NFLbets offers zero apology for the following clip. Perhaps the original (sort of) viral video out of the NFL, then-Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Mora’s glorious post-game press conference rant got the meme treatment a good decade before “meme” entered popular parlance. For those who witnessed Mora’s glorious meltdown in 2001, it’s damn near impossible the hear the word “playoffs”, particularly in question form, without the Mora’s echo lingering.
In any case, American football fans might be more incredulous than Mora at the thought of playoffs?!?!?! in November – heck, only now are college football fans getting hit with the reality that five worthy playoff teams (Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Georgia, Notre Dame) could have one-loss records and legitimate claim to a BCS playoff spot plus we haven’t even mentioned the potentially again undefeated UCF yet, but let’s not go down that rabbit hole…
…because the playoffs have arrived in the Canadian Football League. If you don’t have enough NFL betting on your plate this week – and the point spreads ain’t exceedingly brilliant this week, let NFLbets tell ya – check out the CFL playoffs.
From an NFL bettor’s perspective, CFL playoff betting is nice because all those clichés which can simplify the would-be winner’s task are even truer. You know, stuff like “Throw out the win-loss records” and “football is the only sport played in all weather conditions” and “playoff experience matters” and defense wins championships (well, maybe not that last one so much) is amplified for the CFL, with its six-team bracket in a nine-team league.
Since the playoff format was set to the current standard in 1997, some 20 teams with losing regular-season records have made the CFL payoffs. These sides have won 8 of the 20 semifinal games in which they played. In the divisional round, these teams are 3-4; in Grey Cups, sub-.500 teams are 2-1, though note that both wins happened in back-to-back years in 2000 and ’01. The point: After playing 18 games from June through October, CFL teams can still get hot enough to surprise in the playoffs.
As for defense wins championships, NFLbets’d describe the situation in the CFL as more akin to “opportunity wins championships.” After seriously struggling to a 9-9 record in 2017, the 9-9 Toronto Argonauts snuck past the Saskatchewan Roughriders and into the Grey Cup, only to be double-digit underdogs against the Patriots-like Calgary Stampeders. Thanks to snowy conditions, a 100-yard “pass” play plus a 109-yard (!) fumble recovery for a second TD was enough to bag the Cup.
(Incidentally, NFLbets checked the forecast and tripled down on the under; this was one of the few wagers we won on last year’s Grey Cup, but was enough to cover all losses. The conclusion: Football and football betting are two different sports.)
In short, this weekend, we’re loving the underdogs. NFLbets says take the Winnipeg Blue Bombers +2½ at Saskatchewan and take the BC Lions +1 at Hamilton; on the latter bet, check the money-line (ML) odds on BC Lions, as a 1-point spread in a playoff game is pretty damn meaningless.
<p>In short, this weekend, we’re loving the underdogs. NFLbets says <strong>take the Winnipeg Blue Bombers +2½ at Saskatchewan</strong> and <strong>take the BC Lions +1 at Hamilton</strong>; on the latter bet, check the money-line (ML) odds on BC Lions, as a 1-point spread in a playoff game is pretty damn meaningless. </p>
CFL West semi-final: Winnipeg Blue Bombers at Saskatchewan Roughriders
The Bombers enter the playoffs as the hottest team in the CFL, going in on a 5-1 run with the sole loss coming in a meaningless final-week game at the Edmonton Eskimos. Winnipeg’s scoreboard-spinning offense has been good for over 31 points per game in 2018 when mid-field master WR Weston Dressler is in the lineup. And after losing home-and-home games (without Dressler, natch) against the Saskatchewan Roughriders in early September, the Bombers handed the Riders a 31-0 beatdown in week 18.
On the side, folks in Saskatchewan are certainly repeating the “defence wins championships” mantra, because whoa is this team imbalanced. Juxtaposing a defense which tied the all-time CFL mark for pick-sixes (among other very impressive stats) is an offense led by Zach Collaros, a guy who’s thrown 13 interceptions against just nine TDs and who hasn’t played since mid-October. Indeed, despite the fact that Collaros’s backup is Brandon Bridge, in whom Riders coaches have shown no confidence, Riders head coach has not, as of Saturday morning, announced who his starter at QB will be.
This, as they say, does not bode well for the Riders. NFLbets believes that, regardless of QB, Saskatchewan won’t be able to keep up with the Winnipeg offense.
CFL West semi-final: BC Lions at Hamilton Tiger-Cats
In Sunday’s game, NFL bets is banking on two factors: the inconsistency of the Ticats and the craftiness of Wally Buono.
At this point, NFLbets must say that the Tiger-Cats have been absolutely infuriating to wager upon in 2018. This team couldn’t string together two Ws or Ls ATS all year until the final three weeks, when the Ticats dropped three straight to East Division teams to close out the season at 8-10. Unlike their Broadway-conquering namesake, this Hamilton wasted their shot to take over the Eastern division on multiple occasions. The propensity to wither in the spotlight culminated in a week 20 no-show at home in a 30-13 loss to the Ottawa Redblacks, who were consequently handed the East and a playoff bye week.
Hamilton is facing up against the BC Lions and outgoing head coach Wally Buono, only a four-time Grey Cup champion and the CFL’s all-time winningest HC. The 2018 Lions season can be very easily summarized: BC went 7-2 at home, 2-7 away. So why is NFLbets so bullish on BC this week in Hamilton? In brief, we’ll say that we’re buying a Team of Destiny storyline for Buono and the Tiger-Cats are simply cold at the wrong time. Experience matters.
For more thorough analysis of each game, please check out the latest episode of the Rouge, White & Blue CFL Podcast co-hosted by NFLbets editor Os Davis and Blue Bombers backer Joe Pritchard. We’ll give you a few more reasons to bet the underdogs in round 1…