CFL Week 1 predictions | Bombers begin quest for three-peat vs. Ottawa

The 2022 Canadian Football League season is officially here, and it kicks off with four games in Week 1. This season marks the first since the expansion of regulated sports betting in Ontario, and bettors now have more options than ever before when wagering on the CFL.

Week 1 CFL betting odds

CFL Week 1 picks | betting predictions for each game

The highly anticipated 2022 CFL season kicks off with Montreal visiting Calgary on Thursday night, followed by the defending champion Blue Bombers hosting Ottawa on Friday. Saturday features two matchups as Hamilton squares off with the Riders and the Elks visit BC to open the season out West.

Below, we’ll analyze the betting odds for each game so you can make educated Week 1 CFL betting picks at the sportsbook of your choice.

Calgary Stampeders vs. Montreal Alouettes (Thursday, 9 pm ET)

Montreal finished last season at just 7-7, but their +41 point differential speaks to how easily they could have been a couple of wins better. Calgary finished just a game better than Montreal over in the West Division, and they were just 3-4 on their home field of McMahon Stadium.

The Stamps return veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, who looks to bounce back from a mediocre 2021 in which he threw just 10 touchdowns against 13 interceptions. He does get back key skill-position assets RB Ka’Deem Carey, WR Reggie Begelton, and SB Kamar Jorden, which helped lead Calgary to an average of 22.5 points per game in 2021, the third-highest figure in the league.

The Alouettes will have to sort out who’ll handle starting quarterback duties ahead of this season-opening matchup. There are a pair of especially viable candidates in Vernon Adams Jr. and Trevor Harris, although Dominique Davis is also in the fold. Adams did not play in Montreal’s preseason opener versus the Tiger-Cats, but Harris went 9-for-12 for 124 yards with a touchdown, while Davis was 11-for-13 for 95 yards.

The lone matchup between the teams last season finished in a 28-22 win for Calgary, and these two clubs appear to be about as evenly matched as any to start the season.

Consequently, Montreal as a road underdog of just over a field goal at several Ontario sportsbooks shapes up as a value play to consider, especially factoring in the Als were 4-3 on the road last season and have a veteran group of key holdovers as well.

Take the Als against the spread and consider a moneyline wager if you’re up for it.

Pick: Montreal Alouettes +3.5 (-110 or better)

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Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. Ottawa Redblacks (Friday, 8:30 pm ET)

The defending-champion Blue Bombers open their quest for a three-peat against the CFL’s worst team from a year ago, making Winnipeg the biggest Week 1 favourite.

The Redblacks took some steps toward respectability this offseason with the signing of veteran quarterback Jeremiah Masoli, who put together a solid eight-season career with the Tiger-Cats before making the jump. Masoli’s former trusted Hamilton target Jaelon Acklin also made the trek, giving Masoli some familiarity right from the start of his Ottawa tenure.

Meanwhile, the Bombers allowed franchise stalwart Andrew Harris to walk in free agency, but they believe they’re prepared to thrive without him with the help of the Johnny Augustine-Brady Oliveira duo, who filled in capably during Harris’ long injury absence in 2021.

Winnipeg also returns key pass-catchers Drew Wolitarsky, Nic Demski, and Rasheed Bailey, while offseason addition Greg Ellingson was a major acquisition that will enhance quarterback Zach Collaros’ downfield upside significantly.

Given Winnipeg’s league-best defence is also returning largely intact, the Bombers’ status as heavy favourites against a team with a veteran quarterback playing his first regular-season game in a new system is justified.

Pick: Winnipeg Blue Bombers -9.5 (-110)

Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Saskatchewan Roughriders (Saturday, 7 pm ET)

The Roughriders had the look of a potential Grey Cup winner early last season when they jumped out to a 5-1 mark, and they also put together a 4-1 finish to the campaign. But Saskatchewan ultimately fell just short of vaulting into the title game when they lost a 21-17 decision to the eventual champion Blue Bombers in the West Division Final.

Many of those same players will have a chance to atone for their disappointment this season, as quarterback Cody Fajardo leads a solid group of incumbents that also includes WR Shaq Evans and SB Duke Williams.

Hamilton also failed to reach its ultimate goal because of the Blue Bombers, as they dropped a second straight Grey Cup game to Winnipeg last December.

If it proves the third time’s the charm later this year, Hamilton will be doing it without long-time field general Jeremiah Masoli leading the way. Dane Evans, who has put in plenty of time under centre over the last three seasons, is now at the helm.

This game should be one of the most intriguing of the Week 1 clashes, and the spread is unsurprisingly a narrow one in favour of the home squad. With both teams having plenty of carryover on both sides of the ball and solid defences, the best bet could be on the under for a total that sits in the mid-40s.

Pick: Ticats-Roughriders Under 46.5 (-110 or better)

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BC Lions vs. Edmonton Elks (Saturday, 10 pm ET)

The Elks tied the Redblacks for the CFL’s worst mark last season at 3-11, but they’ll roll out an interesting group on offence this season that has the potential to help foster a significant year-over-year improvement.

The key will be whether quarterbacks such as Taylor Cornelius or Nick Arbuckle can consistently get the ball to Armanti Edwards, Kenny Lawler, and Derel Walker, and whether a defence that allowed the second-most points (27.0) and tied for most TDs surrendered (31) can make enough strides in 2022.

The Lions had a disappointing campaign in their own right a year ago with a 5-9 record. BC looks set to make a decision this preseason between Nathan Rourke and one-time Argonauts third-round pick Michael O’Connor at quarterback.

While Rourke did not see the field in BC’s preseason opener, O’Connor was impressive while completing 17 of 23 passes for 151 yards and one touchdown. The supporting cast will be strong for whichever signal-caller wins the job with RB James Butler, WRs Shaq Johnson, and Lucky Whitehead in the huddle.

While the Lions were just 2-5 at home last season, they’re rightfully favourites of just over a field goal at several Ontario sportsbooks for this Week 1 matchup. BC did have a couple of lopsided defeats at the hands of the reigning Grey Cup champion Blue Bombers last season but usually played competitively otherwise and appear to be a solid pick as a favourite to open 2022.

Pick: BC Lions -3 (-105 or better)