CFL Division Finals Picks: Who will earn Grey Cup berths?

Hamilton Tiger Cats wide receiver Brandon Banks gets a hand into the face of Edmonton Eskimos defensive back Forrest Hightower. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power)

We are one Sunday away from deciding which two clubs will fight it out to hoist the Grey Cup. Let’s get to the picks!

East Final

Edmonton Eskimos (8-10) at Hamilton Ticats (15-3)

Point Spread: Ticats -6.0
Moneyline: Eskimos (3.05), Ticats (1.40)
Over/Under: 50.5

Weather: 1C (feels like -2C), 10% chance of rain, 10km/h wind

Season Total Points For: Edmonton (7th), Hamilton (1st)
Season Total Fewest Points Against: Edmonton (3rd), Hamilton (1st)
Season Series: Ticats won 2-0

It’s worth noting that Hamilton may have swept the season series 2-0, but Logan Kilgore, not Trevor Harris, was under centre both times. That’s a big difference since Harris is now healthy and is coming off a 400-plus yard passing semi-final victory. To me that really makes the pair of head-to-head encounters a non-factor.

The Ticats’ 2019 is one that their fans will never forget as they both led the league in points scored and allowed the fewest points against. What makes it more remarkable is that the franchise didn’t miss a beat as Dane Evans replaced injured starting QB Jeramiah Masoli. Brandon “Speedy B” Banks is an unstoppable force on offence and the collective defence is smothering.

Edmonton garnered a reputation for being unable to beat the “good” teams during the regular season. They took the first step towards dispelling that with a convincing road win against Montreal. Former Ticat RB C.J. Gable was OK in the two regular-season matchups, totalling 194 yards from scrimmage with zero touchdowns. This comes down to Harris not turning the ball over and tossing for 300 or more.

My prediction: The Eskimos keep it close. However, Hamilton’s dominance on both sides of the ball is the difference. Ticats are heading to Calgary.

PICK: Hamilton Ticats (win), Edmonton Eskimos (cover 6.0 spread)

3rd and Long
3rd and Long Division Finals: Dane Evans, Jeff Krever and fantasy football advice
November 13 2019

West Final

Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-7) at Saskatchewan Roughriders (13-5)

Point Spread: Roughriders -3.0
Moneyline: Blue Bombers (2.50), Roughriders (1.56)
Over/Under: 44.5

Weather: 6C (feels like 3C), 20% chance of rain, 15km/hr wind

Season Total Points For: Winnipeg (2nd), Saskatchewan (3rd)
Season Total Fewest Points Against: Winnipeg (5th), Saskatchewan (2nd)
Season Series: Roughriders won 2–1

It’s the Banjo Bowl on steroids! Or is it the Zach Collaros revenge game? This West Final has so many layers to it. The rivalry plus the 3.0 point spread really makes this a pick’em.

This comes down to the health and effectiveness of Roughriders QB Cody Fajardo, who led the CFL in passing yards after replacing Collaros. I’d be shocked if Fajardo doesn’t power through to begin this showdown, but that ailing oblique and back are worrisome.

Winnipeg’s offence is unpredictable in a good way. Collaros can sling it or run; backup Chris Streveler becomes a red-zone monster with his legs; and then there’s the league’s leading rusher, Andrew Harris. Tough for an opponent to prepare for even if Harris hasn’t been as effective as usual since returning from suspension.

Both defenscs are creative and we know anything is possible in a true rivalry battle like this with everything on the line.

My prediction: This one will be low scoring, and a hobbled Fajardo proves the undoing for the home side. Zach Collaros’s ultimate redemption story gets one step closer to completion.

PICK: Winnipeg Blue Bombers (win and cover)

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