We’re set for Week 20 of the Canadian Football League season and below are our predictions for each of this weekend’s four critical games.
Week 20 CFL betting picks
The four-game slate begins with a pair of larger favorites, but Saturday’s final two contests feature much narrower spreads as teams look to solidify playoff positioning or avoid elimination.
Friday, October 21: Ottawa Redblacks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 7:00 p.m. EDT
The Redblacks gave the Alouettes all they could handle in Week 19 before dropping a narrow 34-30 decision, but Ottawa still has slim hopes for the postseason entering the weekend.
They’ll have to start by handling their business in this game and knocking off Hamilton, as a Ti-Cats victory would eliminate Ottawa.
The Redblacks did give Hamilton a tough time back in Week 6 during a 25-23 loss.
However, QB Nick Arbuckle will have to operate without Jaelon Acklin, who owns a career-best 75-1,169-2 line for the season, for the second straight week. He’ll sit out with head and shoulder injuries.
There will be more key absences as well, including those of William Powell (shoulder), Tevaun Smith (ribs) and Patrick Levels (ankle).
Meanwhile, the Ti-Cats have plenty of incentive themselves, as a win and a Roughriders loss Saturday night clinches third place for Hamilton and a spot in the Eastern Semi-Final.
The Ti-Cats put together an impressive 35-32 win against the Stampeders in Week 19.
Although key backfield asset Wes Hills was limited for a second straight day of practice Wednesday due to a quad injury, he’s likely to play in this pivotal game.
The Redblacks have fought hard since the firing of head coach Paul LaPolice and have no shortage of motivation in this spot, but the Ti-Cats are home and looking to clinch.
It should be another competitive Ottawa performance and Hamilton tends to play plenty of close games, putting me in the direction of the Redblacks pulling off a cover.
Pick: Redblacks +5.5 or higher (-110 or better)
Friday, October 21: BC Lions at Edmonton Elks – 9:45 p.m. EDT
The Lions are another squad with some postseason stakes in Week 20.
A BC win or a Stampeders loss – the latter not guaranteed by the time this game kicks off – clinches second place in the West for the Lions and a home game in the Western Semi-Final.
In turn, the Elks have been eliminated from playoff contention since earlier this month.
To their credit, Edmonton played hard against the Argonauts in Week 19 after a 37-point loss to the Bombers the week prior, and they’ll still be motivated to snap their streak of 16 straight losses at Commonwealth Stadium.
Chris Jones’ squad has lost to the Lions by a combined 105-29 score in two previous meetings.
While Nathan Rourke remains out with his foot injury and Lucky Whitehead (ankle) will also sit out Friday, the Elks will be without Cornelius due to a spleen injury.
That leaves the Edmonton offence in the hands of the inexperienced Tre Ford, who’ll almost certainly have constant trouble moving the ball against a quality defence.
As such, this is a scenario where I see the incentivized Lions running away with it eventually.
Pick: Lions -7 (-110 or better)
Saturday, October 22: Toronto Argonauts at Montreal Alouettes– 4:00 p.m. EDT
The Argos escaped the Elks with a 28-23 win in Week 19 to push their record to 10-6 and increase their East Division lead to two games over the Alouettes.
With a win over Montreal in this matchup, they’ll clinch first place and a home date in the Eastern Final on November 13. The two teams met way back in Week 2, a 20-19 win for the Argos at BMO Field.
Montreal has underachieved at times this season but was able to escape Ottawa with a rousing 34-30 win in Week 19 to remain in a longshot position to still usurp Toronto for the division crown.
Both squads will be at near full health in terms of key players, although the Als figure to still be down key possession receiver Reggie White Jr. (knee).
Trevor Harris and his crew could also have a tough time achieving continuity against this defense.
It has allowed the second-fewest offensive points per game (20.8) and fewest offensive touchdowns (27) while forcing the second-most 2-and-outs (81), just one off the league lead.
The Montreal defence has been more giving overall, and although this is a home game, the Als are just 4-4 straight up at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium.
Meanwhile, the Argos boast a 5-3 road mark and I see them improving it here, even if by a narrow margin.
Pick: Argonauts moneyline (-125 or better)
Saturday, October 22: Calgary Stampeders at Saskatchewan Roughriders – 7:00 p.m. EDT
For the second straight week, the final game of the slate features a team that seemingly has a clear-cut edge.
The Stampeders have enjoyed an impressive season overall, entering this game with a 10-6 record (6-2 on the road) and having scored the second-most points in the league (494).
Calgary may have lost the opportunity to host the West Semi-Final by the time this game kicks off if BC prevails Friday night, but the Stamps will still be aiming to head into the postseason with momentum.
Meanwhile, the Roughriders have seen a once-promising season go mostly down the tubes – they’re now 6-10 and have benched QB Cody Fajardo for Mason Fine, who has only 51 career pass attempts.
The Riders still technically have a shot at the postseason, but it involves a pair of convoluted and increasingly unlikely scenarios.
They’d need a sweep of the Ti-Cats by the Redblacks and at least one win for Saskatchewan against Calgary in their season-ending series, or vice versa.
I see the more talented Stamps putting an end to the suspense Saturday night with another road win.