Hamilton (0-0) at Calgary (0-0)
When: Saturday, June 16th 2018
Where: McMahon Stadium, Calgary
Time: 7:00 ET | TV: ESPN 2
Opening Odds: Calgary -9/53
The top regular season team in the CFL each of the past two seasons – the Calgary Stampeders – will open the 2018 season with a home date against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday night. Calgary represented the West in the Grey Cup each of the past two Novembers, but failed to bring home the trophy as big favorites in each contest. They are the favorites again this season at +200 and are eight-point favorites in Week 1 against Hamilton. The Tiger-Cats finished third in the East last season after a rough start and are +190 to win their division and +550 to win the franchise’s first Grey Cup since 1999.
Hamilton may not be the best team in the league, but they sure will get a lot of attention this season with former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Johnny Manziel on the scene. Manziel is looking to rehabilitate his image and football career in hopes of another NFL shot in a couple of years. Right now, Manziel is the No. 2 on the depth chart behind Jeremiah Masoli, a good college QB in his own right. Hamilton opened the 2017 season with eight-consecutive losses with Zach Collaros (now gone) under center before Masoli took over and led the team to a 6-4 finish. He threw for 3,177 yards and 15 TDs in 12 total appearances and rushed for another 446 yards. Masoli has been in the league for six years and this will be his first he has entered the season as the starter. The Ticats have a great receiving corps in Brandon Banks, Luke Tasker and Jalen Saunders, who all went over 1,000.
Calgary had one of the best regular-season teams in CFL history in 2016, but were upset by Ottawa 39-33 in the Grey Cup. Last year, they were again clearly the league’s best, but the Toronto Argonauts pulled the upset in the title game 27-24. The Stamps have no quarterback questions with Bo Levi Mitchell running things. The 2016 Most Outstanding Player remains one of the CFL’s best and hasn’t missed a game since 2014. Mitchell has a new backup in Ricky Stanzi and welcomes back receiver Eric Rogers, a 2015 CFL All-Star, from the NFL. The team added free-agent running back Don Jackson to help replace Jerome Messam, who signed with Saskatchewan, but Terry Williams will be the primary back. The Stamps have beaten Hamilton 12-straight times including a Week 17 victory on the road and a record-setting 60-1 route earlier in the season.
Calgary may not get the job done in the final game of the season, but they are very dominant in the regular season, especially at home in the warmer weather. Their offense will be too much for Hamilton to handle in this one. It won’t be 60-1 like last year, but dominant enough to cover the spread.
Pick: Stampeders -8
- Tiger-Cats are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 road games.
- Tiger-Cats are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Tiger-Cats are 21-46 ATS in their last 67 games in Week 1.
- Tiger-Cats are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games in June.
- Tiger-Cats are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 Saturday games.
- Stampeders are 18-8 ATS in their last 26 home games.
- Stampeders are 11-5 ATS in their last 16 Saturday games.
- Stampeders are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
- Stampeders are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in June.
- Under is 18-5 in Tiger-Cats last 23 games in June.
- Under is 14-5 in Tiger-Cats last 19 games in Week 1.
- Over is 5-2 in Tiger-Cats last 7 Saturday games.
- Under is 4-0 in Stampeders last 4 Saturday games.
- Under is 4-1 in Stampeders last 5 games overall.
- Under is 18-5 in Stampeders last 23 games in June.
- Under is 16-5-1 in Stampeders last 22 games in Week 1.
- Under is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings in Calgary.
- Under is 9-2 in the last 11 meetings.
- Tiger-Cats are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 meetings in Calgary.
- Tiger-Cats are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 meetings.