CFL Week 3 predictions | Can Bombers, Stamps move to 3-0?

After another exciting quartet of games in Week 2, the Canadian Football League heads into Week 3 with five teams still sporting unblemished records and the other three that are in action in search of their first victories.

If the action at regulated sports betting sites in Ontario is any indication, fans of the CFL are enjoying the expanded betting options that have now arrived in the province. Without any further delay, let’s go deeper into the four games happening this week.

Week 3 CFL betting odds

More Week 3 CFL Betting Content

CFL Week 3 picks | betting predictions for each game

The slate kicks off with a battle between an undefeated Roughriders squad and a winless Alouettes group, but this could actually turn out to be the week’s best game in terms of competitiveness and quality.

The rest of the slate includes the Blue Bombers trying to keep their spotless record intact despite not yet playing their best football, and a Lions team facing the Argonauts while trying to demonstrate their Week 1 shellacking of the Elks wasn’t a fluke.

Below we’ll analyze the odds for each game so you can make educated Week 3 CFL betting picks at the sportsbook of your choice.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers (Friday, 8:30 pm ET)

The Tiger-Cats have allowed an East Division-high 63 points through two games, and they suffered an epic defensive collapse in the fourth quarter against the Stampeders in Week 2. Hamilton is now giving up 376.5 total yards per game, including 312.0 per game through the air.

The opposing Blue Bombers have the personnel on paper to take advantage, but quarterback Zach Collaros is off to a relatively quiet start with just 416 passing yards through two games.

Winnipeg also has yet to get its ground game fully operational with Brady Oliveira serving as the lead back, although complementary option Johnny Augustine has been impressive with 5.3 yards per carry on 10 attempts. The Bombers are yielding only 3.5 yards per carry overall, so offensive balance may indeed be difficult to achieve.

Hamilton’s Dane Evans emerged from Week 2 with a knee issue, but he was back to practicing in full Tuesday. The fourth-year veteran has a 4:4 TD:INT through his first two games, but he has shown impressive chemistry with a high-upside pass-catching group that includes Tim White, Bralon Addison and Steven Dunbar.

The matchup lines up surprisingly well on paper based on this year’s numbers, as Winnipeg is giving up a CFL-high 355.5 passing yards per game at a CFL-high 83.6 percent completion rate.

However, the Ti-Cats are averaging a minuscule, CFL-low 3.3 yards per carry, and RB Sean Thomas-Erlington has 90 receiving yards to just 18 on the ground. Additionally, projected top back Don Jackson missed Week 2 with a knee injury that still has him practicing in limited fashion early in the week.

While balance may be difficult to achieve for both clubs, I see Hamilton putting together its best defensive performance yet against a Bombers team that’s averaging only 19 points per game and putting up enough of a fight to keep things under a five-point margin.

The Pick: Tiger-Cats +5 (play up to -115)

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Edmonton Elks vs Calgary Stampeders (Saturday, 7:00 pm ET)

The Elks put up much more of a fight against the Roughriders than would have been expected based on Edmonton’s disastrous Week 1 performance against the Lions. Chris Jones’ squad looked nothing like the team that took a 59-15 shellacking to open the season, with Nick Arbuckle looking much more in synch with his pass catchers, even with Derel Walker sitting out due to a finger injury.

Kenny Lawler was the Elks’ leading receiver by a mile, posting a stellar 12-149-1 line on 17 targets. The former Blue Bombers wideout has been a seamless fit in the offence thus far, and the Stamps could be a very appealing target considering they’re allowing the second-most passing yards (337.5) and most completions (54) through two games. RB James Wilder has been solid as well in limited opportunities with 135 total yards on 22 touches, and he could have a chance to log double-digit carries for the first time this season against a Stamps team Edmonton could hang close with.

Calgary’s veteran signal-caller Bo Levi Mitchell has been solid to start the season with 512 yards and a 3:2 TD:INT, and he’s coming off a 313-yard, two-touchdown effort in Week 2 against the Tiger-Cats. He accomplished those numbers despite an early first-quarter exit from Ka’Deem Carey due to an ankle injury, and the good news for the Stamps is that the versatile running back was back to practicing in full by Tuesday. The Elks could have a tall order containing him, considering Edmonton is allowing a CFL-high 185.5 rushing yards, 7.0 yards per rush and six rushing touchdowns through two weeks.

