How to bet Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers

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The Hamilton Tiger-Cats travel to Winnipeg to take on the Blue Bombers in the season opener for both teams on Friday night, with the home team listed as point favourites.

The Tiger-Cats were 7-11 against the spread in 2022 while the Bombers covered 11 times. Hamilton was an abysmal road team as well, winning just twice away from the friendly confines of Tim Hortons Field. Conversely, the Bombers were virtually unstoppable at home, losing just once at IG Field in 2022 and are an astounding 23-2 straight up at home the last three regular seasons.

Hamilton’s seven road losses last season produced an average margin defeat of 10.7 points while Winnipeg cruised at home, winning by an average of 16.1 points at IG Field. That run included four straight double-digit home wins to close out the 2022 regular season.

The Ticats are also notoriously slow starters, winning outright just three times on opening weekend since 2004. Three times in that span — 2010, 2011, 2021 — they lost to the Bombers in Week 1.

Last season, the two teams split the season series, with each team winning at home. The Bombers won the Week 3 matchup at IG Field by a score of 26-12 while the Ticats exacted a measure of revenge by pummelling the three-time West Division champions 48-31 when the two teams met at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton in Week 15.

The Ticats will feature a much different roster this season, with 15 new starters taking the field against Winnipeg. The Bombers remain relatively the same from a year ago, with the only major addition being that of receiver Kenny Lawler. But fans in Winnipeg will have to wait to see Lawler’s return to the blue and gold as he has been suspended by the team for an issue stemming from his impaired driving guilty plea from an incident in 2021.

With a new roster going up against one that is virtually unchanged from a year, it is tough to trust the Tiger-Cats to pull off the upset. The question is if they can cover the five-point spread.

All the evidence points in Winnipeg’s favour but I think the new-look Tabbies can keep this one close and pull a backdoor cover. A 27-23 or 24-20 score would see the Ticats cover the spread and that feels like exactly what will happen. Give me the points.

My pick: Hamilton +5 (-110)

Josh Smith has been writing about the Ticats and the CFL since 2010 and was sporting his beard way before it was cool. Will be long after, too.