Lions
Line: BC -7½
Total: 52

Edmonton went in the wrong direction in 2013 with just four SU victories after posting a 7-11 SU record in 2012 that was actually good enough to make the playoffs. The Eskimos went 8-10 ATS last season and while they were just 2-7 ATS at home, they did manage to cover in six of their nine games on the road. The total went OVER in 12 of the 18 games.

The Lions won 13 games SU in 2012, but that number dropped to 11 in 2013. They faced the Roughriders in the opening round of the playoffs and came out on the wrong end of a 29-25 loss as 4½-point road underdogs. BC was an even 9-9 ATS in the regular season. The total also went 9-9, but it did stay UNDER in six of nine games at home.

BC won’t have the services of quarterback Travis Lulay this weekend, who is still nursing a shoulder injury. Veteran Kevin Glenn is expected to get the starting nod for the Lions while Lulay recovers.

These West Division foes met three times last season with BC sweeping the series both SU and ATS. The total went OVER in two of the three games. The average margin of victory in the three games was 12.7 points with the Lions averaging 30.3 points per game.

Sunday, June 29

Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders

Line: Saskatchewan -5½
Total: 55

Hamilton’s run all the way to the 2013 Grey Cup Championship was a bit of a shock after going just 10-8 SU in the regular season. It first knocked-off Montreal 19-16 as a 3½-point home favorite before upsetting Toronto in the division final. The Tiger-Cats were an even 9-9 ATS and the total stayed UNDER in 12 of the 18 games.

The Roughriders will begin the defense of their Grey Cup title fresh off an 11-7 SU record in 2013 that included eight SU victories in their first nine games. They regained their form at just the right time with a 6-2 SU run in their final eight games. The total went OVER in three of their final four contests including the 52-point closing line in their 45-23 victory in the Grey Cup as seven-point favorites.

Along with the victory in the title game both SU and ATS, Saskatchewan won a home-and-home series against Hamilton both ways in the 2013 regular season with the total staying UNDER in both games. It is now 4-1 both SU and ATS in the last five games between the two.

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Week 1 CFL

Toronto (0-0) @ Winnipeg (0-0) --
Argonauts won seven of last eight series games, winning all three meetings LY by 16-6-15 points (2-0-1 vs spread); six of last nine series games went over the total. Toronto won its last four visits here, by 5-19-16-6 points. Underdogs are 6-2-1 vs spread in last nine series games, also 6-2-1 in last nine played here. Winnipeg is just 9-27 SU the last two years. Argonauts were 6-2-1 vs spread on the road LY.

Montreal (0-0) @ Calgary (0-0) -- Montreal was 7-2 vs spread on road this year, but that was with CFL legend Calvillo (now retired) at QB. Stampeders won five of last six series games, sweeping the series LY, 22-14/38-27; Alouettes lost their last four visits here by 25-7-28-11 points. Six of last eight series games went over total, including six of last seven played here. Six of nine Calgary home games LY went over the total.

Edmonton (0-0) @ BCLions (0-0) -- Lions' QB Lulay (shoulder) isn't expected to play in this opener. British Columbia won eight of last nine series games, with last five wins by average score of 26-18 (4-1 vs spread). Eskimos lost six of last seven visits here, dropping last three by 20-10-14 points. Three of last four series games went over total. Edmonton is just 11-25 SU the last two years, but went 6-3 vs spread on road LY.

Hamilton (0-0) @ Saskatchewan (0-0) -- Rematch of LY's Grey Cup game that Roughriders won 45-23 (-7) on this field; Riders won seven of last nine series games, winning all three last year by 37-12-22 points (3-0 vs spread). TiCats are 1-11 in last dozen visits here, losing last two 37-0/45-23. Five of their last seven visits here went over the total. Riders won Grey Cup LY after going 3-6 in second half of regular season- they covered four of last five vs TiCats.

Armadillosports.com

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Game of the Day: Argonauts at Blue Bombers
By Covers.com

Toronto Argonauts at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (+5, 53.5)

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Toronto Argonauts on Thursday to kick off the 2014 CFL season. It’s a matchup between the best and worst teams in the East Division last season, with Toronto using its depth on offense to earn a first-round playoff bye. The Blue Bombers, meanwhile, allowed a league-worst 585 points and managed one victory at brand-new Investors Group Field.

Winnipeg overhauled its roster in the offseason starting at quarterback, where former Saskatchewan Roughriders backup pivot Drew Willy will have a chance to establish himself as a starter. If the preseason is any indication, Argonauts veteran Ricky Ray looks healthy and ready to resume running the offense with capable backups Trevor Harris and Mitchell Gale behind him on the depth chart. The big question for Winnipeg will be whether its injury-depleted defense can handle Toronto’s pace and give Willy a shot at his first victory as a Blue Bomber.

