With only three weeks remaining in the CFL regular season, the push for the playoffs, and playoff positioning in many cases, is officially on!
In Week 18, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers staged a come-from-behind 34-26 victory over the BC Lions in overtime to take over the West Division lead with a 12-4 record. The Bombers are on a bye this week, so the Lions will have a chance to gain back some ground in the standings with a win over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers to win the Grey Cup
The game of the week, though, will take place in Calgary later on Friday night, when the Saskatchewan Roughriders visit the Stampeders. Saskatchewan can claim the sixth and final playoff spot with a win over the Stamps, who are fighting for their own playoff lives.
On Saturday, the Montreal Alouettes will battle the Edmonton Elks and the Toronto Argonauts will host the Ottawa Redblacks.
|Team||Grey Cup Outright Odds|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||+165|
BC Lions @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats (+3.5, 49.5 o/u)
About the Lions (11-5 SU, 8-7-1 ATS, 9-6-1 o/u): Last week’s crushing defeat to the Bombers puts the Lions in a precarious spot with two games remaining. Do they go all out down the stretch in an attempt to win the division and earn a first-round playoff bye? Or, do they nestle into the No. 2 seed in the West, rest some key starters, and prepare to host the Western Semi-Final on Nov. 4? With the Bombers now owning the tiebreaker by taking two of the previous three meetings this year, the latter is the more likely scenario.
The Lions were double-digit favourites in their Week 12 clash with the Tiger-Cats at home, but Hamilton played arguably its best game of the season and walked away with a convincing 30-13 victory. James Butler, who played two seasons for the Lions before signing with Hamilton last offseason, burned his former team for two touchdowns and 154 total yards in the Ticats’ victory.
On a positive note, quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. is making a late push for Most Outstanding Player honours, throwing for over 300 yards in seven of his last eight games. He’s thrown 20 touchdowns during that span and has been intercepted eight times.
About the Tiger-Cats (8-8 SU, 8-8 ATS, 7-9 o/u): The Tiger-Cats have won four of their last five games to claim a playoff spot in the East Division, but they’re still playing for positioning. Hamilton trails Montreal by two points for the second seed in the division, and the two teams are set to clash in Montreal during the final week of the season. The Alouettes already hold the tiebreaker by virtue of taking both of the previous meetings this season, so Hamilton will need to win this week and get some help from Ottawa in order to make things interesting.
The big news out of Hamilton was the return of quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to action last week. He started last week’s lopsided win over the Riders, completing four of his six pass attempts for 129 yards and a touchdown before making way for Matthew Shiltz, who also turned in some impressive numbers (271 yards passing and two touchdowns). Mitchell has had two stints on the injured list this year, most recently coming back from a fractured leg. If he can get to 100% by the playoffs, Hamilton could be a great dark horse pick to win the Grey Cup this year.
- The over is 5-0 in the Lions’ last five games.
- Hamilton is 4-1 ATS in its last five games.
- The Lions are 0-3-1 ATS in the past four meetings.
Pick: Hamilton +3.5.
Bet on Lions vs. Tiger-Cats
Saskatchewan Roughriders @ Calgary Stampeders (-3.5, 49 o/u)
About the Roughriders (6-10 SU, 6-9-1 ATS, 12-4 o/u): The Roughriders have lost five straight games, but they can clinch a playoff spot with a win this week in Calgary. Saskatchewan hasn’t won a game since upsetting the Blue Bombers on Labour Day weekend, mostly due to a total collapse on defence. The Green Riders have coughed up an average of 38.8 points per game during the losing streak, pushing their season mark to a league-worst 31 points allowed per game.
Bettors should be aware that this team has played over the total in 12 games this season, including each of its last nine games. Both of the previous meetings between the Riders and Stamps soared over their respective totals (33-31 Calgary in Week 6 and 29-26 Saskatchewan in Week 3).
About the Stampeders (4-11 SU, 7-8 ATS, 5-9-1 o/u): A win this week against the Riders would give Calgary the tiebreaker over Saskatchewan, which means the Stamps would only need to make up two more points in the standings over the final two weeks of the regular season. But like the Riders, the Stamps have also been struggling and will carry a three-game losing streak into the matchup.
