With the progression of analytics into the world of sports betting, it can be easy to lose sight of some of the most fundamental questions that should be asked before every single wager is placed.

Here’s one of them: What are they playing for?

Sure, it might seem simple enough. Then again, I’m constantly caught off guard by how often that question is overlooked.

With the sharp uptick in notable upsets in the NFL of late, and some prime betting opportunities in the CFL, it seems like the perfect time to remind anyone who reads this column to always consider what’s at stake before placing a bet.

Here is the TSN EDGE Morning Coffee for Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021.

Elks win following another notable line move

Last week, I asked our TSN EDGE football analyst Davis Sanchez and The Prop Masters, Derek Taylor and Aaron Korolnek, what they thought about the Montreal Alouettes opening as an 8.5-point underdog against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

“Play of the year,” was the response I received.

While the Blue Bombers are clearly the best team in the CFL and a deserved Grey Cup favourite, they had already clinched first place in the West Division and had nothing left to play for over the final couple of weeks of the regular season.

On the other hand, the Alouettes needed a win to keep their hopes of hosting the East Division semifinal alive, and they were prepared to play their starters against Winnipeg’s backups.

While the number for that game dipped all the way from Winnipeg -8.5 to -3, the opportunity to capitalize with a team that had something to play for against an opponent with nothing to play for was still very much available at kickoff.

Montreal rewarded our faith in them with a 28-14 win.

A couple of nights later during Monday Night Football, Davis and I chatted a bit about what was unfolding as the underdog San Francisco 49ers beat up on the Los Angeles Rams.

Once again, the 49ers had everything to play for at a critical point in their season, with a chance to improve to 4-5 or fall to 3-6.


While it wasn’t a scenario in which the Rams had nothing to play for, they were in a much more comfortable position than the 49ers at 7-2. It showed throughout the game as San Francisco dominated from start to finish in a 31-10 win.

So, heading into last night’s CFL Week 16 opener, I asked the same question again.

What are they playing for?

The Toronto Argonauts had locked up first place in the East Division and had no reason to play their starters.

The Edmonton Elks, which were winding down a disappointing season, would have the advantage of playing their starters against the Argonauts’ backups.

That advantage was reflected by the line movement, as the spread moved from Toronto -7.5 to Toronto -1.5 at kickoff.

I had already bet the Elks at +7.5 and +4.5, but all things considered, I figured it was worth sprinkling a little more on Edmonton money line.

I also jumped on the best bets from The Prop Masters once again. The Elks went on to win the game 13-7.

With two of the best CFL bets of the season in the books, what can we expect moving forward this week?

If the Alouettes beat the Ottawa Redblacks on Friday night, then the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will need a win over the Saskatchewan Roughriders on Saturday to clinch home field for their playoff showdown.

Meanwhile, the Roughriders will have nothing to play for at Tim Hortons Field.

On Monday, the Tiger-Cats were listed as a one-point favourite versus Saskatchewan. As Tuesday afternoon, that number ballooned all the way to Hamilton -5.5.

While it isn’t the “play of the year” in the CFL, it’s worth keeping in mind what will be at stake this week.

If you’ve paid close enough attention, or followed us here at TSN EDGE, you might have capitalized with the Alouettes on Saturday night and the Elks on Tuesday night. 

Still, now seems like the perfect time to remind bettors to keep in mind the simplest of questions before placing a wager.

“What are they playing for?”

Canada takes down Mexico in WCQ

Canada’s (+145 ML) men’s national soccer team beat Mexico 2-1 on Tuesday night in Edmonton.

It was the first time in 21 years that Canada beat Mexico. 

With the win, Canada moved to the top of its World Cup qualifying group.

Cyle Larin, who was +250 to score, netted both goals for Canada, which hasn’t been to the World Cup since 1986.

With 22 goals for Canada, Larin matched Dwayne De Rosario as the top Canadian men’s goal scorer of all-time.

Maple Leafs, Jets extend win streaks

The Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets extended their win streaks on Tuesday night.

The Maple Leafs (-210 ML) beat the Nashville Predators 3-0.

Auston Matthews and David Kampf both finished with a goal and an assist.

Jack Campbell made 24 saves for the shutout.

Winnipeg (-111 ML) beat the Edmonton Oilers 5-2 for their third win in a row.

The Jets will visit Edmonton for the rematch on Thursday night.

Curry prevails in clash of MVP contenders

Stephen Curry got the better of Kevin Durant in a battle of the top two choices to win NBA regular season MVP on Tuesday night.

Curry scored a game-high 37 points, including nine three-point shots, as the Golden State Warriors (+120 ML) beat the Brooklyn Nets 117-99.

Meanwhile, Durant was held to a season-low 19 points in the loss.

Curry entered Tuesday’s contest as the MVP frontrunner at +280, with Durant right behind him at +480.

As of this morning, Curry is the favourite at followed by Durant at +250, with Durant remaining at +480.

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