CFL Football Betting Guide
Sports fans in Canada are mad about football! The summer months signify the start of the CFL with millions of Canadian sports fans glued to the action each week. With the popularity of the CFL many online sportsbooks have increased their football markets and wagering on the sport has never been easier. The odds and lines are plentiful with Canadian sports fans taking advantage of the variety of markets available. It’s easy to get started and place a first wager on the CFL. Many Sportsbooks offer enticing bonuses for new customers including 5Dimes and Bodog Sports. These online sportsbooks offer weekly enhancements and special offers ahead of the new CFL season and prior to the Grey Cup Final.
Odds & Markets
Similar to betting on the NHL or NBA, money line betting is available on each and every match throughout the CFL season. This is the simplest market for bettors to wager on. The money line is simply predicting which side will win the match. The odds will be displayed in the money line format. For example – Calgary Stampeders -125 with Ottawa Redblacks +170. The Calgary Stampeders are the favourites to win this match as priced by the Sportsbook. The home side are often expected to emerge victorious and the lines will reflect this accordingly. If you placed a $10 wager on the Stampeders, you’ll receive $8 + the $10 stake. That’s a profit of $8. This is the most basic of wagers and many bettors are looking for more value during the match. The Point Spread is a very popular market available with all sportsbooks. This can be confusing to new bettors at first, but it soon begins to make sense. Wagering on this market can add interest to each match and can add value if you’re keen on the home team to succeed. A typical example of the Points Spread market will look like this:
Toronto Argonauts -4.5 / Montreal Alouettes +4.5 The underdog will always be priced up with a plus whilst the favourite receives a minus value. Toronto Argonauts are the favourites and they’ve been given a 4.5 head start by the sportsbook traders. If you believe they will win comfortably, you can back them on the spread. Take -4.5 from their total score and if they still have a lead, you collect some winnings. Likewise, if you believe the Montreal Alouettes are overpriced and they won’t lose heavily, back them on this spread. You are giving them a 4.5 point head start. Add 4.5 to their final total and if they are now winning, you collect. If the match ended 21-19 in favour of the Toronto Argonauts, add 4.5 points to the opposition and they win 21-23.5. In contrast, take 4.5 from the Toronto total and they have lost 16.5-19. Any wagers on the spread in favour of the hosts will have lost. They favourites would need to win by a 5 point margin or greater in order to cover the handicap spread.
Over & Under This is an increasingly popular way of betting with many bettors throughout Canada preferring to utilise this market. Some matches are hard to call. Two teams can be quite evenly match or neither side playing well enough to justify their respective prices on the money line market. This provides an alternative. The Over/Under total will be decided ahead of each match by the sportsbook often depending on recent form or historical encounters between the teams. For example – Saskatchewan Roughriders take on Edmonton Eskimos and the market has been set at Over/Under 55 points. Bettors expecting an open, entertaining match can wager on Over 55 points whilst those anticipating a cagey, tight affair with little entertainment can wager Under 55 points. If the match ends 41-17, it’s 41+17 = 58 points. Overs would have landed. Another reason why bettors in Canada enjoy these markets is that there is always the chance of late drama. If the score is 30-15 with around 10 minutes left, a late flurry of activity and points could turn a potentially losing bet into a winning one.
There are a number of prop bets which are available on football. Both the CFL and the NFL offer plenty of opportunities to explore prop betting. It’s often the choice of well-researched professional bettors. Prop betting is particularly popular with Canadian bettors ahead of the commencement of the CFL season. Markets will be available on each individual player and team performances throughout the campaign. Wagers include betting on a side to win a certain amount of matches throughout the season. For example – Hamilton Tiger Cats to win over 7.5 matches during the CFL season. By far the most popular prop bet is deciding which side will win the Grey Cup. Wagering on teams to reach the play-offs is another popular bet and this keeps an interest throughout the entire season. The lines and odds available on these markets will offer large returns as there are potentially many variables over a longer period of time.
Individual Match Prop Betting
These are similar to the above but over a much smaller amount of time. It is possible to wager on the amount of touchdowns an individual team or player will complete during the contest. For example – Player A to throw over 2.5 touchdowns during the game. These will be priced fairly evenly and most sportsbooks will offer these markets ahead of the match.
Check the head to head records is one of the pieces of advice regularly given to any CFL bettors. There are bitter and longstanding rivalries between many of the sides involved in the league and the stadiums can be intimidating places to perform. Some travelling sides fail to perform at particular grounds whilst some teams simply have an unexplainable monopoly over their opponents. When neighbouring sides take to the field, form can often go out of the window. Never wager without knowing the history between the sides and reading match reports of their previous meetings. Checking the weather is always advisable as the Canadian climate can be temperamental. The forecast can alter dramatically from the beginning right through to the 4th quarter and can reduce vision and as a result, level of performance.
Other Ways to Bet
One of the more popular ways of betting is ‘Accumulators’. Many of the matches will kick off at a similar time or across the same weekend. Bettors select four or more teams they believe will win their matches and combine those selections for a large return. The more selections included, the lower the chances of the wager landing, but the higher the potential returns. Most online sportsbooks will offer an insurance policy which offers bettors in Canada their stake back if they miss out on their accumulator by a single selection. William Hill is one such example. This is a terrific to keep across all of the action from around Canada and the CFL.
Wagering in-play is extremely popular and is a terrific way to add some excitement whilst watching the action unfold. Nearly every online sportsbook will offer in-play markets both online and on the App. The markets will refresh quickly and provide bettors with the opportunity to change their mind several times and make money based on their interpretation of the game so far.
The CFL Season
The regular season is contested over 18 games. Everything leads towards the Play-Offs with the eventual winner decided in Grey Cup Final. There are two divisions with 5 sides assigned to the West Division and 4 in the East. It is often compared to the NFL which is played in America, but the pitches are wider and longer in Canada. There is also an additional player on each side bringing the total on the pitch to 24. Six teams are rewarded for their regular season performances with a place in the Play-Offs. This isn’t necessarily evened out per division, it is purely based on performance. The Grey Cup is awarded to the winning side at the end of the season. It is the ultimate goal for every CFL side and is the second oldest trophy in North American Sports. This final tends to be competed in a different Canadian city each year.
Research is a huge part of successful wagering on the CFL. Each side has a history against another and it’s always best to check this. Injury news is key in CFL betting. Look out for players being forced to play their first professional games due to injuries in the squad. Inexperience is a huge disadvantage and it’s always worth wagering on those sides with the most CFL experience in their side. If key players in the defence are absent, make sure you wager on the opposition via the spread or individual prop bets. There are also other factors to consider such as the Toronto Argonauts playing their matches at BMO Field, which is a ground shared with their MLS counterparts. Not all CFL sides enjoy playing on this surface and can be opposed when visiting them.
Football betting is huge throughout Canada and wagering on the CFL is rising in popularity with every passing season. Many online sportsbooks now offer more markets than ever before and it’s easy to get started. Canadian sports fans looking to get involved can find many markets and betting opportunities to their liking.