CFL Grey Cup Game

By Malcolm Darnley | December 8, 2021 8:56 AM

For the fourth time in the last nine years, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will be representing the East Division in the CFL’s championship game.

Hamilton has lost their last three Grey Cup appearances, including the 2019 championship when they were favored by four points over the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, but dropped a disappointing 33-12 result.

Once again Winnipeg stands in the way of Hamilton and the pursuit of their first CFL title since 1999. In a league that has only nine teams, going 20+ years without a Grey Cup win can feel like a very long time.

With their 2019 victory, the Bombers are considered the defending Grey Cup Champions. For the first time in over 100 years, there was no Grey Cup awarded in 2020, due to the pandemic.

Grey Cup Betting Odds

The Blue Bombers had the best regular-season record in the CFL at 11-3 and they are the betting favorites this week. The Bombers opened -4 at DraftKings, but already that line has been bet down to -2.5.

The TOTAL for this game opened at 44.5 but has already dropped to 44 at some sportsbooks.

It should be noted that the game is being played at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton and the sellout crowd is expected to be largely favoring the hometown Ticats.

*The game will be broadcast in Canada on TSN and in the United States on ESPN2

Grey Cup Weather Report

This game is being played outdoors in Canada in December, so the weather is definitely going to be a factor. In years past, we have seen snow have a major impact on the outcome of a Grey Cup game. This year, at least for now – there is no snow predicted for kick-off.

However, it is going to be cold and it is going to be very windy. Temperatures are expected to be right around 20F once you factor in the wind chill.

As for the wind, it is expected to be blowing at 15MPH with gusts up to 25MPH.

At first glance, those do not sound like ideal scoring conditions, even for the many Canadians playing in this game.

Previous Six Grey Cup Results and Analysis

WinnerLoserFinal ScoreResults
WinnipegHamilton33-12Underdog / UNDER
CalgaryOttawa27-16Favorite / UNDER
TorontoCalgary27-24Underdog / UNDER
OttawaCalgary39-33 (OT)Underdog / OVER
EdmontonOttawa26-20Underdog / UNDER
Calgary Hamilton20-16Underdog / UNDER

Six years isn’t the largest sample size and I wish I was able to track down more historical data to see if this Underdog / UNDER trend plays out even longer.

However, there was definitely money to be made betting underdogs and UNDERS over the last six years. Five times the game has gone UNDER the total and five times the underdog has covered the spread.

In fact, the underdog has won the game outright in three of the previous six Grey Cups.

I can’t help but wonder how much of a factor weather plays into the UNDER and underdog trends. Difficult scoring conditions definitely benefit UNDERS and would have to allow an underdog a better chance to keep the score close.

The weather could be a great equalizer in this year’s game and once again it will be cold and windy throughout the contest.

Tiger-Cats Key Stats

  • Hamilton was 8-6 in the regular season, finishing second in the East Division, behind Toronto.
  • In their 14 regular season games, three times (3) the final combined score of a Ticats game finished with more than 44.5 points. (The Grey Cup O/U is 44.5)
  • 11 of their games finished with a combined score below 44.5 points.
  • In the first half of the season 1 of 7 Ticats games finished with a combined total over 44.5. (Because teams didn’t play in 2020, one could expect that offense would be slow to start the 2021 season.)
  • The second half of the season was just a little bit better offensively, with 2 of 7 games finishing above 44.5.
  • In their two playoff games this year, the Tiger-Cats are 2-0 ATS and the O/U is 1-1.
  • Hamilton Averaged 19.1 points per game in their 14 regular season games.
  • In their last 3 games, Hamilton is averaging 17 points per game. (27. 24 and 12)

Blue Bombers Regular Season Notes

  • Winnipeg was 11-3 in the regular season and finished first in the West Division and with the best record in the league overall.
  • In their 14 Regular season games, five times (5) the combined score of a Blue Bombers game went over 44.5.
  • Nine games (9) finished with a combined score under 44.5.
  • In the first half of the season 2 of 7 games finished with a combined total over 44.5.
  • The Bombers offence also improved slightly in the second half of the season with 3 of 7 games finishing above 44.5 points.
  • In their lone playoff game, Winnipeg failed to cover the spread and the game finished well under the total.
  • Winnipeg Averaged 22.3 points per game in their 14 regular season games.
  • In their last 3 games, Winnipeg is averaging 16 points per game. (21, 12, 14) (It should be noted the Bombers had clinched homefield advantage before the last regular season game and rested many key starters)

Interesting that in 28 combined regular-season games, 20 of the 28 finished with a final score below 44.5 points.

Winnipeg averaged 22 points per game and Hamilton averaged 19. Combined that is more than a field goal short of the current 44.5 total.

