CFL Week 1 Picks: Game Lines, Odds, & Predictions

  • The CFL season begins on Thursday with Week 1
  • The Winnipeg Blue Bombers will be looking to defend their title
  • Read on for the odds, preview, and picks for all four games

The 2022 Canadian Football League season officially gets started on Thursday and runs through Saturday evening. All eight teams are in action as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers officially begin their Grey Cup title defense at home against the Ottawa RedBlacks on Friday night.

On Thursday, the Montreal Alouettes visit the Calgary Stampeders. Saturday’s slate features the Hamilton Tiger-Cats against the Saskatchewan Roughriders while out West, it’s the BC Lions playing host to the Edmonton Elks.

Before we get into the odds and picks, make sure to check out our guide on how to bet on sports. You can also find the best betting apps here.

Montreal Alouettes vs Calgary Stampeders Odds & Prediction

BetOnlineSpreadMoneylineTotal Points
Montreal Alouettes+3 (-105)+135Ov 48 (-110)
Calgary Stampeders-3 (-115)-155Un 48 (-110)

The Alouettes head into this Week 1 encounter as a 3-point underdog as they look to put together another scoring frenzy in 2022. Montreal led the CFL with 22.4 points per game, just edging out the defending Grey Cup champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers. The Alouettes ultimately finished with a 7-7 record and lost in the opening round of the playoffs to the Hamilton Tiger Cats. They also went 4-3 on the road last season and will be tasked with trying to get started on the right foot away from home on Thursday evening. As for preseason action, Montreal went 1-1 with a win over the Redblacks and a slim defeat to Hamilton. The biggest weapon for the Als is running back William Stanback, who led the league with over 1,100 rushing yards last season. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry vs. Calgary in 21′.

The Stamps meanwhile are coming off a dismal campaign where they finished at 8-6 and were bounced in the division semifinals. It was the first year since 2007 that Calgary failed to reach double-digits in wins but there is reason for optimism heading into Week 1. Veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell is finally at full strength after missing time in 2021 with a broken fibula. When Mitchell was healthy, he clearly struggled, throwing for 13 interceptions and just 10 TD’s. The 32-year-old has been a pillar for the Stampeders for years and will surely be poised to respond with a big season. He’s also got an absolute weapon in the backfield in RB Ka’Deem Carey, who finished second behind only Stanback in rushing last season. Calgary is already looking extremely dangerous too, outscoring the Lions and Elks 78-13 across their two preseason games.

While the Alouettes are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 against Calgary, the Stamps just showed a glimpse of what they can do in 2022. I’m liking them on the moneyline here.

Pick: Calgary Stampeders -155

Calgary StampedersTO BEAT MONTREAL ALOUETTES
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-155
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Ottawa RedBlacks vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers Odds & Prediction

BetOnlineSpreadMoneylineTotal Points
Ottawa Redblacks+9.5 (-110)+365Ov 47 (-110)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers-9.5 (-110)-455Un 47 (-110)

The RedBlacks face a very tall test in the season opener as they face the Grey Cup holders. Ottawa finished dead last in the CFL in each of the last two campaigns, combining for an atrocious record of 6-26. They scored just 13 points per game in 2021 and frankly looked abysmal. However, the RedBlacks did make some noise in free agency, strengthening their offensive and defensive lines, while most notably adding versatile QB Jeremiah Masoli. As for the preseason, Ottawa beat the Argos then lost a nailbiter to the Alouettes last Friday.

Winnipeg was absolutely electrifying in 21′ en route to another championship, finishing with an 11-3 record and taking down Hamilton in the Grey Cup. Since the 2020 season was canceled due to COVID-19, it was technically the second year in a row the Blue Bombers won it all. Winnipeg got even better in the offseason too, signing star wideout Greg Ellingson to bolster their offense.

Even though Ottawa has improved, they won’t likely have much luck being competitive against the best team in the league. It might not be a 20-point blowout, but the Bombers will cover the 9.5-point spread.

Pick: Winnipeg Blue Bombers -9.5 (-110)

Winnipeg Blue BombersTO COVER VS. OTTAWA REDBLACKS
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-9.5 (-110)
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Hamilton Tiger Cats vs Saskatchewan Roughriders Odds & Prediction

BetOnlineSpreadMoneylineTotal Points
Hamilton Tiger Cats+2 (-110)+120Ov 47.5 (-110)
Saskatchewan Roughriders-2 (-110)-140Un 47.5 (-110)

Two teams that were literally on the cusp of greatness begin their campaigns against each other on Saturday. The Tiger Cats had the opportunity to win a Grey Cup on home turf in 2021 but failed to do so and now they’ll head into a brand new era with the departure of signal-caller Jeremiah Masoli, who left for Ottawa. Dane Evans takes over as QB1 but he doesn’t nearly have the same experience as Masoli. However, Evans did show well at times last season, throwing for 787 yards and six touchdowns while getting picked off just three times. Hamilton also went 1-1 in preseason action in two close contests with Montreal and Toronto.

The Roughriders lost a nailbiter to the Bombers in the West Final last year after going 9-5 during the regular season. This same core group in Saskatchewan is still together as well, with QB Cody Fajardo leading the charge with offensive weapons Shaq Evans and Duke Williams. The Riders will be very motivated to make another run and considering all the familiar faces are back, they’ll have a good chance at doing so.

The spread is obviously very slim here because this should be one of the more tightly-contested matchups of Week 1. But, I do believe Saskatchewan will grab a big victory in their season opener against a Hamilton team that is getting adjusted to having Evans under center.

Pick: Saskatchewan Roughriders -140

Saskatchewan RoughridersTO BEAT HAMILTON TIGER CATS
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-140
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Edmonton Elks vs BC Lions Odds & Prediction

BetOnlineSpreadMoneylineTotal Points
Edmonton Elks+4 (-105)+160Ov 48 (-110)
BC Lions-4 (-115)-180Un 48 (-110)

The Elks finished at the bottom of the CFL with a 3-11 record last season alongside Ottawa but they do have some intriguing offensive options, especially at QB. Edmonton has yet to really decide who will be their starting signal-caller, with Nick Arbuckle and Taylor Cornelius fighting for the job. The Elks’ defense allowed 27 points per game a year ago and will need to make serious strides defensively as well if they’re going to be competitive in the West.

The BC Lions didn’t fare much better, going 5-9 in a very disappointing 2021 campaign. But, they’re now heading into a new era at QB after Mike Reilly retired. Nathan Rourke looks like he’ll probably take most of the snaps now, but Michael O’Connor is also in contention. The Lions got pummeled in their preseason opener by the Stamps but impressed a week later with a victory over the Roughriders.

The Lions were 2-5 at BC Place last year and split the season series with the Elks. With so much uncertainty at QB for both squads, it’s hard to know who will come out on top here. That’s why the under is likely the best bet.

Pick: Under 48 Points (-110)

Edmonton ElksTO HIT UNDER WITH BC LIONS
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Un 48 points (-110)
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Quinn Allen

Quinn Allen is a Sports Journalist from Vancouver, Canada. He's an associate editor for ClutchPoints by day then also writes sports betting picks in the evenings for a variety of sites including MTS, OSB, and SBD. Quinn graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology with a degree in broadcast journalism. He primarily focuses on basketball, soccer, football, baseball, and tennis. Quinn is also a former college baseball player and has played soccer his entire life as well.