Canadian bacon: CFL Week 5 betting preview and picks

Jul 27, 2011 |
Canadian bacon: CFL Week 5 betting preview and picks
Buck Pierce and the Bombers are a perfect 4-0 ATS.
Buck Pierce and the Bombers are a perfect 4-0 ATS.
Charles-André Marchand is a football columnist and play-by-play commentator for CKAC Sports AM730. He went 1-3 ATS in Week 4 and is 6-10 ATS on the season.

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B.C. Lions at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (-3, 52)

The situation is getting desperate for the Lions, who are the only winless team in the CFL. And it won’t be an easy task to pick up their first win in Winnipeg this Thursday after a short week of preparation.

The departure of WR Manny Arceneaux (NFL) was costlier than anticipated. The vertical attack of the Lions doesn’t scare anyone in the league. And defensively, veteran Davis Sanchez, at 36, has lost a step and was moved from cornerback to safety after a terrible start. The knee injury that ended the season of defensive back Stanley Franks only made the secondary more fragile. It remains unknown whether the addition of rookie Travis Williams as a wide-side cornerback will make it better or worse.

You can bet that Bombers QB Buck Pierce will try to exploit the lack of CFL experience on the Lions stop unit. Bettors should also consider that the Winnipeg defense has been solid so far.

CFL bettors will watch the Bombers declaw the Lions and keep B.C. winless.

Pick: Winnipeg

Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (+3.5, 53.5)

Even when the Tiger-Cats had mediocre teams, the Alouettes found ways to stumble in Hamilton. This season, Hamilton has a pretty good team with lots of tools on both sides of the ball.

Running back Avon Cobourne, who left the Alouettes for the Tiger-Cats because of money issues, will certainly try to prove that GM Jim Popp was right to dig deeper in his pockets.

Anthony Calvillo should play, but at the time of this piece, his vision was still blurry. His cornea was scratched by his helmet when he was hit by Dario Romero last Sunday. Don’t be surprised if McPherson is called upon to replace him at the last minute.

The Alouettes could also be without safety Etienne Boulay, victim of two mild concussions against the Roughriders. If that’s the case, it opens a huge gap in the middle of the secondary since his replacement Tad Crawford has neither the skills nor the vision to shine at that position.

You don’t often see the Alouettes lose two in a row but that’s probably what will happen against the Tiger-Cats Friday night.

Pick: Hamilton

Toronto Argonauts at Edmonton Eskimos (-9, 50)

The Argonauts are simply not the same team without Cory Boyd and his absence will probably be more cruelly felt against the stunning Eskimos, who have flourish behind QB Ricky Ray.

After finishing last in the West in 2010, the Eskimos fully deserve their 4-0 record. On special teams, former Alouette Damon Duval is playing as well as ever and was honored this week for his stellar performance in Calgary, where he completed three field goals, two converts and averaged 47.7 yards on nine punts.

In all aspects of the game, the Eskimos seem balanced. Granted, the loss of DE Greg Peach, who was Defensive Player of the Week, will be felt. And if Joe Sykes can’t nurse his injured ankle in time, it could become a real problem.

That said, even without Peach and receiver Adarius Bowman, who will miss this game because of cracked ribs, the Eskimos will prevail.

Pick: Edmonton

Calgary Stampeders at Saskatchewan Roughriders (+2.5, 54)

Don’t be fooled by the Roughriders’ win against the Alouettes in Montreal. It masked many weaknesses.

Even without Calvillo (injured halfway through the second quarter) and although they probably played their worst football game since Marc Trestman took over four years ago, the Alouettes came close to tying that game in the last minute.

The passing attack of the Riders isn’t as threatening without the likes of Fantusz (NFL) and Baggs (nine-game injury list). Durant can still rely on Dressler and Hugh Charles brings a one-two punch in the running game behind Wes Cates, but the lack of depth and discipline makes the Roughriders vulnerable.

The Saskatchewan defense has weaknesses that will be exposed by Henry Burris and the Stampeders, even in the hostile environment of Mosaic Field. Let’s not forget that missed field goals have been the cause of both losses on Calgary’s record.

Pick: Calgary

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