It’s not often you see CFL games make sudden mid-week line moves. But that’s what happened Tuesday when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats jumped from 6-point road favorites to 7-point road favorites for their matchup against the Toronto Argonauts Thursday night.
It’s strange enough that the Ti-Cats are favored on the road where they’re 1-7 SU this season. And now the line is moving up because they're fighting for their playoff lives in their final game of the regular season while Toronto has nothing to play for.
The Argos already have home field sewn up for next week’s Eastern Division playoff game and they announced Tuesday they’ll be sitting starting quarterback Ricky Ray this week, among other players.
“My job is to get Ricky into the playoffs as healthy as can be. It’s in the best interest of the football team,” head coach Scott Milanovich told the Toronto Star.
Hamilton needs a win Thursday - and some help from Calgary against Edmonton Friday - just to earn a return trip to Toronto. The Ticats lost and failed to cover in both meetings with the Argos and won’t decline any advantages the Argos want to send their way.
Toronto plans on starting backup quarterback Jarious Jackson but rookies Trevor Harris and Zach Collaros will also get a chance because the
Argos want to see if one of them can challenge for the No. 2 role next year.
Here’s a quick look at others who’ll likely be missing time for Toronto Thursday:
- Starting running back Chad Kackert as a safety precaution.
- Rookie receiver Dontrelle Inman will replace Maurice Mann, who is coming off his best game of the season.
- Rookie Joel Reinders will make his first CFL start on the offensive line and you’ll likely see multiple backups play extended time with veterans Marc Parenteau and Chris Van Zeyl slightly banged up.
- Linebacker Brandon Isaac will be serving a one-game suspension for an illegal hit on Saskatchewan QB Darian Durant last week. Isaac had two sacks and eight tackles in the first half before the hit.
- Defensive tackle Kevin Huntley and defensive end Ronald Flemons are also banged up so we could see multiple changes on the defensive line throughout the game.