This game unsurprisingly carries the highest total of the week, and with Walker set to return for Edmonton and Carey healthy for Calgary, I think it can be exceeded.

The Pick: Over 50 points or less (-110 or better)

Toronto Argonauts vs. BC Lions (Saturday, 10:00 pm ET)

The Argonauts took the field for the first time in 2022 in Week 2, and they were fortunate to escape with a 20-19 win over the Alouettes. Had Montreal’s David Cote not hooked a chip-shot 21-yard attempt with 18 seconds remaining, a Toronto team that’s clearly geared up for a Grey Cup run would have opened with a loss.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson was much better statistically against the Alouettes than in a four-interception debacle last season, throwing for 269 yards with a touchdown and just one pick this time around. MBT did an impressive job spreading the ball around, including hitting marquee offseason arrivals Andrew Harris and Brandon Banks on three occasions apiece and a touchdown (Banks). Harris also generated an 18-87 line on the ground, but he emerged from the contest with a hamstring injury that still had him practicing in limited fashion to start the week.

The Lions were the talk of the league after their Week 1 blowout of the Elks that saw BC score 59 points and QB Nathan Rourke throw a scant three incompletions. The final tally underscores how it was a virtually perfect night for BC’s offence, and considering the established talent of James Butler, Lucky Whitehead, Bryan Burnham, and Dominque Rhymes, there’s little reason to think the dominant performance was simply a fluke against an inferior opponent.

Assuming Harris is healthy enough to go for Toronto, I see this as a potentially high-scoring affair given the talent on either side. As such, I have faith in the Over as the best play.

The Pick: Over 49 points (-110 or better)

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Saskatchewan Roughriders vs Montreal Alouettes (Thursday, 7:30 pm ET)

The Roughriders had more of a struggle than they bargained for against the Elks in Week 2, and a rare miss by kicker Brett Lauther made things particularly interesting before Saskatchewan pulled away late to cover the 7.5-point spread.

The biggest revelation of the night offensively for the loaded Riders group was RB Jamal Morrow’s breakout effort on the ground, where he jump-cut, juked and at times simply outran defenders on his way to 126 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Morrow could be set up well to once again help Saskatchewan achieve key offensive balance, as the Alouettes have allowed the third-most rushing yards per game (105.0) at 5.0 yards per carry.

Meanwhile, Montreal looks set to field one of the stingier pass defences in the league for the second consecutive season, opening up by allowing the fewest yards per attempt (7.5) and already racking up six sacks. Therefore, a healthy dose of Morrow, who’s also an excellent receiver out of the backfield and lethal in space, could certainly help keep the Als honest.

The big news on Montreal’s side is the confirmed absence of Vernon Adams, who’ll sit out after testing positive for COVID-19. However, Adams had already been pulled early in Week 2 for ineffectiveness, and Montreal is more than adequately prepared with Trevor Harris set to take the reins of the offence again after throwing for 270 yards in relief last week.

Harris has had the luxury of practicing as the starter going into this matchup, and he’ll have a formidable arsenal of pass catchers to work with.

That could lead to plenty of success against a Roughriders defence that’s giving up 292.5 passing yards per game through the first two weeks and has already conceded three completions of over 30 yards.

Saskatchewan was eviscerated by the Elks’ Kenny Lawler for 12 receptions, 149 yards and a touchdown in Week 2, and Montreal’s Geno Lewis, who already boasts an 11-239 line through two games, is capable of the same caliber of production. However, Lewis was limited by hamstring issue this week in practice, and the outlook for this game would change if he were to be deemed out.

The Als have been tough-luck losers in the first two weeks, dropping that pair of decisions by a total of four points. I could see Montreal pulling the outright upset here, but I’ll go with the Als to at least keep any defeat to under a field goal.

The Pick: Alouettes +3 (play up to -115)