With a Canada Day game and a July 4 game, we have a jam-packed Week 4 CFL slate. Who needs to watch the Coney Island Hot Dog Eating Contest when you can stuff yourself with CFL action?
Two of the four games will be televised on ESPN2 (BC vs. Ottawa on Thursday and Montreal vs. Saskatchewan on Saturday). The other two games will be available on ESPN+.
Even with three weeks of CFL action, there are still unknowns in the CFL landscape. Both BC and Ottawa look much better than last year, but they have only played two games. Edmonton might be the worst team in the CFL, but they have shown signs of improvement even with a 0-3 record.
Below, I go over the differences between the CFL and NFL, and my best bets for this CFL Week 4 slate.
Record (Tracked by BetStamp App): 4-7, -39.1% Return on Investment, +0.7% Closing Line Value
All CFL betting odds are current as of Tuesday, June 28, at 12 p.m EST.
CFL Best Bets: BC Lions vs Ottawa Redblacks
BC Lions vs Ottawa Redblacks Prediction
For BC’s first two games, I bet against them and my bankroll suffered. In quarterback Nathan Rourke’s second season, he is playing like Peyton Manning.
In two starts, Rourke has an 87.8% completion rate (not a typo), 718 passing yards, seven passing touchdowns, and zero interceptions. He is also a threat in the running game as he has 10 carries for 93 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Just like Bad Boy Records, he can’t be stopped.
This has been a shock for me as I have been following Rourke since college when he played for Ohio. At Ohio, he played relatively conservatively, but now that he is back home in Canada there must be something in the water, poutine, or maple syrup.
Ottawa is 0-2, but their record is deceiving. That is because both losses have come against the defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers. In both games, Ottawa lost by a touchdown or less.
Even though the Redblacks barely scored any points against Winnipeg, no one scores any points against them. That is because the Blue Bombers have the best defense in the CFL.
Even though quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has only one passing touchdown this season, he is averaging over 350 passing yards a game this season. Against a weaker BC Lions defense, he should be able to convert those yards into more points this week.
I am not sure who will win this week, but I am confident that we will see a lot of scoring.
BC Lions 37, Ottawa Redblacks 30
Over 47 Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 1.5 Units
Looking bigger, 57.8% of CFL games have 48 or more points scored. Even though scoring has been down over the last two years, Thursday’s game should join the list of CFL games that have 48 or more combined points scored.
Both Rourke and Masoli are insanely talented, and they should put points on the board. BC and Ottawa have decent defenses, but I don’t think they have an answer for either quarterback.
At 47 points, I am taking the Over, and I would bet it up to 49 points.
CFL Best Bets: Edmonton Elks vs Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Edmonton Elks vs Hamilton Tiger-Cats Prediction
Both the Edmonton Elks and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats are winless this season. After this week, only one of the teams will be winless. That is because the Elks and Tiger-Cats face off on Canada Day.
In the Elks first game, they lost 15-59 against BC. After that thrashing, Edmonton lost by only 10 points against Saskatchewan and seven points against Calgary last week. In last week’s game, Edmonton was ahead for most of the game, and they covered a +8.5-point spread.
Like the Elks, the Tiger-Cats also have an 0-3 record. They lost their first game against Saskatchewan by 17 points, lost 33-30 in overtime against Calgary after being up 24-0 at one point, and lost 12-26 last week against Winnipeg.
The biggest change for Hamilton this season has been at quarterback as Dane Evans has been given the keys to Hamilton’s offense. As a backup in the past, Evans had been solid. This season as a full-time starter, Evans has four passing touchdowns to six interceptions.
It will be an ugly game, but Edmonton has a good chance to get their first win of the season.
Edmonton Elks 24, Hamilton Tiger-Cats 20
Edmonton Elks +7 (-110) at PointsBet
Edmonton Elks (+260) Moneyline at FanDuel
Wager: 1 Unit on each
Last week, Edmonton almost won. This week, I think they will pull off the upset on the road at Hamilton on Canada Day.
With an implied probability of 27.8% on the (+260) moneyline, the Elks are worth a shot. Hamilton should be favored, but they should not be seven-point favorites. In what could be a low-scoring game, I am taking Edmonton’s spread (up to +5.5) and moneyline (up to +175).
CFL Best Bets: Montreal Alouettes vs Saskatchewan Roughriders
Montreal Alouettes vs Saskatchewan Roughriders Prediction
Last week, the Roughriders played the Alouettes on the road and they got their clocks cleaned. After the Alouettes started the game with a kickoff return touchdown, the Alouettes kept putting points on a tough Roughrider defense.
This week, both teams face off again in Saskatchewan for an epic rematch.
Last week, Montreal quarterback Trevor Harris got the start and Montreal was a much better team than with starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. out with an injury. Harris completed 72.7% of his passes and threw for 262 passing yards. Unfortunately for the Alouettes, their running game produced only 60 rushing yards.
For the Roughriders, it was a different story. The usually dependable Cody Fajardo didn’t throw a single touchdown and had two interceptions. Their only touchdown came during garbage time from their backup quarterback.
For the rematch, we should see Saskatchewan win a low-scoring game.
Saskatchewan Roughriders 22, Montreal Alouettes 15
Under 46 Points (-110) at Caesars
Wager: 0.5 Units
Saskatchewan has a great defense, and their offense plays conservatively. In Week 1, 43 combined points were scored in the Roughriders game, In Week 2, only 42 points were scored.
It will be a sweat, but a small wager is worth making on the Under 46 points to be scored in Week 4 between the Alouettes and Roughriders.
Forty-five is a key number for CFL Unders, so I recommend betting the Under now at 46 before it starts to drop to 45 points or lower (I’d still bet it up to 45 (-110)).
CFL Best Bets: Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs Toronto Argonauts
Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs Toronto Argonauts Prediction
On July 4, we have a great CFL game between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and the Toronto Argonauts, because nothing is more American than watching CFL on July 4.
Both Toronto and Winnipeg won their division last year during the regular season. The difference was that Winnipeg went on to win the Grey Cup, while Toronto lost to Hamilton in the playoffs.
This season, Winnipeg has narrowly won their first two games against a tough Ottawa Redblacks team. Toronto, on the other hand, narrowly beat a weak Montreal team at home and got blown out by BC last week.
Additionally, the Argos seem like a good regression candidate this season after allowing more points than they scored in 2021. This is shocking as Toronto went 9-5.
We should see a low-scoring game between two strong defenses this week. Winnipeg is the best defense in the league, and Toronto is decent. Even on the road, I don’t see how Winnipeg loses this week.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 26, Toronto Argonauts 16
Winnipeg Blue Bombers -3.5 (-115) at FanDuel
Wager: 2 Units
If by the time you are reading this article Winnipeg is still at -3.5, bet on them now before the price moves. Most sportsbooks have Winnipeg at -4.5, but FanDuel has them at -3.5.
With 4.7% of CFL games decided by exactly four points, getting the Blue Bombers at -3.5 instead of -4.5 could be the difference between winning and losing your bet. I’d bet this up to -5.
CFL vs NFL: How These Football Leagues Differ
The biggest barrier that prevents American football bettors from wagering on Canadian football is that the rules seem confusing. In general, the differences in rules between American and Canadian football results in the latter having lower scoring games, and fewer games decided by three, four, six, seven, or 10 points.
To make the rules less confusing, I have assembled a guide below on the differences between the CFL and NFL.
Three Downs Instead of Four
In the CFL, each offense has only three downs instead of four to make a first down. That means that instead of three-and-outs, you have two-and-outs.
With fewer chances to keep drives alive and the same number of yards to make, 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 fields are 110 yards long, 65 yards wide, have 20-yard end zones, and the uprights are at the beginning of the end zone. NFL fields are 100 yards long, 53.33 yards wide, have 10-yard end zones, and have their goal posts at the end of the end zone.
This translates to more two-point conversion attempts, more special teams touchdowns, and more successful field goals in the CFL.
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. The same is true for punts, as the punting team gets a point if the receiving team doesn’t return it out of the end zone.