With only two weeks remaining in the Canadian Football League regular season, five of the six playoff teams have already been determined.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats control their own destiny and can clinch the final playoff spot this week with a win over the Ottawa Redblacks and a loss by the Saskatchewan Roughriders against the Calgary Stampeders.
Should Hamilton falter, though, the Roughriders could leapfrog the Tiger-Cats in the standings for the final playoff spot — although the Riders’ path is much more difficult with a pair of games remaining against the playoff-bound Calgary Stampeders. The Redblacks are also still alive, but barely, in the hunt for the postseason.
For those teams that have qualified for the playoffs, there’s still plenty to play for, including home-field advantage in many cases.
Here’s a look at the latest CFL Grey Cup outright odds, followed by our Week 20 betting preview:
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +100 (opened +300)
Toronto Argonauts +400 (opened +600)
BC Lions +400 (opened +1300)
Calgary Stampeders +700 (opened +700)
Hamilton Tiger-Cats +1200 (opened +500)
Montreal Alouettes +1200 (opened +800)
Saskatchewan Roughriders +6000 (opened +450)
*All odds in this article are from PointsBet.
Plenty to play for in Week 20 👀
👉 https://t.co/UKyC9fPv2K#CFL | #GCPlayoffs pic.twitter.com/c2V9P6kLZZ
— CFL (@CFL) October 17, 2022
Ottawa Redblacks @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-6, 49.5 over/under)
Week 6 — Hamilton 25, Ottawa 23 (Redblacks covered as 8-point underdogs)
About the Redblacks (4-12 straight up, 7-9 against the spread, 7-9 o/u): The Redblacks have lost four of their last five games, but they’re still mathematically alive in the playoff discussion with two games to play despite an abysmal 4-12 record.
Ottawa would need to win both of its remaining two games against Hamilton, and Saskatchewan would need to lose its final two contests, in order for the Redblacks to have a shot at the postseason.
The last time these two teams played back in Week 6, the result was in doubt until the final seconds of the game when an Ottawa field-goal attempt came up short to seal the victory for Hamilton.
Star Redblacks receiver Jaelon Acklin (head/shoulder) has been practicing this week and should be able to play against his former team. He had six catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against Hamilton.
About the Tiger-Cats (6-10 SU, 6-10 ATS, 9-7 o/u): The Tiger-Cats have won three of their last four games to vault back into a playoff spot in the East Division. According to CFL.ca’s playoff simulator, Hamilton now has a 96% chance of making the playoffs.
Hamilton had lost 15 straight games at McMahon Stadium in Calgary heading into last week’s contest against the Stampeders, but quarterback Dane Evans found Tim White in the end zone with 22 seconds left in the game to lift the Ticats to an unlikely 35-32 victory as 7-point underdogs.
White is fifth in the CFL in receiving yards (1,152), fifth in receiving touchdowns (eight), and first with 85 receptions.
Sports betting trends:
The Redblacks are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games.
The under is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Hamilton is 4-1 ATS in its last five home games.
BC Lions @ Edmonton Elks (+7, 50.5 o/u)
Week 1 — BC 59, Edmonton 15 (Lions covered as 4.5-point favorites)
Week 9 — BC 46, Edmonton 14 (Lions covered as 9-point favorites)
About the Lions (11-5 SU, 10-6 ATS, 8-7-1 o/u): BC is one win, or one Calgary loss, away from securing the second seed in the West Division and hosting a playoff game.
The Lions will be hungry to take care of business against the lowly Elks in order to give several banged up players a week off in their regular season finale against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers next week.
Several key players, such as receiver Lucky Whitehead, didn’t practice or were limited Tuesday due to injuries, so the extra rest would be crucial ahead of the playoffs.
With a playoff berth already in hand, the focus is now on quarterback Nathan Rourke’s rehab from foot surgery. He’s practicing in a limited fashion with the Lions this week and appears to be rounding into game shape, but the team has remained noncommittal on his potential return for the playoffs.
The Canadian set the league ablaze with his hot start prior to suffering the injury, throwing for 3,281 yards and 25 touchdowns over nine games. He also picked up another 304 yards on the ground for an additional seven touchdowns.
If he can return in time for the playoffs, bettors can expect BC’s Grey Cup odds to get significantly shorter.
[email protected]_rourke taking part in @BCLions practice today. Doing more movement than he did last week & looks more comfortable. The zip is still there. @CFLonTSN @TSN_Sports pic.twitter.com/ZaLJ6uhDzK
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) October 18, 2022
About the Elks (4-13 SU, 7-10 ATS, 11-6 o/u): The Elks have one more chance this season to put an end to their miserable 16-game home losing streak, which is the longest such streak in all of pro football.
