CFL Week 6 Betting Preview

Some interesting statistics have come out of the first 5 weeks of play in the 2022 CFL season. Most notable among them, perhaps, is that Western Division teams are 12-1 against Eastern Division teams so far.

Clearly, the West is stronger than the East, but that stat is still a little bit misleading. Of those 13 interdivision games, 6 have been hosted by the East team. While the East is 1-5 of those games, they have a positive point differential in those games in total (+6) because the 5 West-winning games were all by 7 points or fewer, whereas Montreal dusted a good and otherwise-undefeated Saskatchewan team, 37-13.

This might be important because East hosts West twice in this week's games, which brings me to the first of those games. Lines courtesy of @rougebets on Twitter.

Edmonton (+7.5) @ Montreal, Thursday 7/14, 7:30 EDT

On paper, this game is all Montreal. They are the only East team to beat a West team as previously mentioned, Edmonton, by a ton of metrics, is the worst team in the CFL. Their defense is giving up the most YPG in the league, and their offense is gaining the fewest.

Here's the wild card, though: Montreal just fired their head coach. I don't think it was a good decision, but that's for another column. Their interim replacement is their general manager Danny Maciocia, who has been a head coach and GM in the CFL for a number of years. In his first year as a head coach, 2005, his Edmonton Eskimos won the Grey Cup. Since then, teams he has coached, general managed, or both, have gone 39-51 with zero Grey Cup appearances.

Granted, that says more about why I'm not optimistic about him working out as GM/Coach for Montreal in the long-term than this particular game (this seems to frequently be a problem the Alouettes have; GMs succeeding ousted coaches). Jim Popp did so no less than three times in his long tenure in Montreal. He won five Grey Cups as a GM, but none as a coach or dual GM/coach).

Still, it's always an adjustment to get used to a new coach, and in this case, it's an offense guy taking over for another offense guy. So the offense in particular will need to unlearn the Khari Jones stuff that Maciocia doesn't like.

As mid-season coaching replacements go, this is about as soft of a landing as you can ask for — coming off a bye and hosting the leagues worst team — so I think the Als will win, but not cover. 7.5 is too many points.

Calgary (+4) @ Winnipeg, Friday 7/15, 8:30 EDT

The undefeated Blue Bombers test themselves against a fellow unbeaten for the second week in a row. The first time around, they looked very impressive — crushing a BC team on the road 43-22 that won two of their first three games by over 40.

But the Blue Bombers themselves are no strangers to close games. Three of their 5 victories have been by a TD or less, and they are a modest third in the conference in point differential (behind Calgary themselves). Winnipeg might win their third straight Grey Cup this year, but they aren't going 18-0 in the process, and I think some regression is about to come due in Manitoba. Give me the Stampeders +4.

Saskatchewan @ Toronto (+4), Saturday 7/16, 2 PM EDT

So here we have one of those West at East games that, as I alluded to in the lede, is probably going to start tilting towards East teams when they are at home. Toronto comes in well-rested after a 1-point loss to Winnipeg, done hard by a missed extra point at the end of the game. Indeed, Toronto is very well-rested, already having two byes whereas Saskatchewan hasn't had any. Once again, I like the team that finds themselves underdogs by 4.

Ottawa (+5) @ Hamilton, Saturday 7/18, 5 PM CDT

This line I am having a hard time making sense of. Ottawa pivot Jeremiah Masoli has bested his former backup in Hamilton, Dane Evans, in every statistical category. Ottawa has a decisive statistical advantage on the ground, as well. Hamilton has been great at stopping the run and not much else. The Tiger-Cats have been the East representatives in the Grey Cup last two seasons, but right now they look like the worst in the East. Ottawa +5 is my best bet on this slate.

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