3DownNation CFL picks: Bombers, Lions set to clash in battle of West Division heavyweights

Photo courtesy: BC Lions

There are only three games on the CFL’s slate this week as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Toronto Argonauts, and Montreal Alouettes sit out on a bye. That may be just as well as the East Division has struggled out the gate this year, posting a 1-11 record against the West Division.

The action kicks off with the battle of Alberta at Commonwealth Stadium followed by the Riders play at home on Friday night and finishes with a clash of two undefeated teams in Vancouver. What more could you ask for?

Canadian quarterbacks Nathan Rourke and Tre Ford are the talk of the town as they’ve gone a perfect 4-0 as starters this year. Can they continue the magic as we head into Week 5? Let’s see what our pundits have to say.

Thursday, July 7: Calgary Stampeders vs. Edmonton Elks – 9:00 p.m. EDT

Calgary spent last week on a bye while Edmonton got their first win of the season after making a change at quarterback. Tre Ford didn’t do much through the air but breathed new life in the Elks’ offence by rushing six times for 61 yards. The Stampeders will have to adjust accordingly on defence as the team looks to improve to 4-0.

DUNK: Something, something Dave Dickenson coming off a bye.

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

HODGE: Tre Ford brings a new dimension to Edmonton’s offence but I’m not sure that’ll be enough to beat Calgary.

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

ABBOTT: Bo Levi Mitchell won’t need Tre Ford’s 4.45 speed to beat the Elks.

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

BALLANTINE: The Elks are still finding themselves and unlike two weeks ago, they won’t beat the spread by a half-point.

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

FILOSO: Edmonton is improving, slowly. But they aren’t close to Calgary’s level.

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

GASSON: Edmonton is improving but they’re not there yet. 

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

HUDSON: Calgary always wins coming off a bye.

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

LUDWIG: It’s painful that I have less confidence in Edmonton than two weeks ago. Big “hoping I’m wrong” energy.

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

MCGUIRE: Edmonton got a lift last week but beating Hamilton is one thing and beating Calgary is quite another.

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

SMITH: The Elks beat the Ticats. Let’s not overthink this.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Calgary 10, Edmonton 0

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Calgary 10, Edmonton 0

Friday, July 8: Ottawa Redblacks vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders – 9:30 p.m. EDT

The Redblacks are off to a disappointing 0-3 start, though they’ve been competitive in all three games against top-tier opponents. Saskatchewan is banged up with receiver Duke Williams, left tackle Terran Vaughn, and cornerback Nick Marshall all listed as questionable. Will Ottawa get their first win or will Saskatchewan overcome their rash of injuries?

DUNK: Ottawa will be motivated to end the Redblacks 0-fer start. 

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

HODGE: Ottawa started slow but they’re about to wake up and send Rider Nation home unhappy.

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

ABBOTT: The Riders are hit-or-miss right now and Ottawa is much better than their winless record suggests.

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

BALLANTINE: Winless is still winless regardless of who your opponents have been, but the spread is too big.

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

FILOSO: In a matchup of two good defences, I’ll take the better offence.

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

GASSON: Riders rarely lose to the East Division at home. 

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

HUDSON: Jeremiah Masoli is regressing and traveling west is tough.

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

LUDWIG: Ottawa’s secondary against banged up Riders receivers? When in doubt, bet on the stronger offence.

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

MCGUIRE: Ottawa’s offence is coming together but still not enough to win on the road against that stingy Saskatchewan pass rush.

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

SMITH: Ottawa tends to keep things close but winning in Regina isn’t easy for the best of teams.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Saskatchewan 5, Ottawa 5

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Ottawa 8, Saskatchewan 2

Saturday, July 9: Winnipeg Blue Bombers vs. British Columbia Lions – 7:00 p.m. EDT

This could be the game of the year as it features two unbeaten squads — the defending Grey Cup champs and this season’s most impressive team. Winnipeg will be playing on just four days of rest after beating Toronto on Monday, while the Lions are well-rested and at home. Can quarterback Nathan Rourke avoid Willie Jefferson to continue his hot streak

DUNK: The two-time defending champs as underdogs? Yes, please! 

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

HODGE: Beating B.C. would be tough under any circumstances, but after flying across the country on a short week? That’s a lot to ask.

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

ABBOTT: The old king is dead. All hail the new king.

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

BALLANTINE: The Bombers are lucky to be 4-0, while the Lions have won a bunch against bad teams. Can Rourke best Bighill? Yes he can.

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

FILOSO: The Bombers are undefeated, but they’ve looked beatable in every single game.

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

GASSON: If everyone else is taking B.C., I’ll take the Grey Cup champs.

Straight-up: BOMBERS. Against the spread: BOMBERS

HUDSON: B.C.’s coaching staff has been superb this season and they’ve had more days to prep.

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

LUDWIG: The odds are in B.C.’s favour, but I won’t feel as good about it if Lucky Whitehead can’t go.

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

MCGUIRE: Winnipeg is still the best until someone else proves otherwise, but a west coast trip on a short week will be too much to overcome. 

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

SMITH: Winnipeg’s short week and cross-country flight provides the perfect storm for the Leos to stay unbeaten.

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

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

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: B.C. 8, Winnipeg 2

Records to date (straight-up)

DUNK — 14-2
MCGUIRE — 13-3
FILOSO — 12-4
LUDWIG — 12-4
GASSON — 11-5
BALLANTINE — 10-6
HODGE — 10-6
HUDSON — 10-6
SMITH — 10-6
ABBOTT — 9-7

Records to date (against the spread)

FILOSO — 13-3
GASSON — 12-4
BALLANTINE — 10-6
DUNK — 10-6
ABBOTT — 9-7
MCGUIRE — 9-7
SMITH — 9-7
HODGE — 8-8
HUDSON — 8-8
LUDWIG — 8-8

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