Hamilton Tiger-Cats at Montreal Alouettes (+1, 52.5)
Quarterback Troy Smith will likely get his first CFL start as the Montreal Alouettes try to secure the final playoff spot when they host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Sunday. Smith joined the team in August and will replace Josh Neiswander, who has been inconsistent filling in for injured veteran Anthony Calvillo. The Alouettes could be stepping into hostile ground when they take the field Sunday since they are 2-5 at home and Montreal fans are losing patience.
The Tiger-Cats are coming off back-to-back wins against the Toronto Argonauts that pulled them within two points of the East Division lead. Hamilton quarterback Henry Burris has nine 300-yard passing games and leads the league with 4,523 yards, but Hamilton’s defense has impressed as well recently, limiting the high-powered Argonauts offense to 37 points over the last two contests. If the Tiger-Cats can get pressure on the inexperienced Smith, Burris might not need to throw very much to secure a victory.
TV: 1 p.m. ET, TSN
ABOUT THE TIGER-CATS (8-7): Rookies are providing the spark on Hamilton’s offense as running back C.J. Gable was named offensive player of the week after running for 118 yards on 17 carries against Toronto. Wide receiver Luke Tasker has 202 receiving yards and one touchdown in his first three CFL games, giving Burris yet another reliable option in his receiving corps. Defensive lineman Brandon Boudreaux leads the team with six sacks and has one interception.
ABOUT THE ALOUETTES (6-9): Smith, a former Heisman Trophy recipient, has completed 15 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown, with two interceptions as well as nine carries for 17 rushing yards and a pair of rushing touchdowns. Linebacker Chip Cox leads Montreal’s defense with 98 tackles and has four interceptions and six sacks. The Alouettes lead the league in interceptions with 22, with defensive back Jerald Brown and cornerback Geoff Tisdale catching five each.
* Tiger-Cats are 5-1 ATS in their last six meetings.
* Tiger-Cats are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 meetings in Montreal.
* Alouettes are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games.
* Under is 5-2 in Alouettes last seven vs. a team with a winning record.
1. Montreal can also clinch a playoff spot with a Winnipeg Blue Bombers loss Saturday.
2. Hamilton is 6-1 against divisional opponents.
3. The Tiger-Cats and Alouettes complete their season series next week in Guelph, Ont.