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3rd and 1: Best Bets for Week 1 of the CFL Season


The flowers are in bloom, the freshwater flows off the glacier and the streets of Saint-Denis are alive! 

North of the 49th parallel, spring turns to summer, and Stanley Cup fever shifts to CFL fandom.

Excitement aside, week 1 can be like hiking in Bear Country for CFL bettors, and I’m here to help you avoid wandering between a sow and her cubs. 

Join me, Drew Morrison, every week of the CFL Season for this year’s edition of 3rd and 1.

We’ll make a trio of educated (semi-educated) picks and a fantasy sleeper to slot into your lineup.

So let’s get things going.

Montreal Alouettes at Winnipeg Blue Bombers


Al-ou-ET-TE gentil Alouette,’ as the song goes…

But there was nothing nice about the angry birds that came from behind to beat the Bombers in last year’s Grey Cup.  Davis Sanchez, who played in Montreal and thinks there’s value on the Als to repeat as Grey Cup champs, doesn’t love them this week.  The potential exists for Winnipeg to exact some Grey Cup revenge at home.  But while it’s possible to envision that happening, we’re being given an eight-point cushion.  Winnipeg could still send a message with a SEVEN-point win.  And while we’re trying to predict the future, it’s also possible to see the Als winning outright like they did in November.

The Pick : ALOUETTES +7.5 at Blue Bombers


Saskatchewan Roughriders at Edmonton Elks



Remember when Edmonton set the record for the longest home-losing streak in North American professional sports history?   Hint: It wasn’t that long ago.  Enter Macbeth stage right.

Is this a dagger which I see before me,

The handle toward my hand?  Come, let me clutch thee.

I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.

McLeod Bethel-Thompson certainly has the weapons in Edmonton. But, while his career wasn’t quite a Shakespearian tragedy prior to being pulled for Chad Kelly in the 109th Grey Cup game and leaving for the USFL the following year, he did have his tragic flaws.  

The Elks should be much better this season, but to borrow a line From Aaron Korolnek: ‘I’ll pay to see it’ in week 1.

The Pick: ROUGHRIDERS +2.5 at Elks


BC Lions at Toronto Argonauts




Big Will in the limelight, rhyme tight.

And we gon' have some fun tonight

You know it’s Big Willie style baby

I like William Stanback to score a touchdown in his Lions’ debut. Reunited with Vernon Adams in BC, Stanback should have ample opportunity to score. The Lions are many people’s Grey Cup pick. They should be able to handle an Argos team that is a shadow of its former self. I expect BC to den down in Toronto’s end zone and Willie to get good vibes in his Lions debut.

The Pick: WILLIAM STANBACK Anytime TD -140


CFL Fantasy Best Bet: WALTER FLETCHER ($6.9 K)

Value is the name of the game in CFL Fantasy.  Spend wisely and always shop in the bargain bins.  That’s general advice for a fantasy format I’ve grown to enjoy.  This week’s play is hardly a bargain bin calibre athlete, but he’s way under-valued at $6.9k.  Walter Fletcher is the guy in Montreal until someone usurps him.  When Stanback was injured during parts of the past two seasons, Fletcher was a ‘go-to’ fantasy starter for yours truly.  Why?  Because he was undervalued!  And he still is at his current price. Fletcher often cut into Stanback’s touches last season when both players were healthy.  And, now that Big Willie is in BC, there should be no shortage of opportunity for Fletcher. He not only has a good chance to outgain his rushing total (41.5), but he has the potential to be a weapon in the passing game.