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.
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
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
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!