Canadian Football: CFL betting tips & tricks


So … the NFL is a 12-month-a-year sport, you say. Perhaps that’s true in terms of media coverage and intrigue, but that belief doesn’t explain the suddenly burgeoning popularity of the Canadian Football League among U.S. sports bettors.

See, back in 2015, the Draft Duels and Fan Kings of the world hit upon a pretty neat idea, namely that daily fantasy sports could easily be adapted to CFL football. Behind this plan was the idea that the smaller league – just nine teams play in Canadian ball, with a Nova Scotia-based franchise tentatively in the plans for the 2020 or ’21 season – dotted with recognizable players from major U.S. college football programs would scratch that fantasy-football itch for Americans from CFL kickoff in June to NFL kickoff in September.

Combined with this was the expansion of ESPN to include ESPN3 and ESPN+ in the 2010s. These online stations allowed for lots of international content to be broadcast online by the finally accurately-named “Worldwide Leader in Sports”, making every single game of the CFL season and playoffs accessible to fans.

Did all this new popularity in the U.S. make a dent at sportsbooks? You bet! (So to speak.) In Las Vegas and everywhere else quality sports betting is done, CFL betting put itself on the map alongside summertime diversions such as Major League Baseball and the PGA Tour. And NFLbets can tell you from experience that watching Canadian Football and betting on CFL games is fascinating and fun!

Differences between CFL and NFL football

If you’ve seen a CFL game via TSN (essentially, the Canadian translation of “ESPN”), you’ve probably seen the clip directly below before, but we’ll run it here as a primer.

NFLbets would point out one other key difference between the Canadian and American games: Namely that the offensive and defensive lines are set a yard apart, thereby creating a neutral zone well larger than that of the NFL. Not only does this result in fewer concussions for CFL linemen, it also makes a third-down conversion in the CFL a bit easier than the NFL’s fourth-down conversion.

CFL betting at online sportsbooks

All the traditional betting opportunities for the NFL are available for the CFL at decent online sportsbooks. Week to week are posted point spreads, over/under lines and straight-up betting for all games; with nine teams, typically four games are on. The games are usually scheduled for between Thursday and Saturday, though games on any other day/night are usually scheduled at least a few times within a given CFL season.

The football bettor can naturally always find proposition bets on the Grey Cup winner and even division winners – just as with the Super Bowl, the lines for the following season are typically released the day after the CFL’s championship final, the Grey Cup game, is played. However, player props on individual games aren’t nearly as common at sportsbooks until playoff time. Of course, if you’re that intimately familiar with Canadian football that you’re confident enough to bet props like “Bo Levi Mitchell to Throw For Over 250 Yards,” you’ll know where to find that bet.

A few (very simple) tips for betting CFL football

NFLbets has been betting on CFL football for quite some time, and so feels competent enough to hand out a few simple tips for betting CFL football.

•  Scoring is higher. Despite the belief that NFL rules promote a bias toward high-scoring offenses, the stats tell a different story. Since expanding to 32 teams in 2002, the average points per game scored by a single team has fluctuated between 20.6 and 22.8, with a single exception (in 2013, that average was a freakish 23.8 per game). In the CFL, the average individual team’s score over the same period varied from just under 24.0 to 26.9 points per game.

•  Weather is so crucial. American fans are well accustomed to the concept of cold-weather teams versus warm-weather teams. Fair enough, but understand this: Just one of the nine (or ten) CFL sides are cold-weather teams. The sole exception is the BC Lions; despite playing in the most moderate clime of any Canadian team, the CFL’s Vancouver franchise plays in a dome.

How does this translate to CFL betting? Here’s the simplest way to apply that often-brutal Canadian weather to winning: You’ll generally be betting more overs on O/U bets in the first half of the season, unders in October and November. Also note that the Grey Cup is often played in inclement weather and thus reduces season-long high-scoring offenses to average production in the big game.

•  Parity is a lot stronger in the CFL. “On any given Sunday,” nothing. “Upsets” are well more common in the CFL week to week – and this has nothing to do with the 18-game regular season. The CFL has never truly produced anything like the 2007 New England Patriots or the 2017 Cleveland Browns, so always be prepared to hedge in CFL betting.

