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by Ben Burns - 07/17/2007
After three weeks, the defending Grey Cup Champion British Columbia Lions are 3-0 â€œstraight-upâ€쳌 and 2-1 â€œagainst the spread.â€쳌 When we look back over BCâ€™s last 10 games, dating back to last season, we find the Lions at a sparkling 9-1 SU and a profitable 7-3 ATS.
So why is this again the best team in the CFL, and what can we expect from the Lions for the rest of the â€™07 season?
One big reason the Lions have gotten out to a quick start this year is because they return virtually the same lineup this season as last. The players have bought into head coach Wally Buonoâ€™s system and they are excelling on both sides of the ball.
Another reason is of course the Lionâ€™s three quarterbacks. Starting QB, Dave Dickenson, got out to a slow start in Game 1 but relied heavily on talented RB Joe Smith to shoulder most of the offensive load and also got a tremendous amount of help from the defense. Even with their star QB struggling, the Lions managed to come away with a tough SU win on the road against the Argonauts.
BCâ€™s depth at QB was never more apparent than in Week 3 when all three pivots saw action. Lionâ€™s backup quarterback Buck Pierce came into the game for two quarters until he bruised a bone, bringing Jarius Jackson into the game in the third. Pierce completed six of 11 attempts for 80 yards, while Jackson, who played the final quarter, was 3-for-7 for 21 yards. Dave Dickenson started the game by going 5-for-6 for 37 yards and RB Joe Smith continued his domination, finding the end zone twice. In the end the Lionsâ€™ defense capitalized on turnovers and stifled the Saskatchewan Roughriders and went on to win 42-12.
So, with three competent QBâ€™s, rock-solid receivers, the most opportunistic defense in the CFL, and with the rest of the teams floundering with inconsistent efforts, letâ€™s take a quick look at the Lionâ€™s schedule for the rest of the year.
The Lions have 15 games left with eight of those being at home. On Thursday, they host a horrible Hamilton team. The Ti-Cats are reeling right now, sitting at 0-3 to start the season. They are a club that is rebuilding. However, even still, they were expected to be more competitive than theyâ€™ve been thus far. Not surprisingly, the Lions are laying a steep number, currently listed as minus 16 point favorites.
BC plays Hamilton one other time, on Friday Oct. 26th, before their season finale at home against Calgary on Saturday November 3rd.
A perfect season? Well, anythingâ€™s possible, but itâ€™s not likely. Just ask the 1972 Miami Dolphins!
The rest of the league will inevitably start to settle down and get things turned around. While it could be a few more weeks before someone actually beats them in â€œSUâ€쳌 fashion, the defending champs will continue to see larger and larger pointspreads.
Iâ€™ll check back in a few weeks. Until then, donâ€™t be surprised if the Lions begin to cool off at the betting window!