3DownNation CFL picks: Argos face uphill battle to clinch first in the East

Week 15 of the CFL season has arrived and with a full slate of games Friday and Saturday, the stakes have never been higher.

Among a trio of divisional matchups, first place in the East could be decided in Ontario, the Stamps could ride into the post-season, and the Riders could earn the watermelon-clad faithful a pilsner-soaked home playoff game. Meanwhile in Montreal, the Bombers starters will begin to play spectator.

Without further ado, here are the picks.

Friday, Nov. 12 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-5) at Toronto Argonauts (8-4)
Betting line: Argos -1.0

The Argos are expecting their biggest crowd of the season for their biggest game of the year, as the Ticats faithful flood up the QEW to take in this rivalry tilt. Toronto can clinch a first round playoff bye with a victory and currently have a 2-1 edge in the season series, but a pair of one-point victories means the Tabbies can steal first in the East Division with a win by any score.

DUNK: Black and gold, black and gold, black and gold. TICATS

HODGE: Hamilton is the true Beast of the East. TICATS

ABBOTT: Nothing Bethel-Thompson has done since being handed the reins deserves to be rewarded with a first round bye. TICATS

BALLANTINE: Ticats have played very well of late, but may trip here. ARGOS

FILOSO: Hamilton is the better team, but Toronto plays tough at home. ARGOS

GASSON: Hamilton is peaking at the right time. TICATS 

HUDSON: If you ignore their slow start, Hamilton has been the better team for most of the season. TICATS

LUDWIG: Toronto is playing really badly. TICATS

MCGUIRE: Masoli has yet to show any sign he is capable of solving Toronto’s defence. ARGOS

SMITH: Hamilton in a close one. TICATS

TICATS: 7
ARGOS: 3

Friday, Nov. 12 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Calgary Stampeders (6-6) at B.C. Lions (4-8)
Betting line: Stamps -1.5

After six straight losses, it is finally do-or-die time for the B.C. Lions. Despite their horrific stretch of play, a win over Calgary would give the Leos the tiebreaker and keep them alive in the playoff hunt heading into the final week of the season. Unfortunately for them, the Stamps know they can clinch a 16th straight postseason berth with a victory and they’ve brought in star receiver Reggie Begelton to help make it happen.

DUNK: Something, something, Dave Dickenson bye week, something, something. STAMPS

HODGE: Calgary stomps out the last signs of life in B.C. STAMPS

ABBOTT: Reggie Begelton? In this economy? STAMPS

BALLANTINE: Remember a few weeks ago when Calgary had to beat B.C. to stay alive? Oh, the turntables! STAMPS

FILOSO: Calgary wins a shootout. STAMPS

GASSON: Tough scene in Vancouver right now. STAMPS 

HUDSON: B.C.’s season is academic at this point. Reilly will play well at home, but Calgary is building for the playoffs. STAMPS

LUDWIG: Fingers crossed for B.C. to sneak into the playoffs at Calgary’s expense, but I can’t bet on it. STAMPS

MCGUIRE: Calgary has been showing signs of getting better. B.C. hasn’t. STAMPS

SMITH: Calgary punches their playoff ticket. STAMPS

STAMPS: 10
LIONS: 0

Saturday, Nov. 13 at 1:00 p.m. ET
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-1) at Montreal Alouettes (6-6)
Betting line: Bombers -7.0

These two teams battled to the wire a week ago with the Bombers coming out on top, but this looks like a much different matchup. With first place sewn up weeks ago, Winnipeg has directed MOP frontrunner Zach Collaros to the bench, with backup Sean McGuire taking over under centre. Meanwhile, Montreal still has a home playoff game to play for.

DUNK: Sean McGuire has something to prove. BOMBERS

HODGE: I suspect Winnipeg will be resting more players than just Collaros. ALS

ABBOTT: Montreal played Winnipeg’s starters tight. They’ll top the reserves. ALS

BALLANTINE: Winnipeg looks for one more good performance before resting for playoffs. BOMBERS

FILOSO: Montreal has so much more at stake. ALS

GASSON: Winnipeg is bound to lose again eventually. ALS

HUDSON: Winnipeg has nothing to play for, but they are playing a team with QB uncertainty. BOMBERS

LUDWIG: Winnipeg is so far ahead of the rest of the league that their B-team probably has even odds against anybody. BOMBERS

MCGUIRE: This league is so competitive that you have no shot of beating their one’s with your two’s. ALS

SMITH: Montreal needs this one more. ALS

ALS: 6
BOMBERS: 4

Saturday, Nov. 13 at 4:00 p.m. ET
Edmonton Elks (2-9) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (8-4)
Betting line: Riders -10.5

The biggest spread of the week, Edmonton surprised everyone by hanging with Saskatchewan last week, but got their last shred of home pride ripped away. Offensive stars James Wilder Jr., Greg Ellingson and Derel Walker are expected to be out of the lineup again for the Elks, while the Riders hope an offensive resurgence at home can bring the West Semi-Final back to Mosaic with a victory.

DUNK: E-LOL-ks. RIDERS

HODGE: Saskatchewan clinches second place in the West. RIDERS

ABBOTT: With their schedule, this is Edmonton’s last real shot at a win. They won’t deliver. RIDERS

BALLANTINE: Sask can clinch a home game with a win against the dumpster fire Elks. RIDERS

FILOSO: Edmonton is the worst team in the league. RIDERS

GASSON: It probably won’t be pretty. RIDERS

HUDSON: Edmonton is bad. RIDERS

LUDWIG: No, really, are we done yet? RIDERS

MCGUIRE: Get these garbage XFL quarterbacks outta here! RIDERS

SMITH: Edmonton sucks. RIDERS

RIDERS: 10
ELKS: 0

Records to date

Gasson 35-19
Dunk 35-19
McGuire 33-21
Hudson 33-21
Hodge 31-23
Ludwig 31-23
Ballantine 29-25
Smith 28-26
Abbott 25-29
Filoso 24-30

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