By Dave Schwab

Week 2 of the 2017 CFL regular season is filled with inter-division matchups and the one that has caught my eye as my “Game of the Week” pick is Friday’s clash between the British Columbia Lions and the Toronto Argonauts. The Lions lost their opener as home favorites while Toronto stunned Hamilton as underdogs at home.

You always have to remember that things are not always what they seem, especially one week into any new season in any league and I believe that this inter-division matchup presents the perfect opportunity to put this theory to the test.

British Columbia Lions at Toronto Argonauts

Friday night’s clash between BC and Toronto at BMO Field is set to get underway at 7 p.m. and the early CFL betting lines at a number of the top online sportsbooks taking action on the CFL have listed the Argonauts as slight one-point home favorites with the total set at 55.

The Lions closed as four-point home favorites in their 30-27 loss to Edmonton in Week 1 and the total stayed UNDER a closing line of 60.5 points. I bet the OVER in this game when it was set at 58 points as last week’s CFL Game of the Week play. I also thought that BC would have won this game at home given the past betting trends between these two bitter West Division rivals where the home team has dominated this series over the past several years.

I am going to continue to ride BC this week as a slight road underdog for a number of reasons, but the one at the top of this list is the opening betting line. I would not be surprised to see the Lions close as one or even two-point favorites come Friday night. This is still one of the top teams in the CFL behind an offense that can move the ball down field both through the air with Jonathon Jennings at quarterback and with running back Jeremiah Johnson carrying it on the ground.

Jennings completed 64.7 percent of his 34 passing attempts against Edmonton for 264 yards and Johnson added another 92 yards on 14 rushing attempts to average 6.6 yards a carry. The slow start out of the gate in that game with 11 points through the first three quarters put the Lions into a pretty deep hole, but I am more focused on the 16 points they managed to score in the fourth quarter to almost pull out the win.

Toronto only won five games last season so it was easy to see why it opened as a 3.5-point underdog at home in last Sunday’s game against East Division foe Hamilton. Take a lok at the early CFL standings here. The Argonauts outscored the Tiger-Cats 17-3 in the second half of that game to pull off the 32-15 upset and start their season on a bright note.

Ricky Ray has had his issues staying on the field as Toronto’s starting quarterback in recent seasons due to a grocery list of injuries, but that was not the case last Sunday when he torched Hamilton’s secondary for 506 passing yards and one score while connecting on 78 percent of his 41 attempts. DeVier Posey caught seven passes for 147 yards while SJ Green came down with another seven balls for 124 yards. The one concern for me was the Argos’ running game, with just 39 total yards, but this league is still about moving the ball through the air.

The one big question I have with Toronto this week is can it match that kind of production on a consistent basis and the other is can a defense that was torched for 31.6 points a game in 2016 (the most in the CFL) keep a potent offense like BC in check this Friday night. Beating a Tiger-Cat is one thing; however beating a Lion is a whole other story.

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