Last week we played it safe by taking the favourite in all four matchups; we were rewarded with a 4-0 record (9-2 on the year, but who’s counting), but feel it’s time for a change.
With a quartet of intriguing games in Week 4, we’ll explain why you should at least consider the underdog pick in each.
Thursday | Hamilton at Montreal (7:30 p.m. ET)
Hamilton -12.5, O/U 56.5
We know how this looks on paper: Jeremiah Masoli and the Ticats (3-0) are first place in the CFL, and won this game against the Alouettes (0-2) in Montreal by 39 points (50-11) last season.
Hamilton also smashed the Als 41-10 last week at Tim Hortons Field, and racked up 529 yards of offence despite a trio of Masoli INTs.
Jeremiah Masoli has historically been excellent against the Alouettes. (Geoff Robins/CFL.ca)
With that said, this Khari Jones-coached team showed some moxie in its opener at Edmonton and will be raring to go in its home opener.
Vernon Adams Jr. has shown an ability to move the chains at times, and the Alouette defence has alternated between ball-hawking and ineffective.
With that said, the Ticats are 12.5-point favourites (LeoVegas) as a road team on Thursday.
PICK: Hamilton, because the Ticats are off to their best start since 2004 and have not lost at Montreal since July 2015.
Friday | Winnipeg at Ottawa (7:30 p.m. ET)
Ottawa -4.5, O/U 54.5
While the REDBLACKS (2-0) and Bombers (2-0) are off to identical red-hot starts, it’s the former that is a 4.5-point favourite (LeoVegas) on home turf at TD Place this Friday.
QB Dominique Davis has been a revelation for the REDBLACKS, who have bent but not broken defensively en route to a pair of nail-biter wins; HC Rick Campbell and GM Marcel Desjardins no doubt deserve credit for fielding a competitive team after losing roughly half their offensive starters.
QB Matt Nichols had a strong three-TD performance in his last visit to TD Place in August 2018. (The Canadian Press)
In Winnipeg, the mantra is all continuity with Mike O’Shea and co.; QB Matt Nichols has quietly thrown a league-best six touchdowns thus far in 2019, while former Dallas Cowboy Lucky Whitehead has made the Bombers more dynamic downfield.
Note: This game was an absolutely bonkers 40-32 OT-win for the Bombers last August, and Nichols tossed a trio of touchdowns in that one.
PICK: Winnipeg, because this is a virtual toss-up and we’re taking underdogs this week. Last week’s 4-0, favourites sweep likely won’t happen again.
Saturday | BC at Toronto (7:00 p.m. ET)
BC -6.5, O/U 57.5
The Argos (0-2) are 6.5-point underdogs at home against a Lions (0-3) team also looking for its first win.
Neither team will be thrilled to have a zero in the win column at this juncture, but BC can take solace in the fact it had a very tangible chance to win a ballgame last week at Calgary. Toronto, on the flip side, has been outscored 96-21 in a pair of lopsided losses to begin the season.
Mike Reilly will be looking for his first win of the 2019 season come Saturday. (The Canadian Press)
Why pick Toronto?
Running back James Wilder Jr. sprung to life with 99 all-purpose yards, and off-season signing Derel Walker showed what he’s capable of with a 56-yard catch.
Why not to pick Toronto?
They’ve allowed 96 points in two games.
PICK: BC, because the Argonauts defence has yet to record a sack this season and Mike Reilly could carve up Toronto’s secondary if he’s given adequate time in the pocket.
Saturday | Calgary at Saskatchewan (10:00 p.m. ET)
Saskatchewan -3.5, O/U 51.5
While fans in Calgary (1-1) wait with baited breath for word on the status of star QB Bo Levi Mitchell, backup Nick Arbuckle proved he could hang last week; the 25-year-old Stamps pivot completed all nine pass attempts en route to a stunning comeback win, and looks capable of shouldering the load in the short-term.
In Riderville, Saskatchewan (1-2) appears to have found a starting QB after last year’s inconsistency at the position in Cody Fajardo. The Nevada product has thrown for 856 yards and four touchdowns in two-plus games, and seems to have found a home after stints with Toronto and BC.
Nick Arbuckle could potentially start at QB depending on the status of Bo Levi Mitchell.
The Riders are 1-0 at Mosaic and 3.5-point (LeoVegas) favourites, while Calgary is hitting the road for the first time in 2019.
Dave Dickenson’s Stamps still seem to be sorting out their post-Grey Cup identity — especially up the middle on defence — but last week’s win could be the start of something good for Calgary.
PICK: Calgary, because they still have a lot of the pieces that helped them to the Grey Cup and the Stamps are one of the strongest-possible underdogs this week.
Week 3: 4-0
Overall: 9-2 (.818)
Odds provided by LeoVegas
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