Terrific opening weekend in the CFL with three games decided by three points or fewer. The lone road team to win was Edmonton at BC, but the Eskimos had a big injury as well. Here’s a glance at the Week 2 games with Sports Interaction odds.
Ottawa Redblacks at Calgary Stampeders
When: Thursday, 9 p.m. ET Spread: Calgary -8 Total: 63.5 Pick ATS: Redblacks
Roy Finch, Calgary’s top return man and No. 2 running back behind Jerome Messam, was suspended two games Monday for testing positive for amphetamine. Finch said he took Adderall to treat attention deficit disorder and failed to clear the medication with team doctors. The Stamps weren’t able to get payback for the 2016 Grey Cup upset loss to Ottawa as the two teams tied 31-31 last week. Finch, a former Oklahoma star, had 135 return yards.
The Redblacks were 3-point home underdogs and we recommended taking the points. Trevor Harris threw for 300 yards and three touchdowns, while reigning CFL Most Outstanding Player Bo Levi Mitchell had 376 yards and two touchdowns for Calgary. The two teams also tied in Ottawa 26-26 in the Redblacks’ home opener last year. Ottawa led last week 28-14 with just over six minutes remaining. In overtime, the Stampeders could have won the game on a field goal, but Rene Paredes’ 37-yard try went wide and forced double OT. Calgary remains the +350 Grey Cup favourite with Ottawa at +750.
BC Lions at Toronto Argonauts
When: Friday, 7 p.m. ET Spread: Toronto -1.5 Total: 55.5 Pick ATS: Argos
The Argos were 3.5-point underdogs in their home opener against Hamilton, but we recommended taking the points there too and Toronto won 32-15 in the weekend’s only blowout. Argos QB Ricky Ray, 37, was magnificent in throwing for a career-high 506 yards and a touchdown to give Marc Trestman a victory in his Toronto head-coaching debut. DeVier Posey had seven catches for 147 yards, including a 79-yard TD to open the second half.
In his first game as an Argonaut, SJ Green added seven catches for 124 yards. BC was a 3-point home favorite in Week 1 vs. Edmonton. We gave the points there, but the Lions lost 30-27. BC gave up a huge play in the final minute that set up Edmonton’s winning field goal as time expired. QB Jonathan Jennings threw for 264 yards but no TDs. The Leos had 151 yards worth of plays called back by penalties, including a 90-yard punt return for a touchdown by Chris Rainey.
Montreal Alouettes at Edmonton Eskimos
When: Friday, 10 p.m. ET Spread: Edmonton -8.5 Total: 47.5 Pick ATS: Eskimos
The Als were -6.5 in Week 1 vs. Saskatchewan but didn’t cover in a 17-16 victory. QB Darian Durant threw for 233 yards and two scores against his former club. Boris Bede hit the go-ahead 18-yard field goal with 2:45 to play. Montreal made a move on Monday in signing QB Drew Willy to back up Durant. Willy played for the Argonauts and Blue Bombers last season and was surprisingly released by Toronto earlier this month.
Edmonton pulled out a 30-27 win at BC in Week 1. Mike Reilly hit a wide-open Brandon Zylstra for a 76-yard gain to set up Sean Whyte’s game-winning 9-yard field goal as time expired. Reilly threw for 315 yards and scores to D’haquille Williams and Vidal Hazelton. John White rushed 17 times for 104 yards and a TD. However, the Eskimos lost linebacker J.C. Sherritt for the season after he suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon in the second quarter. He had at least 70 tackles in each of the last two seasons. Montreal is the +800 Grey Cup long shot.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan Roughriders
When: Saturday, 9 p.m. ET Spread: Winnipeg -1 Total: 49 Pick ATS: Blue Bombers
The Blue Bombers play their season opener. One big decision was made recently by Coach Mike O’Shea as Dominique Davis beat out new addition Dan LeFevour, who was signed in February, as the No. 2 QB behind Matt Nichols. He took over Drew Willy’s starting job when the team was 1-4 last season. Nichols led the Bombers to an 11-7 record and a playoff appearance for the first time since 2011, which ended with a 32-31 loss to BC in the West Division semi-final.
Winnipeg’s offence was fifth in the CFL in points (497) last season and returns 10 starters. The Roughriders lost a tough Week 1 game 17-16 at Montreal as Trey Capigna missed a 45-yard field goal with no time on the clock. Kevin Glenn threw for 298 yards and a TD but also a costly fourth-quarter interception. Winnipeg and Saskatchewan tied 25-all in Week 1 of the preseason in the first ever game played at New Mosaic Stadium.