Slam Dunk CFL picks: Ground and pound

Playoff football in Canada usually involves the elements and steady running makes for winners in those situations.

Throwing the football is flashy, but stuffing the ball down your opponents mouth can deliver knockout blows in the sudden death season.

The two best rushing teams in the league have the advantage on Semi-Final Sunday as the temperatures drop and snow falls in the West. Let’s ride with the top backs in their respective divisions.

Eastern Semi-Final
Edmonton Eskimos at Montreal Alouettes

Sunday, November 10, 1 p.m. EST

William Stanback should help work the sold out Percival Molson Stadium crowd into a frenzy, it’s back to being a home field advantage for the Als.

Montreal went 6-3 in La Belle Province, including 4-1 against West Division opponents. One of the victories came in Week 6 when Trevor Harris was healthy for the Eskimos. Harris is nowhere near 100 percent despite the extra rest during the final week of the regular season. On the other side, Vernon Adams Jr. looks healthy and sharp.

All 10 of the Alouettes wins during the regular season came with Adams Jr. as the starter, seven were comeback victories. The dual-threat quarterback is clutch: leading five game-winning fourth quarter drives. Captain clutch beats the Harris (6-7 win-loss record in 2019).

Line: Alouettes favoured by 2.5 points
Pick: Montreal
Bet: $33 spread bet returns $30

Western Semi-Final
Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Calgary Stampeders

Sunday, November 10, 4:30 p.m. EST

Everything is coming up blue.

Winnipeg wanted snow – check. Zach Collaros looks young – check. Andrew Harris healthy and salty – check. Noted Bombers killer Eric Rogers out of the lineup – check.

The Bombers run the ball better than any team in the league with a team average of six yards per carry — Andrew Harris is a major reason why. The Stamps ran for the least amount of yards league-wide 1,283 in 18 regular season games (71.3 per game).

Sorry, CFL fans: mass free agency's not going anywhere (at least for one more year)

However, Don Jackson and Terry Williams are fresh. Dave Dickenson likes to be balanced, especially in the playoffs when the weather can factor into the game plan. But Winnipeg is stout against the run allowing league lows 64.2 yards per game and 4.5 per carry. Winning the line of scrimmage appears to be in favour of the underdog squad.

Line: Stampeders favoured by 5.5 points
Pick: Winnipeg
Bet: $22 spread bet returns $20; $20 money line bet returns $39