The CFL regular season kicks off this weekend. For some of you, that means football is back. For others, that means we're still a long way from football season.
Whatever it means to you, we'll preview the games each week and give you our picks.Saskatchewan Roughriders vs. Hamilton Tigers-Cats (-5.5, 50)
Hammertown gets to air out its new offense on home ground to start the season. The Ti-Cats have a new coach, a new QB and some new faces on a deep receiving corps that has left them as the Grey Cup favorites to start the season at 7-2.
Former CFL MVP Henry Burris will take the snaps after being acquired by Calgary in the offseason and he aims to jump start a team that fell under the total in six of its last seven games last season.
Sasky, meanwhile, has reconfigured its lineup and coaching staff and may take a couple of games to get familiar. The Riders have a completely new o-line and are the biggest underdog to win the Grey Cup entering the season at 9-1. Pick:
Hamilton -5.5Winnipeg Bluebombers vs. B.C. Lions (-7, 52)
Opening day features a replay of last year’s Grey Cup, won 34-22 by B.C. as a 7.5-point fave.
B.C. began last season by losing six of its first seven games (2-5 against the spread) but then proceeded to destroy the league from there with a 12-1 run including playoffs. The Lions went 11-2 ATS during that stretch – a cash grab for bettors matched by few teams in all of sports last season.
CFL Outstanding Player Travis Lulay is back along with a mostly intact offense. The Bombers had the best defense in the league last year though, albeit with the worst self-proclaimed nickname: Swaggerville.
Winnipeg also lost its starting tailback this week, Chris Garrett, to an Achilles injury. Ouch. Pick:
Toronto Argonauts vs. Edmonton Eskimos (-2, 48.5)
The running game was about the only bright spot for the Argos last season with Cory Boyd running for more than six yards per carry. After that, the only thing saving Toronto from the worst record in the CFL was playing in the East Division.
New quarterback Ricky Ray should help on offense. He was a star and former Grey Cup MVP for Edmonton, which could make things a tad awkward in Week 1. Steven Jyles is charged with the new No. 1 role for the Eskies and it remains to be seen how consistent he’ll be on a team that made a ton of changes this offseason. Pick:
Toronto +2 Montreal Alouettes vs. Calgary Stampeders (-2.5, 55.5)
The Als went 10-8 last season but they were the worst team to bet on in the league (along with Sasky) with a 6-12 ATS record. They also closed the season with eight straight losses against the number and four losses straight up.
Ninety-seven-year-old quarterback Anthony Calvillo led the league in passing yards in 2011 with over 5 million (it’s the CFL, remember) and he anchors the Montreal offense. But with a record of 10-8 after several seasons of dominance there are some question marks in Montreal for the first time in a long time.
Calgary won both meetings with Montreal last season and covered the spread both times. They should give Montreal a strong fight on home soil on Canada Day. Pick: