CFL Week 18 Wagering Preview: Reeling Roughriders Clinging To Playoff Spot

The Roughriders will be without their two best running backs this week

With only four weeks remaining in the CFL regular season, the playoff race is heating up, with two spots still up for grabs heading into Canadian Thanksgiving weekend.

The Montreal Alouettes can clinch a playoff spot and a home playoff date with a win on Monday against the Ottawa Redblacks. Week 18 will also feature a crucial matchup between the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, who are both battling for playoff berths.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers earned a playoff berth back in Week 13, but they can clinch first place in the West Division and the right to host the Western Final on November 13 with a win this week against the lowly Edmonton Elks and a loss by the BC Lions.

Here’s a look at the latest CFL Grey Cup outright odds, followed by our Week 18 betting preview:

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers +115 (opened +300)
  • Calgary Stampeders +400 (opened +700)
  • Toronto Argonauts +450 (opened +600)
  • BC Lions +450 (opened +1300)
  • Montreal Alouettes +850 (opened +800)
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders +1400 (opened +450)
  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats +5500 (opened +500)
  • Edmonton Elks +30000 (opened +1500)
  • Ottawa Redblacks +40000 (opened +2000)

*All odds in this article are from PointsBet.

Saskatchewan Roughriders @ Hamilton Tiger-Cats (-2, 49 over/under)

Previous matchup:

  • Week 1 — Saskatchewan 30, Hamilton 13 (Roughriders covered as 2.5-point favorites)

About the Roughriders (6-9 straight up, 7-8 against the spread, 7-7-1 o/u): Saskatchewan started the season 4-1, but the team is now in a free fall after dropping eight of its last 10 games.

However, the Roughriders still hold a four-point advantage over the Tiger-Cats, who have a game in hand on Saskatchewan, for the crossover playoff spot. With a victory on Friday, Saskatchewan would enjoy a six-point cushion. Hamilton would then have to win each of its final three regular-season games while hoping that the Roughriders lose their final two. If Hamilton can score a victory Friday, the gap would be closed to two points on Saskatchewan.

The Roughriders are decimated by injuries at the running back position, with both Jamal Morrow and Frankie Hickson currently on the shelf. That means Shaun Wilson, a third-stringer out of Duke University who has never played in a CFL game, or journeyman Shaq Cooper will likely start at tailback on Friday.

About the Tiger-Cats (4-10 SU, 4-10 ATS, 8-6 o/u): With a 4-10 record, Friday’s game is a must-win for Hamilton if it wants to have a chance at a crossover playoff spot.

The Tiger-Cats have dropped four of their last five games (1-4 ATS), but hope was rekindled after their surprising 48-31 shootout win over the league-best Bombers in Week 15. Hamilton’s defense has held opponents to a league-low 80.9 rushing yards per game, and with Saskatchewan’s injury problems at running back, the Roughriders will likely get very little from their running game in this contest.

The Tiger-Cats are allowing 276.2 yards per game through the air, which ranks sixth out of nine CFL teams. They also have recorded only 29 sacks, which is eighth in the league.

Sports betting trends:

  • The under is 5-0 in the past five meetings.
  • Hamilton is 1-5 ATS in its last six games against opponents with a losing record.
  • The Roughriders are 31-12-1 ATS in the past 44 meetings.

BC Lions @ Toronto Argonauts (-1, 48.5 o/u)

Previous matchup:

  • Week 3 — Lions 44, Toronto 3 (Lions covered easily as 4-point favorites)

About the Lions (10-4 SU, 9-5 ATS, 7-6-1 o/u): The Lions have already clinched a playoff spot in the West Division, but they’re still playing for home field advantage down the stretch, with the Stampeders nipping at their heels for the second seed.

The Lions continue to overcome serious injuries to key players, as both quarterback Nathan Rourke (Lisfranc) and receiver Bryan Burnham (wrist) will likely remain out for the remainder of the regular season. Last week, receiver Lucky Whitehead appeared to suffer an ankle injury, but he did return later in the game. Bettors will want to monitor the team’s injury report this week to see if he’ll play against the Argonauts.

