Today's Free Picks for
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Posted at 11:30 AM EST and odds are subject to change.
Calgary +5 -110 over Winnipeg
8:30 PM EST. Glory, glory, hallelujah! Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson has seen the light. No longer will we be forced to watch the washed-up corpse of Bo Levi Mitchell play quarterback in Calgary. Instead, Dickenson will do what we said he should have done in Week 1, and that is star second-year pivot, Jake Maier. In case you missed it, here is what we wrote about the Stamps that very first week of the season:
“Mitchell has a bad wing and a bad wheel. Not attributes one would normally want in a starting quarterback. When Bo Levi was out, Maier emerged. He threw for three 300-yard games showing some real promise. One could argue Maier just might be the best quarterback on this team.”
It took longer than we would have liked and the Stamps 6-3 record might suggest they haven't suffered much for not making this switch earlier, but if that was the case, then why now? If you are to believe Dickenson, we don’t, he has two good quarterbacks, but he doesn’t. When pressed, coach let the real reason slip, “I'm just playing what I think is best to win a game. That's basically the bottom line." It’s about time, coach.
The death knell for Bo Levi (at least for now) was an abysmal first half last week against Toronto, where Mitchell went nine-for-16 for just 149 yards and two interceptions. The score at the break was 16-10 for the Boatmen. Calgary would then make the change at QB, and rally in the second half for a 22-19 win. Rather than be supportive of the move, which is best for the team, by the way, Mitchell reacted like a petulant child, "I am obviously frustrated with the decision, any competitor would be." To his credit, Maier took up for Bo Levi and tried to paint a more glowing portrait of Mitchell, "Bo is one of the best teammates I've ever had. I think he's a very misunderstood guy. He's very competitive." Sure, Jan.
While it might seem like we are down on Calgary up to this point, we actually couldn't be more eager to finally back them with a decent quarterback at the helm, especially against a Blue Bombers side that has been skating by with average QB play at best.
The Bombers have a habit of “just winning” when Zach Collaros suits up, but a closer look at his numbers begs the question, “is it because of him or despite him?” Here in 2022, Collaros has a 69% completion percentage with 18 touchdowns, but his eight interceptions are actually two more than Bo Levi, who we rip week in and week out. Collaros has also lost both of his fumbles this season. In the Blue Bombers' last game, a loss to Montreal in Week 10, Collaros was sacked five times. Not all his fault, but another major red flag.
When one is spotting points, one wants a team and a quarterback that is firing on all cylinders, but that is not the Bombers in their current form. There may be a temptation to fade the Stampeders and their new starting pivot, but the overreaction to that move is going to serve us well here. When these two teams played in Winnipeg on July 15, the Stamps were a 3½-point pooch. Now that number is higher, and Calgary’s quarterback is better. That’s value, friends.
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Calgary +5 -110 (Risking 2.20 units - To Win: 2.00)