3DownNation CFL picks: Riders, Als look to clinch playoff spot

Photo courtesy: CFL

Week 13 of the 2021 CFL season is officially upon us with a full slate of interdivisional games to keep us entertained. The Saskatchewan Roughriders and Montreal Alouettes have an opportunity to officially clinch a playoff spot, making their contest on Saturday the most important game of the week.

Halloween is just days away, which means we can expect to see some great costumes on display in stadiums across the country. Our contributors who are under .500 on their picks would be wise to use this as an excuse to wear a mask and avoid the ridicule of our readers.

It’s probably a good time to mention that sports betting in Canada will launch later this year if things go smoothly and it’s going to be a big deal. There are already a handful of sportsbooks that have been approved in a few of the provinces and the list could only grow from here. With any luck, CFL fans will be able to get bets in before the season ends.

Without further ado, here are the picks for the week.

Friday, Oct. 29 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Calgary Stampeders (5-6) at Ottawa Redblacks (2-9)
Betting line: Stamps -10.5

2019 CFL all-star Tre Roberson makes his return to the Stampeders’ secondary following a stint with the Chicago Bears of the NFL. That’s bad news for an Ottawa team that sits last in passing yards at just 208.1 per game with rookies Caleb Evans and Devlin ‘Duck’ Hodges combining for three interceptions in last week’s loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

DUNK: Bo Levi Mitchell in a blowout. STAMPS

HODGE: Bo is going to break 30,000 yards and R-Nation’s hearts. STAMPS

ABBOTT: Marcel Desjardins is gone, but the rotting corpse of his roster remains. STAMPS

BALLANTINE: Calgary can use this to build confidence and space vs. B.C. in the standings. STAMPS

FILOSO: There’s nothing to suggest Ottawa can even keep it close. STAMPS

GASSON: A tie would be fun for old time’s sake. STAMPS

HUDSON: Calgar needs this win to have any chance at a home playoff game. STAMPS

LUDWIG: *yawn* Next. STAMPS

MCGUIRE: New general manager in Ottawa, same result. STAMPS

SMITH: This shouldn’t even be close. STAMPS


Friday, Oct. 29 at 9:45 p.m. ET
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (5-5) at Edmonton Elks (2-7)
Betting line: Ticats -5.5

Jeremiah Masoli is set to make his fourth consecutive start after throwing for 681 yards and four touchdowns over his last two games. Bralon Addison won’t play due to a hamstring injury, though 2019 CFL Most Outstanding Player Brandon Banks remains in the lineup. Taylor Cornelius will start at quarterback for the Elks as recently-acquired Nick Arbuckle only arrived in Edmonton on Wednesday.

DUNK: The great No. 8 usually plays well in the Alberta capital, his first CFL home. TICATS

HODGE: Jeremiah Masoli is playing like it’s 2018. TICATS

ABBOTT: Hamilton is finally hitting their stride, while Edmonton is still learning to crawl. TICATS

BALLANTINE: Why does Brock still have a job? TICATS

FILOSO: There’s nothing to suggest Edmonton can even keep it close. TICATS

GASSON: Hamilton takes the win in the battles of teams that haven’t quite met (some) expectations. TICATS 

HUDSON: Edmonton is playing for next season already and has players thinking about travel home already. TICATS

LUDWIG: I’ve worked out some amazing tiebreak scenarios in the West that get Edmonton into 3rd or even 2nd. It’s for fun, not out of actual hope. TICATS

MCGUIRE: Edmonton doesn’t excite me but neither does Hamilton. Edmonton’s due to win at home. ELKS

SMITH: Hamilton has to win this to have any shot at finishing first. TICATS


Saturday, Oct. 30 at 4:00 p.m. ET
B.C. Lions (4-6) at Toronto Argonauts (6-4)
Betting line: Argos -3

The Lions were shutout for the first time since 1970 in last week’s loss to Winnipeg, so the offence will need to have a bounce-back game. Lucky Whitehead should be back from a broken hand, which should help spark the offence. The Argos gave up 203 rushing yards to William Stanback in last week’s 37-16 loss to Montreal but luckily for Toronto, B.C. is the CFL’s worst rushing team.

DUNK: Lucky Whitehead is a WEAPON but the Lions aren’t playing team ball. ARGOS

HODGE: Lucky’s return helps B.C., but I’m not picking a team that just lost 45-0. ARGOS

ABBOTT: B.C. hasn’t shown any positive signs the past two weeks, but they’ve shown themselves capable of winning against the East. LIONS

BALLANTINE: The Lions have been outscored 84-10 in the last two games. ARGOS

FILOSO: It’s a shame BMO Field doesn’t fill up, because Toronto dominates at home. ARGOS

GASSON: Toronto is good at home, B.C. is sliding. ARGOS 

HUDSON: Travelling east to play a good team fight for a playoff spot is not a good play for the Lions. ARGOS

LUDWIG: Both teams are coming off a spectacular disaster. If nothing else, this pick is a hope for a much more interesting final few weeks. LIONS

MCGUIRE: The Boatmen played lousy last week and will bounce back. ARGOS

SMITH: Could be a trap game, but I think Toronto does enough to get the win. ARGOS


Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7:00 p.m. ET
Saskatchewan Roughriders (6-4) at Montreal Alouettes (6-4)
Betting line: Als -1

The winner of this game will clinch a playoff spot, so expect this one to be a dog fight. 2018 CFL all-star Duke Williams caught three passes for 48 yards in his Saskatchewan debut last week and is expected to take on a larger role in the offence moving forward. Matthew Shiltz has won back-to-back games since taking over for an injured Vernon Adams Jr., using his legs well and playing close to mistake-free football.

DUNK: That Montreal night life isn’t the same with COVID protocols to follow. RIDERS

HODGE: The Riders are the CFL’s No. 1 team against the run. RIDERS

ABBOTT: With Shiltz under centre, Montreal can’t quite match Saskatchewan’s new firepower. RIDERS

BALLANTINE: Travelling to Montreal always offers distractions that other markets don’t. ALS

FILOSO: Game of the week between two fun teams. Give me the home side. ALS

GASSON: Montreal has been a tough place for this team and so have big running backs. ALS

HUDSON: I’ve had Saskatchewan as second in the West for most of the season, even after the losses to Calgary before their bye. RIDERS

LUDWIG: With a full slate of weapons, this is as good a time as any for Saskatchewan’s offence to finally break out. RIDERS

MCGUIRE: This will be game of the week but with an updated receiving corps, Saskatchewan will be too much. RIDERS

SMITH: Montreal is due for a stinker and the Riders need to keep the Stamps behind them. RIDERS


Records to date

Gasson 28-18
Dunk 27-19
McGuire 27-19
Hudson 25-21
Ludwig 24-22
Hodge 23-23
Ballantine 22-24
Smith 20-26
Abbott 19-27
Filoso 17-29

Justin Dunk is a football insider, sports reporter and anchor.