The Hamilton Tiger-Cats will visit Mosaic Stadium this week to face the Saskatchewan Roughriders in the 101st Grey Cup game. Home field advantage for a championship game? Yeah, the CFL wouldn’t have it any other way!
Rider Nation exulted Sunday following Saskatchewan’s 35-13 win over the Calgary Stampeders in the West division final. It was more than just a playoff win for these Green Riders, but also a ticket into Taylor Field for the big game November 24 against the Hamilton Tiger Cats. It’s the third Grey Cup appearance for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in five years but this time the rabid Rider fans don’t need to travel next door to Alberta for a live experience and the home field makes the Riders an easy favorite with bookmakers.
Opening CFL odds for the Grey Cup show Saskatchewan -5 at the Greek, Sports Interaction and 5 Dimes online sportsbook. One betting outlet, Bet 365, has already bumped the pointspread up to -6 and the early sentiment is that this line could hit -7 by kickoff. Over/Under odds for Sunday’s game sit at 54 across the board.
This game marks the third straight year that the Grey Cup host has taken part in the game and the past two years the home team won by a double-digit margin. In 2011, the BC Lions took care of Winnipeg 34-23 and last November in Toronto the Argos got past the Calgary Stampeders 35-22. As a home favorite of -6 points or less the Riders are 14-16 SU since 2007 with a 12-17-1 record ATS. The more recent trend gets worse with the Riders going just 3-10 ATS in this spots since 2010. Click ‘Roughriders Home Favorite’ and get a complete look at the betting stats provided by Sports Database!
If the Riders were winning these games straight-up by a small margin it might seem like a simple case of CFL odds makers overvaluing this team for home field but in those last 13 spots Saskatchewan has only won four times straight-up. Positives are that two of the SU/ATS wins came in 2013 against BC and Calgary, a pair of tough divisional foes. We can also excuse the recent 30-26 loss to Edmonton in the season finale which came on a last minute punt return. The Riders handed the reins to their backup QBs for this game, RB Kory Sheets didn’t take a snap and Saskatchewan’s second team still dominated everything but the return game. This chart compares key stats from that loss:
[table class=”table_white” shadow=”true”]
|Time of possession||38:19||21:41|
|Total yards on offense||525||240|
Regardless of the line, Saskatchewan’s record in home games against winning teams since Week 10 of the 2011 season is 8-5 SU/ATS and they’ve outscored the visitor 26.5 to 20.4. Two games against Hamilton during that span are at opposite ends of the spectrum; one a 19-3 win and the other a 35-34 loss.
TABS ON THE TABBIES
Hamilton is 5-23 SU in SportsDatabase.com CFL history in non-divisional road games with 18 overs and 10 unders. Their lone road win of 2013 against the West was a 30-29 victory in Week 6 against an Eskies team mired in a losing streak that eventually reached eight games. Hamilton was playing with revenge and they might feel as if they owe a measure to Saskatchewan for retribution of the 37-0 blowout loss at Mosaic Stadium in Week 4 and while the Cats have averaged 27.1 points per game away from home since that loss (4-3 SU, 6-1 ATS), they are dealing with an opponent here who was just a hair behind Calgary for team scoring (29.1 PPG) and who led the league in defensive scoring (21.8 PPGA).
Coming into this season the past 29 CFL playoff favorites had a record of 18-11 SU and 9-18-2 ATS. Playing at home the record goes to 18-10 SU, 9-17-2 ATS and 12-16 O/U with a recent trend of 7 overs and 2 unders. It’s worth noting that one of the two unders was played outdoors while five of seven overs took place inside the comfy confines of either Rogers Centre (Toronto), BC Place (Vancouver) or Olympic Stadium in Montreal. Three outdoor playoff games this season averaged 45.7 total points per game and the long range Grey Cup weather forecast in Regina calls for sun and cloud throughout the week, temperatures just below freezing and winds of 15-20 mph.
Hamilton has enjoyed a storybook season by posting a 6-3 record at a makeshift home field in Guelph and they exceeded most people’s expectations with a 36-24 win over the Argos. This team could hang around and compete for the early going against Saskatchewan but the Riders defense will be the dominant force that decides this game. Lean towards the Riders -5 but our official Grey Cup prediction is on the total.
Grey Cup Pick: Take the Ti-Cats and Riders UNDER 54
Stop by the SportsDatabase.com Google Chat Room and join the Grey Cup handicapping discussion. We’ll have more CFL systems and betting stats you can’t find anywhere else on the net plus you can also find tips on NFL betting, NBA and college basketball information along with college football wagering advice exclusive to the SDQL (now available for CFL). All of this info is free and easy to understand; hope to see you there.