Week One CFL Picks

Ottawa RedBlacks at Montreal Alouettes (-8)

Thursday, June 25: 7:35 PM ET

First off, I must say this: in a week that features both a Grey Cup rematch and an all-prairie showdown between the ‘Riders and Bombers, why on earth is the CFL kicking off its season with Ottawa at Montreal? This game has all the makings of a dud with Ottawa coming off a two-win season and Montreal fielding arguably the league’s worst starting quarterback. I expect a low-scoring affair in which Jonathan Crompton does just enough to beat an Ottawa team that, despite its talent upgrades at receiver and along the offensive line, struggled mightily in the preseason. Eight points, however, is probably too many.

Pick straight-up: Montreal

Pick against the spread: Ottawa

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Calgary Stampeders (-6.5)

Friday, June 26: 9:05 PM ET

This is probably the most difficult game of the weak to assess. Hamilton will be highly motivated to avenge their 2014 Grey Cup loss, but Calgary is extraordinarily good at home, losing just two meaningful games at McMahon Stadium since 2013. I expect this game to be a relatively high-scoring affair with a number of lead changes and a ton of excitement. Hopefully it ends on a last-second field goal. Though I could easily see it going the other way, I foresee Calgary taking this one in a dog fight.

Pick straight-up: Calgary

Pick against the spread: Hamilton

Edmonton Eskimos (-7.5) at Toronto Argonauts

Saturday, June 27: 5:05 PM ET

Trevor Harris will make his second career CFL start for the Argos in a “home game” that is set to be played in Fort McMurray, Alberta. As much as I respect Scott Milanovich and Marcus Brady as offensive game planners, I fail to see a way in which Chris Jones’ defence doesn’t dominate the Argos’ Ricky Ray-less attack en route to a one-sided Eskimo victory. This game originally opened with Edmonton at -5.5. 7.5 points is still not enough.

Pick straight-up: Edmonton

Pick against the spread: Edmonton

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan Roughriders (-7.5)

Saturday, June 27: 8:05 PM ET

The ‘Riders won all three of their match-ups with the Bombers last season by a combined total of seventeen points. This was done largely on the back of Saskatchewan’s phenomenal power run game that was repeatedly able to dominate Gary Etcheverry’s undersized defence. Unfortunately for Saskatchewan, their offensive line is no longer dominant and Etcheverry is no longer the defensive coordinator in Winnipeg. The Bombers are long overdue for a win in Regina, something that will be aided by the inactivity of ‘Rider stars Weston Dressler and Tyron Brackenridge.

Pick straight-up: Winnipeg

Pick against the spread: Winnipeg

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.