Sunday's CFL action: What bettors need to know

Toronto Argonauts at Montreal Alouettes (-2.5, 49.5)

The Montreal Alouettes may have found a worthy heir to quarterback Anthony Calvillo, and not a moment too soon. Young pivot Tanner Marsh will look for his third straight win on Sunday when Montreal vies to complete a home-and-home sweep against the visiting Toronto Argonauts. The Alouettes placed the 41-year-old Calvillo - professional football’s all-time passing yards leader - on the nine-game injured list Wednesday, effectively ruling him out for the remainder of the season as he tries to recover from a concussion. Marsh threw for 309 yards and one touchdown against Toronto last week.

Injuries are catching up with the Argonauts, who have dropped two games in a row and must win on Sunday to maintain sole possession of the East Division lead. Toronto quarterback Ricky Ray was having a career season before a shoulder injury sidelined him for at least a month and backup Zach Collaros has been inconsistent. In addition, the absence of running back Chad Kackert has left a gaping hole in the backfield that a banged-up Curtis Steele has been unable to fill. Even 2012 Most Outstanding Player Chad Owens looked worse for wear last week, which might explain why the Argonauts were held to a season-low nine points on offense.

TV: 1 p.m. ET, TSN

ABOUT THE ARGONAUTS (5-4): Linebacker Marcus Ball is pacing the Toronto defense with 37 tackles, a team-leading four sacks, one interception and one fumble recovery. Linebacker Robert McCune leads the team with 59 tackles while Owens has a club-best 683 passing yards and 1,001 combined return yards. Kackert still leads the team with 189 rushing yards despite not playing since Week 4. Collaros is 72-for-104 for 931 yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, but those numbers are buoyed by a three-touchdown performance against the BC Lions in his first start.

ABOUT THE ALOUETTES (4-5): Linebackers Chip Cox and Marc-Olivier Brouillette were both named CFL players of the month for August. Cox was named defensive player of the month after recording 32 tackles to add to his league-leading total, as well as one sack. Brouillette was named Canadian of the month after forcing a league-high four fumbles and recording four sacks while filling in for the injured Kyries Hebert. Marsh has only completed 34-of-61 passes and his five interceptions could be cause for concern, but he has a knack for making big plays - including completions of 57 and 86 yards in his first game.

TRENDS:

* The Argonauts are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games.
* The under is 7-1 in the Alouettes last eight versus the East.
* The under is 7-0 in the last seven meetings.
* The Argonauts are 4-1 ATS in their last five meetings in Montreal.

EXTRA POINTS:

1. Collaros has 145 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns, making him Toronto’s biggest running threat without Kackert.

2. Montreal RB Brandon Whitaker’s return from injury was brief as he strained his hamstring in last week’s victory. He is expected to miss Sunday’s game.

3. Toronto won the its last game in Montreal 38-13 in Week 7. Ray left with an injury after throwing three touchdowns and Collaros was limited to 44 yards in the victory.


Saskatchewan Roughriders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (+8.5, 55)

The Saskatchewan Roughriders are in uncharted territory, sporting an 8-1 record for the first time in franchise history. On Sunday, the Roughriders will attempt to climb even higher when they visit the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the second game of a home-and-home series. Saskatchewan running back Kory Sheets recorded 91 yards in last week’s 48-25 home win over Winnipeg and remains on pace to break the CFL single-season rushing record. He has 1,149 yards.

The Blue Bombers started Justin Goltz at quarterback last week and led 18-14 at halftime, but it was not enough for them to avoid a seventh straight defeat. Goltz rushed for a team-leading 73 yards and two touchdowns, but threw for fewer than 200 yards and two interceptions - suggesting he may not be the pivot to turn around the league’s worst offense. Returning home might not be very welcome for Winnipeg, which is 0-4 in its first season at brand-new Investors Group Field. Earning its first home victory against a powerhouse like Saskatchewan would be a huge morale boost to this beleaguered franchise, however.

TV: 4 p.m. ET, TSN

ABOUT THE ROUGHRIDERS (8-1): Quarterback Darian Durant and kicker Chris Milo both earned player of the month honors for August. Durant was named offensive player of the month after completing 86-of-129 passes for 1,172 yards and nine touchdowns in four games. Milo was named special teams player of the month after making all 11 field goal opportunities and 13 convert attempts. Slotback Geroy Simon is tied with Terry Vaughn for second place in all-time receptions with 1,006. Ben Cahoon holds the record with 1,017 - a number Simon is likely to eclipse this season if he remains healthy.

ABOUT THE BLUE BOMBERS (1-8): Winnipeg signed Levi Brown this week, making him the fifth quarterback under contract with the Blue Bombers. Goltz, Buck Pierce, Max Hall and Jason Boltus have all seen time under center for Winnipeg in 2013. Defensive end Alex Hall leads the league with 11 sacks, but was neutralized against Saskatchewan last week. Linebacker Henoc Muamba leads the team with 57 tackles. Offensive lineman Andre Douglas and kick returner Aaron Woods will both miss Sunday’s contest with injuries - and are expected to be out long-term.

TRENDS:

* The Roughriders are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games in September.
* The Blue Bombers are 0-4 ATS in their last four home games.
* The over is 5-1 in the Roughriders' last six road games.
* The under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Winnipeg.

EXTRA POINTS:

1. Milo has not missed a field goal in 2013, making all 23 attempts.

2. The Blue Bombers are 0-3 against West Division opponents. Saskatchewan is 5-0 against the East.

3. Saskatchewan has scored a league-leading 312 points - 120 more than Winnipeg.

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