3DownNation CFL picks: can Mason be Fine in first start for Riders?

Photo courtesy: Saskatchewan Roughriders/Electric Umbrella/Liam Richards

We have officially reached the second-last week of the CFL’s regular season and a number of teams are on the bubble. There are three teams looking to punch their ticket to the postseason, two looking to clinch home playoff games, and one looking to end a humiliating home losing streak.

Ryan Ballantine and Santino Filoso are tied atop our contributor standings, though Joel Gasson is only one game behind against the spread. It’s possible that all CFL playoff positions will be finalized this week, which means our standings might be the only thing left to be decided in Week 21.

Friday, October 21: Ottawa Redblacks at Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 7:00 p.m. EDT

The Redblacks are fighting for their playoff lives as they must win this game and next week’s season-ending rematch to have a shot at earning a postseason berth. Meanwhile, the Ticats have won three of their last four games including impressive wins over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Calgary Stampeders. If the Tabbies can take this one, their chances of appearing in the East Semi-Final go from good to great.

DUNK: Tabbies win a close one. 

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

HODGE: Hamilton’s unlikely playoff push continues.

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

ABBOTT: Ottawa is hot and on the road. That may be enough to derail the Ticats great run.

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

BALLANTINE: It’s more fun if Ottawa wins, so…

Straight-up: REDBLACKS. Against the spread: REDBLACKS

FILOSO: Just to go against the grain.

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

GASSON: I think Ottawa gets their home win next week.

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

HUDSON: Hamilton’s on the upswing, which might make the playoffs in the East Division worth watching.

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

LUDWIG: Hamilton’s a six-point favourite? Not on my watch.

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

MCGUIRE: If Ottawa wins, they will combine with Edmonton for a .500 road record while maybe both going winless at home. I’m all about history, quirky facts, and not eliminating the Riders before the final week of the season.

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

SMITH: Hamilton is starting to get hot, but six is a lot to give up for a team that has won three games by more than that all season.

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

Friday, October 21: B.C. Lions at Edmonton Elks – 9:45 p.m. EDT

B.C. has a chance to clinch second place in the West Division in this game, which would allow them to host their first postseason game since 2016. This is Edmonton’s final game of the season and, though they were eliminated from postseason contention two weeks ago, have a chance to end a miserable 16-game home losing streak. Canadian quarterback Tre Ford will start for the Elks as Taylor Cornelius is out due to a spleen injury.

DUNK: The Lions clinch a home playoff game. 

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

HODGE: Edmonton’s home losing streak extends to 2023.

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

ABBOTT: Tre Ford can’t capture magic in a bottle a second time.

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

BALLANTINE: B.C. clinches a home playoff game and Edmonton’s streak lingers for another six months.

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

FILOSO: The Lions have something on the line, while Edmonton doesn’t. With that said, Ford keeps it close.

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

GASSON: The Lions seem to have it going a bit and I’ve tried to pick Edmonton winning at home too much.

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

HUDSON: Edmonton is playing for funsies with Ford.

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

LUDWIG: Ford makes it fun but it’s still to be determined if he helps their winning chances.

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

MCGUIRE: B.C. has more to play for and Edmonton’s fans have offered zero home-field advantage.

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

SMITH: Adams gets one more chance to show potential 2023 suitors what he can do.

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

Saturday, October 22: Toronto Argonauts at Montreal Alouettes – 4:00 p.m. EDT

These two teams are still jockeying for position in the East Division, making this the perfect time for them to play back-to-back games to finish the year. The Argos will finish atop the division and host the East Final with a win in this game, while Montreal could keep their hopes of earning a first-round bye alive with a victory in this one. It’ll be interesting to see how these squads stack up considering they haven’t played since way back in Week 1.

DUNK: Argos eek one out. 

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

HODGE: Toronto clinches first place in the East Division.

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

ABBOTT: The Alouettes looked better in a loss last week than the Argos did in a win.

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

BALLANTINE: It’s more fun if Montreal wins, so Montreal.

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

FILOSO: Toronto was fortunate to escape with a win last week. That luck runs out in Montreal.

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

GASSON: Things get interesting in the East.

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

HUDSON: It’s tough for Montreal to go all-in over the next two games, especially if they miss out on a bye unless they complete the sweep.

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

LUDWIG: They’re both 0.500-strength at best. Both barely beat bad teams last week, so I flipped a coin. It said Montreal.

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

MCGUIRE: I want both games in this home-and-home to mean something so I’m rolling with Montreal. No other reason.

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

SMITH: Toronto hasn’t won in Montreal in seven years, it’s S.J. Green night, and Montreal is hitting their stride.

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

Saturday, October 22: Calgary Stampeders at Saskatchewan Roughriders – 7:00 p.m. EDT

The Riders made a shocking move this past week when they announced that Mason Fine would take over the starting role at quarterback, benching veteran Cody Fajardo. Desperate times call for desperate measures, which is exactly what’s facing Saskatchewan. If they lose this week and the Ticats win, the Riders will officially be eliminated from postseason contention for the first time since 2016. With the Grey Cup set to be played in Regina in under a month, that will not sit well with the members of Rider Nation.

DUNK: Stamps stomp the Riders’ playoff hopes. 

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

HODGE: The odds of Mason Fine playing better than Cody Fajardo seem awfully low.

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

ABBOTT: Things are not Fine in Regina…

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

BALLANTINE: Not even the Riders think they can win.

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

FILOSO: It doesn’t matter who’s under centre for Saskatchewan

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

GASSON: Things are not FINE in Saskatchewan. 

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

HUDSON: Mason will be Fine but Calgary will be too much for the struggling Riders to handle.

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

LUDWIG: The Lions should win and Calgary should start resting players. Honestly not sure how much it helps the Riders.

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

MCGUIRE: I need to take some risks in order to try and catch up. 

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

SMITH: All is not fine in Riderville and their home-game title hopes end in a game that won’t be particularly close.

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

Records to date (straight-up)

BALLANTINE — 47-26
FILOSO — 47-26
DUNK — 45-28
GASSON — 44-29
LUDWIG — 44-29
SMITH — 44-29
HODGE — 43-30
MCGUIRE — 43-30
ABBOTT — 42-31
HUDSON — 42-31

Records to date (against the spread)

BALLANTINE — 41-32
FILOSO — 41-32
GASSON — 40-33
ABBOTT — 38-35
SMITH — 38-35
LUDWIG — 36-37
DUNK — 35-38
HODGE — 35-38
HUDSON — 32-41
MCGUIRE — 27-46