CFL Week 3 Showdown: Winnipeg at Edmonton

With football season coming up quickly for both the NCAA and NFL, it’s time to take a look at some CFL action in the Great White North, and start getting excited about the prospects for wagering on football once again! With this evening’s clash between the Edmonton Eskimos (1-1, 1-0 home) and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers (0-2, 0-2 away) looking like a favorable match-up for online sports betting, we’ll venture down to one of the best online sportsbooks reviewed at CR to take out a couple of bets on the lone CFL match-up set for Friday night. Kick-off starts at 9:00 PM ET, so let’s break down the best looking wagers for this match-up tonight.

The Edmonton Eskimos come into tonight’s clash looking for some redemption after getting embarrassed in Week 2 by the Saskatchewan Roughriders. A 17-1 loss never helps boost the confidence of a CFL team, however quarterback Steven Jyles is set on turning things around on offense for the Eskimos. There’s no question stats-wise that the departure of Edmonton’s veteran star quarterback has been a major issue, as Ricky Ray was traded to Toronto in the offseason, and since then the Eskimos are ranking dead last in the league in everything from points scored to total offense, to rushing and passing yards. It hasn’t helped that Edmonton lost key receiver Adarius Bowman to a knee injury last week, which heaps added pressure on their star wide-out Fred Stamps, who led the team with 82 receptions for 1,153 yards last year. Also in focus is running back Hugh Charles, who has been under utilized with just 20 touches for 100 yards so far this season. With Jerome Massam, the Eskimos’ previous starting rusher headed for the NFL, there is little question that Edmonton will look to pound the rock with Charles more and more as the season goes on, and they could get a good start at that against a struggling Winnipeg tonight.

With Edmonton sporting just 20 points on the board through two games, they’re no doubt happy with seeing Winnipeg come into their world this evening, as the Blue Bombers have given up a whopping 74 points in their first two games this year. Their offense has been crushed by the passing attack, with Montreal’s star QB jacking them up for 443 yards last week, and the B.C. Lions exposing the Blue Bombers’ D in the 4th quarter the week prior, racking up 17 points to pull away with a 33-16 win. There has been signs up life offensively at least for Winnipeg, with WR Chris Matthews having success with QB Buck Pierce (going for 8 catches and 131 yards with a TD last Friday against Montreal), and Terrence Edwards adding in 6 catches for 126 yards as well, so no doubt Winnipeg will try to exploit the hardened Eskimos defense, which has allowed just 32 points in two games this season. Edmonton certainly has one of the best defenses in the league, but if Buck Pierce can chip away at them through the air and open up the running game a bit (which has been next to non-existent with Bloi-Dei Dorzon leading the team with just 12 rushes for 56 yards), they’ll stand a chance in a low-scoring game tonight.

With two offenses that are struggling to find rhythm in the early goings of the season, it may be advantage Edmonton in tonight’s game at home, with Winnipeg showing signs of not being able to protect against either the pass or the run. We’re looking out for the Eskimos to stick to a plan of around 20 carries for Hugh Charles, who needs to be more involved. Tonight is also a perfect opportunity to get the connection between Jyles and Stamps going, as without a big contribution from their top receiver, Edmonton may once again be spinning their wheels tonight. There’s no question that Edmonton will be able to keep the scoring down against Winnipeg, but if they can’t balance the offense and find success through the air, it’s going to be long, slow-going night on both sides of the ball.

Betting Lines for the Edmonton Eskimos vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers at TopBet Sportsbook.

At home tonight, the Edmonton Eskimos take the stand as favorites on the money line, getting -125 odds to prevail straight up. Edmonton is 1-0 at home thus far on the year, and will be banking on their tight defense to pull them through tonight. For Winnipeg, which has the unfortunate draw of playing their first 3 games of the season on the road, they’ll be at +105 odds to win. The inability of Winnipeg to close out in tight games combined with their sieve-like secondary could find them very vulnerable to a breakout effort from the Edmonton passing game.

