This week we have two CFL double-headers on both Friday and Saturday night. In all four games, the most any team is favored by is 4.5 points. This partly is because Winnipeg, which has been dominant all season, has its first bye this week.
The timing of when you place CFL bets will matter this week. For the BC/Saskatchewan and Hamilton/Montreal games, the line will depend heavily on the injury reports for key offensive players. In the Edmonton/Ottawa and Calgary/Toronto games, I suspect that the lines will stay the same throughout the week.
For the games with injury concerns, my best advice is to wait until closer to game day to make those bets. For the games without injury concerns, you should bet on your preferred side early in the week.
Below, I go over the differences between the CFL and NFL, and my best bets for this week’s slate.
Kevin Davis’ CFL Betting Record (Tracked by BetStamp App):
- 22-22, -4.5% Return on Investment, +4.3% Closing Line Value
All CFL betting odds are current as of Tuesday, Aug. 16 at 3 p.m. ET.
Edmonton vs Ottawa Prediction
This weekend’s CFL slate kicks off with a toilet bowl between the two worst CFL teams in the Edmonton Elks and Ottawa RedBlacks. Both teams are last in their divisions, as Edmonton has a 2-7 record and Ottawa is just 1-7.
With that said, while the Elks usually get blown out, the RedBlacks have remained competitive in most of their games. Edmonton has an average scoring margin of -17.3, while Ottawa comes in at -5.
The RedBlacks should have more wins, but the Elks have been as bad as they look.
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Handicapping this game is not as simple as looking at the average scoring margin and picking Ottawa. Last week against Saskatchewan, Edmonton should have won even though it doesn’t appear so based on the 34-23 score.
The Elks limited the opposing quarterback to only 130 passing yards, one passing touchdown, and a 55% completion percentage. The issue is that they allowed two turnovers, two rushing touchdowns by the opposing quarterback, and had several blunders on kickoff returns.
If you take away all of Saskatchewan’s lucky touchdowns, Edmonton would have won as a seven-point underdog.
Ottawa is coming off a bye week, and they should be refreshed for this week’s game. I am not sure who is going to win, but I am confident that we will see a low-scoring game.
Score Pick: Ottawa 17, Edmonton 14
Edmonton vs Ottawa Best Bet
Under 48.5 Total Points (-110) at BetRivers Sportsbook
Wager: 1 Unit
Both Edmonton and Ottawa can’t score to save their own lives. The RedBlacks are unsure which backup QB to use between Caleb Evans and Nick Arbuckle. Both have had dismal seasons, but Arbuckle is probably the better shot caller.
The Elks have finally settled on Taylor Cornelius as their quarterback, but he has yet to throw for more than one passing touchdown in any of his games this season.
Someone is going to win this game, but I am unsure who that will be. What I am confident in is that we are unlikely to see a shootout between both teams.
BC vs Saskatchewan Prediction
The West Division is loaded this year. Of the five teams, four of them have winning records. Saskatchewan has a 5-4 record, and they are a borderline playoff team with several injuries. BC is undoubtedly one of the best CFL teams and leads the league with an average scoring margin of +15.
The Roughriders play this key game at home, which is why they are only a narrow underdog. The question for both teams is what we should expect from their quarterbacks.
Riders QB Cody Fajardo is a big question mark for the rest of the season. He thrives on short passes and occasional running plays. Unfortunately, since he injured his knee, he has either played (and struggled) or been benched.
Even last week coming off a bye, you could see Fajardo wincing in pain after tackles. In interviews, he has stated that he feels much better, but in my non-medical opinion, I am unsure if that is correct.
The other side of the coin is Lions quarterback Nathan Rourke. Whenever he plays, he makes it rain. In eight games, Rourke has 2,906 passing yards, 23 passing touchdowns, seven rushing touchdowns, and an 80.1% completion rate.
Even against strong defenses, Rourke delivers. Last week against Calgary, Rourke threw for 488 yards and completed 75% of his passes. In that game, BC was down 21-3 but found a way to win due to Rourke’s explosive play.
Saskatchewan is a strong defensive team, but I don’t think they have an answer for Rourke. In their one meeting a few weeks ago, Rourke completed 81.8% of his passes for 336 yards. Back-to-back wins against the same team are rare in the CFL, but the Lions should roar again this Friday.
Score Pick: BC 36, Saskatchewan 24
BC vs Saskatchewan Best CFL Bets
BC -4 (-110) at BetRivers
Wager: 2 Units
Getting BC as a four-point favorite is an absolute bargain, even on the road against a tough Saskatchewan defense. No one has had an answer for Rourke — other than Winnipeg, who has an answer for everyone.
After last week’s epic performance against Calgary, I can’t see how the Riders can contain Rourke. Additionally, I have concerns about Fajardo’s play for the remainder of the season.
