3DownNation CFL picks: no love for Ottawa

Photo courtesy: CFL

Week 5 of the 2021 CFL season is set to get underway and it’s time to make another round of picks.

Our picks aren’t off to a great start given the unpredictability of the CFL’s return, but we have a feeling we’ll hit our stride this week with Labour Day rivalries aplenty. It sucked not having the CFL last year during the long weekend, so we’re extra excited to have a full slate of games to watch this year.

Without further ado, here are the picks.

Friday, Sept. 3
Montreal Alouettes at Ottawa Redblacks, 7:30 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Als -7.5

The Alouettes are looking to get back on track after suffering an embarrassing 17-point loss in their home-opener to the Tigar-Cats. The good news for Montreal is they’ve got the Redblacks this week, who are currently dead-last in the CFL in virtually every offensive statistical category.

DUNK: It could be closer than many think. ALS

HODGE: Playing Ottawa is a great way for Montreal to get back on track. ALS

ABBOTT: Vernon Adams hasn’t looked like himself at quarterback, but Matt Nichols doesn’t even look like a quarterback. ALS

BALLANTINE: The Redblacks are awful. ALS

FILOSO: The Redblacks are averaging 12.1 points and 188 yards of offence per game. Until that changes, they’ll keep losing. ALS

GASSON: Ottawa can’t score. ALS

HUDSON: Montreal’s showed some weaknesses since their hot start in Week 2, but they are playing a lifeless Ottawa offence. ALS

LUDWIG: Whoever is playing Ottawa is a heavy favourite. ALS

MCGUIRE: Montreal’s offence has looked putrid. Ottawa’s offence has looked even more putrid. ALS

SMITH: Montreal hasn’t been good since Week 2. Ottawa hasn’t been any good since 2018. ALS

ALS — 10

Sunday, Sept. 5
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan Roughriders, 6:00 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Riders -4.5

Saskatchewan is coming off their bye week with a perfect 3-0 record and a ton of confidence, given that they’re 14-1 record on Labour Day since 2005. The Blue Bombers will have to hope the return of Andrew Harris, who missed the Labour Day game in 2019 due to a suspension, can help shut up the crowd in Regina.

DUNK: Saskie strong, especially so for the Labour Day Classic. RIDERS

HODGE: Never pick against Saskatchewan on Labour Day Weekend. RIDERS

ABBOTT: Andrew Harris won’t shut up Rider Nation, but his comments this week might make Mosaic Stadium louder. RIDERS

BALLANTINE: Calgary was a gust of wind from beating Winnipeg with a much less experienced team. RIDERS

FILOSO: Saskatchewan has won 14 of the last 15 Labour Day games and is unbeaten in their last 10 home games. RIDERS

GASSON: We’ll learn a lot about the Riders’ offensive line this week, though Fajardo gets the ball out quick. RIDERS 

HUDSON: Winnipeg doesn’t have enough special about their offence right now to expect their defensive line to beat Riders out of a bye week. RIDERS

LUDWIG: A split is the likeliest result. Game one goes to the home team off a bye. RIDERS

MCGUIRE: Saskatchewan has lost two Labour Day games in the past 40 years when entering with a better record than Winnipeg. RIDERS 

SMITH: When two good teams play you give the edge to the home side. RIDERS


Monday, Sept. 6
Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats, 1:00 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Ticats -2

The Boatmen return to the field after their Week 4 game was postponed due to Edmonton’s COVID-19 outbreak. Nick Arbuckle looked great in his first start in double blue, while Dane Evans was sacked six times in his first start of the season despite winning the game over Montreal. This game is Hamilton’s home-opener, so Tim Hortons Field should be rocking.

DUNK: Ticats continue bouncing backs. TICATS

HODGE: Hamilton won’t be able to control Toronto’s front-seven. ARGOS

ABBOTT: Dane Evans got Hamilton going in the right direction, but Nick Arbuckle showed more against better competition. ARGOS

BALLANTINE: Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Denmark being Hamilton and something being their offensive line. ARGOS 

FILOSO: The players change but the results don’t — Toronto almost never wins the Labour Day Classic. TICATS

GASSON: Both coming off a bye (kind of) evens the playing field a bit, but Hamilton is rounding into form. TICATS

HUDSON: A true bye week versus half a bye week would’ve pushed me into an upset Toronto pick, but I’ll take experienced Hamilton staff at home for Labour Day. TICATS

LUDWIG: Toronto has weaknesses, but none as serious as Hamilton’s O-line. ARGOS

MCGUIRE: Toronto has had bye week to prepare while Hamilton has quarterback controversy. ARGOS

SMITH: If there was one time the Argos could pull this off, it would be this year. But the Ticats simply don’t lose on Labour Day. TICATS


Monday, Sept. 6
Edmonton Elks at Calgary Stampeders, 4:30 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Stamps -6

The Elks have 12 players still in COVID protocol following the team’s outbreak that saw 13 players test positive for the virus. It remains unknown how many of them will be out, though head coach Jaime Elizondo indicated that many will not play. Bo Levi Mitchell is back practice for Calgary in a limited capacity — will he make his return on Labour Day?

DUNK: Bo Levi Mitchell or not… STAMPS

HODGE: Edmonton will be rusty coming out of isolation. STAMPS

ABBOTT: The Elks looked terrible coming off a full training camp. Imagine what they’ll look like after 10 days of isolation. STAMPS

BALLANTINE: Zero chance Edmonton wins, no matter which QB is starting. STAMPS

FILOSO: COVID isn’t kind — the Elks will be a mess. STAMPS

GASSON: Who knows who Edmonton will be missing and it’s been a go of late. STAMPS 

HUDSON: If Calgary finds a more consistent deep passing attack, that’ll be enough to beat a team in organizational turmoil. STAMPS

LUDWIG: It causes me pain, but even without COVID issues good things rarely happen to Edmonton on Labour Day. STAMPS

MCGUIRE: Calgary looks focused and disciplined while Edmonton looks distracted and defiant. STAMPS  

SMITH: The Elks are in shambles and no matter who starts at QB for Calgary they will get the job done. STAMPS

ELKS — 0

2021 records to date

Dunk 9-6
Hudson 8-7
Hodge 7-8
Gasson 7-8
McGuire 7-8
Ludwig 6-9
Smith 6-9
Abbott 5-10
Ballantine 4-11
Filoso 3-12