Betting picks for Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. B.C. Lions

Photo courtesy: Paul Yates/B.C. Lions

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will try to keep the good times rolling when they host the B.C. Lions at Tim Hortons Field on Friday night. The Lions enter the game as a -point favourite.

The Ticats are as hot as any team in the CFL right now, having won five of their last seven games — a streak that started with the team’s shocking victory over these same B.C. Lions on the road back in August.

In that game, the Tabbies rode the legs of running back James Butler, who had his best performance of the season against his former squad. Butler finished with 118 yards on the ground, 36 yards through the air and two total touchdowns. The Ticats’ defence held a potent Lions offence to just 13 points, even though quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. threw for over 300 yards and receiver Keon Hatcher caught seven passes for 107 yards and the Lions’ lone touchdown of the night.

The Tiger-Cats have held their last two opponents to 28 combined points and have allowed just one touchdown in their last nine quarters of play, a far cry from the team that gave up 29 or more points in five of their first six games this season.

Veteran quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell returned to Hamilton’s lineup last week, playing one quarter against the Saskatchewan Roughriders, and looks set to get more action this week. It has not been a banner year for the future Canadian Football Hall of Famer but he did put together his best quarter with the Ticats last week, completing four-of-six passes for 129 yards and one touchdown. The Lions have been susceptible against the pass, having allowed 300 or more yards through the air in three of their last five games.

This is an important game for both sides as they chase teams ahead of them in the standings. The Ticats need a win to keep their slim hopes of hosting the East Semi-Final alive. A loss this week would cede second place in the division to the Montreal Alouettes meaning the Tiger-Cats would have to take the road path if they wanted to return to the Grey Cup for a third time in four seasons. The Als can also clinch second with a win of their own on Saturday against the Edmonton Elks.

The Lions are coming in following last week’s collapse at home to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and have to beat the Tiger-Cats to have any chance of catching the Bombers and hosting the West Final on November 11. A loss would hand the division crown to the Blue and Gold, meaning a potential fourth matchup between the two this year would take place at IG Field.

This will be B.C.’s first visit to Tim Hortons Field since 2021, when they lost 26-18. The Lions have lost their last four in Hamilton and have not defeated the Tiger-Cats at Tim Hortons Field since 2017.

Despite the loss last week, the Lions have won four of their last five as have the Ticats. These are two teams gearing up for the playoffs and playing some of their best football. The Lions being more than field goal road favourite seems too much, so I will take the Tiger-Cats to cover. I also like Hamilton to get the outright win.

Hamilton is a better team than when these two met earlier this year and they won that game by double digits. I don’t think this will be a blowout like last time but I do like the Tabbies to pull off the small upset at home at plus-money.

Both of these offences have been piling up the points. The Lions have topped the 30-point mark seven times this season while the Ticats have put up 27 or more in five of their last seven. I expect a shootout at Tim Hortons Field on Friday night so I am taking the over on total points.

Spread: Ticats +4 (-110)
Moneyline: Ticats (+160)
Total points: Over 49

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.