Montréal @ Calgary
Montréal +161 over Calgary

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Montréal +161 over Calgary

9:00 PM EST. Playing good football is not like flipping a light switch. There are way too many moving parts that must be in sync for a team to be successful on both sides of the ball. For the Alouettes, they return much of what made their offense tops in the CFL last season. Despite posting the best yards per play in 2021, the Als finished the year at 7-7. Good enough to make the playoffs for sure, but in a nine team league where six squads get in the dance, that is not too much to get excited about.

The Alouettes had a busy offseason with multiple signings on both sides of the ball, but the biggest drama came at the quarterback position. The Als traded for Trevor Harris late last year with the intention of giving him Vernon Adams Jr.’s job. Harris started Montréal’s last four games and its playoff loss to Hamilton. Harris was set to earn $500K in 2022 so the Als cut him before they had to commit to that inflated price tag. The path for Adams Jr. to find his way back under center was not clear though, as Harris re-signed with the Alouettes in February and was given every opportunity to be the starting quarterback this season.

After a spirited battle in camp, Als head coach Khari Jones gave Adams Jr. the reins saying, “Vernon’s the right person for the job at this point. He’s been in the system for a long time. Not only can he do things from inside the pocket, he can do things from outside the pocket. He makes things happen with his feet. He’s won games here. We feel really good with him being the quarterback.” It says a lot about Adams Jr. character that he was given more obstacles than most to get the keys to the Montréal offense and overcame them without making a scene. That’s what you want in a leader and a quarterback.

It’s been a long time since Montréal was the class of the East and because of that, they still are not a proven commodity. Meanwhile, the Stampeders are at home, they have pedigree and most importantly, they have the trust of this market.

While Calgary may still be a name brand out West, there are some major red flags flying at McMahon Stadium. First, the Stampeders are missing a pair of key starters in the secondary with Eli Bouka and Branden Dozier both out of the lineup tonight. Second, the Stamps did little in the offseason to bolster that secondary or anywhere else for that matter with the biggest signing being that of backup quarterback Jake Maier. More on him in a minute. Finally, at least for now, the biggest question is “What is left of Bo Levi Mitchell?”

After an injury-plagued 2021 that included an offseason shoulder surgery, which was his second in two years after a failed attempt to fix the problem in 2020, Mitchell is saying all the right things, “I feel amazing. I just want to continue to be a quarterback that can take this team to a Grey Cup.” That’s all well and fine, but when this dude came back after missing three games with that bum shoulder, he couldn’t throw the ball. We haven’t even mentioned Mitchell’s broken leg, which caused him to miss the beginning of last season. Mitchell has a bad wing and a back wheel. Not attributes one would normally want in a starting quarterback. When Bo Levi was out, Maier emerged. He threw for three 300 yards games showing some real promise. One could argue Maier just might be the best quarterback on this team.

To bring it all back to our switch flipping analogy, why would coach Dave Dickenson stick with Mitchell when it’s clear after the first two preseason games that Bo just isn’t right? Is it fair to expect Mitchell to be able to flip that switch and return to his former Most Outstanding Player form? We wouldn’t bet on it. As for why Bo Levi is getting the nod, that is an easy one —follow the money. Sure, Mitchell restructured his contract in the offseason so Calgary could re-sign Maier, but Bo is still the captain of the ship. Mitchell is close to becoming the Stampeders all time leading passer as well, as he trails Henry Burris by just 1700 yards. Bo Levi is probably ready to be put out to pasture and join Dickenson on the sidelines if that is what he wants to do when it’s all over, but it looks like the Stamps are going to parade him around one more time like the prized stud he used to be. That figures to make the Stampeders vulnerable in the early going and therefore, we are going to attack. Furthermore, the Stamps will start Kobe Williams, Titus Wall and Dionte Ruffin on defense tonight. Those three players have a whopping one game of CFL experience combined under their belts.

Put it all together and there is way too much value on the Alouettes here. Strip away the logos, recency bias and market perception and we’re going to trust that the wrong team is favored. Als outright is the call.

Our Pick

Montréal +161 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 3.22)

B.C./Ottawa u48 -110