Learn How to Bet on the CFL

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The Toronto Argonauts raise the Grey Cup over their heads as they celebrate winning the 105th Grey Cup Championship Game against the Calgary Stampeders. Andre Ringuette/Getty Images/AFP

We know how popular the NFL (American Football) is for bettors but those lovers of football, now have the opportunity to bet on the CFL. Below, our expert handicapper will break down how to bet on the Canadian Football League (CFL) and share the best betting tips! Let’s begin.

What Is the CFL

The Canadian Football League (CFL) has been running for nearly seventy-five years now. The CFL consists of nine football teams – four teams in the East Division and five teams in the West Division. 

Each team plays fourteen regular week games with six going through to the knockout stages and playoffs for the Grey Cup. 

There are a few slight differences between NFL and CFL. Namely, the CFL has twelve players on the pitch compared to NFL’s eleven while the CFL has three downs possession compared to the NFL’s four. 

CFL Betting Markets  

Handicap or Spread, Moneyline, and Total are the three main markets offered by BMR’s top-rated sportsbooks and betting sites.  

Handicap or Spread

The handicap market is where one side is assigned a designated point advantage to even out the difference between the two parties. Undoubtedly, this market is the most popular. 

You will often hear the handicap referred to as the point spread by media and bettors alike.   

This gives bettors the choice of both sides at prices just below +100 (coin-flip) while introducing an opinion from the betting odds compilers at the sportsbooks. 

How the Spread Works in CFL 

Let’s take a look at a match and betting analysis I covered between the Toronto Argonauts and Montreal Alouettes. The bet we took was the Toronto Argonauts on the spread of -2.5

The match finished up with the Toronto Argonauts 20-19 Montreal Alouettes. Therefore with 2.5 added to the Montreal Alouettes the final score on the spread was Toronto Argonauts 20-21.5 Montreal Alouettes. 

This meant anyone betting the Alouettes +2.5 was a winner

Push Bets 

A push is a bet that is deemed a draw and theoretically, if the handicap on the above game was the Toronto Argonauts -1 then both sides would have drawn with the handicap added. 

How to Beat the Spread 

Technically, last week’s bet on Toronto Argonauts beat the spread. In my betting analysis, I advised taking the Argonauts -2.5 and the spread finished on -3 at a game-time Thursday:  

  • You must theorize the score between the two sides using the known form.  We add in variables like the weather, injuries, and home-field advantage. It is for you to assess whether the handicap line is accurate with your estimation.  If it is not, then that is the perfect opportunity to strike a bet. 
  • Use your assumed knowledge of the above variables and any unseen ones you think you might know, to find an edge on the advertised lines. 
  • Bet Early! We beat the spread by taking -2.5 as it moved to -3 and -3.5 in a few places. Handicap lines are released early and bettors who jump on one particular side move the line. In Football with a field goal meaning three points the potential difference between -2.5 and 3 or 3.5 is huge and striking early last week was a good move. 

Moneyline 

The Money Line is settled on the actual score of the contest. In the example above anyone betting the Toronto Argonauts on the Money Line would have won whereas the spread bettors lost. 

Remember though without the spread or handicap the prices will deviate further away from just under +100 for both on the spread. This game saw the Toronto Argonauts close at -170 as favorites while the Montreal Alouettes closed at +230 as underdogs. 

Totals 

Totals are the over/under total points between the two sides: To carry on using the example above, the total was set at over/under 48.5 total points. This meant with 39 points scored in total the under bettors won their bets

How to Beat the Totals 

  • Like above when assessing the handicap, we assess the potential score from each side.
  • Amongst many other props, you can bet on such markets as first-half or first-quarter spreads. 
  • Make use of the same variables such as weather, injuries, and home-field advantage. For example, a bad weather forecast often means a low-scoring game. 

Props Player Bets 

CFL props bets are settled on occurrences during a game rather than the outcome. Here are a few examples of the prop bets offered by the books:

  • Winning margin or Double-Result (half-time/full-time).
  • First Touchdown Scorer or Anytime Touchdown Scorer. 
  • Team Props is primarily about how many points one particular team will score offering the over/under option.