Montreal Alouettes CFL Preview – 2013

The Als kick-off the season in Winnipeg and bring along with them a sparkling 5-0 June road record from the past 10 years

 

With 10 East Division titles to their credit since 1999 it would take a hardened critic to find holes in the Alouettes system but as Dan Hawkins steps into his new role as head coach, it’s also going to take a lot of work for Montreal to maintain their status quo.

 

[dropcap2]F[/dropcap2]ormer coach Marc Trestman moved south to Soldier Field this off-season where he’ll call shots for the Chicago Bears and that’s helped quiet the usual round of preseason questions over how much gas QB Anthony Calvillo still has left in the tank. Calvillo’s numbers last season speak for themselves and after surpassing the 5,000-yard passing plateau for the third time under Trestman, Hawkins will surely rely on his veteran to help guide an offense that was first in red zone efficiency.

 

The Addition of Arland Bruce III provides AC with yet another skilled receiver to help maintain the Als’ potent offensive attack but Montreal needed to shore up its D and appear to have done so with some key free agent acquisitions in the form of Byron Parker and Ejiro Kuale. Leading tacklers Shea Emery and Chip Cox remain with the team as does the sack-leader John Bowman (7).

 

BY THE NUMBERS

Montreal had 7 overs and 3 unders through the first 10 weeks of the 2012 season and allowed each of its first four opponents to score 30-plus points but that trend may not continue when the Als open the season at Winnipeg on June 27.

 

– The Als past five road games in the month of June all stayed under the total and Montreal was 5-0 SU, winning by an average of 16 PPG

 

CUP COUNTDOWN

PickSixtySports.com has tracked Grey Cup Odds at three separate sports betting outlets since early May and Montreal (+500) has seen a modest slip from +450.

 

– In 2012, the Alouettes’ odds to win the Cup opened at +600 and closed at +575

 

Futures betting for CFL Season Win Totals is now available and the Als are listed at 10 Under (-130).

 

PLUS/MINUS

Key additions for the Als this season include HC Dan Hawkins, QB Quinton Porter, CB Byron Parker, SB Arland Bruce III, RB Jerome Messam and DE Ejiro Kuale

 

Early Subtractions: HC Mark Trestman, LB Rod Davis, DB Dwight Anderson, WR Brian Bratton, and QB Adrian McPherson

 

Late Cuts: QB Quinton Porter, CB Seth Williams, WR Damone Blackman, WR Michael Campbell, WR Phillip Livas, G Matt Cleveland, DE Mike Lockley, DE Cyril Obiozor, DT Scott Paxson, DB BJ Scott and DB Devon Torrence

 

FINAL WORD

An aging but still capable quarterback, a new head coach and a flood of new talent to help shore up a defensive unit and special teams which ranked at the bottom of several key statistical categories. Trestman was 11-7 in his first year with Montreal (2008) and they also hit 11 wins in Trestman’s final year but to reach that mark again they’ll need to improve on a .500 record vs. the division and the team would be best served to take care of that before the calendar flips to October.

 

CFL betting previews for every team will be posted here throughout the next week as we countdown to 2013 kickoff in Winnipeg on Thursday, June 27!

Toronto Argonauts CFL Preview – 2013

The Argos finished second in the East last year with a 9-9 record before defeating Edmonton, Montreal and Calgary en route to their record 16th Grey Cup

 

After surprising everyone with a late season run that saw Toronto win the 100th Grey Cup on home turf, QB Ricky Ray returns to an Argos lineup that remains relatively intact. 33-year-old slotback Romby Bryant provides Ray with another passing threat and the deep receiving corps should help open things up for RB Chad Kackert.

 

Khalif Mitchell can be an impact player on the defensive side but that hinges on the coaching staff’s ability to contain the explosive attitude Mitchell brings to the field. The loss of DT Armond Armstead to the NFL will certainly hurt but he is not irreplaceable and it looks as if the biggest question mark this defense is in the secondary, where the team has parted ways with three of five starters from 2012.

 

BY THE NUMBERS

The Argos play six of their first nine games at home this season where they finished 4-5 SU in 2012 after a 2-0 SU/ATS start. Tack on a pair of double-digit home playoff victories including the 35-22 Grey Cup win against Calgary and we can probably expect to see some inflated pointspreads for the Boatmen during these early home games.

 

– CFL home favorites were 36-20 (64-percent) straight-up in 2012 but just 26-29-1 (47-percent) ATS

 

CUP COUNTDOWN

PickSixtySports.com has tracked Grey Cup Odds at three separate sports betting outlets since early May and after hovering around the +500 mark for most of the spring, Toronto (+450) looks to be gathering some momentum. The last team to repeat as Grey Cup champs was Montreal in 2009-10 and the last time Toronto won back to back championship titles was in 1996-97.

