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Week 4 of the CFL season gives us the second half of a home and home set, a battle of unbeaten teams, a battle of winless teams and a good old prairie rival showdown.
We start off in Montreal on Thursday night with the Alouettes hoping to get some revenge (and their first win) against Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats had a field day against Montreal last week at Tim Hortons Field with a 41-10 victory.
The big test for the Tiger-Cats will be staying emotionally engaged as they’ve now won two-straight with a difference of 50 and 31 points. Montreal, meanwhile, will just be playing for pride in their home opener.
Friday Night Football features two teams at 2-0.
Matt Nichols threw three touchdown passes in his last outing, as did Ottawa quarterback Dominique Davis.
So we’ll see which defence can reign in some quarterbacks feeling good about themselves. Ottawa will have to be well aware of Lucky Whitehead, whose two long touchdowns highlighted the Bombers win over Edmonton last week.
On the other side of the ball, Willie Jefferson will hope to wreak havoc on the first year starter for Ottawa. Davis showed tremendous touch on his deep passes two weeks ago against Saskatchewan, so the Bomber DBs will know they’ll have to be sharp against the former Bomber QB.
And Saturday sees a double header that starts of with the Toronto Argonauts hosting the BC Lions.
BC is coming off that heartbreaking loss to Calgary. Toronto was beat up in back to back games to start their season.
The Lions started to show a spark last week until their defence and special teams let them down late in the game. Mike Reilly and the offence is gelling a little bit more and we saw a glimpse of what the Lions were hoping they’d get by paying up for Reilly in the off-season.
Toronto can only hope they start to see something like that this week from all phases. The offence is having trouble scoring and the defence is having trouble keeping teams out of the end zone. To make matters worse, it’s a short week for the Argos after a 32-7 loss on Canada Day Monday.
The Roughriders are dealing with that turnaround as well as they host the Calgary Stampeders in the second half of the double. The likely QB matchup is the hot hand of Cody Fajardo and Nick Arbuckle, who led the Stamps amazing comeback over the Lions with Bo Levi Mitchell out of action.
Two rivals hoping to carry over from emotional wins last week to climb to two wins and up the standings in the tough CFL West Division.
Here are my picks for Week 4.
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Hamilton at Montreal
Thursday | 7:30 p.m. ET
Favourite: Hamilton (-12.5)
O/U: 56.5 points
While I’m temped by the fact it’s hard to win back to back games in a home and home set, I can’t ignore just how well the Tiger-Cats have looked early in 2019. The opposite can be said for the Montreal Alouettes.
Tiger-Cats have playmakers all over the place, while Montreal needs someone to step up. William Stanback may have to be relied upon even more for the Alouettes offence to try and win time of possession and keep Jeremiah Masoli and company off the field.
That’s going to be easier said than done against the class of the CFL to start the season.
PICK: HAMILTON (90% confidence bonus)
Winnipeg at Ottawa
Friday | 7:30 p.m. ET
Favourite: Ottawa -4.5
O/U: 53.5 points
I’m very intrigued to see how these two teams matchup. One team I’m shocked is 2-0 to start the season. I was certain their was going to be a drop off for the REDBLACKS with the amount of top talent that departed in the off-season.
Winnipeg’s road to 2-0 has been far less surprising as many had them pegged to be a Grey Cup contender.
So, is Ottawa for real? This will be an early test of that with the Bombers in town. The Bombers are so well rounded on offence that Matt Nichols doesn’t have to force things, while Dom Davis had to be perfect last time out in a 44-41 win over Saskatchewan.
That last game shows some concerns for the REDBLACKS defence that they have to tighten things up.
PICK: WINNIPEG (50% confidence bonus)
BC at Toronto
Saturday | 7:00 p.m. ET
Favourite: BC -7.5
O/U: 55.5 points
Both teams in this one are DESPERATE for a victory. The Argonauts are coming home with many questions. Who will play quarterback? What is wrong with the defence? Where is Derel Walker? Can they get things turned around in time?
It’s troubling to see Toronto lose by 50 and 25 points in back to back weeks. The weather delay in Saskatchewan may have been blessing for Toronto, because it cooled off a Saskatchewan offence that was up 25-0 when the lightning started.
BC is 0-3 and it’ll be interesting to see how they respond from the heartbreaker last week. The positive is they got John White more involved in the offence, which opened things up for Mike Reilly in the pass game and slowed down a pass rush with only two sacks given up.
I see one team turning things around, but I’m not seeing the light in the tunnel yet for Toronto.
PICK: BC (75% confidence bonus)
Calgary at Saskatchewan
Saturday | 10:00 p.m. ET
Favourite: Saskatchewan -4.5
O/U: 50.5 points
A prairie showdown to finish off the week has Cody Fajardo leading the Roughriders against a team they’ve been chasing for the past few seasons. But it looks like Nick Arbuckle could be behind centre after Bo Levi Mitchell left last week’s contest with an injury.
The Stampeders have shown they are no longer the dominant force at the start of this season. Injuries have a lot to do with it and it won’t get easier for Calgary coming into a hostile environment with a new quarterback.
Arbuckle will be tested against a Roughriders defence that finally showed some teeth in their win against Toronto.
Fajardo has been a revelation in Saskatchewan with 790-yards passing in his first two starts of his career. Saskatchewan is starting to see the makings of a quarterback to get excited about for the future. They’re also seeing their second year receivers come into their own.
After an 0-2 start, we’re seeing the Roughriders beginning to find an identity under their new head coach.
PICK: SASKATCHEWAN (30% confidence bonus)