Toronto Argonauts Road 'Dogs At Tiger-Cats

By: Michael Robinson | Thursday, August 11, 2011

The CFL’s Toronto Argonauts look to end an awful 5-game losing streak when they visit the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Saturday.

The Don Best odds screen has Hamilton as 7 ½-point home favorites with a total of 50 points. Only 44 miles separate these rivals and the meeting in Hamilton is usually played during Canada’s Labour Day Classic in September.

TSN in Canada will broadcast from Ivor Wynne Stadium starting at 4:00 p.m. (PT). Weather is expected to be in the high 60s, low 70s, with showers likely.

Toronto is at the bottom of the East Division at 1-5 SU (2-4 ATS). That’s just a year removed from going 9-9 in the regular season and making the playoffs. Winnipeg (5-1) is the current surprise leader in the East, followed by Montreal (4-2) and Hamilton (3-3).

The Argonauts had a chance to make a statement hosting Montreal last Thursday. Instead, they put up another dud, losing 36-23 as 4 ½-point ‘dogs. Quarterback Anthony Calvillo ripped apart the Toronto pass defense, going 30-of-36 for 349 yards. Brandon Whitaker added 150 yards on the ground.

Toronto now has a 5-game losing streak (1-4 ATS) after opening the season with an impressive 23-21 upset at Calgary.

Coach Jim Barker was really angry after the Montreal game. Not only did his team come out flat in the second half, giving up 16 unanswered points, but the defense allowed 521 total yards.

Barker fired defensive coordinator Chip Garber the next day and replaced him with defensive backs coach Orlondo Steinauer. The team’s 178 points (29.7 PPG) allowed this year is second-worst in the league.

The ‘over’ is 4-0 in Toronto’s last four games, surrendering a big 33.8 PPG.

Offensively, Toronto is scoring 21.3 PPG, seventh out of eight teams. Quarterback Cleo Lemon threw for 314 yards and two TDs last week after missing time with a tooth injury. However, he needs to come through at the crucial times and covert yards into points.

Hamilton (3-3 SU and ATS) had a recent 3-game winning streak, including a home win (34-26) over Montreal in Week 5, but couldn’t carry over the momentum into Calgary last Saturday. The result was a 32-20 loss as 3 ½-point underdogs.

The Tiger-Cats’ had a couple of things in common with Toronto last week. First, they had a brutal second half, getting outscored 19-0. Second, their pass defense was disappointing with Calgary’s Henry Burris going 27-of-39 for 341 yards and a touchdown.

Hamilton quarterback Kevin Glenn had his worst output since opening week with just 211 yards. He’s currently fifth in the league in passing (1,449 yards) and third in touchdown passes (10).

Both teams want to run the ball Saturday even though this is a passing league. Hamilton’s Avon Cobourne (398 yards) is third in the league in rushing, while Toronto’s Chad Kackert (314 yards) is fifth despite no carries in the first two games.

Toronto is expecting running back Cory Boyd (knee) to return this week, a good boost to the offense even with Kackert playing well. Kevin Eiben (pectoral muscle) is out for the year after getting hurt last week and the linebacker unit also has Anthony Cannon (quad) questionable.

Hamilton has receiver Maurice Mann (foot) and defensive back Carlos Thomas (undisclosed) listed as questionable.

Hamilton has won and ‘covered’ its last two home games after dropping the opener to Winnipeg. The ‘under’ is 2-1 in those three games and 17-5 in its last 22 at home.

This is the first meeting between the teams this year. Hamilton was 3-0 SU and ATS against Toronto in the regular season last year, but the Argonauts won the one that mattered in the playoffs (16-13 as 6 ½-point road ‘dogs).

The ‘under’ is 6-0 in the last six meetings between the squads, with an average total of 36.8 points.

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