And then there were two. The Redblacks and Stampeders both advantage of their home field + bye week advantage and booked their spots in the 2018 Grey Cup. I took both home favourites to cover the spreads last week, bringing me to 3-1 on my playoff spread betting picks and 41-29 against the for the CFL this year.
This 2018 Grey Cup will be a rematch of the 2016 Grey Cup, which Ottawa won in a barn burner. The difference between this game and that one though is that game was played in Toronto, so Ottawa was the defacto home team. The other big difference is that the Stampeders were huge 9 point favourites after going 15-2-1 in the regular season and running through the Lions 42-15 in the West Division Finals.
This year the Stampeders are only 4 point favourites, they are the defacto home team with the Grey Cup taking place in Edmonton, and they had their struggles this year, so they aren’t seen as this unbeatable team.
Ottawa Redblacks vs Calgary Stampeders
- Ottawa +4.5
- Calgary -4.5
As I mentioned above, this 4.5 point spread is far smaller than the 9 point favourites the Stampeders were heading into the 2016 Grey Cup Finals. A big reason for this is because the Stampeders struggled down the stretch this season losing three games in a row before beating the Lions to secure top spot and then beating the Bombers in the West Division Finals.
I think the adversity this Stampeders team faced could be a positive in this game though. In both of the last two seasons the Stampeders were massive favourites with CFL fans already anointing them favourites before the games. We know what happened in those games with the Stampeders losing to the Redblacks and the Argos. I think the expectation that this will be a competitive game will help the Stampeders in this one. They won’t have that massive pressure on their backs in a winner take all game where both teams start at an even playing field.
The other thing people aren’t talking about, but I think is a massive reason why this year will be different for the Stampeders is the fact this game is played in Edmonton. The last two Grey Cups were played in Toronto and Ottawa, with the Redblacks and Argos being the defacto home teams playing just down the road in their rival cities stadium. This year, it will be Calgary as the defacto home team playing just a few hours north in Edmonton. I think this is a huge advantage for Calgary that is being overlooked.
The Stampeders were 8-2 at home this season (including playoffs) and they went 8-0 against East Division teams. In 2016, Calgary was 10-0 at home (6-2-1 on the road) and 6-1-1 against the East Division. They were thought of as this unbeatable team, but they were actually susceptible on the road.
Ottawa has played terrific down the stretch, winning their last 4 games (including playoffs), but three of those wins were over the Ti-Cats who they seem to have the book on, and the other was over the Argos who are the worst team in the league. This team still went just 5-5 against West Division teams this year.
Overall, I think this is Calgary’s year. They still have the pressure, but it’s far less than the past two years. They are also playing in their neighbouring city, rather than in their opponents neighbouring city, and the adversity they’ve faced this year should help them if this game ends up being close.
The Stampeders have been the best team in the CFL for 6 straight years. It’s time they won their 2nd Grey Cup in that span.
Play: Stampeders -4.5
I’m taking the under in this game. The Stampeders offense is still not where it was early in the season, but the defense is playing great and I expect them to be able to slow down the Redblacks offense.
These type of games do sometimes turn into shootouts, so I’m not as confident in this over/under play as I am in the Stampeders to win, but I think the under hits more times than not.
Play: Under 53
Check out our how to bet on the Grey Cup in 3 steps article if you’re new to betting and want a simple guide to help you get action on the game.