•  For the present, wager heavily on the Calgary Stampeders and against the Montreal Alouettes. Despite the quite high variance of most CFL teams’ rosters from season to season, these two teams look to be the CFL’s best and worst, respectively, well into the 2020s. Going into the 2018 season, the Stampeders are about halfway through a run in which they’re incessantly compared to the Belichick ‘n’ Brady Patriots and with good reason, having made the playoffs in 14 straight seasons and appearing in three of the past four Grey Cups. And the remarkable job the front office has done in shuffling players out at just the right time a la Belichick implies that Calgary will be the class of the CFL for years to come yet.

The Alouettes, meanwhile, began degenerating from status as the most dominant team in the league in the 2000s after the ’10 season. After one of the worst starts by any Montreal football team in 2018, management decided to mortgage the future by trading two years’ worth of first-round picks in exchange for Johnny Manziel. NFLbets can’t imagine much success, likesay a winning record, for the Alouettes until maybe 2024 or so.

And as they say in Quebec to those into CFL betting, “Bonne chance!”


CFL betting: Leave some of that bankroll for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, eh

Saturday, 15 September 2018 13:16 EST

NFLbets has been digging on betting CFL games this year, even if currently mired in a ho-hum, treading-water, barely over .500 stretch. With just three games on the schedule, the chances to wager are few and far between. Hell, on the Rouge, White & Blue CFL Podcast this week, Os Davis joined his co-hosts in recommending taking the Montreal Alouettes +3, which coincidentally was almost equal to the total number of yards passing Als QB Antonio Pipkin managed.

One game, however, is ripe for the wagering – and winning. We’re talking Ottawa Redblacks +5 at the Saskatchewan Roughriders. The over/under is 50½, making for yet another stay-away line on CFL betting this week.

But Riders versus RedBlacks? If you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed how soul-crushingly destructive the Saskatchewan defense has been lately.

Sure, last week's defensive/special teams output – 32 points, 5 interceptions, 3 sacks – was insane, but ever since the Riders kicked off their current four-game winning streak with a 40-27 demolition of the then-undefeated Calgary Stampeders in week 11, they've been killing it. In these four games, the Riders DST has averaged 22 points, 2 interceptions, 2.5 sacks and 1 fumble recovery. They’re outscoring teams by just over 7 points per game, yet the offense is averaging just 11 points per game in that stretch!

Naturally, NFLbets is aware of regression to the mean, all good things coming to an end, etc.; “merely” but winning these four games have the Riders racked up the 2018 CFL’s second-longest winning streak. Such a torrid pace by the defense and kicker Brett Lautner (he’s 35 of 38 on field goal attempts in 2018, and he’s on a 22-for-23 run) won’t continue forever.

However … if you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed how limp the Redblacks have looked in all three football dimensions. Since taking down the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a decisive 21-15 win in week 7, it’s been all downhill: The Redblacks D managed to blow a two-TD fourth-quarter lead, losing to the Toronto Argonauts despite scoring 41; they took Johnny Canadian Football out of the Alouettes game in week 9 and still barely got by possibly the CFL’s worst team; the last three games have seen the Redblacks lose by an average score of 15 points per to three teams – including those Alouettes – with losing records.

The hardest part for Riders head coach Chris Jones this weekend? Keeping his players out of the night clubs on Saturday night. On the other hand, NFLbets can’t help thinking that even hungover the Riders wouldn’t be laying more than 2½ in this game…NFLbets' pick of the week in CFL betting: Take the Saskatchewan Roughriders -5 vs Ottawa, and enjoy what might be one rapacious feast.

Best bets record to date: 6-4.
Picks-of-the-week record to date: 5-6.
Overall record: 11-10.


CFL Betting: Best bets and picks for week 13

Friday, 07 September 2018 15:17 EST

NFLbets will talk best bets and recommendations for CFL betting in week 13 shortly, but shameless self-promotion first. If you’d like to hear the first draft comments on these bets, along with likely more reasoned commentary by Os Davis’ co-hosts Joe Pritchard and Dr. Rouge, please check out the latest episode of the Rouge, White & Blue CFL Podcast below.

