CFL Eastern/Western Final Picks
CFL Football Playoff Games This Week
Championship sports battles always kick the excitement level up several notches. We get two title fights on Sunday, as the East and West Division crowns will be claimed and the Grey Cup finalists will be determined. When Toronto and Saskatchewan meet, in the CFL East Final at BMO Field, the Roughriders are aiming to be the first crossover squad to advance to the CFL Final. The Argonauts are looking for their first Championship game berth since they captured the 100th Grey Cup in 2012. The 'Riders have won three straight against the Argos - including two victories in Toronto.
Intense in it's own right, the Battle of Alberta will be reignited for the fourth time this season when Edmonton and Calgary clash in the CFL West Final at McMahon Stadium. Edmonton is the white hot right now as the Eskimos have rattled off six straight victories that includes a 39-32 whacking of Winnipeg in the West Semi-Final last Sunday. The final score flatters the Blue Bombers as the Green & Gold were up 39-16 before letting up on the gas some. Calgary enjoyed a BYE in the first round but need to be much sharper than they were while dropping their final three regular season games.
Canadian Football League Semi-Final Sunday Review
Both CFL first round playoff contests played out pretty much how we envisioned they would. The biggest take-away from the two matches is healthier teams, playing at a high level, are no match for squads dealing with injuries or not in a normal game flow. In the East Semi-Final, Ottawa was without their second leading receiver Brad Sinopoli (1009 YDS 3 TD) and had played just once in 29 days. In the West Semi-Final Winnipeg was without WR Darvin Adams and LB Maurice Leggett (QB Matt Nichols was not 100%) and the Blue Bombers had lost three of their previous five matches.
Football protection is also paramount in the CFL postseason. Saskatchewan forced four Ottawa turnovers, while Edmonton had three takeaways, and neither the 'Riders or Eskimos coughed up the ball. The latter is slightly surprising as the Blue Bombers were the best in the CFL at taking the ball away during the regular season. While we expect turnovers will be a factor during the Division Finals - all four teams head into Sunday in relatively good health. Remaining on a winning roll, we went 4-0-0 with our picks last week and feel we have a solid handle on both games his weekend.
CSB Money Line & ATS Semi-Final Results: 2-0-0 and 2-0-0 Overall: 60-21-1 and 45-36-2
2017 East Division Final Preview and Prediction
- Saskatchewan at Toronto Pick: Roughriders +3 (-110) ATS + S/U (+135) at Bet363
Kickoff: BMO Field 1:00 PM ET November 19, 2017 Weather: 2°C 18% POP Mostly Cloudy
Looking very different, than they did at the mid-season point, Saskatchewan and Toronto enter the East Final revamped and running hot. These teams were a combined 5-8 through Week 7 but went 14-9 the rest of the way. Saskatchewan heads into this road game on a 5-2 roll, with a 188-141 scoring advantage, and one of those wins was a 27-24 triumph over the Argos in Toronto during Week 16. The 'Riders also posted a 38-27 Week 6 victory at Mosaic Stadium - though the Argos were still finding their way back then. The Green & White defense will be a problem for Toronto.
After opening their season with a dismal 4-7 slide - Toronto rebounded and closed out the year on 5-2 run to finish first in the East. RB James Wilder Jr. was a big part of the turnaround as he posted 1,141 rushing and receiving yards during the Argos final six games. Wilder added balance to the Toronto attack on offense and that helped QB Ricky Ray average 330 pass yards (11 TD) during the Argos strong finish. The Boatmen are as healthy as they have been all season long - especially on defense as sack-specialist DL Shawn Lemon and LB Marcus Ball are back in the Argonauts lineup.
Argonauts vs ‘Riders Quick Hits: QB Ricky Ray put up 727 passing yards and five TD during the two regular season meetings. There was just one turnover in those matches - an interception by 'Riders LB Henoc Muamba. The Saskatchewan defense posted 27 sacks and 19 picks during the regular season while Toronto recorded 50 sacks and 15 INT. DE Victor Butler was the Argos sack leader with ten - but eight of those were posted in the first three games. These squads have not met in the playoffs since 2002. Take the points and back the 'Riders to advance to Grey Cup 105.
Final Score: Toronto Argonauts 25-21
2017 West Division Final Preview and Prediction
- Edmonton at Calgary Pick: Eskimos +5 (-110) ATS + S/U (+180) at Bet363
Kickoff: McMahon Stadium 4:30 PM ET November 12, 2017 Weather: 4°C 1% POP Sunny
Winner take all playoff contests normally have a high intensity level. Throw in a rivalry of squads separated by just 299 km of QE2 pavement, plus a ton of history - with plenty of animosity, and the match garners rock-star status. Featuring a Calgary vs Edmonton Battle of Alberta - CFL style - the West Final is going to be a beauty. That statement would have been slightly absurd after Week 15 as the Eskimos were on a six game losing streak at that point. Thanks to an infusion of talent, the Esks got back on track and won six straight – including a 29-20 Week 19 home victory vs Calgary.
While Edmonton was imploding, after opening with a 5-0 record, Calgary was cruising as they won eleven straight between Week 5 and Week 17. However, Calgary hasn't been a lock since they won the Labor Day Classic 39-18 in Week 10. The Stamps stomped opponents 337-187 over the first ten games and just 186-162 over their final eight contests. Prior to their Week 18 game, at home vs the ‘Riders, the Red & White clinched first in the West after Winnipeg lost in Toronto. Meaningless matches, played in some fairly nasty weather, had some bearing on their 0-3 season ending slide.
Stampeders vs Eskimos Quick Hits: During their last six games; Calgary went 3-3 (134-127) and Edmonton posted a 6-0 (203-145). These teams have met in two recent West Finals as Calgary won 43-18 at McMahon Stadium in 2014 before Edmonton turned the table with 45-31 win in 2015 at Commonwealth Stadium. The Stamps are 8-1 at home vs the Eskimos since 2012. QB Mike Reilly owns a 13:1 TD to INT ratio over five career playoff starts while QB Bo Levi Mitchell sports a 15:6 ratio over six starts. Dialled in on Edmonton lately (6-1 ATS 7-0 SU) we like the Eskimos outright.
Final Score: Calgary Stampeders 32-28
Closing Thoughts - Division Final Bookmakers
A Grey Cup 100 winner as the Argos DC (2012-13) 'Riders HC Chris Jones is familiar with Ricky Ray and Toronto. Though not into conspiracy theories - the CFL (and broadcaster TSN) wanting a true East vs West Finale de la Coupe Grey 2017 de la LCF is a minor concern. Though better than their 0-3 season end - we can't see Calgary flipping a switch and returning to their unbeatable form. We love hot running teams - especially when the streak begins with star players joining the fold.
Canuck 'Capers are reminded that this is the last chance to harvest the ripest Grey Cup futures odds at Bodog. Calgary (-120) Saskatchewan (+333) plus Edmonton and Toronto at (+450) will be pulled down once the East Final kicks off. The Championship Sunday ML odds will be deflated considerably - no matter the finalists. Adding excitement bettors can't find at Lottery Kiosks - the CSB Top Five bookmakers listed below offer prop odds and LIVE betting on the Division Finals.
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