10-11 on the season after going 1-2 for week 7. LAS came to play, geez. I thought LVS looked decent but kept running out of steam when they got to the other side of the field. Settling for these long field goals was never going to work even if K Cullors didn't miss! The rookie got the yips and it showed. SCU might be who we thought they were at the beginning of the season-- they really struggled against an ALA team past its prime. They might well win their division if they can bag wins over DVY but a first round exit is all that awaits them.
Meanwhile, the TEX fade got there pretty easily. As long as they keep playing this QB Marsh kid, they're just not a CFL team. Sadly TEX has a BYE this week so the fade record sits at 1-0.
Shreveport at Detroit (-4) - The Vampires took care of business at OHI last week and looked pretty decent doing it. The new OC Cockburn is getting more comfortable with QB DiCosomo airing it out and the offense is starting to stretch the field a bit more. The victory did not come cheap, however, as two key defenders-- DE Hoover and LB Stephens-- got hurt and are expected to miss this week's tilt against SHR.
The Pride enjoyed a two game home stand against two middling teams in TEN and IWC. The Argonauts got out to a hot start but SHR shut them down in the second half. It was a comprehensive win on all fronts for the Pride but they'll need even more to win at DET. Both teams play a similar style and the player matchups will be key.
RB Zhang was in the doghouse this week after fumbling 3 times against TEN but the Pride still dominated on the ground. RBs Russell and Skipper carried the rock a whopping 37 times for 202 yards and embarassed an IWC front that was pretty decent at stopping the run. Anchored by NT Schindlbeck, the Vampires front is one of the very best at forcing teams to throw. But that's only playing into the active and athletic linebackers and FS Cox playing at an elite level and it just doesn't end well for most opponents. Shreveport's veteran defense is a solid unit that focuses on forcing punts after long 3rd downs. QBs Scott and DiCosomo are settling into a game manager role but both will have to make plays this week to win.
The Pride are a tough team to play at home in the Swamp but they can be beat on the road. The home team won the last 5 times these two teams played. Of course these were different times and different teams but it certainly looks like a trend. DET has been playing well but I think it's still too early to hang a -4 against an elite franchise like the Pride. The Vampires win a close one but SHR covers: 24-21.
El Paso (-6) at Honolulu - Injuries are the great equalizer in the CFL. The high flying Rockets from the beginning of the season is long gone and they were lucky to survive a fourth quarter scare against the Toros last week. They could still be without QB Sullivan this week which makes this a very intriguing bet. These last few weeks have been excruciating for the El Paso faithful-- losing three games by 1, 3, and 1-- and with one of the toughest schedules coming up, it'll get worse before it gets better.
After a transcendent 2061 campaign, QB England's honeymoon period is well and truly over in Honolulu. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what's going wrong. RBs Gaiter and Murray have taken a step back in efficiency and usage. QB England isn't connecting with WRs McCreadie and Keith at quite the same clip. The Sharks offense is struggling to even visit the red zone: just 9 visits, only one better than dismal TUC, ORE, and ACI offenses! Their defense has been keeping the scorelines close but they will need to put a few more points on the board to get this season back on track.
QB Sullivan is questionable to play but even if he does suit up, I like HON to pick up the win this week. They've been solid against the run and RB Barker looks to feature prominently with the ELP quarterbacking situation the way it is. The Rockets will also likely miss C Dar Dar and G Gerhardt which stresses their chances even more. Give me HON: 27-17.
Kansas City at New Orleans (-1) - The Voodoos look good, solid even. They're a young team chock full of talent and an experienced QB that knows how to win. The coaching staff has done a good job keeping mistakes to a minimum and they're the odds on favorite to win the division despite a loss to rival SHR.
KCY's high volume passing attack has been pretty good at picking up yards but points are a bit harder to come by. Opponents are content to sell out to cover WRs Padron and Elder and let RB Mansour and rookie TE Dial make up the rest. It's a good strategy if you don't have the personnel in your secondary to keep up... but New Orleans does. By my estimation, they just might be the only team able to cover KCY's receivers mano a mano. If the Storm can't overload opponents on that side, what do they have?
