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3rd and 1: Best Bets for Week 4 of the CFL Season


Hubris is one of the great renewable resources. – P.J. O’Rourke

After obnoxiously tooting my own horn heading into week 3, the gods acted swiftly to strike me down to size.  Unfortunately for the Redblacks, divine intervention came at their expense. It was a thorough first half beating courtesy of the defending champs on Thursday Night Football. And, it ended the unbeaten streak I was so carelessly crowing about.  But after the fear and self-loathing subsides, the aplomb begins to reappear.  I’m reminded that I still went two-for-three.  So here’s to the start of another streak ;)

Edmonton Elks at BC Lions

Fair is foul, and foul is fair. 
Always providing an excuse to quote Shakespeare, Macbeth did everything but win against his former team last week.  McLeod Bethel-Thompson was 28 of 38 for 342 yards with four touchdowns, and zero interceptions.  It’s not often you see a stat line like that in a loss.  Edmonton is winless after playing three close games against quality opponents with another one on deck.  Vernon Adams is expected to play despite an abdominal issue, but even when healthy, the Lions haven’t put up more than 27 points in any game so far.  While it will be a tall task for the Elks to earn their first victory in the Lions Den, I will play the points with a quieter confidence to avoid any animosity from above.


Montreal Alouettes at Toronto Argonauts

The last two Grey Cup champions do battle at BMO Field on Friday Night Football.  But only one of them will start the same quarterback that won them a ring.  I said I would take a wait-and-see approach with Cameron Dukes, but after two games, we’re starting to see the Argos plan with their new pivot.  Give the boatmen credit.  Pinball Clemons, Ryan Dinwiddie and company have a hot streak regarding signal callers.  Or maybe it’s how they use them.  Dukes had 214 extremely efficient yards in last week’s win.  He threw to ten different receivers, he used his legs when he had to, and he’s completed over 80 percent of his passes while earning wins against the Lions and Elks.  It’s the Alouettes in Toronto this week.  Not only is Cody Fajardo on fire to start the season, the Angry Birds defence has been dominant.  It leads the CFL in all the most important categories – yards per play, net offence against, opponent completion percentage, etc.  The Als are allowing six fewer points per game than any other team in the league.  There’s lots to like about both sides, but I don’t like the spread.  With Montreal -3.5 priced at +100, this line could be -2.5 by kickoff.  Luckily, I can lock that in now at a good price, thanks to the alternate spreads at Fanduel.


Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Calgary Stampeders

The Blue Bombers are greying.  The cost of competing at the highest level for so long catches up with all of us, even the best of us.  Despite a much improved offensive performance last week, innipeg is still without a W.  Zach Collaros doesn’t have a touchdown pass, and he’s now going to be without his top two receivers for the foreseeable future. Kenny Lawler suffered a broken arm in week 1, and it was announced this week that Dalton Schoen is out of the lineup “long-term” with a knee injury.  Those are irreplaceable pieces on an offence that entered the year with less depth than it was used to.  Star running back Brady Oliveira was banged up in week 1, and wasn’t thrilled about being held back a bit leading up to last week’s loss.  Perhaps facing the league’s worst run defence is exactly what the doctor ordered for Brady O and the Bombers, but I’m still fading them until further notice.  Maybe we can both be winners this week.


CFL Fantasy Best Bet: RYQUELL ARMSTEAD ($4.5K)
Ryquell Armstead Alert! The former Jacksonville Jaguar rushed for 95 yards in his Redblacks debut in week 2.  Last week was a lot uglier, like I already alluded to with my opening remarks.  The game got away from the Redblacks in a hurry, and for a CFL running back that can often mean a lot fewer touches, but Armstead still had 7 carries and 2 catches on 3 targets.  And, there is almost no competition in Ottawa’s backfield with return-man Devonte Dedmon listed as his backup. This is a dual-threat fantasy running back facing a mediocre Tiger-Cats defence.  Don’t be surprised if his price reaches double digits well before labour day, but until then, take advantage!