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CFL Odds, Predictions, Preview: The Bets to Make for Elks vs. Redblacks & Stampeders vs. Argonauts (Aug. 7)

CFL Odds, Predictions, Preview: The Bets to Make for Elks vs. Redblacks & Stampeders vs. Argonauts (Aug. 7) article feature image

Richard A. Whittaker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Shaheed Salmon.

  • Missing football? The CFL is here to take care of that.
  • The league gears up for its first Saturday doubleheader of 2021 as the Toronto Argonauts face the Calgary Stampeders and the Edmonton Elks face the Ottawa Redblacks.
  • Former Montreal resident and Canada enthusiast Tanner McGrath breaks down both games and shares his betting picks and predictions below.

Are you ready for some (Canadian) football?

The "Great Canadian Game" might not be as universally popular as college football or NFL, but it's an electric form of football. Moreover, if you're looking for real-time, professional football to bet on between now and NFL Week 1, the CFL is your best bet. For the next four weeks, you'll get one CFL game on Thursday night and Friday night followed by a doubleheader on Saturday night.

That's what we're covering today.

Additionally, to our Canadian audience, keep an eye on CBC. Recently, Bill C-218 passed in the senate, which will soon legalize single-event sports gambling in all of Canada:

Vote result on third reading of Bill #C218:

Yeas: 57 ✔️
Nays: 20 ❌

— Senate of Canada (@SenateCA) June 22, 2021

Soon enough, all 37 million Canadians will be allowed to make legal, sharp bets on their local CFL team.

That being said, let's dive into our best bets for CFL's Week 1 Saturday doubleheader.

Author's Note: If you're unfamiliar with the differing CFL rules, this article explains the main differences well. 

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CFL Odds & Picks

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Argonauts vs. Stampeders
7 p.m. ET
Redblacks vs. Elks
10 p.m. ET

Argonauts vs. Stampeders

Argonauts +7 (-115)
7 p.m. ET

Calgary Stampeders head coach Dave Dickenson and quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell are the Bill Belichick-Tom Brady of the CFL.

Since Dickinson took over the job, the Stampeders have won 53 of their 72 regular-season games, made three straight Grey Cup appearances (2016-18) and won one of them.

Plus, since Mitchell took over the starting quarterback job in 2012, the Stampeders have covered the spread 55% of the time:

However, Dickinson and Mitchell are all the Stampeders have left. Since 2019, the Stampeders have lost a laundry list of key players on both sides of the football:

QB Nick ArbuckleTrade/Redblacks; FA/Argonauts
WR Reggie BegeltonGreen Bay Packers
OL Shane BergmanRetired
WR Juwan BrescacinFA/Argonauts
DL Chris CasherTrade/Lions
DB Robertson DanielTrade/Argonauts
OL Derek DennisFA/Elks; Retired
OL Brad ErdosRetired
LB Nate HolleyMiami Dolphins
RB Don JacksonFA/Tiger-Cats
OL Nila KasitatiRetired
DL Cordarro LawTrade/Argonauts
P Rob MaverRetired
LB Wynton McManisNew Orleans Saints
DB Tre RobersonChicago Bears
WR Eric RogersTrade/Argonauts
DB Brandon SmithRetired
RB Terry WilliamsFA/Elks

Plus, the health of Mitchell has been questionable in recent years anyway, leaving the Stampeders very vulnerable. As such, the Stampeders went just 5-13-1 against the spread in 2019.

Meanwhile, the Argos are on the come up. They went 9-7-2 ATS in 2019, added more pieces than they subtracted and made a big coaching change. They hired Calgary's — and Mitchell's — former quarterback coach in Ryan Dinwiddie.

Unfortunately for Toronto, starting quarterback Nick Arbuckle is banged up and won't be playing today. However, Dinwiddie will instead lean on McLeod Bethel-Thompson to start, who threw for 4,000 yards and a league-high 26 touchdowns in 2019 despite starting just 13 games.

Therefore, I'm going with the Argos +7 in this spot.

Toronto's dismal 2019 record combined with its coaching change and roster changeup means it's probably undervalued.

Meanwhile, the Stampeders' reputation will make them slightly overvalued even though they're plenty vulnerable and have gone 0-7-1 in their last eight games as favorites.

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Redblacks vs. Elks

Elks -7.5 (-120)
10 p.m. ET

If you're looking for a CFL future to bet right now, look no further than Edmonton.

The Elks are tied for the longest odds to take down the Grey Cup — +1400 on DraftKings — but they boast the most dangerous offense in the league.

Quarterback Trevor Harris is entering his ninth CFL season and second with the Elks. He found a lot of success in 2019 and was a favorite to win West Division Most Outstanding Player (MOP) before sustaining an injury in Week 13. Despite missing four games, Harris still finished second in the league in passing with 4,027 yards while throwing 16 touchdowns to just six interceptions.

Harris offers great value to win West MOP this season because the wide receiver corps in Edmonton is as deep and talented as it gets. Greg Ellingson leads the group, which added superstar Derel Walker and Armanti Edwards. Plus, look out for running back James Wilder Jr. coming out of the backfield.

Meanwhile, Ottawa posted the worst record in the league in 2019 while scoring the fewest points (312) and allowing the most (564). It hired new head coach Paul LaPolice and brought in quarterback Matt Nichols — both from Winnipeg — as building blocks for the future.

But unlike the Argos, the Redblacks' roster is too depleted to think about winning now.

Thus, I don't expect Ottawa's new regime to have much success on the road against the Edmonton offense. I'm taking the Elks -7.5 and would even consider their team total over.

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