Week 5 CFL Picks: Road Underdogs Continue To Cash

So far in the 2017 CFL betting season, underdogs have been the way to go – especially when they’re on the road.

Overall, dogs have covered the spread nearly 70% of the time through Week 4, going 11-5 against the number. Those stats are even more pronounced when the road team is catching points, as they’ve covered 7 of 9 games in that situation.

Unfortunately for us, the road underdog we backed last week was one of the 2 this year that haven’t covered the spread. The Argonauts outgained the host Blue Bombers in total yards last Thursday, but couldn’t overcome a pair of Ricky Ray interceptions in a 33-25 loss, failing to cover the +4 spread.

It would have helped if this Argos punt return for a touchdown hadn’t been called back due to a phantom block-in-the-back penalty. (But it doesn’t feel right to complain, considering a Winnipeg woman should have won $1 million on that play.)

We’re now back to .500 on the 2017 CFL betting season, going 3-3 with our picks against the spread for an overall loss of -0.3 units. Let’s try to get back into the black with these Week 5 CFL betting picks.

Week 5 CFL Betting Lines

Week 5 actually started a day earlier than most weeks in the CFL, with the RedBlacks earning their first victory of the year with a 24-19 win over the Alouettes.

(Ottawa was a 4.5-point home favourite in that contest, so road dogs are now 7-3 against the spread in 2017).

The rest of the Week 5 CFL slate sees the Eskimos as 3-point favourites at the winless Tiger-Cats; the Lions laying 4.5 points at home to the Blue Bombers; the Roughriders catching 10 points at Calgary; and Ottawa as a 2-point dog in Toronto.

The Over/Under totals for all 4 of those games are all 52.5 or higher, with the Roughriders/Stampeders game lined at 58.

It’s interesting to see the totals that high, considering that only 2 of the first 10 non-overtime games this season went Over the total. Last week, however, 3 of 4 games went Over, including the Lions/Ticats clash that sailed 15.5 points past the total.

Week 5 CFL Betting Picks

1. Eskimos at Tiger-Cats Betting Pick

It’s circle-the-wagons time in Hamilton, where the Ticats are desperate to avoid an 0-4 start. While Ottawa endured a similarly tough 0-3-1 start to the campaign, at least the RedBlacks were in every game. Hamilton hasn’t been close, losing each of its first 3 outings by 15+ points and ranking dead last in the league in both total offence and total defence.

Edmonton is 3-0, but the Eskimos have hardly been dominant. Their two victories have come by an average of 3 points, even though two of those games were at home against Ottawa and Montreal. Last week, coming off their bye, the Eskimos struggled to beat a winless RedBlacks squad.

Neither of these teams thrives in this point spread range. Hamilton has been awful in general against the spread of late, and that extends to at home, where the Cats are 0-6-1 against the spread in their last 7 games as a home dog. But Edmonton has been a poor road favourite of less than 3 points in recent years, going 5-13-1 against the spread in its last 19 games in that situation.

It’s a leap of faith to back the Ticats right now, but the short line in this game and the fact it’s moved to +2.5 points at some sportsbooks indicate to us that they’re the sharp side. We’ll take the field goal with the desperate home side looking to avenge last year’s playoff loss.

Pick: Tiger-Cats +3 -115 at www.Bodog.eu

2. Blue Bombers at Lions Betting Pick

This betting line has plummeted from the opener, with the Lions opening as 8.5-point faves but now laying just 4.5. Seven points is not quite as key of a number in the CFL as it is in the NFL, but it’s still a pretty significant indication that sharp money loved the Bombers at over a touchdown.

Still, we don’t have any interest in backing Winnipeg here. The Bombers continue to thrive on turnovers, and it continues to mask the fact that otherwise, Winnipeg really isn’t that great of a team. The Bombers have been outgained in all 3 of their games this season and in 8 of their last 10, dating back to last year.

The money on B.C. probably has more to do with last week’s injury to starting QB Jonathon Jennings (Travis Lulay stepped in to throw for 436 yards and three touchdowns) and the fact that the Lions are in a tough situational spot, playing their first home game after a 3-game eastern road swing. B.C. won those 3 games by a combined total of 35 points and the defence continues to play well, leading the CFL in the fewest points allowed per game at 21.8.

We were tempted to take the Lions on a teaser or moneyline parlay, but are a bit concerned about B.C. being a bit flat here, especially on offence. Instead, let’s challenge the mediocre Winnipeg offence (eighth in the CFL in total yards) to put up points against a stingy Lions stop unit.

Pick: Blue Bombers Team Total Under 25.5 -120 at www.Bet365.com

3. Roughriders at Stampeders Betting Pick

At first glance, the chance to get double-digits with the Roughriders looks too good to be true. Saskatchewan’s win-loss record hasn’t been great yet under Chris Jones, but the Green Riders consistently play hard and stay in ball games. They’re coming off a confidence-building 37-20 win over Hamilton, enjoyed a bye last week, and their 2 losses this year came by a combined total of 4 points.

However, Calgary coming off a loss – especially a disappointing one, like the 30-23 defeat it suffered last week in Montreal – is not a team we want to get in front of. The Stampeders are 36-17 against the spread in their last 53 games following a defeat in their previous game, and they’ve covered 12 of their last 17 home games as well.

If we’re going to do anything with this game, we might move the Stampeders down to a field goal range using a 7-point teaser. But Saskatchewan is better than most people realize, leading the CFL in both the most yards gained on offence and fewest yards allowed on defence. Let’s just avoid this game completely.

Pick: Pass

4. RedBlacks at Argos Betting Pick

It’s a revenge game for the RedBlacks, who lost 26-25 at home to the Argos two weeks ago. Making that loss even more painful for Ottawa was the fact that it missed a late extra-point attempt, then a 59-yard field goal that would have won the game at the gun.

This will be the RedBlacks’ second game in five days, but we see NFL teams handle this short turnaround all the time. It’s only a four-hour drive from Ottawa to Toronto, and the defending Grey Cup champions should be buoyed by their victory Wednesday over Montreal.

Marc Trestman and Jim Popp have already done a nice job in Toronto, but we don’t think they should be laying points in this matchup. The Argos have basically no crowd support at home, which is reflected in their 7-19 ATS record in their last 26 games as hosts. Ottawa has covered its last four road games and six of seven overall.

Oh, and they’re road underdogs in the 2017 CFL. Give us Ottawa.

Pick: RedBlacks Moneyline +110 at www.SportsInteraction.com