 

And here’s the expounded upon text version of NFLbets’ picks for CFL week 13…

Ottawa RedBlacks +1 (down from 1½ or 2) at BC Lions, over/under 52. From the purely pragmatic bettor’s perspective, the BC Lions have all the environmental pieces falling into place: They’re coming off a bye week and playing at their home sweet West Coast home at night while the RedBlacks are a bad 3-7 ATS this far in 2018 – of course, at +1, this game is essentially a “pick ’em” anyway.

The smart money says bet BC Lions to win SU and/or minus the point if you’re thinking about hedging against the one-point squeaker, figuring that old hand Wally Buono can craft a good game plan, particularly as the Redblacks eked our a mere four-point win in week 4 in the Canadian capitol.

But nope. NFLbets isn’t touching that with a 3.048-meter pole. And the over/under? Forget that, too: Ottawa has scored 21 points in eight of 10 games, sure, but they’ve won SU/lost ATS with 24 and lost SU/won ATS with 44. O, and they scored 11 last week. Who can tell what this team will score?

The whole thing is so absurd, yours truly went with a tie result. The pick: Stay away from this one

Hamilton Tiger-Cats cheerleadersHamilton Tiger-Cats -5(up from 5½) at Toronto Argonauts, over/under 53 points. When this same Tiger-Cats offense turned it on in the second half last week, the Argos were badly exposed on defense. On the other side of the ball, one-time CFL Cinderela QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson has turned back into a pumpkin.

The Ticats may finally have put it all together – at least on offense. WR Jalen Saunders is likely gone for the season’s remainder after what appeared to be a pretty serious knee injury last week, but geez, Luke Tasker and Brandon Banks combined for 17 catches, 278 yards and 3 touchdowns in Toronto last week. So, yeah, this one could get ugly. Take the Hamilton Tiger-Cats -5 at Toronto

Saskatchewan Roughriders +3½ at Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Roughriders may be the hottest team in the CFL right now, but the truth is – and NFLbets cannot get past this very simple fact: No team other than the Calgary Stampeders have manged to string together more than three wins in a row. We’re betting on the trend working against the Riders this week, in time to punish Johnny Canadian Football and the Alouettes for their loss; incidentally, the Bombers are 4-1 SU and ATS. NFlbets will take the Winnipeg Blue Bombers -3½ vs Saskatchewan.

Calgary Stampeders -3 at Edmonton Eskimos. After a hard-hitting grind-it-out meeting between these two teams last week which had the Stamps winning SU with a last-second field-goal but losing ATS. The line for Edmonton’s home turn has been adjusted accordingly.

Last week’s seriously smashmouth action leaves both teams shorthanded at wide receiver for week 13, with Derel Walker out for the home team, and Kamar Jorden not suiting up for Calgary. Neither side can afford to lose anyone at the WR spots right now, regardless, but you’ve gotta figure the loss of Walker – one of the CFL’s top-5 receivers for a good four years running – hurts Edmonton more than the already relatively low-watt Stamps offense suffers.

Still, can either team afford another week of similar play to last? We’d guess that the Stamps brain trust is not at all interested in seeing Bo Levi Mitchell get knocked out of the game for a second straight week, so might just air it out. Or both sides might rapidly crash the line with the RB like it’s 1899. Very difficult to tell. We hate to be boring here, but the safe money stays away from this one,too.

Look at it this way: Between CFL week 13 and NFL week 1 – which you should never, ever bet – your bankroll will be well plump…

NFLbets’ best bet for CFL betting in week 13:
•  Hamilton Tiger-Cats -5 at Toronto
.

NFLbets’ recommendation for CFL betting in week 13:
•  Winnipeg Blue Bombers =3½ at Saskatchewan Roughriders
.

Best bets record to date: 5-4.
Picks-of-the-week record to date: 5-5.
Overall record: 10-9.


CFL Betting: Best bets and picks for week 12

Friday, 31 August 2018 15:53 EST

CFL Labour Day Classic bettingAs it’s Labor Day weekend in the U.S., it’s Labour Day weekend in Canada. And up there, Labour Day means CFL football! And for football bettors south of the border, who are otherwise bereft of proper betting, Labor Day weekend means another good opportunity for betting on CFL football. Think of it as getting reps for NFL season.