Running back James Butler continues to carry the banged-up offense, as he’s now surpassed his 2021 totals in rushing yards (727), receiving yards (309), and touchdowns (nine).

About the Argonauts (8-6 SU, 8-5-1 ATS, 7-7 o/u): Toronto had won four straight games before a miserable 29-2 loss to the Stampeders last week. Defensive lineman Shane Ray (biceps) and linebacker Wynton McManis (MCL) sustained potential serious injuries in that contest, which isn’t good news for the stretch run.

Back in Week 3, the Argos were pummeled 44-3 by the Lions in BC, so they’ll be hungry for revenge against a depleted BC roster. Toronto also has plenty to play for, as its lead for top spot in the East Division has shrunk to just two points over Montreal.

Sports betting trends:

  • The under is 8-3 in the past 11 meetings.
  • The Lions are 5-1 ATS in their last six road games.
  • Toronto is 4-0-1 ATS in its last five games after a loss.

Edmonton Elks @ Winnipeg Blue Bombers (-13, 50.5 o/u)

Previous matchup:

  • Week 7 — Winnipeg 24, Edmonton 10 (Blue Bombers covered as 8.5-point favorites)

About the Elks (4-11 SU, 6-9 ATS, 9-6 o/u): The Elks broke the CFL (and pro football) record for consecutive home losses (15) last week after falling 25-18 to Montreal.

To make matters worse, star receiver Kenny Lawler recently underwent season-ending surgery on his collarbone. Lawler started 12 games and recorded 58 catches for 894 yards and five touchdowns for an offense that is only averaging 20.4 points per game (eighth in the league).

Although the team is winless in all seven of its home games this season, it does have a respectable 4-4 mark (6-2 ATS) away from Commonwealth Stadium.

About the Blue Bombers (13-2 SU, 9-6 ATS, 7-8 o/u): Winnipeg will face its biggest spread of the season (13 points), and for good reason, on Saturday against the Elks.

Don’t expect the powerhouse Blue Bombers to ease off the gas pedal this week against the lowly Elks, as the top seed in the West Division is still up for grabs for them. Quarterback Zach Collaros is quietly having another standout season and could very well earn his second consecutive Most Outstanding Player award after tossing four touchdowns in last week’s win over Saskatchewan.

Sports betting trends:

  • The Elks are 6-1 ATS in their last seven road games.
  • Edmonton is 1-6 ATS in the last seven meetings.
  • The over is 7-2 in Edmonton’s last nine road games.

Ottawa Redblacks @ Montreal Alouettes (-7, 49 o/u)

Previous matchups:

  • Week 7 — Montreal 40, Ottawa 33 (Alouettes covered as 2.5-point favorites)
  • Week 13 — Ottawa 38, Montreal 24 (Redblacks covered as 4-point underdogs)

About the Redblacks (3-11 SU, 5-9 ATS, 6-8 o/u): The Redblacks fired head coach Paul LaPolice following Friday’s 34-19 loss to the Lions. The team has the CFL’s worst record at 3-11, and now special teams coordinator Bob Dyce will take over the head coaching duties on an interim basis.

Ottawa’s offense is averaging a league-worst 20.2 points per game and has never recovered since losing starting quarterback Jeremiah Masoli to a serious injury in Week 5. One of Ottawa’s three wins this season came in Week 13 against Montreal, and the Redblacks will certainly relish the role of spoiler for their rival’s chances of claiming a playoff berth against them.

About the Alouettes (7-7 SU, 9-5 ATS, 8-6 o/u): The red-hot Alouettes have won five of their last six games (5-1 ATS during that span) heading into a home-and-home set with the Redblacks.

With their sights set on catching the Argonauts for the top spot in the East Division, the team is ready to welcome back its greatest offensive weapon, running back William Stanback, this week. Stanback, the league’s top rusher last year, broke his ankle in the team’s season opener and returned to practice last week with the goal of returning to game action against the Redblacks.

Sports betting trends:

  • The Redblacks are 4-1 ATS in their last five road games.
  • The Alouettes are 5-1 ATS in their last games overall.
  • The under is 9-2 in the past 11 meetings in Montreal.

Photo courtesy Bob Frid/USA TODAY


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