3DownNation CFL picks: here comes the 2022 regular season

Photo courtesy: CFL

The CFL is finally back with the 2022 regular season set to kick off on Thursday night in Calgary.

3DownNation contributors Justin Dunk, John Hodge, JC Abbott, Ryan Ballantine, Santino Filoso, Joel Gasson, Jonathan Hudson, Mike Ludwig, Brendan McGuire, and Josh Smith have also returned with another year of weekly game picks — for better or for worse.

Gasson finished atop the leaderboard last year with a 45-22 record (postseason included), which is as good as you’ll find anywhere from one of the least predictable seasons in league history. This season, we’ll pick against the spread using CFL odds from a variety of sportsbooks in Ontario.

Photo courtesy: Scott Grant/CFLPhotoArchive.com

Thursday, June 9

Montreal Alouettes at Calgary Stampeders, 9:00 p.m. EST

Vernon Adams Jr. is set to get the start for Montreal despite throwing three preseason interceptions against Ottawa. He’s under pressure to perform well with former all-star Trevor Harris on the bench behind him. Bo Levi Mitchell is looking to prove he’s finally healthy after struggling on the field in 2021.

DUNK: The Stamps traditionally start slow, but manage to pull out a close one in Calgary. 

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: ALS.

HODGE: I don’t think Calgary is still a powerhouse, but their defence should be able to capitalize on some errors from Vernon Adams Jr.

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: ALS.

ABBOTT: There is going to be some fresh meat in the Stampeders’ secondary for this game. Going up against a talented Alouettes’ receiving corps will be baptism by fire.

Straight-up: ALS. Against the spread: ALS.

BALLANTINE: Calgary allowed two plays in the green zone during the preseason. The offence won’t need to do much to cover.

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: STAMPS.

FILOSO: These are both well-coached teams, but I trust Calgary’s quarterbacks more.

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: ALS.

GASSON: Is Calgary at home still a thing? Maybe this week. 

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: STAMPS

HUDSON: Adams is a wildcard and Calgary’s defence should be scary despite some injuries.

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: STAMPS.

LUDWIG: I think Montreal could be due for a crash, but this one depends on whether Bo Levi Mitchell throws more touchdowns or interceptions.

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: STAMPS.

MCGUIRE: Calgary is always the best-prepared team in the league and starting on the road in a later time zone hurts Montreal.

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: STAMPS.

SMITH: While I am down on Calgary, I am even more down on Montreal to start the year.

Straight-up: STAMPS. Against the spread: STAMPS.

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Calgary 9, Montreal 1

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Calgary 6, Montreal 4

Courtesy: AP Photo/Larry MacDougal

Friday, June 10

Ottawa Redblacks at Winnipeg Blue Bombers, 8:30 p.m. ET

Paul LaPolice is returning to Winnipeg for the first time since departing the club following their Grey Cup run in 2019. He’s bringing a completely overhauled roster that could feature as many as 18 new starters, while the Blue Bombers are looking to extend a nine-game regular-season home winning streak that dates back two seasons.

DUNK: Bombers’ defence asserts its dominance over a Redblacks roster with lots of new pieces coming together. 

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: BOMBERS.

HODGE: Winnipeg should celebrate banner-raising night with a win but I think this game will be much closer than the spread indicates.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS.

ABBOTT: The Redblacks have more than enough talent to win the East Division this year, but a squad full of free agent mercenaries will need a few games to gel.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS.

BALLANTINE: Masoli keeps it close on an emotional night for Winnipeg.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS.

FILOSO: After failing to take a single preseason snap, Collaros comes out rusty and LaPolice’s squad pulls off the upset (barely).

Straight-up: REDBLACKS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS.

GASSON: The champs open at home, which is usually a good recipe it any sport. Big spread though for Week 1.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS. 

HUDSON: Masoli will work magic in Ottawa but it’s too early for them to upset the champs.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS.

LUDWIG: Ottawa will be feisty but Winnipeg is the toughest matchup available.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS.

MCGUIRE: Probably the laugher of the week. One team is ready for prime time while the other is not.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: BOMBERS.

SMITH: Winnipeg will win but a revamped Ottawa keeps it close.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS.