For those not in the know, a super-brief primer. Labour Day weekend CFL games are highlighted by three ages-old now-interdivisional rivalries playing it out once again: The Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs the Saskatchewan Roughriders; the Calgary Stampeders vs the Edmonton Eskimos; and the Toronto Argonauts vs the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. As natural geographic rivals, the Ottawa RedBlacks and Montreal Alouettes may also play on Labour Day, but can we really call this a tradition when these franchises in their current incarnations are just four and 22 years old, respectively?

History aside, all three traditional games are crucial for the teams involved: The heating-up Riders look to leapfrog not only the Bombers but also the Eskimos in the West. The currently second-place Esks have the unenviable task of having to take on the Stampeders, who are looking to wrap up homefield advantage for the West finals early. As for Toronto and Hamilton, well, one of them must finish second in the East this season…

NFLbets’ picks for the Labour Day weekend CFL games are as follows.

 

Montreal Alouettes -15½ at Ottawa RedBlacks; over/under 52½ points. Earlier this week the ’spread was 16½, editor Os Davis appeared on the WoodCookieCast in his guise as an Alouettes fan and picked RedBlacks 38, Montreal 11. The sole detraction to betting the Ottawa minus the points here is that the currently smooth-running RedBlacks simply don’t get the ball into the end zone, as dogged this offense the first third of the season. The safer bet here is to take the under on an O/U of 52½ points.

•••••

Winnipeg Blue Bombers +3½ at Saskatchewan Roughriders, over/under 54½ points. Duron Who? The Riders may become the first team to win the Grey Cup with a single bona fide WR on the roster, because the Green-and-Whites’ defense has been just wreaking havoc the past few weeks. If the Stamps’ line couldn’t hold off the Riders’ pass rush, how will Winnipag’s? Take the Saskatchewan Roughriders -3½ vs Winnipeg.

•••••

Edmonton Eskimos +7 at Calgary Stampeders, over/under 54 points. Typically, “game notes”-type columns at a league’s official site are full of trivial historic curiosities, but whoa are there a couple of doozies for this game.

• [Stamps QB] Bo Levi Mitchell is 4-0 in Labour Day Classic games, while [Eskimos QB] Mike Reilly is 0-3.

• Edmonton has not had a lead in the Labour Day Game since 2012. In the last five games, Calgary has built at least a 12-point lead in each game.

Nothing indicates that anything will make this Labour Day any different. The Esks are thin at receiver still thanks to various injury bugs, and fairly imperatively needed a win that they did not get last week.

Meanwhile, NFLbets swears Calgary is still smarting from the beatdown the Stamps administered two weeks back. Take the Calgary Stampeders -7 vs Edmonton.

•••••

Toronto Argonauts +7½ at Hamilton Tiger-Cats, over/under 51½ points. All things being equal, the rational choice between two stumbling teams would be to pick Hamilton, the home team coming off a shocking win. But very little has been rational about these Tiger-Cats in all of 2018.

Over the past four weeks, Hamilton has gone 2-1. Against Winnipeg, the Ticats somehow limited the Bombers offense to *270 total yards* and lost, 29-23. Two weeks later, that same D nearly let one slip away in the second half despite a 467-yard performance by QB Jeremiah Masoli.

So, not being able to make heads or tails of the Ticats, we’ll advise CFL bettors to take the Toronto Argonauts +7½ at Hamilton -- after all, that’s a lot a points for a team who’s just 1-3 at home ATS this season to be giving...

NFLbets’ best bets for CFL betting in week 12:
•  Montreal Alouettes at Ottawa RedBlacks under 52½ points
; and
•  Saskatchewan Roughriders -3½ vs Winnipeg.
Best bets record to date: 3-5.

NFLbets’ recommendations for CFL betting in week 11:
•  Calgary Stampeders -7 vs Edmonton
; and
•  Toronto Argonauts +7½ at Hamilton.
Picks-of-the-week record to date: 5-2.
Overall record: 8-7.


CFL Betting: Best bets and picks for week 11

Thursday, 23 August 2018 17:45 EST

Bullwinkle wins the CFL gameAfter two weeks’ worth of CFL betting columns, all NFLbets has managed thus far is to go 4-4 in combined “best bets” and “picks of the week.” At least we’ve made back some of the vig: Thanks to the +125 on a Toronto Argonauts money-line (ML) bet last week, we’re down just M65 (where M represents Moneys, the favored currency of NFLbets) for the 2018 CFL season.

