The opening weekend of the 2018 CFL regular season concludes with two of the worst teams from last year squaring off as Montreal visits the BC Lions on Saturday night.
Oddsmakers have the Lions set as 7.5-point favourites in this CFL matchup.
CFL Betting Odds
There’s nowhere to go but up for Montreal after it finished with a CFL-worst six points in 2017, allowing the most points in the league (580) and scoring the fewest (314). The Als are given a win total of 5.5 at Sports Interaction for this season, with the over a slight favourite. They are +700 long shots in the East Division and +1400 for the Grey Cup.
The BC Lions were the last-place team in the West Division with 14 points – the only club in the division to finish below .500. They are given a 2018 win total of 7, with the over a solid -154 favourite. BC is the +800 long shot in the West and +1200 to win the Grey Cup.
The total of 49 for this game is the lowest of the four on the board. BC is the -161 to score first with Montreal at +115. The favoured winning margin is BC by 1-6 points +450. Montreal by 1-6 points is +600.
The Als likely can’t wait to take the field for a game that counts because the last one that did was an embarrassment. The team closed the 2017 season with a 33-0 loss at Hamilton. It marked the first time Montreal was held shut out since July 17, 1997, when it lost 32-0 against Edmonton. T.J. Graham actually returned a punt 79 yards in the game’s final minute, but it was wiped out by penalty. Fitting. The Alouettes finished with a 3-15 record, worst in franchise history, an 11-game losing streak and 0-9 mark on the road.
Montreal has a new head coach in former Green Bay Packers & Texas A&M coach Mike Sherman. The Alouettes are the third East Division team to have a former NFL head coach, joining Toronto and Hamilton. Drew Willy is expected to start Week 1 at quarterback but could have a short leash with Matt Shiltz waiting. The biggest addition on offence was receiver Chris Williams. The defence has several newcomers.
The Lions were in position for a 21st straight playoff appearance last season before a 1-6 close to the season to finish 7-11. Jonathon Jennings gets the start at quarterback for BC, and he’s 1-1 in season openers as a Lion, beating Calgary two years ago and losing to Edmonton in 2017. Jennings, now in the final year of his contract, led the CFL in interceptions last year.
This is set to be the final season as head coach for Wally Buono, who is the league’s all-time leader in wins, a five-time Grey Cup champion and in the Canadian Hall of Fame. He handed off GM duties at the end of last season to focus on his final year in coaching. A total of 13 new starters are expected, including eight on defence. BC was 2-0 vs. Montreal in 2017 and has covered 16 of the past 21 meetings at home.