Nik’s Picks – East and West Finals CFL Predictions
Edmonton Eskimos @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats:
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats haven’t lost a game at Tim Hortons Field since November 3, and they’re welcoming in an Edmonton club who’ll be coming in from their third lengthy flight in seven days. Travel is a big reason why no crossover team has even reached the Grey Cup. That’ll factor in on Sunday, but the main reason Hamilton will win this game will be Edmonton’s inability to account for all of Hamilton’s offensive weapons.
Brandon Banks, Bralon Addison, Luke Tasker, and Jaelon Acklin are too much to handle for a wounded Edmonton secondary — someone’s going to be in space each play. Add in Tyrell Sutton and Cameron Marshall on the ground plus Dane Evans at quarterback, and it might be a similar outcome to Hamilton’s 30-point blowout of Edmonton just over a month ago.
If there’s any hope for the Eskimos, it’s Trevor Harris and their defensive line. In Harris’ last two starts against Hamilton, he’s thrown for 634 yards, nine touchdowns and zero interceptions.
The Eskimos have covered the spread in one of their last seven meetings with the Ti-Cats. That trend keeps up when the Tabbies’ get their 16th win of 2019. Hamilton by 20.
Edmonton 15 Hamilton 35
Best bet: HAM -4.5
Winnipeg Blue Bombers @ Saskatchewan Roughriders:
The Zach Collaros-Cody Fajardo storyline may be all for not with Fajardo’s oblique leaving his status uncertain in the biggest Prairie rivalry game in decades. The narrative of Collaros getting traded by Saskatchewan and eliminating them on their home turf is Hollywood-like, and if Fajardo’s out, it’s expected. Isaac Harker and Bryan Bennett are nowhere near the level of the Bombers one-two punch that just blew out Bo Levi Mitchell. The home-field advantage at Mosaic Stadium is no joke, but not if Saskatchewan can’t score on offence.
The Bombers are averaging 156 yards on the ground in their last five games versus the Riders, but have only won four of their last 21 visits to Regina. Time and time again Saskatchewan has found a way to win late games at home against Winnipeg. This season it was the heroics of Cody Fajardo and Shaq Evans. But both may be out with injuries.
This leaves the game to be decided by the run games and special teams. Winnipeg strives with Andrew Harris, Chris Streveler, and Nic Demski on the ground, but the Riders duo of Wiliam Powell and Marcus Thigpen are lethal as well. Thigpen can factor in on special teams too, and will do battle with Bombers’ returner Janarion Grant.
Without Fajardo, there’s not much hope for Saskatchewan. The Riders need to cause turnovers and even score on defence, and that won’t fly with Collaros. Bombers by 10.
Winnipeg 24 Saskatchewan 14
Best bet: WPG ML
Last week: 1-1
Regular season: 52-29
Bet of the week (11-10 regular season, 0-1 playoffs):
HAM -4.5 -110
HAM -4.5 -110 3u
Greg Ellingson over 4.5 REC -125 .5u
Luke Tasker over 3.5 REC -115 .5u
EDM QBs over 34.5 pass attempts -115 .5u
HAM QBs over 1.5 TD passes -115 .5u
WPG +4.5 -115 1u
WPG ML +148 2u
Naaman Roosevelt over 3.5 REC -130 .5u
SSK QBs under 260.5 passing yards -110 .5u
SSK team total under 23.5 -105 1u
HAM & WPG ML +238 .5u
6-point teaser: EDM-HAM over 44.5, HAM -.5, WPG +9.5 +160 1u
Last week: 3-8 -3.36u
Playoffs: 3-8 -3.36u
Regular season: 99–79-5 +12.56u
Overall: 102-87-5 +9.19u
Main image credit: Embed from Getty Images