It’s been a couple of tough weeks for our CFL betting picks, going winless the past two weeks to drop the season record to 2-4.
On the bright side, being 2 units in the red at this point in the season isn’t all that concerning, given that we’ve got more than half the season to get that money back. It’s usually around this point in the year that we can finally make some concrete determinations about teams as the sample sizes of their offensive and defensive abilities are much larger, and we typically enjoy a lot more success in the second half of CFL campaigns.
That said, it’s about time to get this ship turned around. Speaking of ships, this week’s CFL betting pick revolves around the Good Ship Argonaut and whether those Toronto Argos can get their own ship turned around with a upset of the visiting Ottawa RedBlacks Thursday night at BMO Field.
Let’s take a look at the betting odds for this Week 8 CFL betting matchup, then dig into angles on both sides to see where the best value lies in this contest.
Ottawa RedBlacks at Toronto Argonauts Betting Odds
At first glance, you may think that the RedBlacks being favoured by just 4.5 points here looks a little low. After all, Ottawa comes into this game atop the East with a solid 4-2 record, while the Argos are wallowing at the bottom of the CFL standings with a 1-5 mark.
Considering that Ottawa was favoured by 7.5 points when it visited the equally woeful Montreal Alouettes less than a month ago, the short betting line seems awfully suspicious. Especially when you notice that the Argos don’t benefit much from home field advantage, losing two of their three home games this season by 34 and 18 points.
The Over/Under for this game has also been set low (48.5 points as of Tuesday), but at least a low total is understandable. The Argos don’t score against anyone, the RedBlacks failed to score a touchdown in last week’s win in Hamilton, and Ottawa has allowed more than 25 points in a game just once in its first six outings this season.
RedBlacks Have Been Road Warriors
As we just mentioned, Ottawa is coming off a road victory last week in Hamilton, edging the Tiger-Cats 21-15 (with all of the RedBlacks’ points coming on seven field goals).
Success on the road is nothing new for the RedBlacks. In fact, they might have been the best road team in the CFL over the past three years, at least based on expectations from the oddsmakers. Ottawa has covered 22 of its last 28 games away from home, routinely beating teams it should beat and keeping games tight against powerful hosts such as the Stampeders and Eskimos.
Other things to like about the RedBlacks in this spot are their track records against weaker opponents (4-1 ATS in their last five against teams with a losing record) and against East Division opponents (7-2 ATS in the last 9 division games). It’s easy to trust Ottawa to bring a businesslike approach here and avoid a letdown against a poor opponent, especially with the offence looking to atone for last week’s failure to reach the end zone.
Toronto Offence Sputtering Without Ray
Remember when James Franklin led the Argonauts to an upset victory of the Eskimos in Toronto’s first game without injured star QB Ricky Ray? Back then, there was even talk about how Franklin was showing “the poise and arm strength to get the Argos’ offence in gear.”
That game was less than a month ago, but a lot has changed since then. Franklin has been awful in the three games since, leading the Argos to just 49 points in their last three outings while the team has been outgained by nearly 100 yards per contest. And the optimism following that victory over the Eskimos is also long gone, replaced by despair and the realization that the Argos simply aren’t going anywhere this season. Franklin has even lost the starting job to McLeod Bethel-Thompson.
Back-to-back blowout losses against the Blue Bombers have given some perspective on how bad this Argonauts team truly is. If you take away Toronto’s two games against the Eskimos (who went through an early-season slump where they struggled to put away opponents), Toronto has lost all four of its games by more than a touchdown. There honestly isn’t much reason to believe they can break that trend here.
RedBlacks vs. Argonauts Betting Pick
It certainly feels like a square play to be on the road favourite here, and the line smells a little bit as we struggle to understand why the RedBlacks are just 4.5-point chalk.
Perhaps the oddsmakers are buying into the possibility that Bethel-Thompson sparks the Toronto offence in his first start, or that the Argos will play with great desperation and intensity in what is essentially a must-win game at this point. Either way, we’re not seeing it, and we love that the Ottawa offence is looking to rebound from a poor performance of its own.
We’re going to lay the short price with the proven and battle-tested road favourite here. Give us the RedBlacks -4.5, a bet that was available at -110 odds Tuesday afternoon at Bodog.