CFL Pass

CFL football betting -- Current odds and value plays for Grey Cup 2019

If you placed bets on the “To Win 2019 Grey Cup” proposition bet during the CFL preseason, you surely need no encouragement to check out the current odds. After all, making a futures prop bet in the CFL is like investing in a volatile stock market – except the option to sell is extremely rare in sports betting. As the games play out, the CFL bettor can look alternately like a genius for buying so low and like an idjit for covering a hopeless case at all, cf. 2019 Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

Grey Cup 2019 -- Odds for betting w/5 weeks leftHeading into week 17 of the season, the following are current odds on the 2019 Grey Cup winner proposition bet, per Betway. Listed in parentheses are the odds as of June 1 of this season.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats +275 (+700)
Calgary Stampeders +320 (+275)
Saskatchewan Roughriders +333 (+750)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +400 (+500)
Montreal Alouettes +450 (14/1)
Edmonton Eskimos 14/1 (+800)
BC Lions 125/1 (+500)
Ottawa Redblacks 500/1 (+850)
Toronto Argonauts 500/1 (14/1)

The vogue picks for the East and West division winners at season’s beginning were the Hamilton Tiger-Cats and either the defending champion Calgary Stampeders or Winnipeg Blue Bombers, respectively. The first two of these have proven true blue-chippers. Hamilton has enjoyed sole possession of first place in the East since week 4 with nary a hiccup despite losing Jeremiah Masoli, the CFL’s leading QB at the time of injury. Betway’s generous 7/1 odds are certainly making investors optimistic right about now.

Calgary’s arrival at their current line of +330 isn’t nearly as straightforward as the starting point of +275 might indicate. Though the coaching staff remained intact after the Grey Cup win, departures to the NFL or other CFL teams robbed the Stampeders of 13 starters. Then, after getting off to their relatively common slow start of 1-1 after week 3, two-time Grey Cup-winning, four-time West-winning QB Bo Levi Mitchell went down, precipitating a 4-3 run which lengthened the odds on the Stamps to as much as +450. Here’s to hoping you bought high on these guys.

Odds on the Blue Bombers rose sharply as the team enjoyed what turns out to have been a seriously soft bit of schedule – at BC Lions, bye, vs Edmonton, at Ottawa, vs Toronto, vs Ottawa – and thus after week 6 were the odds-on favourites in this prop. But – you guessed it – starting QB Matt Nichols was soon gone for the season due to injury. Since then, the Bombers have gone 2-4 and from first to third in the West as the offensive game plan has increasingly become evermore two-dimensional and predictably dependent upon Andrew Harris – two-game suspension notwithstanding.

The sad truth is that Winnipeg is playing themselves out of the possibility of a home game in the playoffs. Bombers bettors aren’t using their tickets as toilet paper just yet, but this team is trending downward at precisely the wrong time and no relief is in sight: If you’re holding bets on Winnipeg, now would be a very good time to hedge with Calgary or Hamilton.

CFLpass wonders how much of the steady drop of Saskatchewan at +750 to their current +333 can be put down to lots of homer money coming in from the league’s most devoted and biggest (in more ways than one) fanbase and how much is pragmatically about the surprisingly good season the Riders are having. Like BC Lions (and to some extent the Edmonton Eskimos), Saskatchewan seriously retooled their roster in the offseason with seemingly as many name players as possible. Unlike their counterparts, however, veterans like Solomon Elimimian and William Powell have meshed with holdovers like Namaan Roosevelt and Charleston Hughes. And thanks to a stability of roster unseen during Chris Jones’s three years running the show in Saskatchewan, the Riders are playing with visible, enviable chemistry.

The Riders are trending in opposite fashion to the Bombers and that line of +333 will only get shorter: With a win at Calgary in week 15, suddenly Saskatchewan is top dog in the West with only games against BC and Edmonton remaining – and if they pull off that week 15 upset the odds will positively plummet.

Finally, among actually viable teams, the odds on Montreal have gotten far too short. Yes, a single win at Hamilton in the East final is not that huge a stretch to imagine, as Hamilton is in danger of complacency after clinching the top seed so early. In any case, true believers in a shocking Montreal win in the 2019 Grey Cup would be better advised to bet them game-to-game. Wager on a -110 payout (so, likesay, the point spread) on the Als in the semifinal match, then roll over the winnings onto the money line in the East Divisional at what is certain to be at least +180, and you’re already at a +340 payout on the original bet.

As for CFLpass, we’re thinking the Grey Cup comes down to Calgary and Hamilton. Boring, maybe, but probably profitable…