Posted Wednesday, August 14, 2013 04:03 PM
Posted Thursday, August 08, 2013 09:59 AM
The Riders fell from the ranks of the unbeaten last week, and from top spot in the rankings in the process. Here's how I see the CFL shaking down entering Week 8 action. Best of luck in all your wagers this weekend.
Last week's ranking in parentheses.
1. Calgary Stampeders (2)
If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, as the
Stampeders did just that in impressive fashion against the Riders last
week at McMahon Stadium. Now comes perhaps an even tougher matchup as
Calgary hits the road to face a hungry Lions squad at B.C. Place on
Saturday. The Stamps have been the best 'over' bet in the league so far
this season, recording a 5-1 o/u mark.
2. Saskatchewan Roughriders (1)
The Riders weren't going to run the table this season, so last week's
loss shouldn't be all that discouraging. In fact, I came away impressed
by the fight they showed after falling behind big at halftime. Even with
last week's poor defensive performance, the Riders have still allowed
fewer points than any other team in the league (129).
3. Toronto Argonauts (4)
It took some time, but the Argos appear to be over their Grey Cup
hangover. It's been their defense that has fueled their turnaround. This
is a young group that has put its early season struggles behind it and
will have another opportunity to pad its stats against a reeling Eskimos
squad this Sunday. The Argos already own a two-game advantage atop the
East Division and could stretch that margin this week.
4. B.C. Lions (3)
I don't like dropping teams coming off a bye week but the Argos strong
play forced my hand, moving the Lions down a spot this week. They'll get
a chance to make a major statement against the Stamps on Saturday
night. I'm looking for QB Travis Lulay to really take control of the
offense and turn in his best game of the season. We've yet to see him
really shine, but it's coming.
5. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (6)
The bye week came at a good time for the banged-up Ti-Cats. They'll
have a good opportunity to make a move over the next couple of weeks
with back-to-back winnable games against the struggling Blue Bombers.
Andy Fantuz's return can't come soon enough as Hamilton has scored just
129 points through six contests this season. He's unlikely to suit up
again this week in Winnipeg.
6. Montreal Alouettes (5)
Even though they sit in a second place tie in the East Division, it's
getting close to desperation time for Jim Popp's Alouettes. The post-Dan
Hawkins era didn't exactly get off to a positive start last week with
the Als getting smoked by the Argos at McGill Stadium. Things won't get
any easier this week as they travel to Regina to face the Riders.
7. Edmonton Eskimos (7)
The Eskimos received a major blow this week with the news that LB J.C.
Sherritt will be sidelined for an indefinite period of time after
suffering a broken thumb on August 2nd. This is a deep defense, but
losing last year's Most Outstanding Defensive Player certainly stings.
That means the Esks will need even more from a much-maligned offense
that has yet to get rolling this year.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (8)
Another week, another QB move in Winnipeg as Max Hall will take over
the reins against Hamilton this week. I don't think I'm alone in
thinking that the Bombers didn't give Justin Goltz long enough to gel
with the offense. He had shown plenty of positive signs, but apparently
not enough for Winnipeg management. We'll see if the move pays off, but
I'm guessing Buck Pierce's turn in the QB carousel is right around the
Posted Thursday, August 08, 2013 09:32 AM
No major changes this week, with the byes in full effect. Best of luck this week.
Last week's ranking in parentheses.
1. Saskatchewan Roughriders (1)
The Riders remain undefeated entering Week 7 and should be rested and
ready following their bye week. Unfortunately, so will this week's
opponent, the Calgary Stampeders. Saskatchewan took the first meeting
this season at home thanks to a dominant second half. Friday night's
showdown should be a beauty at McMahon Stadium.
2. Calgary Stampeders (2)
The QB carousel continues to spin around in Calgary, with Kevin Glenn
expected to start Friday's game against Saskatchewan after Drew Tate
suffered a setback in his recovery. There are those that believe Bo Levi
Mitchell should be the man to lead the offense this week but John
Hufnagel has elected to go with the proven veteran. Probably a wise
choice against an opportunistic Riders defense.
3. B.C. Lions (4)
I'll bump the Lions up a spot this week as they showed me just enough
in Monday's narrow win over Winnipeg. I do think it's only a matter of
time before the B.C. offense gets rolling. Perhaps an extra week of
practice will allow them to fine-tune. Defensively, the Lions have been
good, but not great. Again, the bye week should serve them well in that
4. Toronto Argonauts (3) The Argos will
have an opportunity to make a statement and take full control of the
East Division on Thursday night in Montreal. They'll have Ricky Ray back
in the fold but it sounds like WR Dontrelle Inman will be a no-go once
again. RB Chad Kackert remains sidelined as well, but Curtis Steele
filled in admirably in his first start last week.
5. Montreal Alouettes (5)
It will be interesting to see how the Als respond on Thursday in their
first game following the dismissal of much-maligned and short-lived head
coach Dan Hawkins. With WR Jamel Richardson and RB Brandon Whitaker
sidelined, it's beginning to look a lot like 2012 all over again. We'll
see who steps up and fills the void.
6. Hamilton Tiger-Cats (8)
Last week's win in Edmonton had to feel awfully good for a Ti-Cats
squad that has been ravaged by injuries and marred by its share of bad
luck early in the campaign. They'll have a chance to build some solid
momentum with a winnable road game in Winnipeg coming up following their
7. Edmonton Eskimos (6) I like the
fight the Eskimos have shown in recent weeks, but they're having a tough
time getting over the hump with the personnel they have on board. I'm
not sure they've ever recovered from the Ricky Ray trade last year.
