It’s Johnny Manziel time. The Montreal Alouettes have named the former Heisman Trophy winner their starting quarterback for this week’s game against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Manziel, a former first-round pick of the Browns, is trying to resurrect his NFL career but first must prove he can play well in the CFL.
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Manziel began his career in Canada with the Tiger-Cats but he couldn’t get on the field with incumbent quarterback Jeremiah Masoli playing so well. So he was dealt to the struggling Alouettes and after sitting on the sideline for his first game with the team, he will now take over.
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It will be Manziel’s first regular season game since 2015 with the Browns, so expectations should be tempered, but there is no doubt this game is going to generate a lot of interest as Manziel is a very polarizing character. Montreal may have the biggest name in the contest but the team has struggled this year and will be the home underdog in CFL wagering.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and Montreal Alouettes will face off on Friday, August 3rd, 2018, at 7:30 p.m. ET at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.
The Alouettes are just 1-5 on the season and will enter this contest as the 6.5-point home underdogs. The bettors believe Manziel can keep them in the contest as Montreal is receiving about 80 percent of the action to cover thus far.
The scoring total is listed at 49 points, and the “over” is the more popular choice. Manziel is also reason for that, as he has the ability to either light up the scoreboard himself or turn the ball over which would allow for some easy Hamilton points.
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Manziel -- Most people in the United States don’t pay a lot of attention to the CFL, but that will change on this day. Johnny Football has been a huge star since his excellent play at Texas A&M and he hopes to get back on track after a host of off-field issues ended his NFL career.
Manziel has not had any issues in Canada and now gets his chance to prove his worth. He looked decent in the preseason with the Tiger-Cats but did not do enough in practice to unseat Masoli before he was traded. Even though the CFL is not the same caliber league as the NFL, there are still plenty of talented players, and Manziel will need to stay disciplined in order to find success.
92. That’s the number of points the Alouettes have scored this season, which is the lowest in the CFL. The team has been hit hard by injuries at quarterback, which helped necessitate the trade for Manziel. The Tiger-Cats have a pretty solid defense and will likely throw some wrinkles at Manziel as he tries to get up to speed quickly.
Montreal had to do something to try to turn things around after five losses in its first six games. Manziel hopes to be the spark that gets some points on the board consistently in this contest and moving forward.
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While there is going to be a ton of Manziel hype entering the game, he is in a tough spot. He barely knows the offense and will need to be magical to give his team a shot at winning. The Tiger-Cats are better than their 2-4 record would suggest and they should be able to hit the road and come away with the win.
Hamilton is also the choice to cover the spread as Manziel is likely to struggle in his CFL debut in football betting lines.
CFL ATS Pick: Hamilton Tiger-Cats 30, Montreal Alouettes 20