Finally, the time has come. While the last few weeks of the 2019 Canadian Football League season haven’t exactly been dull, it’s probably fair to say that feet were off gas pedals for a while – and for a multitude of reasons.
But now it’s showtime. Swashbuckling, rip-roaring action in the freezing cold is all you’ll ever need and the CFL can provide it for you in abundance.
It’s probably not fair to dissect the format of the CFL playoffs – having all but three teams in the playoffs does take some shine off the occasion, as a sub-average season can land you among the elite come November, but this is no think piece, nor is it commissioned to be.
Here, my friends, are some friendly tips ahead of the Divisional Semi-Finals.
Edmonton Eskimos @ Montreal Alouettes (-1.5): -110
Sunday 10th November 1PM
Inter-divisionals are tough, man.
There is definitely a case for Edmonton’s losing season being a better overall performance than Montreal’s, despite the Alouettes winning ten games compared just the Eskimos’ seven.
But context is important here. Edmonton may well have taken their focus off the regular season. In fact, their performances suggested as such. They were never, from some way, getting a better seed than they ended up with.
The fact Montreal managed to lose three games in the East should be a serious concern for everyone involved, but there’s one factor I just can’t shake – momentum.
While, yes, Edmonton have expected to be exactly where they are now for some time, and thus turned in some lacklustre performances for a while.
It’s very hard to get back to that competitive level for a game like this, and especially one that’s on the road.
Mentally, the right catalysts are there for Montreal, while Edmonton lose out on the newfound focus, city buzz and the consistent high-level performances. When the Eskimos have had this date in mind for six weeks, it becomes harder to hype the week of the game.
Take Montreal to cover here, off the back of a win rather than a two-game skid.
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Winnipeg Blue Bombers (+6) @ Calgary Stampeders: -110
Sunday 10th November 4:30PM
I said, prior to this line coming out, I’d take whoever was getting the points. I suspected that may be the Blue Bombers, but I certainly didn’t think the line would be six points.
While I’m very much aware that the landscape has changed somewhat since the regular season games between the two, Winnipeg know this Calgary scheme inside out, and ran them all the way for home advantage in this one.
Winnipeg put up 508 points during the regular season, which was the most by any team in the CFL. Teams are frequently more nervous on defence in the playoffs and those missed assignments usually come back to bite teams who can’t keep up on the other side of the ball.
This does feel like one of those situations. And it’s not like there was a whole lot between them defensively to begin with. Calgary’s home advantage is huge, but I can’t help but feel there’s less than a touchdown between these two again.
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