CFL Division Semifinals Betting News and Notes

CFL Division Semifinals Betting News and Notes

CFL Division Semifinals
By David Schwab

The quest for the 2013 Grey Cup in the CFL gets underway this Sunday with the East and West Division Semifinals. The final week of the regular season started with Montreal sneaking past Toronto 23-20 as a one-point road underdog. Later that Friday night, British Columbia closed-out its regular season with a 26-7 victory over Calgary as a one-point home favorite.

Hamilton started this past Saturday’s action by pinning yet another loss on Winnipeg with a 37-7 romp as a two-point favorite on the road. Edmonton avoided matching the Blue Bombers for the worst record in the CFL by beating Saskatchewan 30-26 as a 4½-point road underdog in Saturday’s other game.

The following is a brief betting preview for both Division Semifinals in the CFL with the opening pointspread and ‘over/under’ lines provided by 5Dimes.

Sunday, Nov. 10

Montreal Alouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats

Point-spread: Hamilton -3½
Total: 53½

Montreal has not looked like a playoff team at times this season with an overall record of 8-10 straight up, but it did cover in six of its last seven games to finish the regular season 11-7 against the spread. Even more impressive is a 6-2 ATS record in eight road games. The total has stayed UNDER in its last three games and it stayed UNDER in 10 of 18 games overall.

The Alouettes had their fair share of issues at the quarterback position which resulted in an offense that averaged 25.5 points a game. They turned to Troy Smith in their last three games of the season and he responded with 884 yards passing and nine touchdowns, which could end-up being a huge factor for this game.

Hamilton went 5-2 SU in its last seven games to finish 10-8 SU on the year. It was 3-4 ATS during that same stretch of games. The Tiger-Cats were 4-5 ATS at home this season as part of an overall record ATS of 9-9. The total has stayed UNDER in their last six games and it stayed UNDER in 12 of 18 games on the year.

Consistency at the quarterback position has been one of Hamilton’s strong suits all season long with Henry Burris at the helm. He led the CFL in total passing yards with 4,925 and was tied for second in passing touchdowns with 24 while completing 65.8 percent of his 567 attempts. The only downside was a league-high 19 interceptions.

These two division foes met three times this season with the home team winning all three games SU. The home team in this series has now won nine of the last 10 meetings SU going back to the 2011 season. Hamilton has the slight 6-4 edge ATS and the total has stayed UNDER in three of the last five meetings.

The winner of this game will square off against Toronto in the Eastern Division final on Sunday, Nov. 17 from the Rogers Centre.

British Columbia Lions at Saskatchewan Roughriders

Point-spread: Saskatchewan -4
Total: 52½

BC squeezed-out victories both SU and ATS in its last two games to finish 11-7 SU (8-9-1 ATS) on the year, but it was not enough to avoid going on the road for this game where it was 3-6 both SU and ATS. The total stayed UNDER in three of its last five road games. The Lions were the fourth-highest scoring team in the league with an average of 28 points a game.

Travis Lulay missed a number of games in the second half of the season due to injury, but he did see some limited action in last week’s win over Calgary. He should be ready to go this Sunday which could provide a huge boost to this offense. Even with all the time he missed, Lulay was fifth in the league in passing yards with 2,841.

Saskatchewan raced out to an 8-1 SU start before falling back with a four-game losing streak during the month of September. Since then, it has gone 3-2 SU in its last five games to secure the home field for this game at 11-7 SU through a tie-breaker against BC. The Roughriders are 8-9-1 ATS overall and 4-5 ATS in nine home games this season. The total has stayed UNDER in six of their last seven games overall.

Darian Durant has gone the distance at quarterback for Saskatchewan and he finished the year with 4,154 passing yards and a league-high 31 touchdown throws. He completed 61.2 percent of his 531 attempts and did a fairly good job at taking care of the ball with just 12 interceptions. One of the big work horses on the offense has been Kory Sheets, who is ranked second in rushing with 1,598 yards.

Head-to-head in this matchup, Saskatchewan has won four of the last seven meetings SU including two of the three games played this season. The home team is 5-2 SU in the last seven games and the total has stayed UNDER in the last eight games between the two.

The winner of this game will meet Calgary in the West Division final on Sunday, Nov. 17 at McMahon Stadium.

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Division Semifinals

Montreal (8-10) @ Hamilton (10-8) —
These teams played three times in final seven weeks of season. Alouettes recovered from 2-5 start to make playoffs, winning four of last six games, covering nine of last 12, but they lost two of three vs Hamilton this year, losing 28-26 (+1) in Week 13, then 27-24 (-5.5) here two weeks ago- they beat TiCats 36-5 (-1.5) three weeks ago in Quebec.  Home side won all three series games and last six overall in series. Montreal  covered seven of last eight games as an underdog- they’re 4-5 SU on road this season, losing by 11-3-22-2-3 points. TiCats won four of last five games, are 2-4 as home favorites this year, but won five of last six SU at “home”, with last three home wins by total of 11 points. Last six Hamilton games, last three Alouette games all stayed under the total. Under is 11-7 in last 18 series games.

BC Lions (11-7) @ Saskatchewan (11-7) — These two teams also played three times in last seven weeks, actually three times in five weeks (Weeks 13-15-17). Roughriders beat Lions 31-17 (+3) on road, then 35-14 (-4) at home to win season series 2-1 and grab home field here, after Lions won first meeting 24-22 (+6) in Regina. Streaky Saskatchewan’s season: 8-1 start, then $l, 3W and mow two more losses- they’re just 2-3 in last five home games, with wins by 5-21 points. BC allowed 78 points in losing last two road games; they upset Calgary in meaningless season finale last week- they’re 1-5 vs spread when getting points this season. Roughriders covered just two of last ten when giving points. Last 10 series games and 18 of last 22 meetings stayed under the total, as did six of last seven Rider games, and five of last eight BC games overall.

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MONTREAL (8 - 10) at HAMILTON (10 - 8) - 11/10/2013, 1:00 PM

There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
HAMILTON is 7-4 against the spread versus MONTREAL over the last 3 seasons
HAMILTON is 7-4 straight up against MONTREAL over the last 3 seasons
6 of 11 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

BRITISH COLUMBIA (11 - 7) at SASKATCHEWAN (11 - 7) - 11/10/2013, 4:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
BRITISH COLUMBIA is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) in road games after 2 or more consecutive straight up wins over the last 2 seasons.
BRITISH COLUMBIA is 46-24 ATS (+19.6 Units) as an underdog of 3.5 to 9.5 points since 1996.
SASKATCHEWAN is 3-15 ATS (-13.5 Units) off a loss against a division rival over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
BRITISH COLUMBIA is 6-4 against the spread versus SASKATCHEWAN over the last 3 seasons
BRITISH COLUMBIA is 6-4 straight up against SASKATCHEWAN over the last 3 seasons
9 of 9 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

Montreal is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Montreal is 4-8 ATS in its last 12 games when playing Hamilton
Hamilton is 5-2 SU in its last 7 games when playing Montreal
Hamilton is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games

The total has gone UNDER in 5 of British Columbia's last 5 games when playing on the road against Saskatchewan
British Columbia is 3-7 SU in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Saskatchewan
Saskatchewan is 6-3 SU in its last 9 games at home
Saskatchewan is 2-6-1 ATS in its last 9 games

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CFL Playoffs: What Bettors Need to Know

Montreal Aouettes at Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-3, 52)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats enter the playoffs on a high note as they prepare to host the Montreal Alouettes in the East Semifinal on Sunday. Hamilton won four of its last five games to finish the regular season 8-2 against East Division opponents, including two wins in three contests against Montreal. Tiger-Cats quarterback Henry Burris led the league with 4,925 passing yards and running back C.J. Gable was named East Division Most Outstanding Rookie.

The Alouettes season began with Anthony Calvillo at quarterback and Dan Hawkins as coach. With Hawkins fired and Calvillo injured, Montreal finished the season with a very different look under new pivot Troy Smith, but defense remains its most reliable asset. Alouettes linebacker Chip Cox was named East Division Most Outstanding Defensive Player after leading the league with 114 tackles and adding 12 sacks and four interceptions for a defense that allowed a league-low 88.4 rushing yards per game.

