With apologies to our fellow Canadians, we have to admit we’re much bigger fans of the NFL than we are of the Canadian Football League. But there’s no disputing the fact that this has been a fascinating CFL campaign.
The West is an absolute arms race between three excellent teams in the Edmonton Eskimos, Calgary Stampeders and British Columbia Lions. Those squads have combined for just three losses in their 20 games so far this year, and both of B.C.’s losses came against the undefeated Eskimos. Even the fourth-place Blue Bombers have lost just twice in their six outings so far this year, posting dramatic last-second victories each of the last two weeks.
Meanwhile, the East is completely upside down. At 3-4, the Argos hold the lead in the division, with the 2-4 Alouettes on their heels. Defending Grey Cup champion Ottawa is 1-5-1 despite being outscored by just eight points on the season, and the Tiger-Cats (a team we liked a lot coming into the season) have been outscored nearly 2:1 en route to an 0-6 start.
We went 1-1 last week with our Week 7 CFL betting picks, losing the RedBlacks -2 over Winnipeg (Ottawa led by 3 points in the final minute before the Bombers kicked two late field goals, including the winner at the gun) but winning with the Tiger-Cats +14 at Edmonton. On the year, we’re now 5-6 against the spread.
Let’s see what we’ve got for this week in our Week 8 CFL betting picks.
Week 8 CFL Betting Lines
Visiting teams are small favourites in all 3 CFL betting lines posted for this week (oddsmakers are waiting on the status of Toronto QB Ricky Ray before putting up a line for Friday night’s Argos/Alouettes tilt in Montreal.)
Week 8 starts Thursday in Ottawa, where the 7-0 Eskimos are just 2.5-point favourites at the 1-5-1 RedBlacks. Edmonton should obviously be the favourite in this matchup, but oddsmakers are tipping their hand a bit by not quite giving the RedBlacks a full 3 points at home.
With 3 being such a key number in football betting, it suggests to us that the bookies see Ottawa hanging tough in this one.
Saturday night is another interesting line, with the 4-2 Blue Bombers laying just 1.5 points at the winless Tiger-Cats. Again, this is a case where you have to think the public money will be coming on Winnipeg, yet the line is set tantalizingly low.
The Over/Under for this matchup isn’t low, however. The total of 59.5 is the second-highest we’ve seen on the CFL betting lines so far this year. (For what it’s worth, in the other 2 games this season that had an Over/Under of 59 points or more, both games went Under.)
Week 8 will conclude Sunday in Regina with another night game, this one pitting the 5-2 Lions against the 2-4 Roughriders. B.C. is just a 2-point favourite as oddsmakers yet again are hesitant to give the hosts a full field goal on the point spread.
Week 8 CFL Betting Picks
1. Eskimos at RedBlacks Betting Pick
— Ottawa REDBLACKS (@REDBLACKS) August 7, 2017
It was an absolutely gutting loss for Ottawa last week. Up by seven points with five minutes to go and three points with under a minute left, the RedBlacks somehow lost despite not giving up a touchdown in that span.
Ordinarily, a loss like that might sound the death knell for a team that is now 1-5-1. But the good news is that Ottawa is still very much alive in the East Division “race”. In fact, the RedBlacks are just three points behind the front-running Argos, and could pull within one point with a win here and an Argos loss in Montreal.
Edmonton is the only remaining undefeated team in the CFL, but it’s not exactly like the Eskimos are dominating. They’re 2-4 against the spread, indicating that they’re a bit overrated due to their 6-0 record, and their average margin of victory is less than five points. Last week, they needed a late defensive stand to prevent the winless Ticats from pulling off the outright upset in Edmonton.
In the Eskies’ two road games this season, they posted a pair of 3-point victories. The first win was impressive, coming at B.C. as 4.5-point underdogs, but the second one took a fourth-quarter rally to get past Hamilton.
We’d love to see this line get up to 3 points to make it a stronger play, and will take Ottawa +3 if the line gets there. But for now, let’s use Ottawa in our first teaser of the CFL betting season (if you’ve never played a football teaser before, here are some things you need to know) to move the RedBlacks across a few key numbers.
Pick: RedBlacks +8.5 (using in 6-point teaser)
2. Blue Bombers at Tiger-Cats Betting Pick
— Drew Edwards (@scratchingpost) August 8, 2017
We’re now to the part of our weekly CFL picks where we bash the Blue Bombers. Winnipeg has pulled a rabbit out of its hat the last couple of weeks to pull off miracle victories, but could easily be 2-4 instead of 4-2. If that were the case, this line might look a bit different.
As it is, they’re still very small road favourites at a Hamilton team that has yet to win a game. And though the Tiger-Cats’ season-long numbers may look ugly, they have covered the spread in two of their last three outings.
Hamilton’s big weakness this year, at least on defence, has been against the pass. That isn’t exactly Winnipeg’s strength on offence. Not that the Bombers light it up on anyone, anyway. Winnipeg usually wins by thriving on turnovers, and though that’s a concern here with a Ticats team that has committed the second-most giveaways in the league, we don’t expect Hamilton to get blown out early.
This is the Cats’ first home game since being humiliated 60-1 in Calgary a couple of weeks ago. Last week’s strong effort in Edmonton might earn a bit of favour from their supporters, but this is a proud fanbase that will expect a strong effort from the home side. Let’s take a shot at Hamilton finally getting into the win column here, taking the moneyline instead of the points.
Pick: Tiger-Cats Moneyline +115 at 5Dimes
3. Lions at Roughriders Betting Pick
“We’ve got to be able to keep progressing as a team and as a unit and keep moving forward.”
— Sask. Roughriders (@sskroughriders) August 8, 2017
With only three games on the CFL board right now, this is our last chance to complete the teaser that we started in the Eskimos/RedBlacks game.
Since we’re playing a 6-point teaser, the choices here are moving the Lions to +4, the Roughriders to +8, the Over to 49 or the Under to 61. We don’t like using teasers on totals since Over/Under is a lot more volatile, but getting the Roughies plus a touchdown at home looks like a terrific value.
Saskatchewan is 2-1 at home this year, with the loss coming by 3 points. Go back to last year, and the Roughriders have lost by more than a touchdown at home just once in their last eight outings. They’re also looking to avenge last week’s 30-15 loss in B.C., when the Lions jumped out to a 22-0 lead through three quarters before coasting to victory.
The Roughriders might not have the horses to compete with the Lions in the West, but we feel very confident that they’ll give them a better game this time. Let’s use Saskatchewan plus the points to close out our 6-point teaser.
Pick: Roughriders +8 (to go with RedBlacks +8.5 in 6-point teaser) at +100 odds