CFL Betting Notes – Div Finals

This year’s CFL playoffs got underway on Sunday with a pair of matchups in the division semifinals. The East Division’s Hamilton Tiger-Cats made an early statement with a 48-8 rout of British Columbia as a crossover team from the West Division. Hamilton closed as a slight 1 ½-point home favorite with the total going OVER 51 ½ points.

The favorite prevailed in the second game as well with Winnipeg going on the road to cover a two-point spread in a 23-18 victory against Saskatchewan as a home underdog. The total stayed UNDER 50 points in that West Division clash.

Sunday, Nov. 18

Hamilton Tiger-Cats (9-10 SU, 8-10-1 ATS) at Ottawa Redblacks (11-7 SU, 9-9 ATS)
Point-spread: Ottawa -3
Total: 53 ½

Game Overview

Hamilton limped into the postseason with just two victories in its last seven games both straight-up and against the spread. This included a pair of losses to Ottawa (SU and ATS) in a late-season home-and-home matchup. The total went OVER 54 ½ points in a 35-31 loss Ottawa on the road before staying UNDER 53 ½ points in the Tiger-Cats 30-13 loss at home the following week as 4 ½-point favorites. Hamilton also lost the first meeting at home 21-15 in late July as a six-point favorite against the RedBlacks.

The most encouraging aspect of Sunday’s playoff win was the play of Hamilton’s defense, which kept BC off the board until the fourth quarter when the game was already out of hand. Jeremiah Masoli is the East Division’s nominee for Most Outstanding Player and he showed why with 259 yards passing and three touchdown throws in that game.

Ottawa took a different path to winning the East this season with a 5-2 run in its last seven games both SU and ATS. The total stayed UNDER 47 ½ points in a 24-9 victory against Toronto in the RedBlacks’ season finale as four-point home favorites and it stayed UNDER in six of their last nine games. They went 6-3 SU at home this season with a 4-5 record ATS.

In order for Ottawa to get back to its second Grey Cup Championship in three seasons, its quarterback Trevor Harris is going to have to be at the top of his game. That was not always the case this season, but he did finish fourth on the list in total passing yards (5,116) while tossing 22 touchdowns against 11 interceptions. The RedBlacks averaged 25.8 points per game on offense to complement a defense that allowed an average of 23.3 PPG.

Betting Trends

-- The Tiger-Cats have gone 4-1-1 ATS in their last six playoff games and the total has gone OVER in six of their last seven division games.

-- The RedBlacks are 4-1 ATS in their last five games in the postseason and the total has stayed UNDER in 18 of their last 24 East Division games.

-- Ottawa has an 8-3 edge ATS in the last 11 meetings and the total has gone OVER in six of the last seven meetings in Ottawa.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-8 SU, 11-7-1 ATS) at Calgary Stampeders (13-5 SU, 9-9 ATS)
Point-spread: Calgary -4 ½
Total: 52

Game Overview

The Blue Bombers opened as two-point road underdogs for Sunday’s matchup against Saskatchewan, but an injury to the Roughriders’ quarterback Zach Collaros swung bettors the other way. Winnipeg finished the regular season with a 5-1 run in its last six games both SU and ATS. The total has stayed UNDER in five of its last seven games including the playoff win.

This was the highest scoring offense in the CFL this season with an average of 30.6 PPG, but the Blue Bombers flourished on defense down the stretch with a points-allowed average of 17.2 in their last six regular season games. Matt Nichols took the majority of the snaps at quarterback in Sunday’s win and he completed 16-of-22 passing attempts for 169 yards and a score. Andrew Harris was the difference with 153 yards and a score running the ball.

It is hard to know what to make of Calgary coming into this year’s playoffs. For the second season in a row, it stumbled down the stretch with three SU losses its last four games while going a costly 3-6 ATS over its final nine games of the year. The total stayed UNDER 50 points in a season-ending 26-9 victory on the road against BC as 8 ½-point favorites and it has stayed UNDER in four of the Stampeders’ last five games.

That uncertainty could change on a dime if quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell gets off to a fast start this Sunday afternoon. He was third in the league in passing yards with 5,124 and he led the CFL in passing touchdowns with 35 against 14 interceptions. The Stampeders were the second-highest scoring team in the league with an average of 29.0 PPG, but they only exceeded that average once in their last six games.

Betting Trends

-- The Blue Bombers have covered in four of their last five playoff games on the road and the total has stayed UNDER in four of their last five division games.

-- The Stampeders are 2-5 ATS in their last seven postseason games played at home and the total has gone OVER in four of their last five playoff games overall.

-- The season series was split 1-1 with each team winning at home both SU and ATS. The total went OVER 53 points in Calgary’s 39-26 victory on Aug. 25 as a 7 ½-point home favorite. It stayed UNDER 52 ½-points on Oct. 26 in Winnipeg’s 29-21 victory as a 3 ½-point underdog at home.