Well, we actually had a pretty normal CFL preseason and are looking to get off to a timely start for the race to the 109th Grey Cup. My hope for 2022 is to bring you a review of my “best bet” (money line, spread, over/under) for each game, as well as my top “play of the week.” Let’s get at it for week one. The lines I use are provided by DraftKings sportsbook.
In three of four games, the opening lines moved. Early bets moved spreads down in the Saskatchewan/Hamilton, BC/Edmonton, and Winnipeg /Ottawa games, meaning the early money believes these games will be closer and result in more upsets than the opening lines suggested.
The over/under also ticked up in the Bomber vs. Redblack game. Perhaps thinking of some of the rules changes, people are expecting points to be scored.
Montreal Alouettes @ Calgary Stampeders
The season kicks off with Montreal travelling to Calgary. These are two teams I’ve had a hard time with in preseason rankings. Add to that the mystery of week one, and I’m going to be cautious approaching this game.
Calgary has really looked great in preseason, so maybe I have been underestimating them. But, preseason just is not the best measure. Is Bo Levi still a real threat, or are the best days in his past?
The Stamps are at home. But, you can’t discount Montreal’s assortment of weapons on offence. Geno Lewis, Jake Wieneke, and of course, if healthy, William Stanback. Still, playing at McMahon, the edge goes to the Horsemen.
The line is Stamps -3.5. Will they cover that? I’m not sure. So, I’m going to put my money on the Stamps, but I’m going to be ultra-cautious and put it on the money line -170.
Because they have looked so good to date, and I’m being extra cautious staying away from the spread, I’m going to make the Stamps to win, on the money line, my “play of the week,” meaning I’m betting twice as much on this pick as I am on the other three.
Ottawa Redblacks @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers
The moves Ottawa made in free agency were the most significant of all this offseason. With the addition of several skill players plus improvements in the line, the odds makers greatly improved the numbers for the Redblacks in the futures markets.
It’s a tough task to travel to the ‘Peg and beat the two-time defending Grey Cup champs to start the season.
What I am expecting is these two clubs to put up some points. So, I’m going to take the “over” as I believe the combined score in this game will go north of the 48 number (it opened at 47.5) the oddsmakers are giving as of Monday.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Ti-cats have a new look, with several key players gone. Still, with Dane Evans, Bralon Addison and a healthy and dangerous Don Jackson, they won’t likely miss a beat.
The Cats opened last season in what proved to be a Grey Cup preview. This may be another early-season clash of Cup contenders.
With Cody Fajardo being scrutinized by some, I think he plans to come out firing. With Duke Williams, Shaq Evans, and the rest of his offensive weapons, and a stingy defence, I gotta give an edge to the men in green at home. Can they cover the meagre one-point spread (it was 1.5 at the open)?
I was going to use the “it’s just week one” excuse to be cowardly and bet Saskatchewan on the money line -115, but with the spread at one, I will take Sask -1 (-110) in hopes of picking up a little extra cash.
Edmonton Elks @ BC Lions
I’ve been hard-pressed to figure out the Elks for two seasons now, but one thing seems clear, “under new management” has been an improvement.
On the other hand, I’ve been disappointed for a while by BC, having expected more than they’ve produced the last few seasons. I’m a big fan of Nathan Rourke, so much so that I have ignored some of the problems with the O-line in my preseason rankings.
And, I’m still skeptical about Edmonton. Will Nick Arbuckle be the answer at pivot? Can Derel Walker reemerge as a game-breaker?
The Elks are +3 (opened +3.5) this week. They could win outright. But, BC’s Rourke has some weapons if he’s not under assault. Still, I like the Elks, not necessarily to win at BC Place, but to keep it close. I’m taking the points.
On occasion, I do make plays other than the ones I recommend. Let’s enjoy the return of real spring football!
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