3DownNation CFL picks: can Calgary hand Winnipeg its first loss?

Photo courtesy: CFL

Week 8 of the CFL regular season is set to get underway with four games scheduled over a four-day span. The Ottawa Redblacks are still looking for their first win, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are looking to avoid their first loss, and the Edmonton Elks are off on a bye.

We have a new leader atop our picks leaderboard as Brendan McGuire surpassed Justin Dunk with a scintillating 21-6 record, while Santino Filoso remains atop the against-the-spread standings with an impressive record of 19-8.

Thursday, July 28: Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 7:30 p.m. EDT

The Alouettes got their first win with Danny Maciocia as head coach last week and will look to carry that momentum into Tim Hortons Field. All five of Hamilton’s losses this season have come against the West Division, which means they could get a break with their next six games scheduled to be played against the same two divisional opponents — Montreal and Toronto.

DUNK: Montreal has less injury issues and Trevor Harris takes care of the football. 

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

HODGE: With six divisional matchups coming up, it feels like Hamilton is ready to go on a roll.

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

ABBOTT: Ottawa pushed Montreal to the brink last week. The Ticats will push them over.

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

BALLANTINE: Maybe Khari wasn’t to blame for those penalties after all? 

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

FILOSO: I just can’t bring myself to trust Hamilton.

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

GASSON: The Ticats have gotta figure it out eventually.

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

HUDSON: Hamilton should be better than 1-5 but haven’t found a way to show up consistently.

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

LUDWIG: The Ticats are not quite as bad as their record. Good time to make up some ground.

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

MCGUIRE: Hamilton looks like a steady ship while Montreal looks like a stormy raft.

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

SMITH: If Hamilton is to get back into the playoff hunt they have to win their games at home.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Hamilton 7, Montreal 3

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Hamilton 7, Montreal 3

Friday, July 29: British Columbia Lions at Saskatchewan Roughriders – 9:00 p.m. EDT

The Lions returned to their winning ways last week, getting a season-best performance from Lucky Whitehead in a 17-12 win over Hamilton. Saskatchewan is coming off back-to-back losses to Toronto, though help appears to be on the way. Cody Fajardo seems set to return from COVID-19, while star receiver Duke Williams will return from a one-game suspension.

DUNK: Nathan Rourke makes up for a close loss in his first career CFL start at Mosaic Stadium last year. 

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

HODGE: I don’t trust Cody Fajardo’s knee.

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

ABBOTT: Saskatchewan fought like a dying animal last week. I expect a lot of walking corpses on the field this week.

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

BALLANTINE: This spread seems like a gift to anyone looking for a parlay booster. 

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

FILOSO: Even if Saskatchewan was healthy — which they aren’t — B.C. is just better.

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

GASSON: This team has often come up big in big games at tough times. 

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

HUDSON: The Riders feel like a team with not only on-field challenges but who are their own worst enemy of late.

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

LUDWIG: B.C. is very good, Saskatchewan is struggling.

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

MCGUIRE: With that leaky o-line, I see no reason to think Saskatchewan is good enough to beat B.C. this week even if Fajardo plays.

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

SMITH: With a question at quarterback it is just really tough to trust the Riders right now.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: B.C. 9, Saskatchewan 1

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: B.C. 9, Saskatchewan 1

Saturday, July 30: Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Calgary Stampeders – 7:00 p.m. EDT

Winnipeg continues to find ways to win, defeating the Edmonton Elks last week despite completing just seven passes. The club’s defence has given up an average number of yards this season but allowed a league-low 16.3 points per game. The Stampeders nearly knocked off the Blue Bombers at IG Field in Week 6 and have yet to play a game since. Can they find a way to hand the defending champs their first loss?

DUNK: Prime spot for Calgary to beat the Blue Bombers. 

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

HODGE: Winnipeg isn’t going to finish the season 18-0.

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

ABBOTT: The Stamps are probably fully healthy by game-time, but I’m wary enough of COVID to stick with the reigning champs once more.

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

BALLANTINE: Calgary beat themselves and have had two weeks to let that stew. They won’t do that again.

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

FILOSO: Calgary off a bye is as close to automatic as you get in the CFL.

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

GASSON: Hard to bet against Winnipeg right now. 

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

HUDSON: Dickenson after a bye is the only thing more consistent than the Bombers.

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

LUDWIG: Both depth charts will be interesting. Winnipeg is still the better team and have beaten other good teams.

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

MCGUIRE: Winnipeg has looked beatable at times on the road. This is the week it finally happens.

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

SMITH: This felt like the point where Winnipeg could finally lose but then COVID hit the Stamps and now…

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Calgary 6, Winnipeg 4

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Calgary 6, Winnipeg 4

Sunday, July 31: Ottawa Redblacks at Toronto Argonauts – 5:00 p.m. EDT

The Redblacks are still searching for their first win after dropping last week’s game at home. The offence has shown signs of improvement under Caleb Evans, though the defence allowed a whopping 40 points and 441 yards against the Als. Andrew Harris is coming off a signature game in Toronto during which he rushed for 143 yards, becoming the first Canadian player to reach 10,000 career rushing yards in CFL history.

DUNK: The Argos look like the favourite in the East. 

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

HODGE: Toronto seems to have found a new gear with Andrew Harris as the focal point of their offence.

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

ABBOTT: After two tough wins over a West Division opponent, this feels like the week for a letdown in Toronto.

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

BALLANTINE: No end in sight for the losing streak in Ottawa. 

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

FILOSO: Ottawa will keep things close, but until they show they can find ways to win, it’s hard to see them coming out on top.

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

GASSON: The clock is ticking in Ottawa. 

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

HUDSON: Toronto could wrap up the East!

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

LUDWIG: Instability at quarterback makes it tough for Ottawa to show they deserve more credit than their 0-6 record suggests.

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

MCGUIRE: Only a matter of when, not if, Lapo puts it together on offence. When is now.

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

SMITH: Ottawa has to win eventually and I am not a believer in the Argos at all.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Toronto 7, Ottawa 3

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Ottawa 8, Toronto 2

Records to date (straight-up)

MCGUIRE — 21-6
DUNK — 20-7
FILOSO — 19-8
GASSON — 19-8
LUDWIG — 19-8
ABBOTT — 17-10
BALLANTINE — 17-10
SMITH — 17-10
HODGE — 16-11
HUDSON — 16-11

Records to date (against the spread)

FILOSO — 19-8
GASSON — 17-10
DUNK — 15-12
SMITH — 15-12
ABBOTT — 14-13
BALLANTINE — 14-13
LUDWIG — 13-14
HODGE — 12-15
HUDSON — 12-15
MCGUIRE — 12-15

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