3DownNation CFL picks: can Nathan Rourke keep record-setting pace against healthy Riders’ defence?

Photo courtesy: CFL

Week 11 of the CFL regular season is set to get underway a day later than normal but makes up for its tardiness with some exciting double-header action on Friday and Saturday.

Brendan McGuire continues to outpace the competition atop our picks standings with a record of 30-9 straight-up, while Santino Filoso has jumped back in front of the pack when it comes to against-the-spread choices with a margin of 24-15 in his favour.

Friday, August 19: Edmonton Elks at Ottawa Redblacks – 7:00 p.m. EDT

The Elks had a fourth-quarter lead over the Saskatchewan Roughriders last week before collapsing late, while the Ottawa Redblacks enjoyed a much-needed bye after an inept showing against the Calgary Stampeders in Week 9. Caleb Evans remains the starting quarterback for Ottawa, unfortunately removing any Nick Arbuckle revenge sub-plot from the CFL’s Toilet Bowl. Nevertheless, this home-and-home series could still have serious ramifications for two franchises who have struggled to win at home.

DUNK: Ottawa off the bye and are desperate. 

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

HODGE: Ottawa had a full bye week to get things together. They need to win this game and the line seems a little wide.

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

ABBOTT: Ottawa should win. They won’t.

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

BALLANTINE: Edmonton continues a terrible season, losing to another terrible team. Look for Arbuckle’s smile at the final whistle. 

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

FILOSO: Ottawa eventually needs to win at home, right?

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

GASSON: The Sickos Bowl is here and the anticipation is low. 

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

HUDSON: Cornelius has played better than his team’s results but I still don’t trust the Elks.

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

LUDWIG: Bold prediction: Edmonton leads into the fourth quarter but it comes down to the wire.

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

MCGUIRE: Call this match the Toilet Bowl. Edmonton couldn’t even beat Saskatchewan! Pick ‘em goes to the home side by a whisker.

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

SMITH: Two bad teams playing bad football. Give me the home side, I guess.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Redblacks 8, Elks 2

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Redblacks 5, Elks 5

Friday, August 19: B.C. Lions at Saskatchewan Roughriders – 10:00 p.m. EDT

The Lions are the CFL’s most exciting team, as they rode another record-setting performance from Canadian quarterback Nathan Rourke to a come-from-behind, last-second victory over the Stampeders last week. In contrast, the Riders barely squeezed by the Elks thanks to a suddenly mobile Cody Fajardo but reinforcements are on the way. Sack artists Pete Robertson and A.C. Leonard will be back on the defensive line after a four-game absence due to injury, as will controversial defensive tackle Garrett Marino, making this a much different team than the one the Lions beat in Week 8.

DUNK: Nathan Rourke squeaks one out. 

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

HODGE: The Riders are getting a bunch of defensive linemen back, but Nathan Rourke will keep rolling.

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

ABBOTT: Rourke won’t break his own records every week. Robertson, Leonard, Lanier and Marino prove to be the difference.

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

BALLANTINE: Rourke on the run is still better than the Riders. 

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

FILOSO: Why would you ever bet against Rourke?

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

GASSON: I think it’ll be closer than last time but only one team has an offence. 

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

HUDSON: It took a last-second field goal for me to be right about Lions last week but I’m even more confident this week. The Riders can’t keep up.

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

LUDWIG: Lions good, Riders not so good.

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

MCGUIRE: Saskatchewan will be better than their last meeting with players coming back but their O-line issues still prohibit me from picking an upset here.

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

SMITH: Rourke-a-Mania continues to run wild.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Lions 9, Riders 1

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Lions 8, Riders 2

Saturday, August 20: Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Montreal Alouettes – 4:00 p.m. EDT

After eking out a victory over Toronto last week with backup Matthew Shiltz at the helm — with an assist from third-stringer Jamie Newman — the Ticats still have starting quarterback Dane Evans listed as questionable for this game. They will be without a trio of defensive stars in linebacker Simoni Lawrence and cornerbacks Jumal Rolle and Ciante Evans however, while Montreal is still riding high from their overtime upset of the previously undefeated Winnipeg Blue Bombers in Week 10.

DUNK: If Matt Shiltz starts, the Ticats win.

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

HODGE: Matthew Shiltz exacts revenge against his former team.

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

ABBOTT: The emotional crash of an upset win gifted to them by a bad kicker will be hard for Montreal to overcome.

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

BALLANTINE: Khari Jones once again gets to enjoy a measure of revenge against Danny’s penalty-prone peeps. 

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

FILOSO: Montreal played Winnipeg tough and Hamilton is miles from that level of competition

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

GASSON: I trust Hamilton more than Montreal. 

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

HUDSON: Ticats are finally getting out of their own way in games against the East, but home-field takes close games for now.

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

LUDWIG: Normally, I’d lean Hamilton but they’re looking extra beat-up.

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

MCGUIRE: Hard to imagine someone who beat Winnipeg on the road losing at home to the Ticats.

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

SMITH: Just a gut feeling.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Ticats 6, Als 4

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Ticats 6, Als 4

Saturday, August 20: Calgary Stampeders at Toronto Argonauts – 7:00 p.m. EDT

Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell ripped a strip off his Calgary teammates following their late collapse against the Lions last week, though his receiving corps might be too banged up for it to spark any offensive resurgence. The only hope is for the potential return of star running back Ka’Deem Carey, a luxury the Argos most certainly won’t have after losing Andrew Harris for the season in their loss to the Tiger-Cats.

DUNK: The Stamps take out some frustration on the Argos.

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

HODGE: Calgary isn’t ready to fall out of contention for the top two spots in the West Division.

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

ABBOTT: Toronto may be crafted in Calgary’s image, but the Argos play like a cheap knockoff.

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

BALLANTINE: The Stamps are out to prove they are still better than the rest of the CFL, outside of B.C. and Winnipeg. 

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

FILOSO: Harris’ absence will be the story but Bo uses this as a “get right” game.

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

GASSON: Toronto is too inconsistent despite Calgary’s problems of late. 

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

HUDSON: Calgary is slumping due to injuries but they are healthy enough to barely win a close one this week.

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

LUDWIG: Close, but not quite that close.

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

MCGUIRE: How on earth is the spread only 2.5?!

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

SMITH: I didn’t like the Argos with Harris. Without him, they don’t stand a chance.

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

TOTALS STRAIGHT-UP: Stamps 10, Argos 0

TOTALS AGAINST THE SPREAD: Stamps 10, Argos 0

Records to date (straight-up)

MCGUIRE — 30-9
LUDWIG — 28-11
DUNK — 27-12
ABBOTT — 26-13
FILOSO — 26-13
SMITH — 26-13
BALLANTINE — 24-15
GASSON — 24-15
HODGE — 24-15
HUDSON — 22-17

Records to date (against the spread)

FILOSO — 24-15
GASSON — 23-16
SMITH — 23-16
ABBOTT — 21-18
BALLANTINE — 21-18
LUDWIG — 21-18
DUNK — 19-20
MCGUIRE — 19-20
HODGE — 18-21
HUDSON — 17-22