Betting the CFL at Online Sportsbooks
In general, football accounts for the majority of the sports betting action taken in at online sportsbooks catering to the US market. The NFL is at the top of the list in generated revenue followed closely by betting on college football games. Much farther down the list in this country is betting on the CFL. Football north of the border does not garner all that much attention from US sports bettors even though it is the only game in town until those other two leagues return to the field in early September.
One of the main reasons why Canadian football has not caught on more with US sports bettors is the variation in rules from the NFL. There are 12 players on each side of the ball on a field that is longer and wider. The end zones are also deeper to create a much wider open style of play.
The biggest difference between the two leagues is the CFL only having three downs to secure a first down against the four downs used in the NFL. This often times negates the running game and encourages even more passing to move the ball downfield.
The biggest thing that the two leagues have in common is the game of football as the most popular betting sport around. Once you get past the rules changes, you are basically left with the same game.
The CFL may be an afterthought with bettors because it is the summertime. Maybe the lack of name recognition with the majority of its players causes a disconnect with the US market. It is hard to pinpoint exactly why the CFL is not more popular with US sports bettors suffering through the long and extended NFL offseason. However, those avid football fans that are betting on the CFL already know that there is some great value to be found.
The CFL is made up of two divisions with four teams in the East and five teams out West. The league plays an 18-game regular season schedule with multiple byes spread out over 21 weeks of action. This leaves you with a weekly schedule of three to four games normally played between Thursday and Saturday.
Four games over three days is a highly favorable scenario for handicapping CFL games. Betting lines are usually posted early in the week to provide plenty of time to breakdown the matchups. Since there are only nine teams in the CFL, there is a high level of familiarity in every game. This can actually lead to a higher level of predictability with recent betting trends coming more into play.
Since this is a pass-driven league, getting to know all nine starting quarterbacks is a big part of the handicapping process. The teams with the best quarterbacks, such as the Calgary Stampeders’ Bo Levi Mitchell tend to win the majority of the time. However, the CFL does offer a level of parity that keeps many of the games close on the scoreboard.
The primary betting lines at online bookies remain the same as the NFL with the pointspread and total. The spreads are generally tighter than the NFL given that increased level of parity and the total lines are noticeably higher since the rules favor a higher scoring game.
Another noticeable difference in CFL pointspreads verse the NFL is more movement. It does not take all that much CFL money coming into an online sportsbook to move a line a point or two during the course of the week. This extends the opportunity to shop CFL betting lines to increase the value in certain matchups.
If you have never thought about betting CFL games, now is the perfect time to get on board. The quality of play is excellent and the games are also fun to watch. Through a new agreement with ESPN and ESPN+, all of the CFL games will be available live in the US this season.