Thursday August 10th: Eskimos (-2.5 points) at Redblacks
Week 8 kicks off with the top ranked team in the league heading to the Nation’s capital to take on the defending Grey Cup champs. The 6-0 Eskimos are rolling as they’ve won out the schedule thus far and take the league’s best defense out East to take on an Ottawa team (1-5-1) that is struggling to win games.
Ottawa haven’t been as bad as their record may show however their inability to close out games has been haunting them so far this year. Edmonton on the other hand have put themselves in good shape this year and continue to do all the little things right.
The key matchup to watch for this week will be how the top ranked Edmonton defense matches up against Ottawa quarterback Trevor Harris who is lighting up the league. Harris trails only Ricky Ray of Toronto in passing yards with 2202, and his 14 touchdown strikes are tops in the league. The Redblacks passing attack is very effective as receivers Greg Ellingson and Brad Sinopoli lead the league in receptions with 44 and 47 respectively and Ellingson leads the CFL in receiving yards with an impressive 702 yards in seven games.
This is a very small line however when you consider just how well coached both teams are, anything less than a close game would be viewed as a disappointment.
Saturday August 12th: Bombers (-2.5 points) at Tiger Cats
The Ticats host the Blue Bombers on Saturday night at Tim Horton’s Field in another game handicapped by less than a field goal which favours Winnipeg. Hamilton are 0-6 on the year and are desperately seeking its first win of the season, however the 4-2 Blue Bombers have won two straight games and have a winning record of 2-1 on the road this year.
Winnipeg QB Matt Nichols is having a very efficient year with 11 TD’s to just 4 interceptions and has a very good 69 percent completion percentage. Offensively the ball goes through the hands of local Canadian SB Andrew Harris who has combined for over 600 yards from scrimmage through six games and has four touchdowns under his belt. Harris is a dynamic playmaker and will now be going up against a Hamilton defense that has given up a league worst 234 points and is in disrepair after firing defensive coordinator Jeffrey Reinhold on the weekend.
Hamilton are still waiting for that breakthrough game from star quarterback Zach Collaros who has struggled this season to say the least. The former Cincinnati Bearcat is averaging only 6.7 yards per completion this year and has as many touchdowns (six) as interceptions on the year. The fact that this team has only tallied 118 points through six weeks in the CFL is unacceptable given the number of playmakers on offense and now they will be facing a team that has been susceptible to allowing the big play in Winnipeg.
This line is tight so clearly the sportsbooks are banking on a better defensive showing from Hamilton this week after retooling their defensive scheme. Don’t be surprised if there’s a lot of points put up this week with the line being set at 59.5 points. The highest over/under total pegged for this week.
Sunday August 13th: Lions (-2 points) at Roughriders
Week 8 in the CFL wraps up in the midwest as the 2-4 Roughriders play host to the visiting BC Lions who are 5-2 on the year. Yet another tight line this week in the CFL as the two point spread for BC is the lowest of the week.
Saskatchewan and BC will be seeing each other for the second time in as many weeks with BC having won the last game on Saturday night 30-15. This game was never even close as Saskatchewan was shut out for three straight quarters until they finally put up the 15 points in the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand. The Lions are led by the dual running threat of Quarterback Travis Lulay and running back Jeremiah Johnson who have scored five touchdowns apiece on the ground.
The Roughriders have a very good dual threat on the ground and through the air as running back Cameron Marshall is third in the league in rushing yards with 344, while free agent wideout Duron Carter leads the league in receiving touchdowns with four.
This is clearly a more important game to Saskatchewan as now they’re playing on home field where they are 2-1 on the season. They currently sit in last place in the West and another loss this weekend would result in an even bigger gap with respect to the Western playoff picture.