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by Ben Burns - 06/27/2007
Itâ€™s already been a great season on the diamond and weâ€™re not even halfway there yet! Weâ€™ll be seeing some â€œadded gamesâ€쳌 on this weekâ€™s sports menu though, as the Canadian Football League kicks-off tomorrow, Thursday June 28th.
The CFL has come a long way in recent years as far as putting together a competitive and exciting product. For those of you who don't know, the British Columbia Lions are the defending champions; they defeated the Montreal Alouettes 25-14 as eight point favorites in last years 94th Grey Cup. The '07 Lions return with almost the exact line-up as they had last year. Not surprisingly, theyâ€™re favored to win it all again this season. So, with more than two months until Week 1 of the â€œreal deal,â€쳌 the CFL offers an outlet to profit on some football over the dog days of summer.
Here's a brief look at each of the teams and their respective odds to win the Grey Cup. Thatâ€™s followed by a recap of last yearâ€™s standings and betting records.
Enjoy the games and good luck!
The Teams Odds to win Grey Cup
British Columbia Lions +300
Sporting arguably the leagues best trio of quarterbacks with backups Jarious Jackson and Buck Pierce and starter Dave Dickenson the Lions will look to repeat as Grey Cup champs. Jason Clermont and Geroy Simon round out an excellent receiving corps. RB Joe Smith, who finished with 887 yards on 166 carries and recorded nine TDâ€™s, makes opposing teams respect the Lions ground game in a league that has only three downs to make ten yards.
Calgary Stampeders +300
BC Lions star receiver Ryan Thelwell signed with the Stamps this year and he'll add to an already dangerous offense. In former NFL first round bust Akili Smith and Henry Burris, Calgary expects to have a couple of competent QB's. The questions that need answering for this team are on the other side of the ball, as their defense was ranked sixth overall in '06.
Winnipeg Bluebombers +450
RB Charles Roberts and SB Milt Stegall will lend their support for QB Kevin Glenn who continues his development. The 'Bombers offense was ranked sixth overall last year but the biggest factor working in favor of the Blue Bombers is their defense which was ranked third in the league in 2006.
Montreal Alouettes +500
Supported by a talented group of players, aging QB Anthony Calvillo had an 'off year' as the Alouette's offense was ranked right in the middle of the pack in '06. The Al's defense was ranked fifth overall but they'll get a big boost with the additions of veteran playmakers Tim Cheatwood and John Grace. The Al's should challenge for the Eastern title.
Toronto Argonauts +500
With their offense ranked seventh overall in 2006, the Argo's entered their 2007 training camp with five QB's challenging for the top spot. Toronto was a bit better on the other side of the ball though, their defense was ranked fourth. With so much uncertainty at the QB position it will be interesting to see if the Argo's are able to get through this adversity and advance to the Grey Cup, which will be played on their home field.
Saskatchewan Roughriders +600
QB Kerry Joseph was inconsistent last year but the Roughriders offense was ranked third overall due largely to the success of their rushing game. The Roughriders tallied the second most rushing TD's (16) but with the loss of Kenton Keith in the backfield, may be hard pressed to repeat that feat. They were excellent on the other side of the ball, however, ranking second in the league for total yards allowed.
Edminton Eskimoes +1200
Defensive veterans Omarr Morgan, Ron Warner and Stanford Samuels will help a squad which was ranked seventh in total yards allowed. Ricky Ray will be the starting QB for an offense which scored the fifth most points in 2006 but the absence of Troy Davis and Ed Hervey will not help this team.
Hamilton Tigercats +2000
The Ti-Cat's finished the '06 season with both the worst offense AND the worst defense. Not surprisingly, they have made a ton of changes across the board. QB Jason Maas will be challenged for his position by Shaun King and Rocky Butler.
2006 ATS STANDINGS
TEAM RECORD ATS O/U
Toronto 10-8 8-9-1 5-12-1
Montreal 10-8 8-9-1 7-10-1
Winnipeg 9-9 9-9 6-12
Hamilton 4-14 9-9 6-12
TEAM RECORD ATS O/U
B.C. 13-5 10-7-1 8-10
Calgary 10-8 10-8 8-10
Saskatchewan 9-9 9-8-1 10-8
Edmonton 7-11 7-11 10-8