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3rd and 1: Best Bets for Week 6 of the CFL Season

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Win as if you were used to it, lose as if you enjoyed it for a change.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I can try to pretend, but my true feelings are, too often, too obvious to mask.  1-and-2 with last week’s picks.  It was my first losing week of the season after an ego-inflating run.  I’m rattled, but remorseless and with renewed resolve.  Was I over-anxious about maintaining my Best Bets record instead of simply seeing the board?  An injury to Dru Brown ended Ottawa’s shot of covering the spread last week in Winnipeg.  While the Argos turnovers made it awfully easy for Shea Patterson to win his first CFL start.  Tough to forecast those game-changing follies, but they will be taken into consideration heading into this week.  As the 43rd President of the United States once put it: “Fool me once, shame on – shame on you.  Fool me - you can’t get fooled again.”

Toronto Argonauts at Montreal Alouettes

 

Argos QB Cameron Dukes had five touchdowns and zero interceptions after his first two games this season leading some to speculate that the Argos weren’t in a rush to have Chad Kelly back.  Fast forward two weeks and that script is flipped.  Dukes has zero touchdowns and five interceptions in his last two starts with four of them coming in last week’s loss to the Riders.  The Argos defence has also taken a step back from last season when they were 3rd in the CFL allowing 22 points a game.  So far this year, they’re giving up over 30 points a game, second last in the league.  Meanwhile, Montreal is elite on both sides of the ball.  The Als have won 13 in a row dating back to last season.  Yes, it’s a short week for the defending champs and they’ll likely be missing a difference maker on defence in Canadian Marc-Antoine Duquoy.  Still, six and a half points aren’t enough to make up for the Argos turnover prone offence that’s matched with a leaky defence to date.

THE PICK: ALOUETTES -6.5


Saskatchewan Roughriders at BC Lions

 

 

Taking you inside a 3rd and 1 decision, I was about to fade the Blue Bombers again this week.  Why not?  You may ask.  I still might.  But sometimes the play call comes by process of elimination.  The Roughriders turnover ratio initially made me want to run away from the biggest number on the board.  They’ve turned it over a league low four times.  They have a league high 14 takeaways, including 9 interceptions, 2 of which were taken for touchdowns.  That’s not the kind of defence you want to spot seven and a half points to.  BUT, last week’s win over the Argos was far less impressive than the stat sheet suggests.  Of the four interceptions, two of them were out of the hands of the Argos receivers.  Shea Patterson barely had to throw the ball since he was gifted field position throughout the game.  Expect the conditions to be less comfortable entering the Lions’ den.  Vernon Adams is on pace for the second most passing yards in a single season in CFL history.  It could be a rude awakening for a 4-0 team if the Riders are relying on Patterson to keep it within range.

THE PICK: LIONS -7.5


Ottawa Redblacks at Edmonton Elks

 

“So you’re saying there’s a chance” – Lloyd Christmas

Edmonton has two wins and 26 losses in its last 28 games at Commonwealth Stadium dating back to 2019.  They set the record for the longest home losing streak in North American professional sports history during that span.  They haven’t won anywhere this season – home or away.  Naturally, they’re three-and-a-half-point favourites on Sunday night.  Can you smell the herd from downwind?  Their four losses have been by a combined 17 points.  If not for a few costly penalties and turnovers, I wouldn’t have to make excuses for picking a winless favourite this week.  The point is that the Elks are better than their record.  They just had a bye week to cut down on mistakes and they signed a couple of key veterans to address the defence.  Davis Sanchez said don’t be surprised if they’re a playoff team.  I’m sold.

THE PICK: ELKS -3.5


CFL Fantasy Best Bet: RYQUELL ARMSTEAD ($ 5.5 K)  /  JUSTIN MCINNIS ($ 10.0 K)

See last week’s column on Ryquell Armstead, and the column before that.  The Redblacks running back is still the best value on the board, by far.  With all the fantasy dollars you’ll save on Armstead, you might have room for Alexander Hollins and his $14 k price tag. Hollins is on pace to set the CFL’s all-time receiving yards mark but if the economics don’t quite add up for your roster, look no further than his teammate Justin McInnis.  The Canadian is having a major breakout in his fifth CFL season.  He’s tied for first in touchdowns, he’s third in receiving yards, and fourth in catches.  His 47 targets lead the league ahead of Hollins and Tyson Philpot.  In two of five games this season McInnis has outperformed Hollins in fantasy.  But, with Keon Hatcher retuning soon, McInnis might not have this fantasy floor for long.  Enjoy it while you can.