With four weeks left in the regular season, five of the six playoff spots have been decided after the Montreal Alouettes and Hamilton Tiger-Cats punched their tickets to the postseason in Week 17.
However, Friday’s clash between the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and BC Lions, who share identical 11-4 records, has major playoff implications in the West Division. They’ve split the previous two meetings this year, and the victor this week will hold a major advantage in the race for the division crown and a first-round playoff bye.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers to win the Grey Cup
There are three other games on the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend schedule. The Edmonton Elks will visit the Toronto Argonauts on Friday night, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will take on the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and the Ottawa Redblacks will make the short trip to Montreal to square off with the Redblacks.
|Team||Grey Cup Outright Odds|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||+200|
Edmonton Elks @ Toronto Argonauts (Odds NA)
About the Elks (4-11 SU, 6-9 ATS, 7-8 o/u): The Elks should be fresh coming off a bye week and they’re technically still alive in the West Division playoff race, trailing the Roughriders by four points with three games left to play. That means Edmonton would have to win out and Saskatchewan would have to lose all of its remaining games in order for the Elks to clinch a postseason berth.
The Elks are coming off a 37-29 defeat to the Lions, but they were able to hang tough against BC despite allowing 21 first-quarter points. They’ve won four of their last six games after dropping nine straight to begin the season and are suddenly a very tough team to play against.
Running back Kevin Brown was held to 18 yards on six carries by a vicious BC defence last week, but he’s still second in the league in rushing yards (1,022) behind Winnipeg’s Brady Oliveira.
About the Argos (12-2 SU, 10-4 ATS, 7-7 o/u): Wait until Toronto releases its depth chart before placing a wager on this game. Last week, with the East Division title already wrapped up, the Argos elected to rest starting quarterback Chad Kelly and a few starting defensive players against the Bombers. Winnipeg came away with a 31-21 victory in the meaningless contest for the Argos, who could elect to rest more starters this week against the Elks.
The Argonauts will honour their 150th anniversary this Friday night at BMO Field. Many of the great Argos from the past will be in attendance, and that could inspire a strong performance from the players that do suit up this week.
As of Thursday morning, bet365 had not posted odds for this game due to the uncertainty of Toronto’s roster ahead of the game. Odds will likely be posted once the Argos release their depth chart.
- The over is 4-1 in Edmonton’s last five games.
- Edmonton is 4-1 ATS in its last five road games.
- The Argos have won five straight home games.
Bet on Elks vs. Argos
Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ BC Lions (-1, 51.5 o/u)
About the Blue Bombers (11-4 SU, 8-7 ATS, 10-5 o/u): This is the biggest game of the year to this point for both the Bombers and Lions. Both teams have three games left to play and the victor of this contest will be in the driver’s seat for the West Division title.
The Bombers are healthy heading into this matchup with only three players listed on their injury report, and they’re likely to get a huge shot in the arm with the return of Janarion Grant, who was injured in the fifth game of the season but is back at practice this week. The return specialist ranks second in the league in punt-return average (13.7 yards) and his kickoff return average (24.8 yards) also ranks second.
Expect a heavy dose of Oliveira in this game. He rushed for 169 yards last week and leads the CFL with 1,359 rushing yards. Winnipeg will try to control the clock with the running game and keep its defence fresh throughout the contest. BC, which loves to throw the ball, is averaging just 85.1 yards on the ground per game, which ranks eighth out of nine teams in the league.
About the Lions (11-4 SU, 8-6-1 ATS, 8-6-1 o/u): The Lions are riding a four-game winning streak after defeating the Roughriders 33-26 last week.
Quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. has thrown for 300 or more yards in six of seven starts since returning from injury in Week 10. He’s racked up 19 touchdown passes in that span while also exhibiting the ability to scramble out of the pocket, when necessary. His recent play has elevated him into the Most Outstanding Player conversation, and a big performance this week could tip the scales in his favour.
The Lions rolled to a 30-6 win over the Bombers in Week 3. The Bombers then responded with a 50-14 drubbing of the Lions in Week 9. However, it should be noted that Adams Jr. didn’t suit up for the Lions in the Week 9 rout.
- The over is 5-0 in Winnipeg’s last five games.
- The over is 4-0 in BC’s last four games.
- The Bombers are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games.
