Hamilton Tiger-Cats vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders (-6.5, 52.5)
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the Saskatchewan Roughriders took very different routes to Sunday’s 101st Grey Cup final. Hamilton began its season plagued by injuries and uncertainty but is 11-4 since the end of July as veteran quarterback Henry Burris tries for his third Grey Cup championship. The Roughriders jumped out to a franchise-best 8-1 start before losing control of the West Division with some late-season stumbles, but recovered for two hard-fought playoff victories as they try to become the third consecutive team to win a Grey Cup at home.
The Tiger-Cats are making their first Grey Cup appearance since 1999, when they beat Calgary 32-21 for their eighth championship. Saskatchewan is making its fourth Grey Cup final appearance in seven seasons after losing back-to-back finals in 2009 and 2010. The Roughriders last won the Cup in 2007, when they were coached by Kent Austin, who returned to the CFL this season to coach Hamilton and has led the Tiger-Cats to a decisive matchup against his old team.
TV: 6 p.m. ET, TSN
LINE: The Riders opened -5 and are now -6.5. The total opened 54 and is down to 52.5.
WEATHER: Temperatures will be in the mid-30s.
ABOUT THE TIGER-CATS (12-8): Burris led the league in passing yards this season in part because of his deep and talented receiving corps, including Andy Fantuz, who had 114 yards on 11 catches against Toronto in the East final. Bakari Grant and Greg Ellingson have also been reliable targets for Burris, while rookie running back C.J. Gable has proven a capable receiver with 598 yards in the regular season. Linebackers Jamall Johnson, Brandon Isaac and Simoni Lawrence have gelled over the season to form the core of a versatile defense that appears ready for any challenge.
ABOUT THE ROUGHRIDERS (13-7): Durant and running back Kory Sheets have been in top form through the first two playoff games, with Durant completing 43-of-53 passes for 550 yards and five touchdowns (while also scrambling for 115 yards on 10 carries) and Sheets rushing for 245 yards and a touchdown. Chris Getzlaf caught a touchdown in the West final despite playing with a knee injury, while Weston Dressler had 116 yards and a touchdown on five catches and Taj Smith added 60 receiving yards. Defensive end Ricky Foley has Saskatchewan’s only sack of the playoffs, while defensive tackle Jermaine McElveen caught a rare interception in the West final.
* Tiger-Cats are 6-21-1 ATS in their last 28 meetings.
* Under is 6-2 in Roughriders last eight games overall.
* Tiger-Cats are 7-1 ATS in their last eight road games.
* Roughriders are 2-0-2 ATS in their last four playoff games.
1. Austin won Grey Cups with Saskatchewan as a player (in 1989) and a coach (2007).
2. Durant was on the sideline as a backup when the Roughriders won the 2007 Grey Cup.
3. Saskatchewan swept Hamilton in a home-and-home series early in the regular season.