Week Nine CFL Picks

Montreal Alouettes at BC Lions (-3)

Thursday, August 20: 10:05 ET

The Alouettes (2-5) are winless on the road and come into this game fresh off one of the worst offensive performances in recent CFL history. Though the end of the Michael Sam era should help focus a distracted team, the ongoing decision to bench healthy veterans Jerald Brown and John Bowman is sure to cause strife in the locker room. The Lions (3-4), meanwhile, were embarrassed last week at Tim Hortons Field. The Ti-Cats held M.O.P. candidate Andrew Harris to just fifty-seven yards off ten touches in a performance that included two first quarter fumbles. Coming off a short week, this young Lions team should be desperate to record a win heading into their second and final bye week of the 2015 campaign. As such, I’ll take the Lions straight-up and against the spread.

Pick straight-up: BC

Pick against the spread: BC

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-2) at Edmonton Eskimos

Friday, August 21: 9:05 PM ET

It’s a crime that Mike Reilly will be unavailable for this match-up between two CFL heavyweights. Edmonton (5-2) and Hamilton (5-2) boast the CFL’s best point differentials at plus-79 and plus-107, respectively, as well as the league’s most dominant defences. Seeing these teams go toe-to-toe at their tops of their respective games would be a treat for fans across the country. Instead, as strong as the Eskimos have been at Commonwealth Stadium under Chris Jones (10-2), I see this contest ending up in a one-sided victory for the blitz-happy Ti-Cats. CFL fans can only hope Reilly is back by September 19th when these same two teams do battle at Tim Hortons Field in Steeltown.

Pick straight-up: Hamilton

Pick against the spread: Hamilton

Calgary Stampeders (-6) at Saskatchewan Roughriders

Saturday, August 22: 7:05 PM ET

The Stampeders (5-2) finally regained their 2014 form a week ago, defeating the Ottawa RedBlacks at home by a lopsided score of 48-3. Bo Levi Mitchell was spectacular, marking the first time he’s dominated an opponent since perennial all-star Jon Cornish broke his thumb four weeks ago. That’s bad news for a winless Roughrider team (0-7) that is ranked eighth in passing yards allowed per game (275.1) and ninth in points allowed per game (32.1). Saskatchewan failed to take advantage of their recent bye week to make any on-field or off-field changes; it’ll be intriguing to see if the team’s decision to stand pat pays off. In the meantime, I’m all over the Stamps minus-six.

Pick straight-up: Calgary

Pick against the spread: Calgary

Ottawa RedBlacks at Toronto Argonauts (-9)

Sunday, August 23: 4:05 PM ET

It’s been an up-and-down season for an Ottawa (4-3) team that was throttled last Saturday by the same Stampeder squad they defeated 29-26 in week five. Henry Burris, streaky at the best of times over the course of his career, has suffered severely from a lack of run support this season. The RedBlacks average just 68.9 rushing yards per game, worst in the league, while Chevon Walker’s average of 3.7 yards per carry is dead last among CFL running backs with a minimum of ten carries. On the flip side, Toronto (5-2) has yet to lose at the Rogers Centre despite the lack of home field advantage the cavernous venue provides. I’ll take the Argos by a touchdown.

Pick straight-up: Toronto

Pick against the spread: Ottawa

Season record straight-up: 19-13

Season record against the spread: 17-14-1

John Hodge, Blue Bomber Talk

Twitter: @BlueBomberTalk

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John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.