The Voodoos rewarded my faith last week and I'm going to take them again this week. I can understand why some bettors would rather back the experienced Grueneich and a more established team but they've shown disturbing inconsistencies against all levels of competition. TE Dial is an explosive talent that could well be the difference maker but the Voodoos should be able to slow him down whether they put a LB or DB on him. NOS wins and covers at home: 33-27.
Dear God, was TEX the single worst offensive showing in history? Apologies to all the degenerates who put money on this absolute dogwater squad. We will be fading the Inferno for the rest of the season as a standing week in and week out bet (though I will be keeping track of this one separately). The other two bets should've gone our way... BRK really had it in the bag but that fourth quarter QB Ortiz magic took over... Unlucky. 9-9 through 6 weeks is... not great, but at least we aren't losing. Well, other than the vig.
Boise City (-11) at Texas - Fade the Inferno every week boys, I've seen enough. I'd take it all the way up to -14. Yes, BCI has a rookie QB and some aging pieces but... yeah. It shouldn't be close.
New Orleans (-1) at San Antonio - QB Fryday is this season's comeback player and it's not even close. This dude is coming off a complete knee rebuild into an essentially brand new roster and is lighting the league up. I'm glad the first rookie to win a CFL Bowl in a long time was able to bounce back from that horrific injury and it's a testament to modern medical science that we can even have that.
The Voodoo's 4-2 record is impressive but they only lost those two by 4 points combined... and they were leading SHR for three quarters! Though the season is headlined by QB Fryday, there aren't really any weak spots in their play. The secondary is excellent, it's tough to run against them, their offensive line is one of the very best, and QB Fryday's scrambling threat frees up RB Tatum to do his thing. Barring any setbacks, the next few weeks could be all they need to hit peak form.
San Antonio played a solid three quarters last week in Detroit but got hit by a truck once that fourth quarter started. QB Logan looked generally good but much of their passing yards came from crazy catches and individual effort. TE Lane's 58 yard catch and run comes to mind but WR Gunn's 41 yard leaping grab over a perfectly positioned CB Anthony is also tough to replicate. The Stingers didn't run the ball very often but got some good yardage when they did. I suspect GM hbcook86 will try to rein in the number of times his QB throws the ball because 5 INTs is just not it.
This line seems a bit too cheap for a scorching hot Voodoos team. Yes, there's inexperience and rough looks on both sides but QB Fryday and the gang should win and cover. NOS wins this one: 32-24.
Las Vegas at Los Angeles (-7) - I don't understand this line at all... sure LAS is 4-2 but both squads fell cheaply to the Sodbusters and dropped another to weaker squads in SCU (the jury is still out on this one, but I think I can safely say that at this point in the season) and DEN.
LVS isn't the defensive juggernaut they once were but sacks and pressures will come. DE Brock missed some time but is fully healthy now. In the meantime, the team is leaning heavily on QB McKnight. It worked well the first three weeks but recently struggled against teams that could cover receivers running short routes on third down. The BYE should help the Rounders collect their mojo and once the pass rush gets right, the rest will follow.
The Outlaws surprised me against ELP and came back to Earth last week against FAR. That's more of what I expected out of the team-- poor running and inefficient passing. I have no idea why WR Campbell got 15 targets when FAR was taking him out of the game and WR Massa and WR Leighton were plenty open. QB Bailey was fixated on him all day. That may work against a worse secondary but if he's pressured, his first option might not be the best one.
All that being said, this -7 spread is just out of control. The Rounders could well lose this week but are they going to get blown out? I can't see it. Give me LVS and the points, though I predict an outright win: 33-27.
Alaska at Santa Cruz (-4) - Last week was a tough loss for the Kodiaks who saw one of the worst performances in QB Marischen's long career. 56% completion rate and 3 INTs wasn't going to cut it against a competent SEA team. Rookie RB Harden continued his good production and is creeping his way to the top of the OROY discussion. We've seen several retirement scares from Jimmy and it may not be long before he passes the baton to Angel.
