Breaking Down the CFL Playoffs Semifinals, Which Teams Have the Best Odds to Reach Grey Cup?

Breaking Down the CFL Playoffs Semifinals, Which Teams Have the Best Odds to Reach Grey Cup?
© USA Today

The final four teams left in the Canadian Football League playoffs will look to earn berths in the Grey Cup.

In the Eastern Final at 12:30 p.m. EST, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats take on the Toronto Argonauts, while the Saskatchewan Roughriders will face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at 4 p.m. In the Western Final.

Here is what to watch for this weekend.

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Hamilton vs. Toronto

The Tiger-Cats are two-point sports betting favourites over the Argonauts, with the total currently at 44.5.

Hamilton earned its spot in the semifinals with a 23-12 win over the Montreal Alouettes. The Tiger-Cats won despite generating just 217 yards of total offense as its defense turned up with key plays to secure the victory.

Hamilton registered six sacks, but it was the second quarter when it forced Montreal into three turnovers, giving the team a 20-3 halftime lead. Montreal finished the game with four turnovers.

Toronto will have homefield advantage where the Argonauts have had success, going 6-1 at BMO Field. The Argonauts secured the East Division and earned a bye week into the semifinal round. Toronto may be without starting quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who went to a Toronto Raptors game on Thursday.

TSN Football Insider Dave Naylor is reporting the quarterback was sent home from the team practice on Friday because his attendance at the Raptors’ win over the Milwaukee Bucks was a violation of the Canadian Football League’s COVID protocol. Bethel-Thompson is now required to quarantine for four days.

If Bethel-Thompson can’t play, Antonio Pipkin will likely get the start at quarterback. Pipkin has completed 13 of 26 passes for 158 yards and has five rushing touchdowns this season.

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Saskatchewan vs. Winipeg

The Roughriders earned a semifinal berth thanks to a 34-yard field goal from Brett Lauther in overtime to defeat Calgary Stampeders 33-30. But Saskatchewan is a sizeable underdog for its semifinal matchup, with Winnipeg currently an eight-point favourite.

Saskatchewan struggled against Winnipeg during the regular season, losing 23-8 in Week 5 before falling 33-9 in Week 6 to the Blue Bombers. Roughriders quarterback Cody Fajardo struggled in both losses, throwing zero touchdowns and combining for four interceptions against Winnipeg. Fajardo is also coming off a four-interception performance against Calgary in the semifinal.

Winnipeg quarterback Zach Collaros leads the league with 20 passing touchdowns this season and is second in passing yards with 3,185. The Blue Bombers’ other quarterback, Sean McGuire, leads the league with eight rushing touchdowns.

Winnipeg also has the leading receiver in Kenny Lawler, who has a league-high 1,014 yards receiving.

Grey Cup Final

The winner of Sunday’s semifinals will meet on Dec. 12 at 6 p.m. EST for the 108th Grey Cup.

Winnipeg is a -105 favourite at Bet365 Sportsbook to win the title. Toronto and Hamilton are +350 and Saskatchewan is +480.

A champion will be crowned for the first time in two years after COVID-19 forced the cancellation of the 2020 season.

The Blue Bombers defeated the Tiger-Cats 33-12 in 2019 to win the 107th Grey Cup.