LINE HISTORY: Toronto opened as a 5-point home favorite (-106) and jumped to -5 (-108). The total opened 53.5 points (Over -106) and has moved to Over -109.

INJURY REPORT: Winnipeg: Paris Cotton RB (Doubt/knee), Graig Newman DB (Out/Ankle)

WHAT SHARPS SAY: "Toronto will be forced to go with a running back by committee approach after Chad Kackert’s sudden retirement. Losing cornerback Patrick Watkins and versatile QB Zach Collaros won’t help matters either. It remains to be seen whether the Argos have enough depth to contend in the East." - Covers Expert Sean Murphy.

WHAT BOOKS SAY: "Opening night of the CFL pits the Toronto Argonauts vs the Winnipeg Blue Bombers. We have instilled the Argos as 4.5-point favorites on the road with a 53.5 point total. The early action is coming in on the home dog Blue Bombers, but as we get closer to game time we will start seeing money come in on the Argos. The Argos are +700 to win the Grey Cup this year while the Blue Bombers are +1200." Michael Stewart, CarbonSports.ag.

ABOUT THE ARGONAUTS (2013: 11-7, 9-8-1 ATS): Former Montreal Alouettes linebacker Shea Emry is the new face of Toronto’s defense, bringing his impressive resume to a group that faced a lot of turnover in the offseason. Changes will be notable on offense as well after veteran wide receiver Romby Bryant was released in the final round of cuts and running back Chad Kackert announced his retirement. Recently released slotback Jamel Richardson is rumored to be joining the Argonauts, giving Ray another option alongside Chad Owens.

ABOUT THE BLUE BOMBERS (2013: 3-15, 5-12-1 ATS): Linebacker Korey Banks, cornerback Donovan Alexander and defensive back Alex Suber are all injured to start the season, leaving plenty of holes in pass protection. Former starting quarterback Max Hall was among the final round of cuts for Winnipeg, an indication the team seems confident in Willy as the No. 1 option. Willy will have former training partner Nick Moore and a host of new receiving options to work with as the Blue Bombers try to rebuild an offense that never really came to life in 2013.

TRENDS:

* Argonauts are 3-0-1 ATS in their last four meetings in Winnipeg.
* Argonauts are 3-1-1 ATS in their last five meetings.
* Under is 10-4 in the last 14 meetings in Winnipeg.

COVERS CONSENSUS: 55 percent of bets are on Toronto -5. 53.5 percent of bets are on Over 53.5.

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Game of the Day: Eskimos at Lions
Covers.com

Edmonton Eskimos at BC Lions (-7, 52)

New Edmonton Eskimos coach Chris Jones starts his tenure when his team visits the BC Lions on Saturday. The Lions hope to pick up where they left off at home last season, when they were 8-1 in the friendly confines of BC Place. The stadium will play host to the 102nd Grey Cup Final in November and the Lions would like nothing more than to continue the trend of host victories they started in 2011.

Edmonton is banking on Mike Reilly as its starting quarterback, extending him through 2016 after he threw for 4,207 yards last season. The Eskimos had trouble protecting Reilly, but might have an easier time against a Lions’ defence in transition, lacking veterans like Keron Williams, Korey Banks and Anton McKenzie. BC is shorthanded on offence due to key injuries, most notably missing starting quarterback Travis Lulay.

LINE HISTORY: The line opened as high as BC -7.5 and dipped to a touchdown. However, some markets have moved back to the half-point hook. The total opened at 52 and has climbed to 52.5 at some books.

INJURY REPORT:
Edmonton – Adarius Bowman SB (Ques/Undisclosed), JC Sherritt LB (Doubt/Undisclosed). BC – Travis Lulay, QB (Out/Shoulder), Marco Iannuzzi WR (Out/Undisclosed), Garrett Chisolm T (Out/Suspension), Brandon Jordan DT (Out/Shoulder)

WHAT SHARPS SAY: “The Lions offensive line is young and inexperienced. It won’t matter who is taking the snaps if the line can’t protect. We’ve seen this story play out before, with the Lions receiving plenty of hype prior to the start of the season, only to disappoint. We’ll see if that holds true this year.” – Sean Murphy.

WHAT BOOKS SAY: “Opening weekend of the CFL continues tonight as the Eskimos go into BC Place to face the perennial favorite Lions. The Lions are a 7-point favorite in this game, but the Eskimos are seeing all the early action at that number. I suspect we will start seeing Lions money come in as we get closer to game time. We have the Lions listed as 7-2 favorites to win this years Grey Cup while the Eskimos are listed at 10-1.” – Michael Stewart of Carbon Sports.