The Privateers are this season's beneficiary of a weak San Andreas division and boast some incredible metrics as a result. 1st in ypc allowed (2.78 ), 1st in points allowed (9.8 ), 1st in total yards allowed (279.4). They rank somewhere in the top 10 offensively but it's hard to say if these numbers will hold up against higher quality opponents. SCU's talent is clearly there but I think their performance against BAL is closer to reality than these double digit blowouts.
I think this will be a defensive slugfest-- I do like SCU's secondary to keep QB Marischen in check. WR Jennings, Russell, and Grauer don't look nearly as deadly as they did in years past and the two rookies are getting involved just as much. RB Harden could have a harder time of things too-- SCU's linebacking duo of Meier and Finch are as active as any at coming down and stuffing gaps. ALA's recent investments in their defense are also showing results, though. DEs Thompson and McConnell threaten to collapse pockets quickly. CBs Hertz and Lincoln are no slouches but they'll need help from the pass rush to contain WRs Sanderson and Yates.
I have to give the edge to experience here... QB Marischen knows how to win and if things are still close into the later stages of the game, the Kodiaks should be able to squeak one out here. That said, QB Darusmont has yet to throw an interception or make any particularly bad mistakes... so I won't take ALA to win outright but +4 seems just fine to me. The home team probably wins but ALA definitely covers: SCU 24-21.
The curse is real... sorry El Paso and Tennessee! 8-7 is the record now. Gotta trust in the system to deliver us to the promised land though. Might have a losing week here and there but never a losing season.
San Antonio at Detroit (-3) - San Antonio got out to an early lead and managed to hang on against KCY last week. The last play of the game will be burned into the memories of Storm fans for a while but suffice it to say... SAO looks like a solid contender well ahead of schedule. The young QB Logan has yet to reach his full potential but he's got good poise, pocket presence, and doesn't dwell on his mistakes. The youth and talent on this roster cannot be ignored.
On the other side is a young Vampires team that is also on the rise. One could say that they have yet to be tested though the stout defensive play should translate. FS Cox is hitting a new level The emergence of RB Burton has been a godsend for an otherwise anemic offense as QB DiCosomo continues to struggle. A new acquisition in OG Nylander could help with the pass protection but any changes to an offensive line will need time.
Both rosters have plenty of growing to do but the DET defense has quite a few talented players in their prime. The unit has been together for a long time and put up great numbers in recent history. At this point the Vampires should be a better team and will capitalize on QB Logan's mistakes. I'll lay the points with the home team: DET wins 24-17.
Durham at Brooklyn (-2) - Durham's loss to Hartford was a bit unexpected but injuries to the Bulldogs came thick and fast after just a few plays. Three(!) offensive linemen got hurt and even RB Ellingsen sprained his thumb after a downfield block. They made a good effort to try and get back into the game but the HAR pass rush took advantage of the missing pieces and shut it down. It seems that QB Ortiz will look to WR Hindman when under pressure, even if WR Spradling or TE Weikel are open.
Brooklyn's consistency and dominance on defense is truly remarkable. This offense definitely needs work though. The TOP churning rushing attack of years past isn't here for the Brawlers and that's forcing QB Woodford to air it out. This year in particular has seen the Brawlers play more young players and I would guess that the inexperienced offensive line is to blame for the slow start to the scoring. Still, this defense can keep them in games where there offense falls short, and GM Dean Gulberry is one of the very best, and I wouldn't be worried for their postseason hopes.
This matchup has generally been good for BKN in the QB Ortiz era despite DUR winning in the 2061 playoffs. With the injuries to key Bulldogs, I like the Brawlers even more. This won't be the prettiest game, but BKN's aggressive defense should frustrate the Bulldogs and hopefully they'll win and cover. The Brawlers win and cover at home, 21-17.
Texas at Oregon (-2) - This'll be the last time we look at betting on a team with 0 wins. I promise! TEX and ORE are two absolutely dreadful teams having themselves a season to forget but one of them has to win this week. Well, I guess it could be a tie but that's good for us because I'm taking the points with the visitors.
I've written about the Bandits in the past, so I'll really only touch on the Inferno today. Obviously, QB Womble's departure isn't great but after several years of mediocrity something had to change. Enter QB Bart Marsh... the fourth overall pick out of a historically good Vols team has been tossed to the wolves. He's not making his reads, not getting rid of the ball, and not getting any help from his offensive line or receivers. The poor guy is running for his life every Sunday! But there is hope for this week at least as the Bandits are an even bigger dumpster fire.