Pick: Lions -1.
|Home Team||Away Team||Date/Time (ET)|
|Toronto Argonauts||TBD||TBD||Edmonton Elks||Oct. 6, 7:00 PM|
|BC Lions||-1||51.5 o/u||Winnipeg Blue Bombers||Oct. 6, 10:00 PM|
|Saskatchewan Roughriders||-3.5||49.5 o/u||Hamilton Tiger-Cats||Oct. 7, 9:00 PM|
|Montreal Alouettes||-6.5||47.5 o/u||Ottawa Redblacks||Oct. 9, 1:00 PM|
Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Saskatchewan Roughriders (-3.5, 49.5 o/u)
About the Tiger-Cats (7-8 SU, 7-8 ATS, 6-9 o/u): The Ticats clinched a playoff berth last week and now they head west to take on the Riders at hostile Mosaic Stadium. This could be an emotional letdown spot for the Ticats after a turbulent season full of twists and turns.
Complicating matters, first-string quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell returned to practice this week after fracturing his leg in July. Head coach Orlondo Steinauer hasn’t named his starting quarterback for this game yet, but he didn’t hesitate to pull Taylor Powell quickly in last week’s tilt with Calgary in favour of Matthew Shiltz when the offence stumbled out of the gate.
Steinauer has some interesting decisions to make over the final few weeks of the regular season. Does he stick with Powell, who resurrected the team when Shiltz and Mitchell succumbed to injuries earlier this year? Or, does he hand the ball back to the veteran Mitchell for the stretch run? Shiltz has also been a weapon with his scrambling abilities for Hamilton when he’s mixed in during games. Three’s a crowd, and this quarterback carousel better figured out before the playoffs.
About the Roughriders (6-9 SU, 6-8-1 ATS, 11-4 o/u): The Riders have the inside edge on the final playoff spot, with Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa all sitting at 4-11 chasing them. A win this week, at home, wouldn’t be enough to clinch a playoff berth, but it would eliminate both Ottawa and Edmonton from playoff contention.
It won’t be easy to get a win this week considering the state of the team’s injury report, which lists 16 different players with various ailments. The secondary is especially beat up, with five players listed on the report.
The Riders will be desperate to snap their four-game losing streak and head coach Craig Dickenson is pondering some personnel changes ahead of this matchup.
“I think you’re going to see some new faces this week, I’m not going to tell you necessarily who, but we’ve got to get some people out there that hopefully can give us a spark and give us a chance to win a game,” he told the Regina Leader-Post.
- The over is 8-0 in Saskatchewan’s last eight games.
- Hamilton is 4-1 ATS in its last five road games.
- The Roughriders are 4-9 ATS in their past 13 home games.
Pick: I think the Riders win in a close game, but backing them on the 3.5-point spread is questionable. Taking the home team on the money line at -165 is the safer bet.
Bet on Tiger-Cats vs. Roughriders
Ottawa Redblacks @ Montreal Alouettes (-6.5, 47.5 o/u)
About the Redblacks (4-11 SU, 6-9 ATS, 9-6 o/u): The Redblacks got back to their losing ways with a 32-15 loss to the Als last week at home. They’ve now dropped eight of their last nine games and are 0-7 against divisional opponents this season.
Montreal has taken all three of the previous meetings between the teams by a combined score of 76-51 and it covered the spread in two of those three meetings with Ottawa.
After a strong start to the year, Ottawa’s defence has collapsed down the stretch. The unit has allowed 395.7 total yards per game to the opposition, the worst mark in the league. Opponents have also thrown for an average of 313.8 yards per game against the Redblacks, also the worst mark in the CFL.
About the Alouettes (8-7 SU, 8-7 ATS, 7-8 o/u): The Alouettes have a two-point lead over the Tiger-Cats for second in the East Division, and they’ll be motivated to earn home-field advantage in the Eastern Semi-Final. They can accomplish that with a win this week, combined with a Hamilton loss.
The Als’ defence enters this rematch with Ottawa beaming with confidence after a six-turnover, two-touchdown, five-sack annihilation of the Redblacks last week. The unit ranks in the middle of the pack in several defensive categories but appears to be rounding into form at just the right time of the year.
- The over is 5-0 in Ottawa’s last five road games.
- The under is 4-0 in Montreal’s last four games.
- The Alouettes are 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against opponents with a losing record.
Pick: Montreal -6.5.
Bet on Redblacks vs. Alouettes