The first week of the Canadian Football League playoffs is coming up with an intriguing doubleheader. Both Hamilton and Saskatchewan are favored to move on, with the Ticats being a significant favorite. But is it wise to simply pick the favorites in the opening round?
For the first time in many weeks, the CFL games will be on Sunday. This has been the constant tradition for league playoff games. It provides extra games to bet on for NFL enthusiasts in the states.
Residents in the US can watch the semifinals on ESPN2 and ESPNEWS, respectively, after being exclusively on ESPN+ since early October. The contests will always be, as always, on TSN in Canada.
Sportsbook Comparison For CFL Division Semifinals Odds
|Odds listed as:|
Spread / Total
|Montreal at Hamilton||-4.5 / 45.5||-4.5 / 45||-4.5 / 45.5|
|Calgary at Saskatchewan||-1.5 / 41.5||-2 / 42||-1.5 / 42|
Sunday, 1:00 PM ET – Montreal At Hamilton (-4.5)
Hamilton checks in as slightly over a field-goal favorite, and deservedly so with recent results. They have won four of the last five games against the spread, all of them as favorites. The last time they were not a favorite was way back on Sep. 10 when they were slight underdogs at Toronto.
Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli has really shined down the stretch. In five of his last six games, he has delivered a stunning 77.4 pass percentage with 9 touchdowns and 0 picks. That is taking away an average performance in a 31-12 loss to Toronto, but even that was a step up in offensive production compared to earlier results this season.
In addition to Masoli’s production, the defense has been stellar throughout. That’s not a good matchup for Montreal, who thrives on offense but has been questionable on defense. For example, they score 24.7 points per game (2nd overall) but give up 21.8 points per game (5th overall). It’s truly a mixed bag for the Alouettes, who are 7-7 both on the season and against the spread.
Sunday, 4:30 PM ET – Calgary At Saskatchewan (-1.5)
Both playoff games in the West Division should be fantastic, and it starts with Calgary heading to Saskatchewan where the home team are slight favorites. The Stampeders are strong on the road with a 5-2 record overall and are 6-1 against the spread. On the other side, the Roughriders have the same overall record at home.
Saskatchewan has two things going for them: A terrific defense that’s aided in a four-game winning streak prior to a loss with their backups in, and an intense fanbase. It should be a fantastic atmosphere for the team to have a shot at Winnipeg. A major advantage is their +14 turnover ratio.
That turnover statistic will be most interesting with quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell and Calgary. He’s been a significant reason why the Stampeders have won six of their last seven games. They are also 2-1 against the Roughriders this season. But Mitchell has a 10 TD-to-13 INT ratio this season, which includes 6 turnovers alone against Saskatchewan.
Sports Betting Recommendations
- Montreal-Hamilton Under 45.5
- -110 (1.91), DraftKings
- Saskatchewan -1.5
- -110 (1.91), DraftKings
- Parlay: Hamilton and Saskatchewan ML
- +172 (2.72), DraftKings
Hamilton has simply been too hot down the stretch to bet against. Montreal is a major underdog in Grey Cup odds, and it’s for a reason. They’re just too inconsistent to trust on a bigger stage, although things may be different if they were at home.
There’s a lot of reason to like Calgary with their advantage in the passing game, which is Saskatchewan’s weakness on defense. But the turnovers have played a role in all their matchups, and it’s hard to believe it wouldn’t come up again in the playoff contest.
A lean for total bettors is taking the under on the West Semifinal contest. It’s hard to recommend the over on either contest. The Roughriders don’t score enough and their defense, as they have many times down the stretch, should keep things pretty low scoring.