We are starting to see some separation between the contenders and the pretenders after seven weeks of games in the 2016 CFL regular season. The underdogs still have a big edge overall when it comes to covering against the spread, but a few favorites are starting to consistently buck that trend on a week-to-week basis.
Last week's two-team CFL parlay ended up as a split with the right call on British Columbia's lopsided victory over Montreal followed by the wrong play on the total line in the Saskatchewan vs. Calgary game. This week, I have turned my attention to a pair of interdivisional matchups for my top two plays based on betting lines from BetOnline.
Pointspread: Edmonton -7
Total Line: 51
Montreal may have put up 41 points in a Week 6 romp against Saskatchewan, but it reverted to its old form last week with just 18 points in a 20-point loss to British Columbia. Kevin Glenn has been very inconsistent at quarterback from one week to the next and the Alouettes' offense as a whole is averaging just 19.7 points a game, which is ranked last in the CFL. The one bright spot has been the play of Duron Carter with 536 receiving yards on 35 catches in his first six games.
The defending Grey Cup champions have now lost as many games as they did all last season with a 2-4 straight-up start and the Eskimos bring a rare three-game losing streak into this contest. Edmonton quarterback Mike Reilly leads the CFL in total passing yards with 2,181 and he has thrown 11 touchdowns as part of an offensive effort that is averaging 28.3 points a game, but this once vaunted defense is allowing an average of 31.2 points a game to its opponents.
The Alouettes are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games following a SU loss and the total has stayed UNDER in 17 of their last 24 road games.
The Eskimos are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games following a SU loss and the total has gone OVER in seven of their last nine home games.
Head-to-head in this intradivision clash, Edmonton has won the last four meetings both SU and ATS. The total has gone OVER in seven of the last nine games between the two.
Montreal has been woefully inconsistent from one week to the next and Edmonton is not as bad as its record indicates. Look for the Eskimos to right the ship on Thursday night with a win at home that covers the touchdown spread.
Pointspread: Toronto -4
Total Line: 50
The lineup change to Matt Nichols as the Blue Bombers' starting quarterback has now led to two big upsets in a row. After stunning Edmonton 30-23 in Week 6 as nine-point underdogs on the road, they beat up on Hamilton 37-11 last week as 4.5-point home underdogs. Nichols completed 74.2 percent of his 31 attempts for 246 yards and two scores against Tiger-Cats after throwing for 304 yards and a score in the win over the Eskimos the week before.
Toronto comes off a bye and it will once again be Logan Kilgore under center for an injured Ricky Ray. He did throw for 322 yards and a score in the Argonauts' 23-20 upset against Ottawa in Week 6 as 10-point road underdogs, but he was also picked off twice while completing fewer than 60 percent of his 42 passing attempts. Toronto also has running back Brandon Whitaker as one of the top rushers in the league and its defense has been stout with an average of 23.3 points-allowed over the first six games.
The Blue Bombers are 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games played in the month of August and the total has stayed UNDER in four of their last five games on the road.
The Argonauts are 5-1 ATS in their last six games following a bye week and the total has stayed UNDER in five of their last seven home games.
Toronto has won six of the last seven meetings SU and it has a 5-1-1 edge ATS. The total stayed UNDER in both meetings last season after going OVER in five of the previous six games between these two.
Winnipeg has been a different team with Nichols under center and the Argonauts' offense should be ready to go after having two weeks to prepare for this game. I would not bet against the Blue Bombers pulling off another upset so I am going with the OVER 50 on the total line as my betting pick in this one.