The CFL wraps-up its two-week preseason this Thursday and Friday in preparation for the start of the regular season next week. Let's take a brief look at all four matchups on the slate.
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Thursday, June 21
Montreal Alouettes vs. Toronto Argonauts
This will be a rematch of last season’s East Division Finals in which Toronto pulled-off a 27-20 upset as a five-point road underdog to advance to the 2012 Grey Cup Championship. Montreal opened its preseason with a 33-26 loss to Hamilton last Thursday at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium after a 14-point fourth-quarter rally came up just short.
Toronto hammered Winnipeg 24-6 in its preseason opener on the strength of two second-quarter scoring drives. Starting quarterback Ricky Ray sat this one out, but could see some action in this matchup as the Argonauts prepare to open the regular season at home against Hamilton next Friday night.
The Alouettes got the best of last year’s regular season series against Toronto with a 2-1 record both straight-up and against the spread. The total stayed UNDER the betting odds in all three games.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Hamilton Tiger-Cats
The Bombers only managed six points in last week’s loss to Toronto, but the good news was the return of quarterback Buck Pierce, who suffered through an injury-plagued 2012 campaign. The rust was apparent with no completions on five attempts and one interception, but Winnipeg has to be happy to have him back under center.
While preseason games do not count in the standings, Hamilton has to be pleased with the winning effort last week against the East Division champs after posting just six victories in 2012. Dan LeFevour looked impressive at quarterback with a 10-for-19 passing effort for 149 yards and a score in one half of play.
Winnipeg claimed the season series last year with a 2-1 record both SU and ATS. It outscored the Tiger-Cats by a combined 19 points and the total stayed UNDER in two of the three games.
Calgary Stampeders vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders
Calgary came up on the short end in last Friday’s 29-27 loss to BC in what could have been a preview of a season long battle for the 2013 West Division crown. The Stampeders came up one game short in the 2012 regular season with a 12-6 mark, but they came out on top when it mattered the most by beating the Lions 34-29 in the West Division Finals as 6.5-point road underdogs.
The Roughriders kicked-off their 2013 preseason with a 31-24 victory over Edmonton last Friday night as well. Trailing 21-14 heading into the fourth quarter, Saskatchewan outscored its West Division rivals 17-3 to secure the win. Darian Durant started the game at quarterback and completed eight of 11 attempts for 117 yards.
These two met four times last season with Calgary earning the 3-1 SU edge with a 36-30 victory over the Roughriders in the West Division Semifinals as a six-point home favorite. The total went OVER in three of the four games between the two.
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Friday, June 22
Edmonton Eskimos vs. British Columbia Lions
The Eskimos will close-out the CFL preseason in hopes of generating some momentum heading into next Saturday’s season opener against Saskatchewan. They made the playoffs in 2012 as a crossover team, but cannot be too excited considering their 7-11 SU record in the regular season and a lopsided 42-26 loss to Toronto in the Division Semifinals as four-point road underdogs.
The Lions come into this season as probably the most balanced team in the CFL. Their offense averaged 26.6 points a game and they had the best defense by far in terms of points allowed; giving-up an average of just 19.7 points a game. Travis Lulay is back as BC’s starting quarterback and defense back Ryan Phillips looked sharp last week with five solo tackles in limited action against Calgary.
Edmonton actually beat BC on the road last season 27-14 as 8.5-point underdogs the first time they met, but lost the next two games by a combined 21 points. The total stayed UNDER in two of the three games.
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