NFLbets knows that’s a bit of a disappointment, particularly since we were on a 16-0 run for the year prior to beginning these columns – as far as you know.

As the halfway point passes, week 11 presents four games of all sorts of challenges. NFLbets considers the slate for week 11 as we attempt to earn back our money out there.

Edmonton Eskimos +3½ at Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Hamilton is tops in passing yards allowed per game and last in rushing yards allowed per game. C.J. Gable returns for the Eskimos after practice-squad player Shaquille Cooper went for 148 total yards and a TD in his first-ever CFL game as his team ran up 40. Of course, that was against the utterly hapless (hapmore?) Montreal Alouettes.

Hamilton topped Edmonton SU and ATS in week 2, 38-21, but are just 1-4 SU/ATS in their last five, in all four losses scoring 23 points or fewer. Until the Montreal game, the Eskimos offense hasn’t exactly been deep of depth chart (hence Cooper’s callup last week) recently, either; nevertheless, NFLbets thinks the Eskimos win this one outright, simply outscoring the puzzlingly self-destructive Tiger-Cats. Take the Edmonton Eskimos -3½  at Hamilton and take them to win SU at +145.

Toronto Argonauts -5½ at Montreal Alouettes. Johnny Manziel’s not playing for the Alouettes in week 11, thus making this game slightly more difficult for football bettors – but not that much more. After all, Antonio Pipkin is the starter for the Als, for an offense that went 3-of-15 on second downs last week. The Mighty Pipkin has one somewhat legitimate receiver – B.J. Cunningham – to throw to, and RB Tyrell Sutton may not go this week. And the defense … have you heard what Shaquille Cooper did to them last week? Just imagine what James Wilder Jr. might do (CFL daily fantasy players note). Take the Toronto Argonauts -5½ at Montreal.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers +8½ at Calgary Stampeders. Two teams whose bubbles burst last week: The high-risk defense of Winnipeg was torched for 44 points by Trevor Harris and the Ottawa RedBlacks fleet of WRs. Calgary gave up 40 (including one TD each from the Riders’ D and special teams) on the way to their first loss of the season. We’re willing to call that one a fluke and reckon the Stampeders win SU, but 8½ points is a lot to cover against a side recent-historically fond of the late-game comeback. We’re staying away from this one.

Saskatchewan Roughriders +2½ at BC Lions. A must-win: The Riders gain another game in the playoff hunt and are looking to surpass Winnipeg in the standings before long; BC cannot lose and fall two games behind the Riders. BC is trending down, while Saskatchewan is looking up after last week’s win.

But then there’s that late-night West Coast factor. NFLbets has been truthing about this BC Lions side for a while now and was a bit obsessed about the Lions’ inability to win under any other conditions – they’re 3-0 as such this season, 0-5 in all other games. So we went back to the 2017 results and noted that … these essentially same BC Lions (though currently without former CFL Most Outstanding Player Solomon Elimimian) were just 2-5 in Vancouver night games.

Our conclusion: BC Lions are set to regress to the mean. Also, the Riders are a better football team right now. Take the Saskatchewan Roughriders +2½ at BC and take the Riders +120 to win SU.

NFLbets’ best bets for CFL betting in week 11:
•  Edmonton Eskimos +3½ at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
;
•  Toronto Argonauts -5½ at Montreal Alouettes; and
•  Saskatchewan Roughriders +2½ at BC Lions.

NFLbets’ recommendations for CFL betting in week 11:
•  Edmonton Eskimos win SU at Hamilton at +145
; and
•  Saskatchewan Roughriders win SU at BC Lions at +120.

And check out this podcast. You’re still here? Great – yours truly can get in a shameless plug for the Rouge, White & Blue CFL Podcast, the American show about Canadian football. Download the latest episode directly below, or at iTunes and all those other podcast-download places online.


CFL betting, week 10: Best bets & picks on point spreads, over/unders

Thursday, 16 August 2018 15:34 EST


As a hobby, our editor co-hosts a podcast on CFL football – not to mention engages in CFL betting whenever possible, i.e. weekly from June to end of November. Both of these involve speculating on next week’s lines, so here’s what Os came up with (brief, due to time constraints) to chase his push of 2-2 overall last time out.

Ottawa RedBlacks +6½ at Winnipeg Blue Bombers, over/under 53½ points. Believe in the Bombers: They're averaging 33.5 points per game, clearly getting it done on offense, while the defense is ruling the big-play board (they’re tops in the CFL in quarterback sacks and interceptions). 

On the other side, the 2018 Redblacks are getting a reputation for playing down to the level of competition, e.g. running up 601 yards of total offense yet still needing a last-minute touchdown against the league’s worst team. Here’s to thinking, however, that Ottawa can hardly keep up with the Big Blue Machine and that Trevor Harris will throw more than one pick. Take the Winnipeg Blue Bombers -6½ vs Ottawa and consider taking the over on the O/U of 53½ points. 

BC Lions -2½ at Toronto Argonauts, over/under 50.5 points. I’ll call this the “upset” special of the week. I’ve been a BC truther since the Lions blew consecutive games SU and ATS in weeks 6 and 8. Naturally, NFLbets went against biochemistry and BC last week, giving the Lions 3½ against the Edmonton Eskimos. 

Grrrrrr.

So here’s the truth on the BC Lions: They’re 3-0 at home SU and ATS, 0-4 SU and ATS away – note, too, that BC’s wins have all come in night games. So what if the Argonauts are starting a third-string quarterback? In this case, it’s the lion that’s wearing no clothes.

NFLbets believes taking the Toronto Argonauts SU at +125 against BC is a decent bet, and we’d more strenuously advise taking the Argos +2½ points.

Montreal Alouettes +16½ at Edmonton Eskimos, over/under 52½ points. Antonio Pipkin was released by the Alouettes in mid-June. Pipkin played for four years in college ball with the Tiffin University Dragons. Tiffin U. is an Ohio school of 1,600 undergraduates and plays Division II football. Why do you need to know all this? Because Antonio Pipkin of Tiffin U. is the Alouettes’ starting QB for this game in lieu of the maybe-concussed Johnny “Johnny Canadian Football” Manziel, Montreal’s fifth starting QB in the 2018 season. 

Add in the fact that three weeks ago, these teams played when Vernon Adams was getting his turn in the rotation at QB; Mike Reilly went for four TDs, Kwaku Boateng went for three sacks and his teammates contributed three more, and the Eskimos won by 21. 16½ points is still a tough bet to make even in these circumstances, particularly when the Eskimos’ offense has been underperforming a bit lately. Simpler to just take the under on the O/U of 52½ points.

Calgary Stampeders -7 at Saskatchewan Roughriders, over/under 48 points. Yes, this game is in Regina, but these Stampeders are just too good. Calgary’s already dominated the Riders once here this season, winning 34-22 (it wasn’t that close) in week 7. With Riders head coach Chris Jones certain to have at least a handful of unhappy players in the wake of the ineffable release of Duron Carter during the bye week, NFLbets can’t imagine a better result for the Green-and-White this time out. Take the Calgary Stampeders -7 at Saskatchewan.

NFLbets’ best bets for CFL betting in week 10:
•  Winnipeg Blue Bombers -6½ vs Ottawa RedBlacks
;
•  Toronto Argonauts +2½ vs BC Lions;
•  Montreal Alouettes at Edmonton Eskimos under 52½ points.; and
•  Calgary Stampeders -7 at Saskatchewan Roughriders.

NFLbets’ recommendations for CFL betting in week 10:
•  Ottawa vs Winnipeg over 53½ points
; and
•  Toronto SU vs BC Lions.


CFL Betting: Best Bets and Picks for CFL week 9

Thursday, 09 August 2018 15:32 EST

CFL logoWhat does NFLbets do for betting during the NFL pre- (and even off-) season? That’s easy: We bet on CFL games!

Incredibly, the 2018 CFL season is nearly at its halfway point (or half-over, if you’re a justifiably pessimistic Alouettes fan), so sample sizes are large enough to get a decent idea on short-term results. Trust me – NFLbets editor Os Davis – is pretty hardcore into CFL football betting at this point.

The following, then, and NFLbets’ best bets and picks for the CFL in week 9.

Best Bet/s: CFL week 9

Hamilton Tiger-Cats +5 at Winnipeg Blue Bombers, over/under 58 points. Of all the possible non-proposition CFL bets in week 9, one true NFLbets Best Bet stands out: Take the over on the over/under of 58 points. You'll want to consider covering the Bombers minus-5 at home coming out of a bye week, but definitely go over.

Caveat: NFLbets wouldn’t exactly call over-58 on this bet a lock – as explained directly below, a 58-point result is an exactly 50% probability over seven games for the Bombers in 2018 – but it’s the best bet out there this week. Not to mention the most fun: Never mind the chicks, who *doesn’t* like a barnburner?

Okay, NFLbets can hear imagine what you're thinking: 58 points? For a final score of around 31-26 or 32-27? Isn't that a lot, even for CFL football? It is, but...

The rationale behind taking the over is easy: Winnipeg can score – a lot – on anyone except (maybe) Calgary, and they’re not playing Calgary this week. Only twice this season has Winnipeg been held under 30 points; both were away games, and they’re playing at home this week. The over is 5-2 in Bombers games this season, though the record against a very high over/under of 58 in all games would be – get this – 3-3-1.

Over the past four games, the Bombers defense appears to have improved in allowing 20 points or fewer in the past four games – however, these were all against BC Lions and the Toronto Argonauts, two of the CFL’s three lowest-scoring teams. And they’re playing a team that ran up 50 (including 20 from special teams) on the hapless Montreal Alouettes.

Finally, the last time these teams met in Hamilton, Winnipeg eked out a meager 17 in a 14-point SU loss. They'll be seeing end zone much more frequently against a defense just as generous as the Bombers'.

Pick/s of the week: CFL week 9

Number 9Edmonton Eskimos -3½ at BC Lions. Pragmatic biological body-clock time-zone stuff first: The BC Lions are playing at home in a night game on the West Coast: Big plusses on both counts, to be sure, and the prime reasons why the point spread is so low on this game. 

But o, so much is weighted against BC right now. Three weeks ago, former Most Outstanding Player/defensive pillar Solomon Elimimian was placed on the six-game injury list. Two weeks ago, they blew a game which in hindsight feels must-win due to losing track of he game clock; this led to rumours of “internal dissension”-type stuff, even confrontation between quarterback and head coach. Last week, the Lions went to Calgary, with the expected results. 

That’s a lot of team psychology before even considering what’s left of team chemistry.

More? The Eskimos are meanwhile riding a three-game winning streak, last week asserting their will on a night when Mike Reilly uncharacteristically threw for sub-50% accuracy. In week three, Edmonton torched BC at their last meeting, 41-22. 

Finally, Jeremiah Johnson returned last week against Calgary, only to go out again due to injury. 

Though taking Edmonton Eskimos -3½ at BC Lions might’ve been obvious enough to be an NFLbets Best Bet two weeks ago, after seeing that Toronto comeback against Ottawa last week, NFLbets again recalls the informal credo of the CFL: No Lead Is Safe. Go ahead, take the Esks minus the points; just bet, as they say, responsibly.

Montreal Alouettes +14 at Ottawa RedBlacks, over/under 49 points. After Johnny Manziel's nearly indescribable 11-of-20, 104-yard, four-pick debut performance for the Montreal Alouettes/in CFL regular-season play last week, the bookmakers are just begging CFL bettors to take a stand on Manziel this week with this insane 14-point spread. NFLbets is here to warn you, though: Think long and hard before taking this bait in any direction.

At the risk of boring, the real issue with betting this game is the wildly variable and inconsistent Ottawa RedBlacks. Last week, the RedBlacks rang up 41 points in Toronto and lost SU and ATS. The week prior, the Ottawa O scored zero at Hamilton but the RedBlacks won SU and ATS based on seven (!) field goals by Lewis Ward. Before *that* ... you get the idea.

Sure, the RedBlacks should win this one outright (Note that money lines are not even offered on this game at many online sportsbooks – dammit.) and taking the under on an O/U of 49 seems like a decent play – but with this Ottawa team on one side of the field, safest not to cover too much at all here, whether you dig on Johnny Canadian Football or not. 

NFLbets’ best bets for CFL betting in week 9:
•  Over 58 points (yes!) in Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

NFLbets’ recommendations for CFL betting in week 9:
•  Winnipeg -5 vs Hamilton;

•  Edmonton Eskimos -3½ at BC Lions; and
•  Montreal at Ottawa under 49 points.