Over or under: will the Ticats surpass their regular season win projection?

Courtesy: Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a brand new look in 2024, but the oddsmakers believe the team will see similar results to their two previous 8-10 seasons.

Hamilton’s win total for the season is set at 8.5 (-120), which means the Tabbies would need to finish 9-9 to reach the over. There were plenty of changes in Steeltown this offseason, as Ed Hervey was named the team’s sole general manager, Scott Milanovich took over the head coaching duties from Orlondo Steinauer, and several veterans were jettisoned.

Gone are the likes of future Hall of Famers Simoni Lawrence and Ted Laurent to retirement, with Jameer Thurman, Dylan Wynn, Tunde Adeleke, and Malik Carney, among others, finding new teams in February.

Hamilton pillaged their rivals down the QEW, bringing in all-star corner Jamal Peters, along with defensive linemen DeWayne Hendrix and Brandon Barlow from the Toronto Argonauts. The Ticats also got some late reinforcements, adding Steven Dunbar Jr. to pair with Tim White and former Eastern Division nominee for Most Outstanding Canadian in David Menard to the revamped defensive line.

The team kept key veterans Richard Leonard, Jordan Murray, Brandon Revenberg, Coulter Woodmansey and Stavros Katsantonis, who will all be expected to play key roles.

Many of these changes were necessary in order for the roster to get younger, as the Ticats now only have nine players on the roster over the age of 30. However, the path to surpassing this year’s projections rests solely on the shoulders (or arm) of the elder statesman Bo Levi Mitchell.

The expectation coming into 2023 was for Mitchell to take the Ticats to their first Grey Cup since 1999. However, Mitchell struggled mightily winning, only two of his six starts while throwing for 10 interceptions compared to six touchdowns.

He didn’t start in the East Semi-Final loss to Montreal, spurring doubt over his future with the club. Mitchell took a massive pay cut to remain in black and gold, but the now 34-year-old quarterback hasn’t been one of the league’s elite since 2018 when he last won the Most Outstanding Player Award while leading the Calgary Stampeders to a Grey Cup victory.

Mitchell has dealt with injuries and when healthy, has been extremely inconsistent over the past six years. Since 2018, he has completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 9,099 yards, 44 touchdowns, and 40 interceptions.

Can Mitchell regain his M.O.P. form? Or is there going to be more of what we saw from him last season? That’s the biggest question for the Ticats heading in 2024.

I think Hamilton improved its ball club this offseason. The offensive and defensive lines should be solid, the defensive backs should create takeaways, and the team has two of the best offensive stars in the league in White and running back James Butler.

Taylor Powell has proven to be a capable backup and eventually, a probable starter in this league. But if the Ticats get similar quarterback play to what they got from Mitchell last season, I have a hard time predicting that Hamilton can reach eight wins, much less surpass it.

Until proven otherwise by the future Hall of Fame quarterback, I think it’s a worthwhile investment to take the under on the Tiger-Cats in 2024.

Troy Durrell is a University of Calgary and Southern Alberta Institute of Technology graduate. He covers the CFL and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.