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Posted at 10:45 AM EST and are subject to change.
Calgary/Edmonton u52 -110
9:00 PM EST. With a new swagger in their step and a rookie pivot to get excited about, we get the new energy coming out of Elks camp up in Edmonton. The Elkies finally got off the schneid against a tougher-than-advertised Tiger-Cats defensive side that brought their lunch buckets once again after limiting first-time starter Tre Ford to just 159 yards passing on 15-of-26 attempts while giving up one touchdown and snapping up an interception. In the end, the Hamilton offense let its defense down again, but we’ll get to that in a minute. To his credit, Ford did play admirably against a sharp-toothed defense and added much excitement with his 61 yards on the ground.
The Elks and Tabbies played a thriller that saw Edmonton take a 27-23 lead with just over 1:30 to play in the fourth quarter. Did Ford march his team down for that major? No. It was his defense. A fumble recovery for a touchdown by Jalen Collins. That major and convert also put the game over the total. Oh, and then they had to go right back on the field and stop the Tabbies, who still had plenty of time on the clock in the CFL to make a comeback. The Elks’ offense is overrated coming off just one win with a new pivot, but its defense is extremely underrated.
The Stampeders sat idle and enjoyed their Canada Day/Fourth of July bookended long weekend. Some well-deserved rest after a 3-0 start, which Calgary needed, as starting quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell was being held together with Scotch tape. Hopefully, head coach Dave Dickenson was able to hit the Home Hardware between hotdogs and fireworks to pick up some super glue to try and keep Bo upright for at least another week or two. There is a perception in the market that “Bo is back,” “he’s pissed off,” and “he’s…”. Save it.
We’ve been saying this dude is toast all season and in three games, he’s already been replaced once, leaving Calgary’s Week 1 win over Montreal. It was bad enough that Mitchell was in a walking boot soon after. Bo Levi was a game-time decision for the Stamps' Week 2 comeback win in Hamilton, but he “manned up” and took the field. What a gamer, eh? While Mitchell gets all the credit and told his haters to stick it after leading Calgary to a 20-point fourth quarter that lead to an overtime win in Hamilton, he somehow gets none of the heat for leading an impotent offense for 45 minutes.
Finally, Bo Levi was a game-time decision after missing practice in advance of Calgary’s Week 3 hosting of their provincial rivals—these Elks. Mitchell would rise from the ashes with his grip on the starting job like the Crypt Keeper. The result? The Stamps were in a dog fight against a team that was perceived to be unable to tie their cleats. That 30-23 final in Calgary’s favor easily went over the closing total of 48½.
We must pound home that the Elks started the now discarded Nick Arbuckle that day. Now, just two weeks later, that fresh coat of paint at quarterback looks really good and we don’t want to hate. It's a great story. A Canadian kid from Niagara Falls, Ontario, the good side (we kid!), who was able to single-handedly turn around the market perception of his team in one start.
Ford was featured on the front page of the CFL’s Monday Morning Quarterback feature. He’s all the pundits are talking about in Edmonton and we get it, there hasn’t been and was not supposed to be any reason to get pumped up about Elks football this season, but y’all, it’s only one game and it wasn’t like Ford lit the world on fire. There are going to be peaks and valleys. As appealing as Ford and the Elks’ offense might look on the surface, it still surrendered three sacks and was bailed out by its defense more than once, including the game-winning score and subsequent stand to close out the win.
One of the reasons we wagered on the under in the Elks’ game was because they had a rookie starter facing an underappreciated defense. It’s the same story here with the Stamps defense, but you can now group the Elks’ D in there, too. Both units are being disrespected and therefore point us to where the true value is in this game. We can’t bet the Elks at a discount after they were 8½-point dogs in Calgary two weeks ago and 6½-point pooches at home against winless Hamilton last Friday. The totals went over in all four games last weekend, with these Elks and the Tiger-Cats cashing the over on the highest total posted in Week 4—52½. For us, the under is the only play and we are going to “stick with it” here.
As an aside, and we say this with all sincerity, we are not meteorologists. Surprising, yes, but we do have Google and it does not take much foresight for one to look ahead to the forecast in Edmonton and see that today calls for severe thunderstorms this afternoon and evening. Maybe it’s nothing and the storm passes or isn’t as bad as advertised, or maybe it’ll be the drizzling shits.
Even if it's not raining cats and dogs at kick-off, the forecast calls for a temperature of 24 degrees and a humidity of 88%, which will drive that Humidex to 27 degrees Celsius or 80.6 Fahrenheit for our American friends. Those down South or on the East or West coasts might laugh at those numbers, but in what is usually a dry prairie summer, that muggy, wet, sweat-in-your-eyes nonstop heat just hits differently when you are not used to it. It’s always worse at field level, too. Did we mention the mosquitoes?
Like “in-game variance,” one cannot predict the weather, but we’d see value in this wager if it were to be clear and sunny. If the thunder rolls and the lightning strikes, that would be gravy.
Calgary/Edmonton u52 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)