TEX's RBs Boddy and Parker should be able to run all over the Bandits. Statistically ORE has been good against the run but outside of SHR those metrics don't really mean anything. I don't really know how this game will play out but there's really no reason either team should be favored. Give me the points with a visiting team that is maybe a hair less bad: TEX wins 17-14.
Durham takes their play up a notch and puts us in the dirt... 2-1 at least, back to winning ways. 7-5 on the season with some juicy matchups to this week:
Los Angeles (-2) at El Paso - I don't think many expected the Outlaws to do much this season but a revitalized QB Bailey is spearheading their 3-1 start. Despite a rookie C and WR in the mix, these four games have been Bailey's best to start any season. The 2062 Outlaws present more or less the same look as 2061 and it has been to their benefit. While other teams tweak rosters and lineups, the Outlaws took no time getting back to business.
El Paso might have hit a road bump at ALA but I thought QB Sullivan played well. The normally surehanded WRs Rodriguez and Johnstone dropping 6 passes between them cost the Rockets a nice win on the road though. WR Johnstone had 5 drops all of 2061 and 4 drops in just this last game against ALA. I don't know what happened but you simply can't imagine a repeat this week. This is a quality team that will go far as long as they stay healthy.
I don't know if maybe it's because ELP had a bye and LAS posted a dominant win against MIA but I think these odds should be flipped. The CB duo in LAS is certainly better than the one in ALA that gave ELP a hard time but give me the home dog to win straight up: 36-20.
Seattle (-1) at Death Valley - RB Donaldson and the Copperheads continued their bounce back from a 0-2 start with a smashing at TEX. Not much to take away from this game other than the Inferno might be the worst team in the CFL right now. RB Donaldson was unstoppable in the red zone and seems to approve of the team's acquisition of RG Duffy from OMA. The Copperheads can beat anyone as long as QB Buckley doesn't make any boneheaded mistakes. Their first round rookie is making some contributions too, though it's clear he has a ways to go to reach his full potential.
Seattle was fortunate to encounter a wounded Stampede last week-- QB Allen out with a concussion meant rookie QB Fitzgerald started a second game... and it was far from a convincing win! The Spartans have been trying to recreate the explosive offense of 2059 (2nd in offensive yardage, 3rd in points per game, 6th in yards per carry) but it continues to elude them. SEA has had trouble keeping offensive coordinators-- one year of OC Pillmeier in 2057, two years of OC Norton in 2058 and 2059 before taking the HC job at LVS. OC Corey Gisler was supposed to bring stability... just not stable mediocrity. On paper they have the makings of an excellent offense, it just hasn't panned out.
I haven't spent as much time analyzing SEA games but I don't think their problems can be fixed overnight. DVY knows what they're about and the Spartans will have their hands full trying to contain RB Donaldson. These two teams have basically traded wins over the last few seasons. DVY will win one then SEA will win the next... and so on and so forth. The Copperheads break that pattern this week and win at home: 28-25.
Tennessee at Iowa City (-2) - The Militia's offensive woes continued in their home opener against DET. Despite outgaining the Vampires by over 100 yards, two interceptions (one returned for a TD) were too much to overcome. Defensively, TEN has been good-- they held WR Dole and OMA to just 16 points, QB Marischen and ALA to 12 points the week before... but it's surprising for a QB Porto led team to struggle this much to put points on the board.
As TEN looks for its first win, the Argonauts look to be ripe for the picking. The blowout loss to ELP was expected but losses to NOS and STL aren't the best signs of things to come. QB Joslyn was horrifically inefficient and RB Stewart, a first round pick just 3 years ago, looks lazy and unmotivated. The team is decidedly average in every aspect though more recognizable names ply their trade on the defense. They've been putting more emphasis on that end in recent drafts and could see DT Hanks and rookies LB Francois and CB Kelly being fixtures for a long time to come.
