While there are only 8 teams in the CFL, the games are actually quite competitive. CFL teams are limited to 19 non-Canadian players per team, plus 3 quarterbacks from anywhere. Most of these players are Americans hoping to find a job with an NFL team. Aside from NFL practice squads, this is essentially the minor leagues for the NFL. Looking for a promotion, these guys come to play.
Every CFL football game is televised on TSN. Of course this is great for fans, and sports betting punters as well.
How to Bet on CFL Football
Most online betting sites offer the same types of betting options as they do for NFL and NCAA football. The point spread is the most popular way to bet, plus money line, over/under, and prop bets are offered for every game.
CFL Football Point Spread Betting
In football, a point spread is a handicap given to or taken from a team. To even out the betting, underdogs are given points, added to their final total. Favourites have points taken away. In an ideal world, online betting sites would like to have even betting on both teams in a game, then collect their profits from the juice. With two teams straight-up, this wouldn’t happen, so the point spread is used. A typical CFL point spread would like similar to this:
- Calgary: -3.5 (-110)
- Saskatchewan: +3.5 (-110)
In this scenario, Calgary is the favoured team. For bets on them to win, they would have to win the game by 4 or more points. If they were to win the game 27-24, then you remove 3.5 points from their score, the score as far as your bets is concerned becomes 23.5 – 24, for a losing bet.
Since the Roughriders have been given 3.5 points, they could lose the game by three or fewer points and your bet would win.
Point spreads not only even out the betting, but they make the game more exciting for punters as well. When a game is handicapped, there are more tight bets that go down to the wire. If you take your CFL betting seriously, be sure to register at several online betting sites so you can compare odds and vig. Over the course of a season, small advantages can be the difference of winning or losing.
CFL Football Money Line Bets
Money line bets for CFL football work the same as they do for any other sport. No point spread is used, and the odds are based on favoured & underdog teams. The larger the favourite, the lower the odds on that team. The greater the underdog, the greater the odds are on that team. A typical CFL money line bet would look like this:
- BC: -300
- Winnipeg: +260
In this scenario, the BC Lions are the favourite, as indicated by their negative (-) money line. The Blue Bombers are the underdogs, as indicated by their positive (+) money line.
Negative money lines always indicate the favourite, and positive money lines always indicate the underdog. In rare cases when a game is extremely close, it’s possible that both teams could have negative money lines, but it’s rare. In this type of case, you’ll usually find both teams listed at -110, or one team and -115 and the other at -105.
Money lines are based around the $100 figure. Negative money lines show you the amount that would be needed to wager in order to win $100 in profit. So, a money line of -300 means that a wager of $30 would result in a $10 profit, for a total return of $40.
A positive money line shows you the amount that would be won from a $100 wager. So, a +260 line would turn a $10 bet into a $26 profit, for a total return of $36.
CFL Football Total Betting
Total bets are wagers on the combined score of both teams. For example, if a game has a final score of 23-17, then the total is 40. Sports betting sites set a number they think will generate equal betting action on each side, then your job is to decide if their number is too high or too low. If you think the teams will score more points than the total is set at, you would bet the ‘over’.
If you think the teams will score fewer points, you’d bet the ‘under’. If the actual game score is exactly what the total was set at, most betting sites push those bets, meaning you’ll get your wager back with no profit or loss.
A lot of games will have a half-point, like 36.5. When half-points are used, there are no pushes since teams can’t score half of a point.
Most betting sites get 10% juice on CFL total bets. Typically both sides will have odds of -110, but sometimes you’ll see -105 for one side and -115 for the other team.
CFL Prop Bets
Depending on the betting site, the prop bets available will vary. Most of the bigger, more reputable sites offer a fair selection of props, including some of the following:
- Which team will win the coin toss?
- Which team will score first?
- Which player will score first?
- Will the first score be a touchdown or field goal?
- Will player X score a touchdown?
At most betting sites, prop bets can be made for $5 or less. Some have minimum bet amounts as low as $1. Since most prop bets take a larger vig, we recommend shopping for the best prices, and serious punters should limit their prop bets to no more than .5% of their bankroll.
Grey Cup Betting
Well before the season begins, futures bets on who will win the Grey Cup are available. Some betting sites keep their futures bets up down until the season is nearly over, while others remove them at the beginning of the season. At sites that keep their Grey Cup futures bets up, of course the odds are continually adjusted to reflect how each team is performing.
If you’re picking an underdog to win, place your bets before the season begins. If your pick is correct and they start winning, their odds will go down as the season progresses.
However, if you’re picking a favourite, wait until 2-3 games have been played. This gives punters a chance to see if those teams are performing as expected, and since they came into the season as favourites, their odds won’t go down much after the first few games.
Of course there is more betting action on the Grey Cup than any other CFL game each season. Online betting sites offer all of the standard CFL bets, plus a wider range of prop bets.
If you’re going to bet on a heavy favourite, it’s usually a good idea to get your bets in early. If you’re going to bet on the underdog, wait until the line moves in your favor, close to game time. The reason is because heavy favourites and teams with large fan bases will attract more betting action, moving the line against them.
The spread will widen and those betting on the underdog will get an edge. While serious handicappers wait for the right line, most of the money coming in will come from casual punters who bet on their team regardless of the spread (or money line). This is how professional handicappers make a living.
Since there is so much more betting action on the Grey Cup than regular season CFL games, more betting options will be available. Be sure to shop several online betting sites to get the best prices.
CFL Football Teams
CFL West Division
- Calgary Stampeders
- Saskatchewan Roughriders
- BC Lions
- Edmonton Eskimos
CFL East Division
- Montreal Alouettes
- Toronto Argonauts
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers