Editor's Note: Nick Christenson is handicapping Canadian Football League games this season and making picks each week. What follows is Mr. Christenson's CFL predictions and picks for Week 9 – for the Friday and Saturday games.
This week's pointspreads at SPREADS.CA
CFL Week 9:
Congratulations to those who had the fortitude to bet the RedBlacks/Over parlay on Tuesday night’s game. Clearly, that was the strong contrarian play, and it came in. Sometimes the obvious basic strategy bet actually wins.
There are three games left on this week’s slate. Just among the three of them, they opened with an average total of 50, bet down to 49.67.
I made the average total of these three games 47.83, so for the first time all year, I think the book totals are a little too high. Not counting Tuesday, the last four weeks have averaged totals of 53.5, 45.25, 47.5, 47.67, for an average of 48.5. If you add in this week’s game, that puts the 17 game average at 49.
For the year, Ottawa and Edmonton were ranked #3 and #4 in totaling this year, so yesterday’s game should have totaled above the average, meaning the balance of the games this week should, if anything, be a little below average. So why are the rest of this week’s totals so high? What makes the markets think scoring is going to jump this week? I don’t get it, and I’m disposed to look at some UNDERs.
Friday, October 1, 10:00 pm EDT
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at British Columbia Lions
Winnipeg -1.5, Total: 52.5
Even after losing last week at home to Saskatchewan, B.C. has impressed me so far this season. They’re tied for third best record in the league, and I have them rated as the fourth best team in the CFL right now. Winnipeg, though, is clearly the best team in the league. I think this line is about right, that the Bombers should be a short favorite in B.C. Place. The total, though, baffles me. It’s too high. Both teams played over last week, totaling 59 and 55 respectively, but the week before they totaled 42 and 45. B.C. is ranked second in team totaling, Winnipeg is second from the bottom. Why does this game have the highest total of any game so far this year? I’m betting under 52.5.
Saturday, October 2, 4:00 pm EDT
Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Hamilton -2.5, Total: 48.5
Hamilton is overall the much better team, but once again, they’ll be starting David Watford, their third string QB, which is why Hamilton isn’t at or near a TD favorite. The Ti-Cats have won their last two games, the only two Watford has started, while Montreal is coming off a two game skid. I think this number is about right, so no play for me. This total is also near my total of 49.5, so I have no total play either.
Saturday, October 2, 7:00 pm EDT
Saskatchewan Roughriders at Calgary Stampeders
Saskatchewan -2.5, Total: 48
In my opinion, the Roughriders have continued to stake their claim to being the second best team in the league. Calgary has only won one of five games that QB Bo Levi Mitchell has started. Nonetheless, making Saskatchewan an outright favorite here seems a little strong to me. My numbers make Calgary a 1 point favorite, although the favorite flips if I exclude the games Jake Maier started for the Stamps. The number opened Sask -3.5 and has been (correctly, in my estimation) been bet down. Some books have Sask -2, so I expect that any further movement will be toward the Stamps. I think it’s worth looking at a small play on Calgary on the moneyline (at +120 or better), and as this number is trending down, if you like the Calgary side, don’t wait to bet it. I made the total 47, so I have no play there.
Bye: Toronto Argonauts
Nick Christenson has been using mathematical methods and computer modeling to as tools for successful sports betting for over 15 years. He lives and works out of Las Vegas, Nevada where, during rare off-seasons, he enjoys cooking, reading, and hiking.