Against the spread, Edmonton doesn’t inspire much confidence in the bookmakers, who have them at just -1.5 points at -110 odds against the spread, while Winnipeg is at the same odds to stay within 1.5 points as underdogs. This may be a great opportunity to bank on the Edmonton defense keeping the Blue Bombers in check, while the Eskimos muster at least a couple scores in a resurgent game at home. Watch out for the spread to be most favorable to Edmonton pickers this evening.

For the final major betting line on tonight’s CFL match-up, the over/under stands at a lofty 45 points, considering the low-scoring offense of Edmonton, and their stingy defense. Unless Edmonton breaks out the offense with renewed fervor, count on this to be a good opportunity to take the under wager, as we’re looking at something in the neighborhood of 21-17 game either way.

If you’re in the mood to add a little football into your life in order to mix it up from the continuing flow of Major League Baseball throughout the summer months, CFL Football is a great opportunity to divert from the norm, and rack up some added cash at one of the top online sportsbooks reviewed right here. Find your best bets at TopBet sportsbook tonight, and come out a winner heading into the weekend!

Friday Night Canadian Football League Action: Edmonton at Hamilton

The Edmonton Eskimos (6-4) head east to take on the Hamilton Tiger Cats (5-5) at 7:30 PM Eastern Time at Ivor Wynne Stadium, with both teams looking to bounce back from recent losses, and restore their chances for playoff spots during the second half of the season.
After starting the year 5-0, Edmonton has lost significant ground going 1-5 in their last 6 games, mostly due to a lack of scoring offense, and an anemic rushing attack. Riding the first 5 victories of the season behind quarterback Ricky Ray and his main weapon of choice Fred Stamps, the veteran QB has faltered a little bit due to interceptions, generating 345 passing yards last game against Calgary, but failing to find the endzone with either Stamps, or Adarius Bowman, who caught 4 passes for 133 yards during the 30-20 loss. The pressure will be on the running game in Friday’s match-up with Hamilton, as Ricky Ray needs to return to his comfort zone behind center. 42 yards of total running offense, which was generated last week against the Roughriders, simply needs to be improved upon for the league’s worst run offense, if Edmonton is to stand a chance at victory on the road against the TiCats.

Speaking of Hamilton, they are looking for more consistency from a week-to-week basis, coming off a pair of games against Montreal which saw them win game 1 at home on September 5th 44-21, then turn around and get wiped out on the road by a score of 43-13. Having traded wins and losses for 6 straight weeks now, the TiCats have similar problems as the Eskimos do with run production this season, amassing just 39 yards on 8 carries in their most recent loss to the Alouettes. Failing to score a major in the last game as well as QB Kerry Glenn posted an awful night going 13-for-33 passing, with 151 yards, Hamilton will look for a more balanced offensive attack against an Edmonton team facing the same struggles as they are.

Edmonton defeated Hamilton in the first match-up of the season on July, 28-10 at home, which puts the regular-season series at a record of 51-28-1 in favor of the Eskimos.

Betting Lines for Edmonton vs. Hamilton:

Hamilton has been strong this year at home, going 4-1. As such, they are the favorite to win on Friday, with TopBet Sportsbook (read the review of giving them -235 odds to win. Edmonton hasn’t fared poorly on the road this season, amassing a 3-2 record away, but with their continual inability to score majors, the Eskimos march into the game against the TiCats as +195 underdogs. Hamilton gives up 5 points on the spread at -110 price, while Edmonton gets 5 points at the same -110 price. The Over/Under for the Friday night showdown in Ontario stands at 50.5 points, which is heavily influenced by Hamilton posting a 32.8 point average at home this season along with Edmonton’s 24.2 point average on the road.

Our Pick to Win:

We’d assume that something has to give in at least one of the running games this Friday, but that might be asking too much with two teams struggling to find footing in the second half of the CFL season. While I like Ricky Ray’s veteran leadership of the Eskimos, the confidence hit that Edmonton has taken in the last 5 games favors a victory for Hamilton tonight in a place where the TiCats play their best ball. Hamilton is second in the league in scoring, and if they can get running back Avon Cobourne back in the mix on Friday night (3rd in the league rushing with 623 yards and 6 TDs), it’s going to be tough for Edmonton to squeeze out a road win. I like Hamilton to cover the points spread at home, and emerge victorious 33-16.

