Now that single-game sports betting has been legalized in Canada, and we can now bet on the outcome of the CFL Grey Cup outright, the 2021 CFL season has a whole new appeal.
For fans of CFL betting, the annual Canadian football championship represents the culmination of a high-scoring league that features a longer field, one less down and other modifications from the traditional American football rules that you’d find in the NFL or College Football.
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The Canadian Football League is the only true Canadian professional sports league (exclusive to Canadian teams). Canadian football is slightly different from traditional football rules you’d know from watching or playing American football.
The most notable differences is the size of the field, which is 30 yards longer and eight yards wider than a traditional NFL field, the number of downs on each drive, which is three opposed to four, and the fact that there are 12 CFL players on the field at a time opposed to the NFL’s 11.
The CFL consists of nine teams scattered across the prairies and Western Canada, there are no CFL teams east of Montreal, Quebec. The regular season spans 21 weeks and each team plays a total of 18 games during the regular season, followed by the playoffs and eventually the Grey Cup.
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When it comes to betting on the Grey Cup, you will want to make sure you understand how CFL betting works, which includes having an idea how each betting option listed on online sportsbooks work. Let’s start with the most popular CFL betting options.
Depending on which odds format you choose to view your options at your sportsbook of choice, things may look a bit different than our explanations. If you don’t yet know how odds work – there are American, Decimal and Fractional odds – but we will focus on American odds for our examples.
Betting on a CFL moneyline is the most simple wager you can make. This would be the most recognizable and easiest to understand as you are simply betting on the outcome of the Grey Cup game. When we find out which teams will compete for the Grey Cup, the sportsbooks will list odds on either team, based on their likelihood of winning the game.
In 2019, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats played the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the championship (the 2020 edition was cancelled due to COVID-19).
Let’s look at the example:
Hamilton Tiger-Cats -150
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +325
These odds suggest that the Tiger-Cats are slightly favoured to win the game due to the (-), and the Blue Bombers are the underdog due to the (+). The higher these numbers are in either direction, the more likely/less likely it is that a team will win the Grey Cup.
A C$150 wager on the Tiger-Cats would pay out C$100, and a C$100 bet on the Blue Bombers would pay out C$325. Blue Bombers bettors cashed in on this championship, as the Blue Bombers won 33-16.
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Point spreads are popular throughout all professional sports, and allow a slight margin of error instead of picking a team to win outright. When it comes to a point spread bet on the Grey Cup, sportsbooks will list each team’s spread, based on how likely they are to meet or exceed their respective point spreads.
A point spread will use the same +/- signs to indicate an underdog or favourite. The negative number will show you how many points the favoured team will need to win the Grey Cup by, and the positive number shows you how many points an underdog team will be able to lose by, or the underdog team can win the game outright and still win the point spread wager.
If we use the 2019 Grey Cup championship as our example again, the odds looked like this:
Hamilton Tiger-Cats -3
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +3
This meant that the Tiger-Cats were favoured and needed to win the game by more than three points. The Blue Bombers were the underdogs and needed to either lose by less than three points or they had to win the game. Luckily for Blue Bombers backers, they doubled the Tiger-Cats points total.
We already know that the CFL is a high scoring sport, so the totals can be a really exciting betting option for the Grey Cup championship. If you aren’t sure who might win the Grey Cup title, you can bet on how many points you think both teams will notch collectively. The sportsbooks will set the totals betting line for the Grey Cup game, and you will decide whether you think the actual total will be over or under the oddsmaker’s line.
The 2019 Grey Cup total was set at 52. Bettors had to decide if they thought the total points for both the Tiger-cats and the Blue Bombers would be over or under 52. The under bettors would have won their wagers for that game was we know the final score was 33-16, which is a total of 49. It was close!
Prop bets are becoming more exciting and popular each year. With major events like the Grey Cup, more sportsbooks are following the NFL’s lead and producing a huge selection of game props for the championship. You can bet on each quarter, the coin toss, the length of the national anthem, and more.
Other options include player props, which would include which quarterback will have the most passing yards in the game, who will score the first touchdown, and which player will win the MVP award.
Team props include options like choosing which team will score first, if a team will score in the final two minutes of the half, and if a team will win by a particular margin.
Last but not least, we have Grey Cup futures. If you saw our odds table at the top of the page listing all team’s odds of winning the championship. All nine teams in the CFL will be listed, and the odds will reflect how likely it is that they will win the title after the season. You can place these wagers at the start of the season, long before the event actually occurs, which will present some huge value if you are betting on a longshot.
In 2019, the Tiger-Cats were +900 at the start of the season and the Blue Bombers were listed at +450, so you could have received some great value with either of the competitors in the championship – however, the Blue Bombers did win, so if you placed a C$100 wager on Winnipeg, you would be C$450 richer!
The vast majority of betting sites will offer a wide range of markets on the CFL. The sites that you can sign up to will depend on your location as each province has its own set of laws surrounding sports betting. In some cases your only option may be to sign up with an offshore operator. Some provinces are beginning to change their laws. For example, Ontario Sports betting has now been legalised and there are a whole host of new operators available to sign up with. So, be sure to check what your options are in advance of signing up with any betting site.
The Grey Cup is the annual championship game of the Canadian Football league.
The 2021 Grey Cup is being held on December 12, 2021.
The 2021 Grey Cup will be played at the Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ontario – home of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats franchise.
Yes, absolutely! Especially with the new single-game sports betting legislation that launched in August 2021, you can bet on the Grey Cup from anywhere in Canada.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers are favoured to win a consecutive title (there was no Grey Cup championship in 2020) at the 109th Grey Cup championship on December 12, 2021.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers won the 2019 Grey Cup title after defeating the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-16.
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