Until they find a quarterback to lead the offense in the long-term,
they'll continue to struggle to reach the in column. Mike Reilly doesn't
look like the answer.
8. Winnipeg Blue Bombers (7)
Justin Goltz is the right man to lead the Bombers offense this season
but he's going to need some guys to make plays for him moving forward.
The Bombers came up just short in B.C. on Monday, thanks in large part
to an inspired effort from the defense. The good news is, the East
Division is still wide open but I suspect the Bombers will ultimately be
the odd-team out.
Posted Wednesday, August 07, 2013 09:20 AM
We've won with the Cardinals and White Sox the last two nights, and I'm hoping to make it three in a row with this afternoon play featuring the Brewers vs. Giants. Best of luck.
I won't make the argument that the wrong team is favored here. As bad as the Giants have been, they've still been slightly better than the Brewers this season and they do have an edge on the mound with Tim Lincecum going up against Donovan Hand.
With that being said, I don't believe San Francisco should be laying close to 60 cents in this spot. I'll gladly take the value being offered with the Brewers, who are suddenly exuding a little confidence now that they've put the Ryan Braun circus behind them.
Milwaukee has taken the last two games in this series after dropping the opener on Monday night. The Brew Crew check into today's game a respectable 6-4 over their last 10 games.
As I mentioned, Donovan Hand will get the nod for Milwaukee. To be honest, I'm not sure how much success he'll have today against a Giants lineup that is certainly in position to bust out. However, I do expect Hand to at least keep his team in the game for five innings before handing it over to the bullpen - which I should add has been terrific on the road this season, posting a collective 3.02 ERA.
Giants right-hander Tim Lincecum has been sharp in his last two outings, allowing only three earned runs on 10 hits over 14 innings of work. However, he's been wildly inconsistent this season, particularly here at home, where he's just 3-5 with a 4.78 ERA. The last time he faced the Brewers was last season - a game the Giants lost 6-4 right here in San Francisco. The Brewers are by no means an offensive juggernaut, but they did show they can hang a crooked number on the board last night, scoring six runs in the eighth and ninth innings combined.
The Giants are a great team to fade right now - a veteran club that had its sights on repeating as World Series champions this year, not on playing out the string in August. The value is there, and I'm confident we'll see another scrappy performance from the Brewers on Thursday afternoon. Take Milwaukee.
Posted Tuesday, August 06, 2013 09:48 AM
We won with the underdog Cardinals last night, and we'll take aim at the Yanks and ChiSox tonight. Here's my quick take on Wednesday's matchup.
It will be up to CC Sabathia to right the ship for the Yankees on
Wednesday night, as they try to avoid the series sweep in Chicago. While
Sabathia has owned the Sox in the past, he hasn't faced them since 2011
and the big lefty is a much different pitcher today than he was back
Sabathia checks in 9-10 on the season with a 4.78 ERA and 1.35 WHIP.
Those numbers get even worse on the road and over his last four starts,
he's quite simply been one of the most hittable pitchers in baseball,
allowing a whopping 37 hits and 22 earned runs in only 19 2/3 innings of
The White Sox will counter with Hector Santiago. He won't
reach the radar of most bettors, but the fact is, he's been quietly
effective, allowing two earned runs or less in five of his last six
starts. He's been a hard-luck loser in all six of those outings,
however. The good news is, he'll be facing a Yankees club that has had a
tough time facing a pitcher for the first time, as is the case here.
While Chicago's offense has been weak, the Yankees haven't been any
better at the dish lately, scoring three runs or less in seven straight
Chicago's bats have at least shown signs of waking from
their slumber in this series, plating 11 runs on 24 hits through the
first two games. I look for them to get to Sabathia on Wednesday night,
as they complete their second consecutive home sweep of the Yankees
(they did it last August as well). Take Chicago.
This may not appear to be an ideal spot to fade one of the hottest teams
in baseball, as the Dodgers send their ace, Clayton Kershaw, to the
hill. However, a deeper look indicates that the price is more than fair
to support the underdog Cardinals on Tuesday night.
L.A. took the opener of this series in somewhat surprise fashion as Zack Greinke outdueled Adam Wainwright in a 3-2 victory.
not lose sight of the fact that the Cardinals are still a terrific home
team at 32-18 this season. While they were slumping last week, that's
not the case now, as they've gone 3-2 over their last five games,
plating a whopping 41 runs in those three victories.
mentioned, L.A. will hand the ball to Clayton Kershaw on Tuesday. He was
the pitcher of the month in July, and for good reason. However, he's by
no means invincible, as the Dodgers have gone just a modest 13-10 in
his 23 starts so far this season. That includes a loss to the same
Cardinals he'll face tonight, suffered back in late May in L.A. In fact,
the Cards are 2-0 in their last two games against Kershaw, roughing him
up for 14 hits and 12 earned runs in 12 2/3 innings.
will counter for St. Louis. He's been pitching very well lately, but
he's been doing it well beneath most bettors' radar. Since joining the
rotation a week-and-a-half ago, he's made two starts, tossing 12 1/3
shutout innings of 10-hit ball. The Dodgers did get the better of Kelly
in his two starts against them last year, but it's not as if they
crushed the right-hander, scoring only five earned runs in 11 innings.
the Cardinals continue to soldier on without one of their best players,
Yadier Molina, the Dodgers are also playing without a key cog in Hanley
Ramirez, who is expected to miss his second straight game on Tuesday
due to a shoulder injury. I feel these are two very evenly matched
clubs, and while Clayton Kershaw offers the Cardinals a daunting task, I
believe they'll be up for the challenge. Take St. Louis.