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3rd and 1: Best Bets for Week 5 of the CFL Season

Vernon Adams Jr. Vernon Adams Jr. - The Canadian Press

After the rivalry between Shampoo and Conditioner boils over in the bathtub, Billy Madison turns to the avian-adorned faucet and screams: “Stop looking at me, Swan!” Oh Billy.  I know how he feels.  Cleanser or Softener, favourite or underdog, they’re binary choices, but the variables involved can turn our brains into an expanding balloon.  My Best Bets record is anxiety-inducing.  Can I handle the pressure of being near perfect?  We’ll see.  In the meantime, Vince Lombardi’s quote gives me comfort: “The will to win is not nearly so important as the will to prepare to win.” Here’s to the journey, not the destination.

Toronto Argonauts at Saskatchewan Roughriders

Above names like Tom Brady, Jim Harbaugh, and JJ McCarthy, Riders quarterback Shea Patterson averaged the most passing yards per game in Michigan Wolverines history.  But they play a goofy style down there.  It’s a tiny field with fewer players and an extra down.  The goal posts are practically in the stands! Weird and wild stuff.  It means quarterbacks can connect on 60 percent of their passes and still have success.  But In the cold air north of the 49th parallel, incompletions are a luxury Canadian teams can’t afford. Patterson was 4 of 10 in relief of Trevor Harris two weeks ago.  He’s never completed over 65 percent of his passes in any season since high school.  And, he’ll be missing one of the Riders best weapons with Shawn Bane OUT this week.  Obviously, I felt better about this line when it was -3.5, but I’m still on board with the boatmen.



Ottawa Redblacks at Winnipeg Blue Bombers

They’ve been favoured in every game this season but innipeg is still without a W. For a guy that’s been right by betting against them every week, I shouldn’t feel this blue about the Bombers.  COVID, and the Argos at the end of the 109TH Grey Cup, likely robbed them of being remembered as one of the rare CFL dynasties.  But purpose is not found by pining over the past, especially when the present is rife with problems.  Zach Collaros is questionable with a thorax injury which could mean anything from bruised ribs to a broken sternum.  Even if the two time MOP suits up, I’m continuing to fade the Bombers.  



BC Lions at Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Here’s another Lombardi quote: “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”
Bo Levi Mitchell has been impressive in the early part of this season.  He’s tied for the league lead with eight touchdown passes, he’s second in passing yards, but he doesn’t have a win to show for it.  The Ti-Cats are 0-4, with a home date against the Lions to look forward to Sunday night.  While BC hasn’t been as fierce as we expected them to be in the early going, Vernon Adams is still the favourite to win MOP.  He’s on pace to become just the sixth player in CFL history to throw over 6,000 yards in a season.  And he’s about to face a defence allowing almost 30 points per game and only caused three turnovers, both league worsts.  Alexander Hollins and Justin McInnis are first and fourth in receiving yards, respectively and neither of them were supposed to be Adams’ No. 1 target. - That’s Keon Hatcher who returned to practice this week. And while he’s still a week or two away, Adams has plenty of options down field with Ayden Eberhardt and Jevon Cottoy leading the team in catches and yards last Thursday.  Too much offence for a defence that doesn’t appear to have an identity since Simoni Lawrence retired.


CFL Fantasy Best Bet: RYQUELL ARMSTEAD ($ 4.5 K)  /  TYSON PHILPOT ($ 10.0 K)

See last week’s column on Ryquell Armstead because the Redblacks running back is still the best value on the board.  He’s priced at only $4.5 k despite having over 50 yards rushing and over 50 yards receiving on 6 catches last week.  Just think what scoring a touchdown could do to his fantasy total?

Because I already wrote about Armstead last week, I’ll also give a shoutout to Tyson Philpot.  Oh Canada, the best receiver in the league might be homegrown!  Philpot is having a bigtime breakout.  After scoring the Grey Cup-winning TD in November, he has a league-high four receiving touchdowns in four games to start this season.  He’s first in CFL catches and yards after catch.  He’s second only to Hollins in receiving yards.  But here’s why I prefer Philpot to Hollins:  A) He costs 3.5 K fantasy dollars less than Hollins.  B) Whereas Hollins is one of four very good receivers in BC, Philpot appears to be far and away Cody Fajardo’s favourite option in Montreal.