I like BC, and I would bet them up to -4.5.
Hamilton vs Montreal Prediction
Both Hamilton and Montreal are coming off wins from last weekend.
The Alouettes beat the then-undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers on the road in overtime as 9.5-point underdogs. The Tiger-Cats beat Toronto in a competitive game, 34-27. Now, both Hamilton and Montreal are tied for second place in the East with 3-6 records.
This week’s game could potentially determine if Hamilton or Montreal make the playoffs, even though we are halfway through the season.
After a dismal start to this season, the Alouettes are showing signs of life. Their head coach and offensive coordinator were fired, and Trevor Harris seems to have settled into the starting quarterback role. What was most impressive to me about Montreal’s upset last week was how well their defensive line did against a strong Winnipeg offensive line.
Hamilton is not too shabby either. The Tiger-Cats had a tough start to the season after winning the East Division for the past two seasons. The issue with Hamilton is the quarterback position.
Starting quarterback Dane Evans has been hurt, missing last week’s game due to injury. In his place, Matthew Shiltz started. While Shiltz performed decently, his performance was a noticeable downgrade from Evans. Additionally, Shiltz was briefly hurt and replaced by rookie quarterback Jamie Newman, who attempted only two passes despite having seven rushing attempts.
If Evans plays, Hamilton probably wins. If he’s out again, then this is truly a toss-up.
Score Pick: Hamilton 24, Montreal 22
Hamilton vs Montreal Best CFL Bets
Hamilton -1.5 or Better (if Dane Evans plays)
As of Tuesday, with no injury news, Hamilton is a +2.5 underdog against Montreal. If Shiltz is the starting quarterback, that is the correct line.
It’ll be interesting to watch the injury news this week. Teams publicly list who missed practice on the CFL’s official website. If Evans is a limited or full practice participant, then my gut says that he will play this week.
In the event that he starts this week, I would bet Hamilton up to -1.5 or better.
Calgary vs Toronto Prediction
Over the last two seasons, Toronto has been the most overrated CFL team. Last season, the Argonauts won the East Division with a 9-5 record despite allowing virtually as many points as they scored. This season, Toronto is the only East Division team without a losing record, and they have an average scoring margin of -3.5.
Calgary has the misfortune of playing in the same division as BC and Winnipeg. That is why their 5-3 record is impressive: Their only three losses come against Winnipeg (twice) and BC. In the games that the Stampeders are supposed to win, they deliver.
Calgary should have beaten BC last week but came up short in a 41-40 loss. Typically, the Stamps defense delivers, but against Rourke, they were no match. Against an Argos team with a struggling quarterback in McLeod Bethel-Thompson and an injured RB Andrew Harris, Calgary shouldn’t have issues on defense this week.
On the road in Toronto, Calgary should win by about a touchdown.
Score Pick: Calgary 30, Toronto 22
Calgary vs Toronto Best CFL Bets
Calgary -2.5 (-110) at Caesars Sportsbook
Wager: 2 Units
Toronto continues to be my favorite CFL fade this season, and against a tough Calgary team, this is a great opportunity. The Stampeders are in a tier ahead of the Argos, and 2.5 points is criminal for how much better they are as a team.
At -2.5, it is important to get Calgary before they hit the key number of three. If you are reading this and Calgary is still at -2.5, jump on them now. If the line has moved, I would only bet them up to -4.
CFL vs NFL: The Biggest Differences
The biggest barrier that stops people who like betting on American gridiron football from betting on Canadian gridiron football is that the rules seem confusing. In general, the differences in rules between both games mean lower scoring games, and fewer games are decided by three, four, six, seven, or ten points.
To make the rules less confusing, I have assembled a guide below on the differences between the CFL and NFL.
CFL: Three Downs Instead of Four
In the CFL, each team on offense has only three downs instead of four. That means that instead of three and outs, you have two and outs.
With fewer chances to keep possessions alive and the same number of yards to make up, CFL offenses tend to be pass-heavy. In 2021, 61.8% of CFL offensive plays were passing plays. Additionally, more teams go for it on third down in the CFL than fourth down in the NFL.
CFL: Bigger Field
CFL Fields are 110 yards long, 65 yards wide, have 20-yard endzones, and the field goal post is at the beginning of the endzone. NFL fields are 100 yards long, 53.33 yards wide, have 10-yard endzones, and have their field goal post at the end of the endzone.
This means more two-point conversion attempts, more special teams touchdowns, and it is easier to make field goals.
CFL: The Rouge
In the Canadian game, teams can score on one-point plays also known as singles or rouges. If a team misses a field goal and the opposing team doesn’t return it past the end zone, the kicking team gets a point. For punts, the punting team gets a point if the receiving team doesn’t return it past the end zone.