Handicapping CFL games this season has been a total nightmare thanks to several key injuries across the league at the quarterback position.
Every week, it seems like another QB1 succumbs to injury, and another obscure quarterback is thrown to action as a result. In Week 7, BC Lions quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. suffered a knee injury while taking a sack. The team believes the injury isn’t serious, but it could hold him out of action for a week or two.
The quarterback infirmary list also includes: Jeremiah Masoli (Ottawa), Bo Levi Mitchell (Hamilton), and Trevor Harris (Saskatchewan).
Week 8 will be highlighted by the Touchdown Atlantic Game that will feature the Toronto Argonauts and Saskatchewan Roughriders at Huskies Stadium in Halifax, Nova Scotia on Saturday afternoon. Other games this week will include the Hamilton Tiger-Cats visiting the Ottawa Redblacks, the Edmonton Elks hosting the Lions, and the Calgary Stampeders taking on the Alouettes in Montreal.
|Team||Grey Cup Outright Odds|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||+240|
Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Ottawa Redblacks (-3.5, 49.5 o/u)
About the Tiger-Cats (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS, 3-3 o/u): The major storyline to follow leading up to this game is the health of Mitchell, who is back at practice this week after being held out since Week 2 with a lower-body injury. The veteran quarterback is hopeful he can suit up for Friday’s game, but an official decision hasn’t yet been made by the team. Taylor Powell will be under centre if Mitchell can’t go.
The Tiger-Cats took the first meeting between these two teams back in Week 5 by a score of 21-13 in Hamilton. However, the game came down to the final seconds of the fourth quarter and ended with Ottawa coming up just short of the end zone and a chance for a two-point conversion to potentially tie the contest.
About the Redblacks (3-3 SU, 3-3 ATS, 2-4 o/u): It’s Crum-mania in Ottawa. The Redblacks have reeled off unlikely back-to-back overtime victories against Winnipeg and Calgary to hit the .500 mark for the first time this season. Quarterback Dustin Crum threw 23 passes for 257 yards and a pair of touchdown last week against the Stampeders. The Kent State alum also rushed for 63 yards, including a two-point convert.
Crum has recorded 667 passing yards, rushed for 257, and thrown four touchdown passes in just over two-and-a-half games since Masoli, the team’s first-string quarterback, ruptured his Achilles tendon on July 10 against Hamilton.
- The under is 6-2 in the past eight meetings.
- Hamilton is 3-7 ATS in its past 10 road games.
- The Tiger-Cats are 6-2 ATS in the past eight meetings.
Pick: The Redblacks have all of the momentum here, but this line could swing towards Hamilton if Mitchell is announced as the starting quarterback later this week. Ottawa is still the play regardless of who is under centre for the struggling Ticats, but snagging Ottawa at -2.5 instead of -3.5 could be critical.
Bet on Tiger-Cats vs. Redblacks
Saskatchewan Roughriders @ Toronto Argonauts (-11, 47.5 o/u)
*This game is being played at a neutral site in Halifax, Nova Scotia, known as the Touchdown Atlantic Game.*
About the Roughriders (3-3 SU, 2-4 ATS, 3-3 o/u): Saskatchewan has been plagued with injuries early in the season, so it’s impressive that the team is .500 heading into action this week. The Riders have six receivers listed on their injury report this week, one week after being held to just nine points by the Lions. In fact, the Riders have produced just three offensive touchdowns in the last 12 quarters.
Mason Fine got his first start of the season at quarterback last week and completed 31 of his 42 pass attempts for 282 yards and two interceptions. If he can’t get the offence turned around soon, Canadian quarterback Tre Ford could be called upon in an attempt to spark the offence with his blazing sprint speed.
About the Argonauts (5-0 SU, 5-0 ATS, 3-2 o/u): What an incredible start to the season for the Argos, who look like they’re going to run away with the East Division after their perfect 5-0 start. Chad Kelly has silenced any doubters that he could be the No. 1 quarterback for the defending Grey Cup champions, and his ability to scramble appears well suited to the CFL game.
In addition to solid play at the quarterback position, Toronto’s running game is averaging a league-best 129.6 yards per game. Running back A.J. Ouellette ranks second in the league in rushing yards (393) and second in rushing touchdowns (four). Kelly leads the league in rushing touchdowns with five.
