The Canadian Football League’s 2021 season is in full swing after a suspended 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 concerns. The CFL typically offers an appealing pro football alternative for both viewing and betting pleasure each summer before the NFL kicks off its regular season, wrapping up its near-five-month season in late November.
This year, the CFL is playing an abbreviated 14-game regular season after a later start than usual, but it’s a campaign that also marks the first under truly widespread single-game sports betting in the U.S., and as of August 27th, in Canada as well.
Online sportsbooks in several states are offering weekly odds for every game on the CFL schedule and each week, PlayPicks will provide a detailed breakdown of multiple games and provice CFL best bets for that slate of games.
Week 4 CFL Best Bets
British Columbia Lions (1-2) at Ottawa Redblacks (1-1) – Saturday, August 28, 7:00pm ET
The Lions have gotten off to an uneven start this season largely due to the gimpy elbow of quarterback Mike Reilly, who, when fully healthy, remains one of the premiere passers in the league. The veteran has been able to work around his issues enough to help BC secure one win and just narrowly miss on two others — the Lions’ pair of losses have come by a combined nine points. Reilly’s elbow has supposedly improved week to week thus far, and in Week 4, he’ll face a Redblacks defense that’s allowed the most passing yards per game (327.0) and highest completion percentage (79.7) in the CFL over its first two games.
Running back Shaq Cooper, who excelled last season in his few opportunities with the Elks and is expected to carry the majority of the workload in the backfield for the Lions this season, also made his debut last week with a six-carry, 35-yard effort and is expected to play a larger role this week.
The Redblacks were expected to be the league’s worst team this season after also holding that distinction in 2019, but through their first two games, they haven’t been the non-competitive unit many assumed they would be. In fact, Ottawa bested the Elks in a 16-12 defensive slugfest Week 1 before giving what may be the league’s best team, the Roughriders, a tough time before succumbing by a 23-10 score.
The lack of offensive continuity is a clear problem for Ottawa, despite the presence of veteran quarterback Matt Nichols. The team has no consistent running game, and this week, there’s a chance they’re also without top receiver R.J. Harris (ankle).
The Redblacks are home and could likely make this a close game, which made me consider the 4.5-point spread as a possibility. However, I’m ultimately more confident in the Under, with a likely BC win as the lean.
The Pick: Under 43.5 points (-110 on FanDuel)
The Lean: Lions moneyline (-195 on DraftKings)
Calgary Stampeders (1-2) at Winnipeg Blue Bombers (2-1) – Sunday, August 29, 7:00pm Eastern
The Stampeders went into their Week 3 battle against the Alouettes likely wishing for a restart button to their season. After losing in heartbreaking fashion in Week 1 to the the Argonauts, Calgary dropped their second straight to the Lions in a four-interception performance by QB Bo Levi Mitchell, who was trying to play through a broken fibula suffered in the opener.
Mitchell subsequently went on the injured list, but rookie signal-caller Jake Maier turned in a brilliant 300-yard effort against Montreal to perhaps save the Stamps’ season, at least for the short term. The big question in Week 4 is what happens when Maier runs into an elite defense that’s now seen him on film, as he will against the Bombers on the road Sunday night.
Winnipeg has sprung a few leaks on run defense over its first three games, so Stamps starting tailback Ka’Deem Carey could certainly help Maier out by keeping the Bombers defense on its toes some. Winnipeg is a relentless unit, however, already ranking second in turnovers (nine) and 2-and-0uts (18) forced. Meanwhile, Winnipeg could get star running back Andrew Harris (calf) into uniform for the first time in 2021.
If Harris suits up, he’d serve as an invaluable resource to QB Zach Collaros, who’s already been playing well without him and who would gain an excellent receiver out of the backfield as well a player the defense would have to account for on each play if Harris was active.
Winnipeg has allowed just 13 points in its two home games thus far and will be out to atone for giving up 30 to Toronto on the road last week. As such, I see a cover here with a lean on them doing enough to throw Maier off his game for the Under to hit.
The Pick: Blue Bombers -5.5 (-105 on FanDuel)
The Lean: Under 44.5 points (-110 on FanDuel)