CFL: Divisional championships betting guide
It’s divisional championship weekend in the Canadian Football League, and if the sportsbooks odds are to be believed Calgary are just two wins away from landing their eighth Grey Cup.
But we are not convinced the Stamps’ prohibitive odds of less than $2 to win the whole thing are justified. They must first get past the in-form Blue Bombers, the outright second favourites for Grey Cup glory.
On the east side, Ottawa Red-Blacks have had a great season and were too good for the Ticats in each of their three meetings earlier this season.
Here’s our quick betting guide to the play-off game this weekend as the teams look to book their place in the Grey Cup final in Edmonton, Alberta, on Sunday, November 25.
West Division championship: Calgary Stampeders v Winnipeg Blue Bombers, McMahon Stadium
The Stamps have made the Grey Cup final the past two seasons but come up empty and the pressure is mounting. They were the best team in the CFL for much of the season, but just faded a little in the run-up to the play-offs.
The week’s rest may have helped and they will be hoping for a fast start on Sunday to steady the nerves.
Calgary will look to star quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell to get the show rolling. The Texan is the West Division nominee for the CFL’s top individual honour, the Most Outstanding Player award, which will be presented at the Shaw CFL awards night on November 22. It is the third career nomination for Mitchell, who took the top gong in 2016.
The Bombers are riding high after their fighting win against arch rivals Saskatchewan last weekend. They split their two matches against the Stamps this season, losing on the road and winning at home.
Winnipeg running back Andrew Harris, the Western nominee for Top Canadian player, was outstanding against the Roughriders last weekend as they claimed their first play-off win since 2011.
Harris will carry much of the attacking hopes of his side. That’s usually no problem though as they were the top attacking side this season, and their defence has been outstanding late in the season.
Selection: Winnipeg to cause a boilover.
East Division championship: Ottawa Red-Blacks v Hamilton Tiger-Cats, TD Place
The Red-Blacks took the Grey Cup title in 2016 and have been a stand-out team in the East in the second half of the season.
By contrast, the Ticats stumbled into the finals and, going up against a team that beat them three times this season, you would not ordinarily fancy their chances on the road.
But such was their dominance in the first week of the play-offs against cross-over team British Columbia, they may have played themselves into form.
Tiger-Cats QB Jeremiah Masoli, the East Division nominee for Most Outstanding Player, was sublime, throwing for more than 250 yards and three touchdowns but it may not be so easy this time against the much more robust Ottawa defence.
Selection: Ottawa can book their third Grey Cup appearance in four years.
Best sportsbooks for CFL
The following are some of the most popular sportsbooks for Canadians to bet on their local football competition, click the review links for more information about each online option.
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