Week 5 features a trio of historic Labour Day weekend rivalries, highlighted by the Labour Day Classic on Sunday between the Blue Bombers and Roughriders.
Not only is this a rematch of the 2019 West Final, but first in the West will be on the line. And before the weekend festivities get going, Montreal travels to Ottawa for an all-Eastern clash.
Nik’s Picks is here for you to gain on edge on the lines throughout the 2021 CFL season.
Montreal Alouettes at Ottawa Redblacks
CFL Odds and Point Spreads: Montreal -6.5, Over/under 42.5
Their records read the same but the Alouettes are the better football team heading into Friday evening, hence why they’re nearly a touchdown favourite on the road. Ottawa’s offence looks historically bad, whether it’s the 10.7 offensive points per game, 188.7 yards, or 38 first downs in three games. No matter how you put it, Matt Nichols and Co. ain’t getting the job done.
The same can be said for Vernon Adams Jr. as of late, who many had pegged as an MOP candidate. So far Adams Jr. is completing 52 per cent of his passes and has lost two straight games. And while team stats might not reflect this, both defences have performed quite well through three games. Problem is, neither is getting much support from their offence.
Regardless, you should have more confidence in Adams Jr. to get his side going. Als cover.
Montreal 23 Ottawa 13
Best bet: Under 42.5
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan Roughriders
CFL Odds and Point Spreads: Saskatchewan -4.5, Over/under 43
The Roughriders are the CFL’s lone undefeated squad and have had an extra week to rest and prepare for Winnipeg at home. That bodes well for Jason Maas’ offence, which has shown impressive play creativity through their three wins. The key for Saskatchewan Sunday should be getting the ball out of Cody Fajardo’s hands quick, which worked against Winnipeg last week.
The Bombers have been plugging some early season weaknesses, such as field goal kicking issues and dropped passes (welcome in Naaman Roosevelt to the blue and gold), while managing to go 3-1 while doing so. But Winnipeg hasn’t won on the road yet, and lead the league in two-and-outs and offence while ranking seventh in yards per play. If you ask me, that’s a massive concern heading into a sold-out barn in Regina. Riders keep rolling.
Winnipeg 19 Saskatchewan 30
Best bet: Over 43
Toronto Argonauts at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
CFL Odds and Point Spreads: Hamilton -2, Over/under 44.5
An impromptu bye week wasn’t necessarily what the Argos needed, given they really found their groove when taking the field last in Week 3. On the plus side they’ve got to study up against rival Hamilton who avoided a disastrous 0-3 start last week.
It appears it’ll be Dane Evans under centre again for Hamilton Monday. Starting in place of an injured Jeremiah Masoli, Evans found rookie Steven Dunbar seven times for 95 yards and a score in Week 3’s win at Montreal. That said, 2019 MOP Brandon Banks had just two grabs for five yards and has only 112 receiving yards through three games.
Then parlay Hamilton’s protection struggles with Toronto’s herd of front-seven talent and it sure points to an upset in the making. If Arbuckle can play safe football and ride his two-headed rushing attack in John White and D.J. Foster, it’s tough to see anyone knocking off the Argos.
Toronto 24 Hamilton 20
Best bet: Toronto +2
Edmonton Elks and Calgary Stampeders
CFL Odds and Point Spreads: Calgary -6, Over/under 42.5
If all is said an equal, Edmonton might deserve the Battle of Alberta to at least be a pick’em. Unfortunately, the Elks’ COVID-19 troubles makes it smart to be wary of siding with Jamie Elizondo’s club for the moment.
It could also be Travis Harris vs. Jake Maier at quarterback, Taylor Cornelius vs. Bo Levi Mitchell, or some combination. The point is, a lot is up in the air Monday with Edmonton confirmed to be missing players due to COVID-19 and Mitchell being cleared to practise.
But if it is an Elks’ roster featuring most of their key guys, this is team leading the CFL in net offence and defence, opponents’ yards per play, and most passing defence categories. The Stamps are to be taken seriously after consecutive strong outings with Maier, but don’t let Edmonton’s sluggish start make you forget how dangerous they can be.
Edmonton 16 Calgary 19
Best bet: Under 42.5
2021 Nik’s Picks:
Best bet record: 8-7
Moneyline record: 6-9