 

– In 2012, the Argos’ odds to win the Cup opened at +650 and closed at +658

 

CFL Season Win Total futures will be up soon – Click here!

 

PLUS/MINUS

Key additions for the Argos in 2013 include DT Khalif Mitchell, WR Romby Bryant, DT Jermaine Reid, OC Marcus Brady and LB James Yurichuk.

 

Subtractions: DE Ejiro Kulae, K Noel Prefontaine, DB Evan McCollough, DE Ricky Foley and DT Armond Armstead

 

Read CFL betting previews for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Hamilton Tiger-Cats!

 

FINAL WORD

Toronto is wearing a target this year as the defending champ and this new look defensive group will need to develop chemistry in a hurry. Offensive points per game and red zone efficiency were issues last year and while improvements are likely it’s possible they could come at a slower pace than the CFL oddsmaker’s tendency to ramp up lines on proven winners. Toronto is 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS the past ten times they were favored by more than a touchdown and seven of those games stayed under the total. As the defense tightens up to defend its title, try looking for spots to go against public betting opinion with a play on the “Under”.

 

CFL betting previews for every team will be posted throughout the week as we countdown to 2013 kickoff on Thursday, June 27!

Winnipeg Blue Bombers CFL Preview

The Bombers are off to a shaky start and it’s sent futures pricing for a ride but Tim Burke isn’t the least bit concerned

 

Some coaches give more weight to preseason football games and as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers close the chapter on their 0-2 exhibition slate, fans of the Big Blue are left hoping Tim Burke is not one of those types.

 

[dropcap2]W[/dropcap2]innipeg was blown out 52-0 Thursday in its second preseason test and given the limited number of starters who even made the trip east; it appears obvious that Burke has his eye on the bigger picture as the team prepares to officially open Investors Group Field June 27 vs. the Montreal Alouettes.

 

Formerly the team’s defensive co-ordinator, Burke took over as head coach in August, 2012 after a 2-6 SU start led to the release of Paul LaPolice. The Bombers were thumped 52-0 in Saskatchewan during Burke’s debut but overall managed a 4-6 SU record under his command with all four wins coming against East division rivals. Burke has wasted little time leaving his mark on a team renowned for inconsistency, hitching his wagon to QB Buck Pierce after letting go of backups Joey Elliot and Alex Brink.

 

Pierce missed 11 games due to injury in 2012 and odds on him staying healthy through an entire campaign seem worse than Winnipeg’s Grey Cup odds (+1500) but the team has confidence in fourth-year QB Justin Goltz. Rookie QBs Chase Clement and Max Hall are also in the mix as the club looks to spark an offense that finished last in scoring (20.9 points per game).

 

BY THE NUMBERS

Winnipeg was 9-9 against the spread (ATS) last season including a 5-2 ATS mark in its final seven divisional matchups. After starting the season with 7 overs and 3 unders the Bombers settled things down and finished the season with 2 overs and 6 unders their last eight games.

 

Contrary to popular belief, the CFL betting ledger for totals is a lot more balanced than people think with last year’s games ending at 40-35 O/U (53-percent). With Burke at the helm, we’ll be watching for value on the “Under” in the early going.

 

CUP COUNTDOWN

PickSixtySports.com has tracked Grey Cup Odds at three separate sports betting outlets since early May and the Blue Bombers (+1500) are tied with Edmonton for biggest movement among CFL teams. Winnipeg opened as 10 to 1 favorites to win the Cup.

 

– In 2012, the Bombers’ odds to win the Cup opened at +550 and closed at +734

 

CFL Season Win Total futures will be up soon – Click here!

 

PLUS/MINUS

Key additions for Winnipeg include QBs Chase Clement and Max Hall (noted above), S Cacuhy Muamba, OL Mark Dewit, DC Casey Creehan and special team co-ordinator Craig Dickenson, who joins the club after two seasons in Saskatchewan.

 

Subtractions: LB Marcellus Bowman, DE Jason Vega, QB Joey Elliott, QB Alex Brink, S Ian Logan and DB Jonathon Hefney

 

FINAL WORD

It’s no secret the Bombers struggled under LaPolice’s offensive schemes the past few seasons but the team’s explosiveness in the back stretch of last season suggests they are starting to buy in to O-Co Gary Crowton’s system. One of his mandates in 2013 is to provide more protection for the quarterback and part of that responsibility will fall on offensive line coach Pat DelMonaco’s group, who also made progress late last season.

 

The Bombers showed signs of life after the firing of LaPolice but without any big name free agent signings in the off season there are still a lot of questions surrounding the team. The Bombers will once again be relying on young, unproven talent to fill the void of Logan and the recently released Hefney, former All-Star defensive back.

 

CFL betting previews for every team will be posted here throughout the next week as we countdown to 2013 kickoff in Winnipeg on Thursday, June 27!