Philadelphia, PA (Sportsbook Betting Lines) - WINNIPEG BLUE BOMBERS (0-1) AT MONTREAL ALOUETTES (0-1)
Winnipeg, which lost to British Columbia in the 99th Grey Cup last season at BC Place, was back in the same building to kick off the new season last week and unfortunately suffered a similar fate in a 33-16 setback to the Lions. Taking a loss is tough enough, but losing a starting quarterback less than 30 minutes into the season might be even more troubling, and that was the case for the Bombers and Buck Pierce.
Even though he finished with more interceptions (18) than passing touchdowns (14) last season as he connected on 63.5 percent of his attempts, Pierce was supposed to be the guy that the Blue Bombers were going to lean on all season long. However, late in the second quarter against BC he suffered a lower-leg injury and never returned.
It was assumed that even though Montreal quarterback Anthony Calvillo had not played a significant role in the preseason games for the Alouettes, he would be more than ready to get the regular season off on the right foot, but that simply wasn't the case on Sunday. In fact, Calvillo connected on barely 50 percent (16-of-31) of his pass attempts and was limited to just 174 yards and a single major, compared to a pair of interceptions as he and the Als were dealt a 38-10 loss at Calgary.
Jamel Richardson, the league's leading receiver from a year ago after putting up a staggering and career-best 112 catches for 1,777 yards and 11 touchdowns, finished with five grabs for 78 yards versus Calgary. The lone major for the Als in the opener came from Brian Bratton, who recorded two catches for 45 yards.
If anyone can get ready in time to play it is Calvillo who has seen it all since joining the CFL's Las Vegas Posse back in 1994. It took a few years for Calvillo to get his footing in the league, but since 2000 he has thrown for less than 4,200 yards only twice. Granted, the league's all-time leader in passing yards (73,586) and touchdowns (419) did complete just 61.8 percent of his attempts a year ago, which was his lowest since 2003, but there is something to be said for being able to place your confidence in a proven winner and that's what the Als have going in their favor.
The clubs have three more dates with each other remaining on the schedule after this week, the next coming on August 3 in Winnipeg.
The last time the Alouettes opened the season with a loss on the road was two years ago and the final result several months later was a win in the Grey Cup, so maybe shaking off the rust here early on isn't such a bad thing for Calvillo and Montreal.
Sportsbook Betting Lines Predicted Outcome: Montreal 32, Winnipeg 17.
DATE & TIME: Friday, July 6, 10:00 p.m. (et).
It's less than a month until the NHL hockey betting season opens at MySportsbook.com and preparations are underway for another battle in the race to hoist Lord Stanley's mug in 2007.
Despite a poor showing in last season's playoffs and the loss of Steve Yzerman to retirement, the Detroit Red Wings are early favourites at this online sportsbook with wagering odds of 6-1. The Wings will look to offensive powerhouse Pavel Datsyuk and newly appointed captain Nicklas Lidstrom to lead one of the league's most prominent franchises.
Always a threat are the Ottawa Senators, with newly acquired goaltender Martin Gerber from the Stanley Cup champion ,Carolina Hurricanes. The Sens are second best in the rankings at a 7-1 bet, and odds makers at this sportsbook are optimistic that the Ottawa squad will fare better than last season's Eastern Conference semi-final upset to the Buffalo Sabres.
Also worth noting are the defending Stanley Cup champs Carolina Hurricanes, a 10-1 bet to repeat. Behind the Canes are the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, Philadelphia Flyers, and Anaheim Mighty Ducks all sit at 12-1. In the basement are the Washington Capitals, Chicago Blackhawks, and St. Louis Blues who all have 100-1 odds to win.