CFL Division Semifinals
November 4, 2013
By David Schwab
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The quest for the 2013 Grey Cup in the CFL gets underway this Sunday with the East and West Division Semifinals. The final week of the regular season started with Montreal sneaking past Toronto 23-20 as a one-point road underdog. Later that Friday night, British Columbia closed-out its regular season with a 26-7 victory over Calgary as a one-point home favorite.
Hamilton started this past Saturday’s action by pinning yet another loss on Winnipeg with a 37-7 romp as a two-point favorite on the road. Edmonton avoided matching the Blue Bombers for the worst record in the CFL by beating Saskatchewan 30-26 as a 4 ½-point road underdog in Saturday’s other game.
The following is a brief betting preview for both Division Semifinals in the CFL with the opening pointspread and ‘over/under’ lines provided by 5Dimes.
Sunday, Nov. 10
Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Point-spread: Hamilton -3 ½
Total: 53 ½
Montreal has not looked like a playoff team at times this season with an overall record of 8-10 straight up, but it did cover in six of its last seven games to finish the regular season 11-7 against the spread. Even more impressive is a 6-2 ATS record in eight road games. The total has stayed UNDER in its last three games and it stayed UNDER in 10 of 18 games overall.
The Alouettes had their fair share of issues at the quarterback position which resulted in an offense that averaged 25.5 points a game. They turned to Troy Smith in their last three games of the season and he responded with 884 yards passing and nine touchdowns, which could end-up being a huge factor for this game.
Hamilton went 5-2 SU in its last seven games to finish 10-8 SU on the year. It was 3-4 ATS during that same stretch of games. The Tiger-Cats were 4-5 ATS at home this season as part of an overall record ATS of 9-9. The total has stayed UNDER in their last six games and it stayed UNDER in 12 of 18 games on the year.
Consistency at the quarterback position has been one of Hamilton’s strong suits all season long with Henry Burris at the helm. He led the CFL in total passing yards with 4,925 and was tied for second in passing touchdowns with 24 while completing 65.8 percent of his 567 attempts. The only downside was a league-high 19 interceptions.
These two division foes met three times this season with the home team winning all three games SU. The home team in this series has now won nine of the last 10 meetings SU going back to the 2011 season. Hamilton has the slight 6-4 edge ATS and the total has stayed UNDER in three of the last five meetings.
The winner of this game will square off against Toronto in the Eastern Division final on Sunday, Nov. 17 from the Rogers Centre.
British Columbia Lions at Saskatchewan Roughriders
Point-spread: Saskatchewan -4
Total: 52 ½
BC squeezed-out victories both SU and ATS in its last two games to finish 11-7 SU (8-9-1 ATS) on the year, but it was not enough to avoid going on the road for this game where it was 3-6 both SU and ATS. The total stayed UNDER in three of its last five road games. The Lions were the fourth-highest scoring team in the league with an average of 28 points a game.
Travis Lulay missed a number of games in the second half of the season due to injury, but he did see some limited action in last week’s win over Calgary. He should be ready to go this Sunday which could provide a huge boost to this offense. Even with all the time he missed, Lulay was fifth in the league in passing yards with 2,841.
Saskatchewan raced out to an 8-1 SU start before falling back with a four-game losing streak during the month of September. Since then, it has gone 3-2 SU in its last five games to secure the home field for this game at 11-7 SU through a tie-breaker against BC. The Roughriders are 8-9-1 ATS overall and 4-5 ATS in nine home games this season. The total has stayed UNDER in six of their last seven games overall.
Darian Durant has gone the distance at quarterback for Saskatchewan and he finished the year with 4,154 passing yards and a league-high 31 touchdown throws. He completed 61.2 percent of his 531 attempts and did a fairly good job at taking care of the ball with just 12 interceptions. One of the big work horses on the offense has been Kory Sheets, who is ranked second in rushing with 1,598 yards.
Head-to-head in this matchup, Saskatchewan has won four of the last seven meetings SU including two of the three games played this season. The home team is 5-2 SU in the last seven games and the total has stayed UNDER in the last eight games between the two.
The winner of this game will meet Calgary in the West Division final on Sunday, Nov. 17 at McMahon Stadium.