3DownNation CFL picks: Labour Day rematches galore

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders/Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards

They say the CFL season doesn’t really start until Labour Day, which is good news for our contributors who remain under .500 on their picks.

Last week was pretty wild with the Blue Bombers getting a rare win on Labour Day, the Ticats continuing to rediscover their 2019 form, and the Elks having an excellent game despite coming off a COVID-19 outbreak in Calgary. We’ll see if those trends to continue in Week 6 with three rematches on the slate.

Without further ado, here are the picks.

Friday, Sept. 10
Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Toronto Argonauts, 7:30 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Argos -3

The Ticats are looking to extend their two-game winning streak, though they’ll be without reigning CFL MOP Brandon Banks in this one. Nick Arbuckle will be back under centre for Toronto after a disappointing performance in the Labour Day Classic during which he threw a pair of interceptions.

DUNK: Simoni Lawrence wants to put on a show in Toronto. TICATS

HODGE: The Argos bounce back following a disappointing performance on Labour Day. ARGOS

ABBOTT: Hamilton finally looked like the team we all thought they’d be. TICATS

BALLANTINE: Hamilton is good enough to do it again. TICATS

FILOSO: After a slow start, Hamilton is rounding into form. TICATS

GASSON: Just when you think you have the CFL figured out, it tends to throw a curveball. ARGOS

HUDSON: When healthy, Hamilton is just a better team. They’ll sink the Argos battleship again this weekend. TICATS

LUDWIG: Arbuckle will have a better showing while Hamilton will be without Brandon Banks. ARGOS

MCGUIRE: Ticats have their act together but the boatmen are a different deal at home. ARGOS

SMITH: This will be closer than Labour Day, but the Tabbies are starting to click. TICATS


Saturday, Sept. 11
Saskatchewan Roughriders at Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 4:00 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Bombers -1

The two top teams in the West Division are facing each other for the final time this regular season, making this an extremely important matchup for both clubs. Cody Fajardo is looking to bounce back from a “terrible” game in the Labour Day Classic, while the Bombers look to improve to a perfect 4-0 at home.

DUNK: Willie Jefferson continues to speak his truth and put it into action. BOMBERS

HODGE: If Saskatchewan couldn’t win the Labour Day Classic, they’re not winning the Banjo Bowl. BOMBERS

ABBOTT: My head tells me that Winnipeg should sweep the back-to-back, but my gut senses a split. RIDERS

BALLANTINE: The Bombers looked good last week but have been a little Jekyll and Hyde. RIDERS

FILOSO: Beating the same team two weeks in a row is tough. Good thing Winnipeg is the best squad in the league. BOMBERS

GASSON: Should be a better game but the Bombers are Cody kryptonite. BOMBERS

HUDSON: Saskatchewan’s offence looked out of sorts Labour Day weekend. I expect the rebound game to be different. RIDERS

LUDWIG: Unlike the rematch in Toronto, the Riders are going to be facing a ton of crowd noise in Winnipeg. BOMBERS

MCGUIRE: Riders will pound the rock. Only problem is, they don’t have a run game. BOMBERS

SMITH: A packed house at IG Field gives the Blue and Gold the edge they need. BOMBERS


Saturday, Sept. 11
Calgary Stampeders at Edmonton Elks, 7:00 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Elks -1.5

The Stampeders have the worst record in the CFL at 1-4, though it appears likely that Bo Levi Mitchell will return for this game after missing three contests with a fractured fibula. Trevor Harris had a breakout performance last week as he threw for 398 yards and four touchdown and will look to keep things rolling as the Elks return home to Commonwealth Stadium.

DUNK: Bo Levi Mitchell comes back to lead Calgary. STAMPS

HODGE: Calgary is approaching must-win territory. Bo gets it done. STAMPS

ABBOTT: The Elks were fuelled by emotion last week. That will lead to burnout at home. STAMPS

BALLANTINE: Calgary suffered from the dropsies last week and it cost them. It won’t happen twice. STAMPS

FILOSO: Calgary feels backed into a corner where losing isn’t an option. STAMPS

GASSON: The better team wins this time. STAMPS 

HUDSON: If Calgary crumbles here they’ll be fighting desperately for the last playoff spot in West. I’ll take them in a close one. STAMPS

LUDWIG: The return of Aaron Grymes will counter a good chunk of the Bo Levi effect. ELKS

MCGUIRE: Even if Bo plays, he’ll be rusty. Hard to imagine a road team sweep of this home and home. ELKS

SMITH: It’s getting very close to do-or-die time for Calgary. Not a must-win, but a gotta-win. STAMPS


Saturday, Sept. 11
Ottawa Redblacks at B.C. Lions, 10:00 p.m. ET
Betting Line: Lions -7.5

Dominique Davis has taken over as the new starting quarterback in Ottawa after recording the club’s first two passing touchdowns in a 51-29 loss to the Montreal Alouettes. The B.C. Lions are coming off a Week 5 bye and are looking to break above .500 for the first time this season with a win at home.

DUNK: Until Ottawa proves otherwise… LIONS

HODGE: Ottawa is simply not good enough. LIONS

ABBOTT: Dominique Davis might actually give his team a chance to move the ball, but take the over on how many picks he’ll throw against B.C.’s secondary. LIONS

BALLANTINE: Eastern teams travelling to B.C. almost never do well. Add how bad the Redblacks are and this pick is easy. LIONS

FILOSO: Rick Campbell is typically horrific after a bye week, but the long trip and late start do Ottawa no favours. LIONS

GASSON: Ottawa stinks, has a long trip and has to deal with a late internal clock. B.C. is coming off a bye. LIONS

HUDSON: B.C. has had a tough season but facing Ottawa is a great way to get out of a funk. LIONS

LUDWIG: I hope B.C. copies Montreal’s deep passing game to liven things up. LIONS

MCGUIRE: Talk about this week’s version of the toilet bowl. Expect a romp. LIONS

SMITH: The Redblacks could travel back in time to have Russ Jackson QB this team and it wouldn’t make a difference. LIONS


2021 Records

Dunk 11-8
Hudson 10-9
Gasson 9-10
Hodge 8-11
McGuire 8-11
Smith 8-11
Ludwig 7-12
Abbott 6-13
Ballantine 5-14
Filoso 5-14

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.