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Winnipeg 9, Ottawa 1

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Winnipeg 2, Ottawa 8

Courtesy: AP Photo/Larry MacDougal

Saturday, June 11

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Saskatchewan Roughriders, 7:00 p.m. ET

Saskatchewan’s quest to reach the Grey Cup at Mosaic Stadium starts at home against the visiting Ticats. Cody Fajardo will look to rekindle his connection with Shaq Evans, while Duke Williams should provide an elite deep threat. This will be Dane Evans’ first game as Hamilton’s face of the franchise following the free-agent departure of Jeremiah Masoli.

DUNK: The Riders roll at home as Rider Nation roars at Mosaic. 

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

HODGE: Hamilton is ultimately the better team but I’m not sure Dane Evans will be able to silence a hostile crowd in Riderville.

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

ABBOTT: The Riders are hosting the Grey Cup and a season-opening loss is the chaos I crave. If Hamilton’s offensive line holds up, they have the weapons to get it done.

Straight-up: TICATS. Against the spread: TICATS.

BALLANTINE: The Riders win at home with the crowd at a fever pitch.

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

FILOSO: Mosaic Stadium will be electric, so I’ll take the home squad.

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

GASSON: The Riders seem to find ways to beat Hamilton. 

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

HUDSON: The Riders are at home and that spread is crazy small.

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

LUDWIG: With Cariel Brooks missing practices there’s a crack in Hamilton’s secondary. I like this to be the Duke Williams show.

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

MCGUIRE: Easily the game of the week. Homefield advantage will be huge for Saskatchewan.

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

SMITH: Hamilton has won just twice in Regina since 2011. It won’t be a blowout like last year, but the Riders win their home opener.

Straight-up: RIDERS. Against the spread: RIDERS.

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Saskatchewan 9, Hamilton 1

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Saskatchewan 9, Hamilton 1

Photo courtesy: CFL

Edmonton Elks at B.C. Lions, 10:00 p.m. ET

Victoria, B.C. native Nathan Rourke is now the undisputed starting quarterback in his home province and looked sharp in preseason action vs. Saskatchewan. Nick Arbuckle will likely get the start for Edmonton, though Chris Jones is expected to keep his cards close to his vest until he has to declare his roster on Friday.

DUNK: Canadian QB Nathan Rourke starts his first year as a full-time starter on a winning note.

Straight-up: LIONS. Against the spread: ELKS.

HODGE: Ticket sales have been going strong in Vancouver and I think fans will go home happy with a close win.

Straight-up: LIONS. Against the spread: ELKS.

ABBOTT: In front of the biggest crowd to grace BC Place in years, Nathan Rourke will have a coming-out party with a classic CFL finish to keep fans coming back.

Straight-up: LIONS. Against the spread: ELKS.

BALLANTINE: The Elks have done nothing to convince me they aren’t still a raging dumpster fire. 

Straight-up: LIONS. Against the spread: LIONS.

FILOSO: As far as I’m concerned the Elks are the worst team in the league. 

Straight-up: LIONS. Against the spread: LIONS.

GASSON: There’s a buzz in B.C. this week around the Lions. They’re further ahead of Edmonton at this point, who have a lot to figure out. 

Straight-up: LIONS. Against the spread: LIONS.

HUDSON: Edmonton looked a week behind at home with starters versus Calgary’s B-squad last week. Rourke starts the early hype train.

Straight-up: LIONS. Against the spread: LIONS.

LUDWIG: Last year I and many others got burned picking Edmonton early-season. I am ready to be hurt again.

Straight-up: ELKS. Against the spread: ELKS.

MCGUIRE: A sweet homecoming with a sweet hometown crowd for Amar Doman and Nathan Rourke to christen the Leos as their own. All against a team that’s not very good.

Straight-up: LIONS. Against the spread: LIONS.

SMITH: I don’t really have a good reason for this pick. I am just going with my gut and it says Elks by a nose.

Straight-up: ELKS. Against the spread: ELKS.

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: B.C. 8, Edmonton 2

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: B.C. 5, Edmonton 5

Best CFL sportsbooks for Week 1 betting