ABOUT THE ALOUETTES (8-10): Smith has yet to reach 1,000 passing yards in the CFL and his inexperience shows in his accuracy: a 60-for-114 completion rate with five interceptions. Smith has plenty of targets available, including S.J. Green, Arland Bruce and rookie Duron Carter, who finished the regular season with 909 receiving yards despite making his CFL debut in August. Montreal’s defense was tied for the league-lead in interceptions with 24, with a league-best seven caught by cornerback Geoff Tisdale.

ABOUT THE TIGER-CATS (10-8): Gable recorded 1,380 yards from scrimmage despite missing time early on due to injuries. Three Hamilton receivers - Bakari Grant, Andy Fantuz and Greg Ellingson - finished with at least 800 receiving yards. Mark Beswick was named Most Outstanding Special Teams Player with a league-high 24 special teams tackles, while linebacker Brandon Isaac has four sacks since joining the team mid-season.


* Over is 5-1 in the last six meetings in Hamilton.
* Alouettes are 2-5 ATS in their last seven meetings in Hamilton.
* Under is 10-4 in Alouettes last 14 vs. East.
* Tiger-Cats are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall.


1. Hamilton KR Brandon Banks returned a missed field goal 107 yards for a touchdown in the last game between the Tiger-Cats and the Alouettes.

2. Alouettes RB Tyrell Sutton rushed for 185 yards in the last two games against the Tiger-Cats.

3. Hamilton was 6-3 playing its home games at Alumni Stadium in Guelph this season.

BC Lions at Saskatchewan Roughriders (-4, 51.5)

Quarterback Travis Lulay and running back Andrew Harris have given the BC Lions hope heading into Sunday’s West Semifinal at the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Lulay returned to action briefly in the final regular-season game, taking 13 snaps to test his injured shoulder and completing 3-of-4 passes while adding a 1-yard touchdown run. Harris finished the season two rushing yards short of 1,000 after recording 102 in his last game, one week after Stefan Logan ran for 121 yards for BC.

BC will need every facet of its offense in top condition against a stingy Roughriders' defense that recorded 57 sacks, 24 interceptions and allowed a league-low 20 passing touchdowns. Saskatchewan’s defensive line of John Chick, Tearrius George, Ricky Foley and trade addition Alex Hall have 30 sacks between them. Roughriders quarterback Darian Durant (4,154 passing yards) and running back Kory Sheets (1,598 rushing yards) were both rested for the final game of the regular season and are healthy heading into the playoffs.

ABOUT THE LIONS (11-7): Linebacker Adam Bighill led the team with 92 tackles and nine sacks despite missing a couple weeks with a sprained ankle. Bighill and cornerback Cord Parks (six interceptions) form the backbone of a defense that limited opponents to 245 passing yards per game. Slotback Nick Moore established himself as one of the league’s top receivers with his first 1,000-yard season, totalling 1,105 receiving yards.

ABOUT THE ROUGHRIDERS (11-7): Three Saskatchewan receivers - Chris Getzlaf, Weston Dressler and Taj Smith - finished the regular season with at least 1,000 receiving yards. All-time receiving leader Geroy Simon, who spent the majority of his career with the Lions before joining Saskatchewan last offseason, was limited to his lowest yard total since 2001, with 565 yards on 40 catches. Defensive back Dwight Anderson has 53 tackles and a team-leading five interceptions.


* Under is 5-0 in the last five meetings in Saskatchewan.
* Lions are 4-11 ATS in their last 15 road games.
* Roughriders are 0-3-1 ATS in their last four Division Semifinals games.
* Over is 6-0 in Lions last six playoff games.


1. Lions KR Tim Brown finished with 1,901 combined return yards - second in the league. Brown also scored one kick-return touchdown.

2. Roughriders LB Renauld Williams, who led the team with seven sacks before being injured, could return if Saskatchewan makes it to the Grey Cup final.

3. Saskatchewan was 6-3 at home during the regular season; BC was 3-6 on the road.

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