Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 2:30 PM EST and are subject to change.
Ottawa +145 over Montreal
7:00 PM EST. Through four games, the market perception of these Redblacks was that they were tough luck losers. Out of the gate, Ottawa battled tooth and nail in back-to-back games with the defending champion Blue Bombers and then was edged out by the upstart Lions. That brought the Redblacks to 0-3. Combine that start with a forgettable night in Regina (28-13) and another narrow 25-23 defeat in Hamilton last Saturday, and now Ottawa is 0-5. In most leagues, the Redblacks would be sunk. In the CFL, that is not the case. Hell, the season doesn’t really get rolling until Thanksgiving (the Canadian version which is on the second Monday in October).
For those unfamiliar with the CFL playoff format, the top three teams in each of the East and West Conferences make the playoffs. That is unless the third-best team in one division is worse than the fourth-best team in the other. Then it’s a crossover. That said, no matter what, two teams from the East are going to be in the postseason dance.
The current East standings look like this. Toronto 2-2, Hamilton 1-4, Montreal 1-4, Ottawa 0-5. Do the math. With 13 games to go, the Redblacks are just one game out of the playoffs. Ottawa’s got ‘em right where they want ‘em. That was written with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Of course, Ottawa would rather have more wins than losses, or in this case, at least one win to five losses, but that is not how its cookie has crumbled. Those that would suggest the Redblacks are burnt toast or should be put out to pasture are premature with that analysis.
With that said, let’s get to tonight where the Redblacks are a home pooch to a one-win Montreal side. Say what? That seems a little spendy for an Alouettes side, who are just as big a mess as Ottawa, if not more so. At least the Redblacks are sticking with the plan. Head coach Paul LaPolice is on the hot seat, but Ottawa ownership and management have not panicked.
Meanwhile, the Als are starting to look like a total circus with owner Gary Stern spending more time on Twitter trying to outwit Milt Stegall (he couldn’t) than he is running this team. Stern has that goof Danny Maciocia running the show and if you read our write-up last week, you know how we feel about Maciocia. To summarize, this dude returning to the sidelines is a gift from the gambling gods.
In his first game as head coach in almost 20 years, Maciocia looked and played the part of a man who has been this game has passed by. Do you think it’s a coincidence that the Tiger-Cats snapped up Khari Jones after Maciocia gave him his walking papers? It’ll be interesting to see what kind of influence Jones’ respected offensive mind will have on a team that was not built by Tweedle-Dee (Stern) and Tweedle-Dumb (Maciocia).
We’ll save the Tiger-Cats for later, and get back to the team these two morons DID put together, an Als’ side that was an 8½-point home favorite over the dregs of this league, the Edmonton Elks last Thursday. Final score Edmonton 32, Montreal 31. The Als folded in the second half giving the Elks two touchdowns off of three turnovers in the final 30 minutes. In addition to the turnovers, the Als were as undisciplined as a team can be, racking up 13 penalties for 193 yards. The Defense penalty to sack ratio was a solid 6-to-zip.
For as long as there have been bets made on football games, spotting small road points has been a risky proposition. That is at the best of times with teams far stronger than the Als. We are going to trust that adage will ring true again today. We faded Tweedle-Dumb and his Alouettes last week and we're coming right back to the table for another helping. Keep the points. Redblack outright is our wager.
Ottawa +145 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.90)