Head To Head This Year

These teams played only one game against each other this year and that game should pretty much count as a throw away stat for anyone handicapping the Grey Cup.

In Week 1, Winnipeg beat Hamilton 19-6.

It’s important to remember this was the first meaningful game played since the end of the 2019 season. Players, teams and particularly offenses were not at regular-season game speed at that point because of the lost 2020 season.

Tiger-Cats Playoff Notes

In the East Division semi-final, Hamilton beat the Montreal Alouettes 23-12. Hamilton scored 20 points in the second quarter after their defence forced three turnovers.

Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli played the whole game but threw for only 184 yards and the offense was held under 250 total yards.

In the East Division final, Hamilton was a +2 underdog against the Toronto Argonauts, but pulled out a 27-19 win. The Tiger-Cats offense again struggled and benefited from a special teams punt return TD as part of their 27 total points.

Starting QB Jeremiah Masoli was pulled midway through the second quarter. His replacement Dane Evans was a perfect 16 for 16 with almost 250 yards passing in leading Hamilton to their comeback win.

Ticats will now have a decision to make at the QB position. Before the playoffs started, it was Masoli’s job. After two playoff games it is anyone’s guess who will start the Grey Cup.

Blue Bombers Playoff Notes

As the team with the best record in the West Division this year, Winnipeg did not have a first-round playoff game.

In the West Division final, the Bombers were -8 point favorites against Saskatchewan. Although they failed to cover the point spread, they did advance with a 21-17 win.

Winnipeg turned the ball over a ridiculous five times in the first half but trailed only 10-7 at the break. The game finished UNDER the 43 total.

Tiger-Cats Key Players To Watch

PlayerPos.CollegeCollege Bio
Jeremiah MasoliQBOregon and Ole MissLed Oregon to a Pac-10 Championship and a Rose Bowl appearance in 2009. Finished his NCAA career with 5,930 passing yards, 1,930 rushing yards, 42 passing touchdowns and 29 rushing TD’s.
Dane EvansQBTulsaThrew 904 pass completions on 1,577 attempts for 11,680 yards, 84 touchdowns and 47 interceptions in 46 career games for the Golden Hurricane, finishing as the all-time leading passer in Tulsa history.
Simoni LawrenceLBMinnesotaServed as a defensive co-captain and recorded 151 tackles, 23 tackles for a loss, two interceptions and six quarterback sacks at Minnesota. Was an All-Big Ten Honorable Mention selection in 2009
Brandon BanksWRKansas StateRanks fifth all-time in K-State history for all-purpose yards in a single-season with 1,731 yards in 2008. Named first-team Big-12 and a second-team All-American as a senior.

Blue Bombers Key Players To Watch

PlayerPos.CollegeCollege Bio
Zach CollarosQBCincinnatiHe became the starter in 2010 and led the Big East in passing yards with 2,902 and in passing touchdowns with 26. Those numbers helped him in being selected the 2010 First-Team All-Big East quarterback.
Andrew HarrisRBCanadian Junior Football League (CJFL)Harris holds the all-time Canadian Junior Football League scoring record and all-time CJFL touchdown record and was named to the CJFL All-Canadian Team four times.
Adam BighillLBCentral WashingtonStarred at Central Washington from 2007-10. He was CWU’s 2010-11 Co-Male Athlete of the Year and earned a starting spot and team captaincy in the Division II All-Star Game in January of 2011.
Kenny LawlerWRCaliforniaLawler played three seasons with the California Golden Bears, catching 143 passes for 1706 yards and 27 touchdowns before entering the NFL draft after his junior season. Was selected in the 7th RD by Seattle.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2021 East Division All-Stars

Jaelon AcklinWRWestern Illinois
Tim WhiteWRArizona State
Brandon RevenbergOLGrand Valley State
Ja’Gared DavisDESouthern Methodist
Dylan WynnDTOregon State
Simoni LawrenceLBMinnesota
Jumal RolleDBCatawaba
Cariel BrooksDBAdams State
Tunde AdelekeDBCarleton

Winnipeg Blue Bombers 2021 West Division All-Stars

Zach CollarosQBCincinnati
Kenny LawlerWRCalifornia
Nic DemskiWRManitoba
Drew DesjarlaisOLWindsor
Patrick NeufeldOLSaskatchewan
Stanley BryantOLEast Carolina
Jemarcus HardrickOLNebraska
Jackson JeffcoatDETexas
Willie JeffersonDLStephen F. Austin
Adam BighillLBCentral Washington
Alden DarbyDBArizona State
DeAundre AlfordDBTusculum
Deatrick NicholsCBSouth Florida
Brandon AlexanderDBCentral Florida
Mike MillerFBAcadia