Players to Watch, Hamilton:

Avon Cobourne, RB – The long-time Alouette back has been solid this season, and with the running game coming off its worst performance of the season, look for Cobourne’s number to get plenty of calls, and likely a TD to boot.

Chris Williams, WR – Kerry Glenn will need to find the TiCats’ leading receiver more often to balance out the offensive attack against a pretty solid Edmonton defensive unit. In his first year, Williams has impressed many, with 736 yards receiving on 43 catches and 4 TDs. Look for him to be a factor at home on Friday night.

Players to Watch, Edmonton:

Jerome Messam, RB – After a strong start during the Eskimos’ 5-game winning streak to being the season, Messam has been very quiet rushing for just 19 yards on 6 carries against Calgary last Friday, and 51 yards on 14 rumbles against them 4 days before that. Rushing for negative yards in 2 of his last 4 outings, Messam is under pressure to improve in Friday’s match-up if Edmonton wishes to stand any chance of winning.

Ricky Ray, QB – Ray is the heart and soul of the Eskimos’ offense, and the veteran QB needs to be more confident in his passing to a talented group of receivers. It wouldn’t help if the running game helped take some focus off Ray in this match-up, and if they do look for Ray to chew up the Hamilton secondary for a big night.

CFL Football Saturday: Montreal Alouettes at Calgary Stampeders

The West Division-leading Calgary Stampeders (5-2) play host to East Division foes the Montreal Alouettes (5-2) on Saturday afternoon from McMahon Stadium. Calgary stands in a two-team race for the Western Division with the Edmonton Eskimos (5-3), as the two teams are the only competition over .500, with both the BC Lions (2-6) and Saskatchewan Roughriders (1-7) already well out of contention this season. Calgary has won 3 straight games and 5 of their last 6, though will play for the first time since August 12th. Meanwhile the Montreal Alouettes will try to up their win streak to 3 games as well, while keeping pace with the East Division-leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7-1), who have won 5 straight games. Tonight’s match-up will feature two of the best QB’s in the league as Henry Burris of the Stampeders faces veteran QB Anthony Calvillo of the Alouettes, but the focus may be on the defensive side of the ball, with the Stampeders coming off a 45-35 win over the last-placed Saskatchewan Roughriders despite giving up a shocking 543 yards to the worst team in the league. Montreal on the other hand has one of the best defenses in the league, holding opponents to a league-low 156 points against them, but also leads the league in scoring (31.7 points per game) and overall offense (412.9 yards per game) behind Calvillo, who continues to chase after just about every standing record in CFL passing history.

However, heading into tonight’s match-up, these two teams match up as well as any two teams in the league at the moment, with two impressive offenses and stout defenses in action. Though Calgary comes off their worst defensive performance of the year, that likely seems to be a fluke considering they’ve only allowed 172 points on the season (3rd in the CFL), and are 2nd in league in yards allowed per game (331.7). They also find themselves second in scoring (27.7 ppg) and total yards (376.9) in the league right behind Montreal, so if anything is tell-tale this evening, it’s that scoring will likely not be too hard to come by. No doubt the focus is once again on Montreal’s QB Anthony Calvillo, who has a 106.2 passer rating, leads the league with 14 touchdown passes, and is 3rd with 2,095 passing yards on the season. His two main weapons, S.J. Green (592 yards, 3 TDs) and Jamel Richardson (567 yards, 5 TDs) continue to be a burden on any secondary, but with the league-leading rusher Brandon Whitaker (566 yards) also keeping defenses honest, Montreal is a very formidable offensive threat to say the least. Calgary does match-up pretty well at QB with 13-year veteran Henry Burris throwing for 2,040 yards and 10 TDs on the season, but lacks the same offensive punch provided by the running game, with leading rusher Joffrey Reynolds only posting 339 yards this season after six consecutive seasons with over 1,200 yards rushing.