ABOUT THE ESKIMOS (2013: 4-14, 8-10 ATS): Edmonton released veteran running back Hugh Charles in a surprising preseason move and will rely on rookie Tyler Thomas to generate yards along the ground. Offensive linemen D’Anthony Batiste and Selvish Capers are on the injured list to start the season, leaving Reilly a little more exposed than the team would like. Fred Stamps led the league in receiving yards with 1,259 in 2013 and will be one of Reilly’s primary targets Saturday.

ABOUT THE LIONS (2013: 11-7, 9-9 ATS): Receivers Emmanuel Arceneaux and Marco Iannuzzi are also injured, leaving BC with limited options. Veteran Kevin Glenn will start at quarterback and the team hopes his chemistry with Stefan Logan carries over from the preseason. Defensive back Brandon McDonald is set to make his CFL debut after six seasons in the NFL, bolstering a Lions’ defence in need of experience.

TRENDS:

* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings in BC.
* Eskimos are 1-6 ATS in their last seven meetings in BC.
* Eskimos are 0-4 ATS in their last four meetings.

CONSENSUS: 59 percent of bets are on BC -7 while 52 percent of bets are on the Over 52 points.

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Game of Day: Tiger-Cats at Roughriders
By Justin Hartling
Covers.com

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Saskatchewan Roughriders (-4.5, 54.5)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Saskatchewan Roughriders open their respective seasons with a rematch of the 2013 Grey Cup final. Saskatchewan won that game 45-23 at home and plays host again on Sunday looking to replicate last year’s franchise-record start. Exorcising the ghost of that Grey Cup loss would certainly be a good way for the Tiger-Cats to start their first season with Zach Collaros at quarterback.

Collaros replaces veteran Henry Burris and has a lot to live up to after showing signs of promise in a short stint as starter with the Toronto Argonauts. The Roughriders are dealing with the departure of running back Kory Sheets, who went to the NFL after his record-breaking Grey Cup performance. Saskatchewan is also missing large parts of its formidable defence, which allowed a league-low 398 points last season.

LINE HISTORY: The line opened at the 'Riders -6, but books have quickly had to adjust it to Saskatchewan -4.5. The total has remained at 54.5 since opening.

INJURY REPORT: Hamilton - WR Andy Fantuz (Head/Out), DL Sam Scott (Undisclosed/Out), DL Terrance Moore (Undisclosed/Out), LB Abraham Kromah (Undisclosed/Out)  Saskatchewan - OL Corey Watman (Undisclosed/Out), LB Chad Kilgore (Thumb/Out), DB Carlos Thomas (Undisclosed/Out)

WHAT SHARPS SAY: "In a rematch of last year's Grey Cup the Ti-Cats will certainly have a big chip on their shoulder although personnel changes tend to minimize that effect. Speaking of changes, the Riders will be missing a number of key cogs from last year's championship team. I can't help but lean to the Ti-Cats with the points in this spot as they have a little more upside at this early stage of the season not to mention added motivation." Covers Experts' Sean Murphy

WHAT BOOKS SAY: "Opening weekend of the CFL season continues with the Tiger-Cats visiting Saskatchewan to play the Roughriders.  The Ti-cats are 4.5 point dogs and are seeing 81% of the action so far, however I do feel that we will start to see money come in on the favorite as we get closer to kickoff. The under on the 54.5 total is seeing the majority of the action with 72% of the money." Michael Stewart of Carbonsports.com

ABOUT THE TIGER-CATS (2013, 10-8): Safety Craig Butler was scooped up by Hamilton as a free agent after recording 11 interceptions and 135 tackles in three seasons with Saskatchewan. Running back C.J. Gable says he is aiming to become the first CFL player to record 1,000 yards in both rushing and receiving after amassing 1,380 combined yards last season. The Tiger-Cats will be without one of their main offensive options as receiver Andy Fantuz was ruled out with an injury suffered during the preseason.

ABOUT THE ROUGHRIDERS (2013, 11-7): Running back Hugh Charles was added to Saskatchewan’s practice roster after being cut by the Edmonton Eskimos and could eventually make his way into a game since the Roughriders plan to replace Sheets by committee. Quarterback Darian Durant looked accurate during the preseason, completing 14-of-19 passes for 189 yards and three touchdowns. Like Sheets, receiver Weston Dressler also departed for the NFL, leaving a roster spot open for rookie Ryan Smith.

TRENDS:

*Tiger-Cats are 3-13-1 ATS in their last 17 meetings in Saskatchewan.
*Roughriders are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in June.
*Over is 21-10-1 in the last 32 meetings.

COVERS CONSENSUS:
57.6 percent of the bets are on Sask -4.5 with 56 percent taking the Over at 54.5.

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