Bettors should know that Calgary is coming off a bye week, so the team should be prepared and rested for the Roughriders. According to CFL.ca’s playoff simulator, the Stampeders have a 51.45% chance of making the postseason and the Riders have a 48.55% chance of punching their tickets to the playoffs. This should be a close contest.
- The Roughriders have played over the total in nine straight games.
- The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
- The Roughriders are 1-4-1 ATS in their last six road games.
Pick: This should be a close game that comes down to the wire, so I’ll side with the underdog Riders and take the 3.5 points. The 49-point total also seems low given the results of the previous matchups between the teams and Saskatchewan’s matador defence.
|Home Team||Away Team||Date/Time (ET)|
|Hamilton Tiger-Cats||+3.5||49.5 o/u||BC Lions||Oct. 13, 7:00 PM|
|Calgary Stampeders||-3.5||49 o/u||Saskatchewan Roughriders||Oct. 13, 9:30 PM|
|Edmonton Elks||+2||47.5 o/u||Montreal Alouettes||Oct. 14, 4:00 PM|
|Toronto Argonauts||OTB||OTB||Ottawa Redblacks||Oct. 14, 7:00 PM|
Montreal Alouettes @ Edmonton Elks (+2, 47.5 o/u)
About the Alouettes (9-7 SU, 9-7 ATS, 7-9 o/u): It’s very possible that the Alouettes could clinch home advantage in the Eastern Semi-Final before they even take the field on Saturday. Should Hamilton lose to BC, the Als will have nothing to play for in this game and they could elect to sit several starters in an attempt to remain healthy and fresh. This spread could swing heavily towards Edmonton if that’s the case, so plan your wagers accordingly.
The Alouettes have been playing very well recently, claiming wins and covering the spread in three straight games. During the winning streak, the team has only allowed a combined 29 points. Montreal has scored eight defensive touchdowns this season — five on interceptions and three fumble returns — while holding opponents to an average of 21.9 points per game, which ranks third in the CFL behind Winnipeg and Toronto.
About the Elks (4-12 SU, 6-10 ATS, 7-9 o/u): The Elks were officially eliminated from playoff contention with last week’s 35-12 loss to Toronto. Their season might be over, but this team will still be looking to gain some momentum over its final two games heading into next season.
Elks fans are probably wondering what the fate of the team might’ve been this season had Tre Ford taken over as the starting quarterback earlier in the season. The speedy QB from Niagara Falls has revitalized the offence and is without a doubt one of the most exciting players in the league. Just check out this ridiculous play from last week if you don’t believe me.
- The under is 5-0 in Montreal’s last five games.
- The Alouettes are 4-0 ATS in their last four games.
- The Alouettes are 5-0 ATS in the past five meetings between the teams in Edmonton.
Pick: Montreal -2 if Hamilton wins on Friday. If you like BC to win outright on Friday night against the Ticats, grab the Elks at +2 now before a potential massive line move makes them the favourites.
Bet on Alouettes vs. Elks
Ottawa Redblacks @ Toronto Argonauts (OTB)
About the Redblacks (4-12 SU, 6-10 ATS, 9-7 o/u): The Redblacks were officially eliminated from playoff contention following last week’s ugly 29-3 loss to Montreal. They have just one win in their last 10 contests.
This is a meaningless game for both teams, so take caution if you’re going to wager on this contest. Many of Ottawa’s players will be auditioning for roles on next year’s squad, so there still could be some motivation to perform well down the stretch.
About the Argonauts (13-2 SU, 11-4 ATS, 7-8 o/u): With the top seed in the East Division all wrapped up, the emphasis for the Argos this week will be staying healthy. Oddsmakers haven’t put out a line for this game as of Thursday morning while they wait for the respective depth charts for both teams. This is the kind of game I’d recommend staying away from because of so many variables.
- The Argos have won five straight home games.
- The over is 5-1 in Ottawa’s last six road games.
Bet on Redblacks vs. Argonauts