For online sports betting on this afternoon’s featured CFL match-up, sportsbook holds the Calgary Stampeders as the favored team to win at -120 odds on the money line. The visiting Alouettes get EVEN money on the money line, in a tilt to a high probability that this game could swing either way. More to that point, the points spread on the game finds Calgary with 1 point given up, while Montreal gets 1 point, and the over/under for the game at 54.5 points also shows the expectation that this game could yield plenty of offensive firepower. Expecting an exciting game today, Calgary will look to improve its lackluster home record of just 1-2, while Montreal tries to improve to 3-1 on the road with a victory at McMahon Stadium today. Montreal has emerged victorious in 3 of the last 4 meetings between the two teams, and comes in off a 46-19 crushing of the Stampeders last October. With the Alouettes clicking on all cylinders offensively behind Anthony Calvillo and his wealth of weaponry, I’ll take a stand to see Montreal prevail on EVEN money, and expect a high-scoring game to favor them on the road. Either way you wager on today’s CFL match-up, you can count on plenty of big-time plays and plenty of bang for your buck in this game between two of the best teams in CFL competition this season.

CFL Week 7: Edmonton vs. Montreal in Thursday Night Showdown

The West Division-leading Edmonton Eskimos (5-1) seek to get back to the win column with a game against the Montreal Alouettes (4-2) as they travel to Montreal for the game Thursday night. Edmonton will try to lick away the wounds caused by a 28-16 loss last week against the East-leading Winnipeg Blue Bombers, which also saw them lose their star wideout Fred Stamps to injury. Stamps had led the league in receiving yards with 619, including 5 touchdown receptions on 33 total catches.

Breaking up the potent tandem of QB Ricky Ray and Stamps could spell disaster for the Eskimos, as they head to face the Alouettes on the back of one of Ray’s worst performances in recent memory, as he threw for 3 picks on 17-28 passing for 226 yards. In opposition to Ray, Alouettes veteran QB Anthony Calvillo continues to chip away at CFL record books, becoming the all-time leader in pass completions (5,180) and touchdowns (398), with sights now set on the all-time mark for passing yards (needs 2,386 to pass Damon Allen’s total of 72,381). Calvillo leads the CFL in passing yards, completion percentage and touchdowns, and therefore will be the prime focus of containment for the top-ranked defense of Edmonton.

Though focus will be hedged on two of the CFL’s top passers in this game, the running game also looks to factor in more in this match-up as Montreal’s Brandon Whitaker leads the league with 493 rushing yards through 6 games, and comes off an impressive 19-carry, 150 yard effort last week in a 36-23 victory over the Toronto Argonauts. With Whitaker doing the brunt work, Dahrran Diedrick cleaned up on the TDs against Toronto, scoring 3 TDs on 5 carries, and this tandem will need to be equally productive against Edmonton to help the Als get pressure away from the passing attack.

On the flipside, Edmonton will have to lean more heavily on Jerome Messam at running back, who will have to show vast improvement over the recent efforts he’s made (never going over 54 yards rushing in the last 4 games). Without the threat of Stamps at receiver (who has been replaced by fill-in Jason Armstead), there’s a lot of load to shoulder for Messam in this game, and a lot of pressure coming at him without the down-field threat of Stamps to worry about.

Bodog Sportsbook puts the advantage in this game to Montreal, no doubt taking account that the Eskimos’ only loss of the year is on the road, they are missing their star wideout, and are coming to face a Montreal team with the top quarterback and running back in the CFL. Montreal is a 6 1/2 point favorite at Bodog, and a 54.5 point over/under at speaks to the offensive strength of Montreal at home as well.
We simply don’t see Edmonton recovering just yet from the loss of Fred Stamps, who looks to be out for 4-6 weeks, so we’ll count on Montreal covering the points spread at home. With a two-pronged attack featuring another strong performance by the veteran Anthony Calvillo, and a forceful effort by Brandon Whitaker on the ground, Edmonton falls by at least seven in Montreal this Thursday evening.