It's not the most glamorous game this week but I think there's some value in taking TEN. They look a little bit more put together and I have to trust the experienced front office to start righting the ship. The Militia start their comeback this week: TEN wins 29-27.
1-2 last week which wipes out some profits... not really sure how ELP didn't capitalize on their red zone visits but kudos to ALA. They definitely know how to tighten up when they need to. 5-4 so we're still in the money.
Ohio at San Antonio (+0) - The Stingers came crashing back to earth after a stellar win in week 1. Between the pressure from DEs Johnstone and Dillon and CB Cheli shutting down half of the field, QB Logan simply could not get anything going. They looked better last week against BAL but defensive adjustments after the half held SAO to a mere 47 yards of offense.
The Sentries haven't had the best start and they arguably should be 2-1 but I don't think there's much to look forward to in Cleveland. Overtime against MIA could've gone either way and a monumental collapse in the fourth quarter against HAR probably wouldn't have happened if not for injuries to LT Cailleteau and DE Willis. Willis is expected to play while the star LT will not-- LT Kim O'Neill is next up. What little production they've been getting has been from their defensive front and the yardage lost from the departures of RB Mansour and both TE Lanes has yet to be replaced.
SAO has the young talent to go far, they just lack the experience and time to go far right this minute. However, they also have two ex-Sentries in QB Kaczor and TE Lane that could close the gap this week. That might be enough to take it over the line at home against an Ohio team that seems to be content treading water. As long as QB Logan can avoid hitting the deck, I like them to win here: The Stingers squeak this one out 24-20.
Baltimore at Durham (-2) - I'm not sure how they managed to do it but these Bulldogs picked up some absolute monsters in free agency this offseason. TE Weikel and WR Spradling come from a Bandits squad tanking for picks and on paper take this offense from scary to downright unfair. The defense has suffered turnover though-- LB Porter, S Szczepaniak, and LB Mello are no longer with the team-- and it is starting to show. Defensive metrics have dropped across the board and quality teams will push DUR to their limit.
While many consider the Bulldogs the easy division champs, the Bombers are quietly off to an excellent start. They were in contention for a 2061 wildcard spot into the last few weeks of the season and seemingly return stronger than ever. A new OC has QB O'Neill hitting career highs through 3 weeks and sophomore RB Humphries looks to be one of the best in the game today. Receiving talent is slim, but the consistency has been a huge contributor to the league's #1 completion rate (74%!). The stellar defense held OMA and SCU to dismal production and DE Hitchcock continues to break opposing gameplans. The Bombers look to be one of the most balanced teams in the league with a good chance at a postseason berth if things break their way.
A win this week would go a long way for BAL and I don't think it's a stretch. This game is one that screams reverse line movement-- 90% of the tickets are on the Bulldogs but the spread has actually ticked up from -3 to -2. It is extremely tempting to take DUR with such a short line but I think it's a trap. These two teams split their meetings last season and I expect more of the same as QB Ortiz continues to develop chemistry with his new weapons. BAL pulls this one out with strong contributions across all three phases: 31-28.
Santa Cruz (-8) at Oregon - After two years of real sucking and one year of middling degrees of suck (no thanks to injuries), the Privateers appear to have ended their rebuild early. QB Darusmont doesn't show any lasting effects from the concussion that ended his 2061 campaign and actually finds himself in good company through three games. Thanks to solid drafting under GM Cheesehead Craig, SCU has a good group of young players to carry the San Andreas division for years to come. Their run game has room for improvement but we've seen RB May be very effective so it could just be a slow start.
Their opponents are currently just beginning their years of suck and a rebuild of the ORE offense is of dire priority. TE Johnston and WR Tyler, both rookies, are flashing some potential even with QB Gaines at the helm. It remains to be seen if the sophomore QB is the long term solution as he looks to have regressed this year. LB Buckley is a saint for spending his prime in the doldrums but with any luck ORE will be back on its feet in a few years. Just hold on until then, I guess.
-8 is a big number but the Bandits haven't covered that against teams much worse than SCU. It's on the wrong side of 7 so if you want to buy a point, feel free. I think the Privateers will win by 10+ but anything could happen: the Bandits get handed another brutal loss, SCU wins 27-10.