Montreal Alouettes open as short favourites over Hamilton Tiger-Cats in East Semi-Final

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

The Montreal Alouettes have opened as short favourites over the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in this year’s East Semi-Final.

The teams met three times during the regular season with the Alouettes sweeping the season series by a combined score of 87-46. The contests in Week 3 and Week 9 were relatively one-sided, though the final meeting this past weekend was close as David Côté kicked a late game-winning field goal to secure the 22-20 victory for Montreal.

The Ticats finished the regular season with an 8-10 record for the second consecutive season despite bringing in Bo Levi Mitchell to replace Dane Evans as their starting quarterback. Mitchell started only six games due to injury but played poorly when healthy as he completed 59.1 percent of his passes for 1,031 yards, six touchdowns, and ten interceptions, going 2-4 as a starter.

Matthew Shiltz and Taylor Powell have replaced Mitchell on a relief basis in recent weeks and it appears likely that will happen again this week if Mitchell struggles against Montreal.

The Alouettes reached the postseason for a fourth consecutive year with an 11-7 record, the club’s highest win total since 2012. The team defeated Hamilton in last year’s East Semi-Final by a score of 28–17 and will look to do the same when the clubs face off on Saturday at Percival Molson Stadium.

Meanwhile, the B.C. Lions have opened as 6.5-point favourites over the Calgary Stampeders in the West Semi-Final. The line would likely have been higher were it not for the club’s recent surprise 41-16 loss to Calgary, which capped B.C.’s regular season and helped the Stampeders clinch a playoff spot. The Lions were on a bye this past week, while Calgary lost to Winnipeg 36-13 to close their regular season.

The Lions won the first two meetings of the year between the two teams, including a 25-15 victory at McMahon Stadium in the CFL’s regular season opener. B.C. also dominated the Stampeders by a score of 37-9 at BC Place Stadium in mid-August.

B.C. finished 12-6 for the second consecutive season and eliminated Calgary from the playoffs last year with a 30-16 victory in the West Semi-Final. Nathan Rourke started the game at quarterback for the Leos, though Vernon Adams Jr. took over under centre after Rourke departed for the NFL last off-season. Adams was recently named B.C.’s candidate for Most Outstanding Player after completing 68.2 percent of his passes for 4,769 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 18 interceptions.

Calgary’s win total was cut in half this season as they fell from 12-6 a year ago to 6-12 in 2023, marking the club’s lowest number of victories in almost two decades. Jake Maier posted middling numbers in his first full season as a starting CFL quarterback, completing 62.8 percent of his passes for 4,231 yards, 19 touchdowns, and 15 interceptions.

The East Semi-Final is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 4 with kickoff slated for 3:00 p.m. EDT, while the West Semi-Final will begin at 6:30 p.m. EDT.