The quest for the 108th Grey Cup begins Sunday, as the 2021 Canadian Football League playoffs commence with the East and West division semifinal games.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are huge favorites to win back-to-back Grey Cup titles after cruising to a league-best 11-3 record during the regular season, earning a first-round bye in the playoffs. They’ll get a week off to heal up and will then host the winner of Sunday’s tilt between the Calgary Stampeders and Saskatchewan Roughriders in the West final.
In the East Division, the Toronto Argonauts earned a first-round bye with a 9-5 record and will play host to either the Hamilton Tiger-Cats or Montreal Alouettes in the final.
The #RoadToTheGreyCup is paved.
— CFL (@CFL) November 20, 2021
Here’s a look at the 2021 Grey Cup odds offered at PROLINE+, now that the playoff field is set.
- Winnipeg –120
- Toronto +500
- Hamilton +600
- Saskatchewan +700
- Calgary +900
- Montreal +1100
While Winnipeg is a heavy favorite, there’s plenty of upset potential.
Toronto and Hamilton both provide value as underdogs. The Argos knocked off the Bombers, 30-23, back in Week 3 and went an impressive 6-1 at home this season, with their only loss coming in a meaningless game last week in which they elected to sit many starters. Toronto will be hosting the East final at BMO Field, which bodes well for its chances of advancing to the Grey Cup.
Hamilton has a tough road ahead, but if it can find a way to knock off Montreal and Toronto in consecutive weeks, the Grey Cup will be a home game. Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton is hosting the big game Dec. 12 for the first time since 1996, so the local fans will be out in full force. The Tiger-Cats had a disappointing regular season, mostly due to key injuries to both quarterbacks and multiple receivers, but they were the early favorites to win outright (see odds below). The team is healthy again and has the offensive potential to upset.
The CFL season kicks off tonight! Here are the latest Grey Cup outright odds:
Blue Bombers (+450)
B.C. Lions (+1000)
Bet Here ▶ https://t.co/mT1B8scvp4
— PlayNow/SportsAction (@PlayNowSports) August 5, 2021
Montreal Alouettes @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-4.5, O/U 46.5)
Season head-to-head record: 1-1
The road team won each of the regular season matchups, but these are two teams heading in different directions. Hamilton has won four of its last five games, while Montreal has stumbled to a 1-3 record over its last four contests, including an embarrassing 1-point loss to the lowly Ottawa Redblacks last week.
Why Montreal can win
The Alouettes boast the CFL’s top rusher, William Stanback. After amassing 1,176 rushing yards in 14 games during the regular season, Montreal can lean heavily on its halfback and control the clock if it can get out to an early lead. He paced the Alouettes offense to a league-best 390.7 total yards per game and is clearly the team’s X-factor in this one.
Why Hamilton can win
The Ticats, who have the league’s best rushing defense holding opponents to 79.6 yards per game, can stop Stanback. They limited him to 40 yards rushing in Week 4 and 59 yards in Week 9. Star linebacker Simoni Lawrence, who set a new franchise record for tackles last week, will be blanketing Stanback all afternoon.
Thank you teammates, coaches, management, and fans … I promise I’ll turn up MORE FOR THIS GREYCUP RUN .. REFOCUS 💛🖤💛🖤
JOB NOT FINISH https://t.co/GW7ROV1b4o
— Simoni Lawrence (@Simoni_Lawrence) November 21, 2021
Calgary Stampeders @ Saskatchewan Roughriders (-1.5, O/U 41.5)
Head-to-head record: Stampeders won season series 2-1
These rivals played three very tightly contested games during the regular season, with the Stampeders slightly outscoring the Riders, 62-56, over that span. Calgary took the first two meetings, but Saskatchewan snapped back with a 20-17 victory in Week 12. The Stampeders are riding a three-game winning streak, while the Riders have won four of their last five contests. Saskatchewan dropped its season finale last week to Hamilton, but the loss comes with an asterisk as the Riders rested many starters with home advantage already clinched in the opening round of the playoffs.
Why Calgary can win
It’s a good thing Calgary is good on the road, because it will require three straight wins away from McMahon Stadium to win the Grey Cup. The Stampeders boast an impressive 5-2 road record this year, including a 22-19 win in Saskatchewan back in Week 10. Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, who has two Grey Cup titles to his credit, will have to be outstanding once again for Calgary to pass its first test. He’s had a mediocre year with 2,594 passing yards and 10 touchdown passes, but he hasn’t thrown an interception the past three games.
Why Saskatchewan can win
Home-field advantage. The Riders have the wildest and most passionate fans in the CFL, and they’ll pack Mosaic Stadium to support their team for this one. Saskatchewan played to a 5-2 record at home, where it averaged 24.5 points per game. Away from Mosaic, Saskatchewan averaged a paltry 16.8 points per game.
Betting stat of the week
The under is 6-1 in Saskatchewan’s last seven games overall. The under is also 5-0 in Calgary’s last five games against a team with a winning record. Total is already low at 41.5.
Line move to watch
Some offshore online sportsbooks have already moved the West semifinal line to Roughriders -3 from -1.5. This could easily move even more in favor of the home team as we inch closer to kickoff.
Pick of the week
Hamilton -4.5. The Tiger-Cats are 4-0-1 ATS in their last five home playoff games, and 4-1 ATS in their last five games overall. This team is peaking at the right time and should win by at least a touchdown.
Photo: Bruce Fedyck/USA TODAY