And then there were four. The Hamilton Ti-Cats absolutely thrashed the BC Lions this past Sunday, and the Blue Bombers were able to go into Saskatchewan and get a big road playoff win. I went 1-1 with my picks last week having taken the Lions and Bombers plus the points.
This week the Ti-Cats head to Ottawa for the East Division Finals and the Bombers head to Calgary to take on the Stampeders, who have struggled a little bit down the stretch.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats @ Ottawa Redblacks
- Hamilton +3
- Ottawa -3
I like the Redblacks to take advantage of their bye week and get a win over the Ti-Cats in Ottawa this Sunday. Ottawa beat Hamilton in both weeks 19 and 20 to solidify their spot atop the standings and I expect them to get yet another win over Hamilton in this playoff game.
The top seeds have won both the East and West Division finals games in each of the past four seasons. This shows just how important the combination of home field advantage and a bye week is in this game. The top seeds in each division really do have a big advantage getting an extra week of rest and preparation heading into the game.
I expect Ottawa to be ready to go. They were playing great football to finish the season and even though the Ti-Cats looked great at home against the Lions last week, I still think Ottawa has all of the advantages in this game.
Play: Redblacks -3
Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Calgary Stampeders
- Winnipeg +4.5
- Calgary -4.5
This is a very tough game to call. The Stampeders have made it to the Grey Cup as the #1 seed from the West in each of the past two seasons, and they once again have all of the advantages of a top seed that I mentioned in the Hamilton vs Ottawa write up. That said, the Stampeders did struggle down the stretch losing three games in a row before beating the Lions to secure the top spot in their final game of the year.
The Bombers looked good in last weeks game and they beat the Stampeders 29-21 in week 20. Winnipeg has gone 6-1 in their last 7 games dating back to week 15 of the regular season, and that lone loss came in a meaningless final week game against the Eskimos.
The smart money is probably on the Bombers +4.5, but I can’t shake the feeling that this is the Stampeders year. They faced more adversity this year than they did in either of the last two seasons, both of which ended in them losing in the Grey Cup Final. I feel like this team still has the talent of the best team in the CFL and the fact that they had some real struggles this year could help them make the jump to winning the Grey Cup.
I have a feeling that this is the Stampeders year. They aren’t as massive of a favourite as the past two years and that could help Calgary in these final two games. That said, this is far from a confident pick.
Play: Stampeders -4.5