After a pair of exciting Semi-Final clashes last weekend, the Canadian Football League postseason rolls on with this Sunday’s qualifiers for the Grey Cup. Below are our predictions for the Eastern and Western Finals.
CFL Division Finals betting picks
Sunday, November 13: Montreal Alouettes at Toronto Argonauts – 1:00 p.m. EDT
The Alouettes came through on their home field in a Semi-Final win over the inconsistent Tiger-Cats on Sunday, but the caliber of competition gets a big boost in this matchup.
The well-rested Argos were a modest 5-4 at home this season but finished with the second-most points in the East (443) behind Montreal.
Toronto beat the Als by a single point on two occasions before dropping a 38-33 decision in Week 21, a game during which both teams played a heavy dose of backups.
Toronto will not only enjoy a big rest advantage, but it also looks poised to get star running back Andrew Harris back in the fold from the pectoral injury that cost him the last 10 regular-season games.
The combination of Harris and do-it-all tailback/fullback hybrid AJ Ouellette should give the hosts quite the 1-2 punch.
Especially against a Montreal defence that yielded 5.1 yards per carry and the second-most rushing touchdowns (24) in the regular season.
McLeod Bethel-Thompson will have to avoid turnovers and Toronto’s defence will need to contain Trevor Harris, considering the veteran threw for 413 yards and two touchdowns in Montreal’s narrow Week 20 loss.
I see the Argos capable of doing both in front of the home crowd and with their top running back available once again, leading me to a prediction of a hard-fought close win for the hosts.
The Pick: Argonauts moneyline (-170 or better)
Sunday, November 13: B.C. Lions at Winnipeg Blue Bombers – 4:30 p.m. EDT
The Lions put their faith in Nathan Rourke being healthy enough in last Sunday’s Semi-Final and were rewarded with a 30-16 win against a Stampeders team that had given them trouble during the regular season.
Rourke and the Lions now get the stiffest test possible in the form of the back-to-back champion Blue Bombers, which are hungry to return to the Grey Cup for the third straight season.
Winnipeg naturally has a rest advantage for this game after its Semi-Final bye. The Bombers also appear poised to get vitally important slotback Nic Demski back from his calf injury after he practiced in full Wednesday.
Star rookie Dalton Schoen and trusted veteran Rasheed Bailey were both limited Wednesday due to knee issues, but each is likely to play given the importance of this game.
On the other side, Rourke, who threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns against Calgary while likely working off the rest of the rust from his long absence, may once again be without Lucky Whitehead (ankle).
However, as his numbers indicate, Rourke made do just fine without his speedy wideout against the Stamps.
The talented second-year signal-caller turned to the likes of Keon Hatcher (8-162-1), Alexander Hollins (5-73-1), Dominique Rhymes (5-72) and the returning Bryan Burnham (3-45-1) with plenty of success.
Even with Rourke missing the second half of the season with his foot injury, the Lions totaled the third-most points in the regular season (525) while the Bombers scored an even more impressive 538.
The two games played between these teams with a semblance of regulars in the lineup on both sides finished with totals of 65 and 72 points. The second tally was even achieved with Zach Collaros sitting out for Winnipeg.
With both teams gunning for a Grey Cup appearance and likely having nearly fully healthy units on offence, I’m in the camp of the total being exceeded.