Week Five CFL Picks

Calgary Stampeders (-5) at Ottawa RedBlacks

Friday, July 24: 7:05 PM ET

The RedBlacks have done a straight nosedive since their 2-0 start. Veteran quarterback Henry Burris has outdone general manager Marcel Desjardins’ best efforts to improve Ottawa’s receiving core with his poor play; the additions of Brad Sinopoli, Ernest Jackson, Maurice Price, Greg Ellingson, and Chris Williams — in whom the RedBlacks have invested close to $750,000 combined — have resulted in Burris attaining virtually the same quarterback rating this season (79.6) as he had in 2014 (78.7). With a veteran-laden Stampeder secondary coming into this contest fresh off an embarrassing performance against Winnipeg, I don’t see Burris’ struggles ending any time soon. I’m taking the Stamps and eating the points.

Pick straight-up: Calgary

Pick against the spread: Calgary

Toronto Argonauts at BC Lions (-3)

Friday, July 24: 10:05 PM ET

I expect this to be the game of the week. The Lions are coming off a strong performance at Mosaic Stadium and have rallied behind new head coach Jeff Tedford and a rejuvenated Travis Lulay en route to a 2-1 start. The Boatmen, meanwhile, fly to Vancouver well-rested and determined to prove they are worth more than the poor treatment they’ve received as the red-headed stepchildren of the Braley football family. This game will also feature two of the league’s best national players going head-to-head in BC’s Andrew Harris and Toronto’s Cory Greenwood. I’m taking the Lions to win — but not to cover.

Pick straight-up: BC

Pick against the spread: Toronto

Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Edmonton Eskimos (-5.5)

Saturday, July 25: 6:05 PM ET

As well as Drew Willy has played this season, the second-year Bomber pivot has yet to show he can handle the exotic, aggressive blitzing schemes Chris Jones loves to utilize. Willy was miserable against the Eskimos a season ago, posting a quarterback rating of just 55.7 over five quarters of work. On the flip side, Edmonton’s offence has done little to impress me through their first three games of the season. Matt Nichols has been poor, while the Eskimo offensive line has struggled without Simeon Rottier in the line-up. For these reasons, I’m taking the Eskimos straight-up and Winnipeg against the spread in a low scoring affair.

Pick straight-up: Edmonton

Pick against the spread: Winnipeg

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Saskatchewan Roughriders (Pick ’em)

Sunday, July 26: 7:05 PM ET

This match-up features the CFL’s two most under-performing teams. As much as the ‘Riders are due for a win — I picked them in each of the past two weeks versus BC — the Ti-Cats are simply the better team. Zach Collaros should have no trouble getting back on track versus the league’s planet’s worst defence and, though the loss of Ted Laurent will be costly if he’s unable to play, I believe Hamilton’s defence is strong enough to keep the ‘Rider attack to under thirty points in this contest. It’s hard to understate the magnitude of this contest for Saskatchewan — with dates in Edmonton and Toronto on the horizon, a loss here could effectively end their season.

Pick straight-up: Hamilton

Pick against the spread: Hamilton

Season record straight-up: 8-8

Season record against the spread: 9-6-1

John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk

Twitter: @BlueBomberTalk

Email: [email protected]

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.