There’s Thursday Night Football happening north of the border where the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts host the Montreal Alouettes. Each team is riding a losing streak, much more surprising for the visitors.
The Don Best odds screen has Montreal as 4 ½-point road favorites with a total of 52 points.
TSN in Canada will have the kickoff from Rogers Centre starting at 4:30 p.m. (PT). The roof is scheduled to be open with weather expected to be clear and in the 70s.
The two-time defending champ Alouettes started the season in fine fashion, 3-0 straight up and 2-1 against the spread. That includes a 40-17 home win over Toronto as 10 ½-point favorites in Week 3, going ‘over’ the 53 ½-points.
Montreal’s fortunes changed in Week 4 against Saskatchewan. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo (eye injury) went out in the second quarter (not returning) and the team suffered a 27-24 upset as 11 ½-point home favorites.
Calvillo did play last Friday at Hamilton, throwing for 356 yards. However, he only completed 51.1 percent of his passes (23-for-45) and Hamilton got a 34-26 victory as 3-point underdogs.
Montreal now has its first 2-game losing streak since 2008. Calvillo still leads the CFL in touchdown passes (11), although 10 of them came in the first three games. He’s second in passing yards (1,485) despite the injury and needs nine completions to break Damon Allen's all-time record of 5,158.
Coach Marc Trestman has to be concerned about a defense that allowed a season-high 34 points last game. The unit is surrendering 25.8 PPG this year, ranked fifth out of the eight teams.
The ‘over’ is 4-1 for Montreal this year and 2-0 on the road. The ‘over’ is 5-1 in its last six road games overall.
Toronto is in the East Division basement at 1-4 SU (2-3 ATS). Surprising Winnipeg (4-1) leads after already matching its win total from last season. Hamilton and Montreal are tied-for-second at 3-2.
The Argonauts started the season strong with a 23-21 win at Calgary as 8-point ‘dogs. They’ve lost four straight since, but have played just one home game this year, a 33-24 loss to Winnipeg as 3 ½-point favorites on July 23.
Toronto is 0-5 SU and ATS in its last five home games.
Quarterback Cleo Lemon will be back in the starting lineup according to coach Jim Barker. Lemon was 5-for-5 passing in the first quarter against Winnipeg in that home game before suffering a tooth injury on a hit.
Backup Dalton Bell finished the contest and had 169 passing yards and two interceptions. He then struggled again last week at undefeated Edmonton (26-25 loss as 8-point underdogs), throwing for just 156 yards and two more picks.
The close Edmonton game proved Toronto can be dangerous. Running back Chad Kacert had 139 rushing yards on 20 carries, with Cory Boyd still injured (knee). The defense did enough to win, but is surrendering 28.4 PPG this year after leading the league last season (24.6 PPG).
Boyd (1,359 rushing yards last year) is questionable Thursday, but would be a big boost to go along with Lemon. Lemon is second in the league in completion percentage (64.3), although he only has two TD passes. He can’t afford to squander scoring opportunities against Montreal.
Toronto is just 2-10 ATS in its last 12 games against Montreal (1-5 ATS at home). The teams split two meetings in Toronto last year, with the ‘over’ going 2-0.
The ‘over’ is 4-1 in the last five meetings between the teams overall.