Edmonton last won a game at Commonwealth Stadium on Oct. 12, 2019, and the squad has a bye in the final week of the regular season. Carrying such a streak over to next year would haunt the team all offseason, so this game is of massive importance for the lowly Elks. Imagine going two full seasons without giving your fans a home victory. Yikes.
To make matters worse, starting quarterback Taylor Cornelius has been hospitalized with a spleen injury and will miss Edmonton’s season finale. He was taken off the field in last week’s 28-23 loss to the visiting Argonauts after getting hit in the fourth quarter.
The Elks are allowing a league-worst 33.4 points per game and their defensive line has failed to pick up a sack in back-to-back games.
BC destroyed Edmonton by a combined score of 105-29 over two previous matchups this season.
Sports betting trends:
The Lions are 0-5 ATS in their past five games in Edmonton.
The over is 4-1 in Edmonton’s last five games.
The Elks are 17-35 ATS in their past 52 home games.
Back to basics 📝
This week’s #TotalEnergiesCanada Weekly Picks 👉 https://t.co/dClMoKh3qF#CFL pic.twitter.com/tsTmeAW8yL
— CFL (@CFL) October 18, 2022
Toronto Argonauts @ Montreal Alouettes (+1.5, 48.5 o/u)
Week 2 — Toronto 20, Montreal 19 (Alouettes covered as 3-point underdogs)
About the Argonauts (10-6 SU, 9-6-1 ATS, 8-8 o/u): The Argos have won six of their last seven games (5-2 ATS in that span) and can clinch first in the East Division and a first-round bye in the playoffs with a win or tie in Montreal.
Toronto’s defense is holding opponents to 19.1 points per game over its last seven games, and the offense is rallying behind quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who leads the league in passing yards with 4,491 yards.
Last week, running back A.J. Ouellette went off for 91 yards on just nine carries with a touchdown to help balance out Toronto’s attack. The Argos are averaging a league-low 79.9 rushing yards per game to this point.
Receiver Brandon Banks, the CFL’s Most Outstanding Player in 2019, missed last week’s game due to personal reasons, but he has rejoined the team at practice this week and appears ready for this crucial matchup with the Alouettes.
About the Alouettes (8-8 SU, 9-7 ATS, 9-7 o/u): The Alouettes have won four of their last five games to clinch a playoff berth, and they still have a chance to claim the top seed in the East if they can beat Toronto in back-to-back games.
Stud running back William Stanback is back healthy after missing most of the season with an ankle injury, and he picked up his first rushing touchdown of the season last week against Ottawa. The 2021 rushing yards leader has been eased back into action with just 17 carries over the past two weeks, but he’ll likely see a heavier workload this week with so much on the line.
Toronto has allowed an average of 100.6 rushing yards per game to opponents this season, which ranks seventh out of nine teams in the league.
Sports betting trends:
The under is 20-6-1 in the past 27 meetings.
The under is 4-1 in Montreal’s last five games.
The Argonauts are 1-5 ATS in their past six games in Montreal.
Calgary Stampeders @ Saskatchewan Roughriders (+1.5, 49.5 o/u)
About the Stampeders (10-6 SU, 7-8-1 ATS, 10-6 o/u): This will be the first meeting of the season between these two West Division foes, and they’ll meet again next week in Calgary.
Bettors may want to monitor Friday’s game between the Lions and Elks before placing a potential wager. If the Lions win that game, the Stampeders will officially be locked into the No. 3 seed in the West and could elect to rest many of their starters with home advantage in the first round of the playoffs out of reach. This spread line could move significantly toward Saskatchewan over the weekend if BC pulls out a victory.
If the game is meaningful for Calgary, it could be getting multiple reinforcements back, as defensive back Titus Wall and receivers Kamar Jorden and Malik Henry have all returned to practice this week after battling various injuries.
About the Roughriders (6-10 SU, 7-9 ATS, 7-8-1 o/u): Things aren’t looking good for the Roughriders after they dropped their fifth straight in Week 18 against Hamilton.
After starting the season 4-1, Saskatchewan has been in a free fall and could now be eliminated from postseason contention with a loss this week, if combined with a Tiger-Cats victory.
The team is hoping to rally behind the return of running back Jamal Morrow, who hasn’t played since breaking his hand in August. Morrow was averaging 5.1 yards per carry in 10 games prior to suffering the injury.
In a questionable move, head coach Craig Dickenson gave starting quarterback Cody Fajardo a “vet day” and excused him from practice on Tuesday. The Riders are coming off a bye week, so Fajardo has had plenty of time to rest up physically and mentally, and it was the team’s first practice since Oct. 5.
Sports betting trends:
The Stampeders are 12-3-1 ATS in their past 16 road games.
The Roughriders are 0-4 ATS in their last four games.
The over is 8-3 in Calgary’s past 11 games against West Division foes.
Photo: Marc DesRosiers/USA TODAY