3DownNation CFL picks: can the Redblacks do it again?

Photo courtesy: Edmonton Elks

Week 3 of the 2021 CFL season is set to get underway and it’s time to make another round of picks.

If our Week 1 selections were a mixed bag, our Week 2 selections were ugly. Nobody sits over .500 as we enter an intriguing slate of games that features a number of banged up teams and two quarterbacks making their first start of the season.

Without further ado, here are the picks.

Thursday, August 19
Edmonton Elks at B.C. Lions, 10:00 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Lions -4

The Lions made headlines on Wednesday with the announcement that Vancouver businessman Amar Doman had purchased the team from the late David Braley’s estate. The Elks will be looking to spoil his first game as owner after opening the season with a disappointing 0-2 home stand to start the season.

DUNK: Lions win game No. 1 for new owner Amar Doman. LIONS

HODGE: Edmonton made me look stupid in Week 1 and Week 2. Enough. LIONS

ABBOTT: The Lions are looking good and have fresh new owner, but this pick is more about my lack of faith in Edmonton’s offence. LIONS

BALLANTINE: A short week means little time for the Elks to adapt from their losing ways. LIONS

FILOSO: I’m picking up what B.C.’s putting down (this week, anyway). LIONS

GASSON: B.C. has played good football for a game and a half. LIONS

HUDSON: The popular pick is B.C. and they are at home, but they aren’t inconsistent enough. A motivated Edmonton squad could find their mojo away from home. ELKS

LUDWIG: Edmonton is not a safe choice, yet I can’t resist the temptation of picking them until they win. One would think it can’t be later than Labour Day or the rematch. ELKS

MCGUIRE: The Elks’ new logo and helmets look phenomenal. The team on the field? Not so much. LIONS

SMITH: B.C. at home feels like the safer play… I think. LIONS

ELKS — 2

Friday, August 20
Montreal Alouettes at Calgary Stampeders, 9:30 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Als -1

The Als got off to a hot start in Week 2, causing Trevor Harris and the Elks to fold at Commonwealth Stadium. They’ll look to beat presumed starting quarterback Michael O’Connor after Bo Levi Mitchell was diagnosed with a fractured fibula and added to the six-game injured list.

DUNK: Calgary is desperate. STAMPS

HODGE: Michael O’Connor’s going to be a good CFL quarterback, but he’s going to lose his first career start. ALS

ABBOTT: The last time Michael O’Connor started a game and won at McMahon Stadium was the 2015 Hardy Cup. His streak of losses since doesn’t end in new colours. ALS

BALLANTINE: History is filled with QBs that win their team debut due to a lack of tape. STAMPS

FILOSO: O’Connor will win games for the Stamps while Bo misses time, but not this one. ALS

GASSON: I just can’t see Calgary losing three in a row. STAMPS 

HUDSON: Montreal looks like a team ready to continue to make big plays and avoid mistakes. Young quarterbacks make mistakes. ALS

LUDWIG: It feels very weird to have any expectation at all of Calgary getting blown out. ALS

MCGUIRE: Montreal is still the feel-good story of the league and Calgary is without their star quarterback. ALS

SMITH: I believe in that staff and their ability to get O’Connor ready. STAMPS

ALS — 6

Saturday, August 21
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Toronto Argonauts, 4:00 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Bombers -5

McLeod Bethel-Thompson was unable to repeat his Week 1 glory when he got swallowed up by Willie Jefferson and the rest of Winnipeg’s defence at IG Field last week. The clubs are now playing a rematch in Toronto’s season-opener at BMO Field, which will also see Nick Arbuckle make his first start for the Argos.

DUNK: It’s hard to win back-to-backs, Winnipeg beware. BOMBERS

HODGE: If Winnipeg caught lightning in a bottle in the 2019 Grey Cup, they still haven’t lost it. BOMBERS

ABBOTT: The Argos’ offensive line can’t handle Winnipeg. It’s just that simple. BOMBERS

BALLANTINE: Winnipeg handled Toronto with ease last week and likely does the same this week, even with Arbuckle under centre. BOMBERS 

FILOSO: Winnipeg is playing solid football in all three phases of the game. BOMBERS

GASSON: The best team in the league. BOMBERS

HUDSON: It is a home-and-home, but I don’t buy the old adage that winning both is all that hard. BOMBERS

LUDWIG: After last week, this is an easy pick. Collaros is quickly quieting doubters. BOMBERS

MCGUIRE: The Argos were a mirage in Week 1 and Dinwiddie created a quarterback controversy in Week 2 against the league’s best defence. BOMBERS

SMITH: Winnipeg by a lot. BOMBERS


Saturday, August 21
Ottawa Redblacks at Saskatchewan Roughriders, 7:00 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Riders -11

The Redblacks shocked the world with a Week 1 win over Edmonton that came despite registering just 127 total yards. Coming off a bye, they’ll look to spoil the party at Mosaic Stadium where the Riders have started the season off 2-0 in big wins over B.C. and Hamilton.

DUNK: Sask can’t assume they’ll just show up and win. RIDERS

HODGE: Ottawa’s Week 1 win was one-in-a-million. They won’t win this one. RIDERS

ABBOTT: Yeah, the Redblacks’ defence is good, but it’s their offence that will cost them. RIDERS

BALLANTINE: The over-under I’m betting this week is Saskatchewan points vs. Ottawa net yards. RIDERS 

FILOSO: Paul LaPolice makes the most of an early bye week. REDBLACKS

GASSON: The home team is well-balanced right now. RIDERS 

HUDSON: Ottawa won one game they shouldn’t have on the biggest swing play we may see all season. Saskatchewan is better. RIDERS

LUDWIG: Well, there’s no such thing as a lock. RIDERS

MCGUIRE: The Redblacks are on their way, but Saskatchewan is too strong. RIDERS

SMITH: R-Nation can get as mad as they want, but regardless of that ugly win the Redblacks aren’t a good team. RIDERS


2021 records to date

Hodge — 4-4
Dunk — 4-4
McGuire — 4-4
Gasson — 3-5
Hudson — 3-5
Abbott — 2-6
Filoso — 2-6
Ludwig — 2-6
Smith — 2-6
Ballantine — 1-7

John Hodge is a CFL insider and draft analyst who has been covering the league since 2014.