- The over is 4-0 in the past four meetings.
- The Roughriders are 0-5 ATS in their past five games against a team with a winning record.
- Toronto is a perfect 5-0 ATS this season.
Pick: Argonauts -11.
|Home Team||Away Team||Date/Time (ET)|
|Ottawa Redblacks||-3.5||49.5 o/u||Hamilton Tiger-Cats||July 28, 7:30 PM|
|Toronto Argonauts||-11||47.5 o/u||Saskatchewan Roughriders||July 29, 4:00 PM|
|Edmonton Elks||+8||43 o/u||BC Lions||July 29, 7:00 PM|
|Montreal Alouettes||-3||48 o/u||Calgary Stampeders||July 30, 7:00 PM|
BC Lions @ Edmonton Elks (+8, 43 o/u)
About the Lions (5-1 SU, 4-2 ATS, 2-4 o/u): Dane Evans will start at quarterback this week in lieu of the injury to Adams Jr., who has thrown for 1,548 yards (third in the league) and nine touchdowns passes (second in the CFL). Evans has a ton of starting experience after playing the last several seasons with Hamilton. In fact, he’s arguably the best backup quarterback in the league, so there shouldn’t be too big of a drop-off on the offensive end this week.
BC’s defence has played so well this season that Evans and the offence don’t need to do anything special this week against the lowly Elks. The unit has allowed a league-low 15.7 points per game this season while holding opponents to just 289.2 yards per game, 52.5 yards less than the next team, the Blue Bombers.
About the Elks (0-7 SU, 2-5 ATS, 2-5 o/u): I can’t believe we’re still talking about Edmonton’s embarrassing home losing streak, which has now reached a pro sports record-tying 20 straight losses (with the 1953 St. Louis Browns). With a loss this week, the Elks will stand alone with this woeful distinction.
The Elks stink away from home as well this year, posting an 0-4 record away from Commonwealth Stadium. If there’s any good news, though, it’s that the Elks played the Bombers tough last week in the first half, taking a 6-6 tie into the half. They ended up losing the game 28-14 at IG Field.
- The Lions are 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings.
- The Elks are 17-39 ATS in their past 56 home games.
- The under is 6-1 in the Lions’ past seven road games.
Pick: This line opened at BC -9, but it has moved to Lions -8 as of Thursday morning. I’m fading the Elks until they show me they can get a win. Take BC -8.
Bet on Lions vs. Elks
Calgary Stampeders @ Montreal Alouettes (-3, 48 o/u)
About the Stampeders (2-4 SU, 2-4 ATS, 3-3 o/u): The Stampeders lost more than a football game last week when they fell to the Redblacks in overtime. Elite defensive end James Vaughters suffered a serious upper-body injury in the contest and it’s feared he could be out for the rest of the season. The 30-year-old had amassed 15 tackles, five sacks and two forced fumbles before sustaining the injury.
In response to the injury, the Stampeders acquired Ja’Gared Davis from Hamilton to fill the void on the defensive line. Davis won a Grey Cup with Calgary in 2018 and is a viable replacement.
In other injury news, running back Ka’Deem Carey (toe) returned to practice Wednesday after he was placed on the six-game injured list in early June. He was an All-Star with the Stampeders last year after rushing for a league-best 1,088 yards and 10 touchdowns.
It’s unclear if Carey will be ready to suit up this week, but it’s a good sign that he’s practicing in full pads. Dedrick Mills has done an admirable job filling in as the primary running back, rumbling for 330 yards and three touchdowns in five games.
About the Alouettes (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS, 3-2 o/u): The Alouettes made headlines this week after signing veteran defensive lineman Shawn Lemon, who snagged CFL all-star honours last season after registering 29 defensive tackles, 14 sacks, four knockdowns and five forced fumbles in 17 games with Calgary. He was signed by the Lions in free agency this winter, but was released midway through training camp because of his strong personality.
In their last five meetings with the Stamps dating back to 2018, neither side has won a game by more than six points and Calgary has won three of the past five meetings. This should be another close game and the spread of Montreal -3 appears to be spot on.
- The Stampeders are 0-6 ATS in the past six meetings in Montreal.
- The under is 7-1 in Montreal’s past eight home games.
Pick: Als -3.