Grey Cup Picks: CFL Championship Game Betting Predictions
by Trevor Whenham - 11/24/2010
The Grey Cup - the Championship of the Canadian Football League - will be contested for the 98th time on Sunday afternoon in Edmonton. The Saskatchewan Roughriders and the Montreal Alouettes meet in a rematch of a truly crazy Grey Cup played in Calgary last year - Montreal missed the winning field goal with no time remaining, but Saskatchewan was called for too many men on the field, and Montreal hit on their second try for a one-point win. It was one of the most soul crushing moments I have ever seen in sports.
Montreal is no stranger to playing in the biggest game - they have represented the pathetic Eastern Conference eight times in the last 11 years. Winning two Grey Cups in a row is a massive challenge, though - the last time it happened was in 1996 and 1997 when Doug Flutie led the Toronto Argonauts to twin titles.
The last seven of those Grey Cup games have been started by QB Anthony Calvillo, a Utah State product who will likely pass Damon Allen, Brett Favre and Warren Moon to become the player with the most career passing yards in football history next season if he remains healthy and plays again. Calvillo has long been the king of Canadian football, but he is 38 and has struggled with injuries, so he is vulnerable.
He was absolutely brilliant in the semifinal win over Toronto, though. Though his backups aren’t likely to see any playing time, both will be familiar to college football fans - Chris Leak and Adrian McPherson.
Montreal was again dominant with a 12-6 record in the regular season. Two of their losses came in the last three games after they had secured their playoff position and were resting their aging lineup.
Saskatchewan has the most passionate fans in the league, but that support has not turned into overwhelming success - they are trying to win just their fourth Grey Cup. They have been at or near the top of the Western Conference for several years now, though.
This year they started the season in dominant fashion, going 4-1 out of the gate. Four losses in a row in October dropped them to just 10-8, though. They won the Western Final in Calgary in arctic conditions, but it was one of the uglier games you’ll see - Calgary lost it more than Saskatchewan won it.
The Riders are led by Darian Durant, the North Carolina product that owns a boatload of career records for the Tar Heels. This is only his second full year of starting, but he has a cannon for an arm and is a real danger to run as well. If he can cut down on interceptions and fumbles then he will have a very long career in this league.
These two teams have met twice since last year’s Grey Cup, and have split two very close contests. Saskatchewan beat Montreal, 54-51, in a crazy shootout to kick off the new season, and Montreal bounced back to eke out a 30-26 win.
Weather will be a bit of a factor again in this game – it’s Canada in November, after all. It will be cold, but the Field Turf has been covered with an insulated tarp all week so traction should not be a serious issue.
2010 Grey Cup Betting Odds and Line Movement
The game opened with the Als favored by six points, but that quickly fell to 3.5. Action has been tilted towards Saskatchewan, but not heavily enough to move the line that much, so it seems like smart money likes the Roughriders. The total is set at 50.5, which is down from 54.5 where it opened.
2010 Grey Cup Betting Trends
The ‘under’ is 7-1 in Saskatchewan’s last eight playoff games. Eight of Saskatchewan’s last 10 games in November have gone ‘under’.
Saskatchewan rises to the occasion - they are 12-3 ATS in their last 15 against teams with winning records.
Montreal is 7-3 ATS in their last 10 in November including playoff games.
Saskatchewan lost the Grey Cup last year, but they covered as 9.5-point underdogs. They went ‘under’ the 55.5 point total by half a point.
2010 Grey Cup Picks and CFL Betting Predictions
The Riders will be out for revenge this year, but I am not at all convinced that they are up to the challenge. I should admit up front that I live in Calgary and my team lost to Saskatchewan, yet again, in the playoffs last weekend so my bias puts me firmly on the Als.
Beyond that, though, I think that Montreal just makes much more sense here. Saskatchewan has succeeded this year when they have been able to run the ball. Montreal is a very tough team to run against. That means that Saskatchewan will have to resort to a more one-dimensional offense, and that could be a real problem for them.
Saskatchewan looked very vulnerable early on against Calgary last week, and only turned things around when the Stampeders turned their brains off. Montreal, on the other hand, looked virtually flawless on both sides of the ball last week, and come in with all kinds of momentum.
Montreal just has too much going for them, and will come out on top in this one. I lean towards the ‘over’ because the footing should be good, and because these teams have piled up the points in the past when they have met.
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