|Sun Nov 19, 2023
Did you know that the most popular form of football was first played in Canada? The Canadian Football League (officially founded in 1958) isn’t one of the longest-running pro football circuits in North America,but its roots do stretch back to 1907, and many of the rules familiar to today’s NFL viewers were introduced by Montreal’s McGill University when they played Harvard in 1874.
The Canadian game of football shouldn’t be too alien to American fans. Betting action on the nine Canadian Football League teams stretching from British Columbia to Quebec is often busier than it is for NBA, MLB and NHL games. Here’s how you can get in on all the action the CFL football season has to offer.
There are many ways to bet on the CFL brand of professional football. Here are a few things to watch for when you’re browsing the lines at your chosen online sportsbook:
Also known as American odds, this is the standard format on both sides of the border for quoting odds across all professional sports. The favorite is shown with a negative sign (like Montreal –250 shows they are the moneyline favorite), and the underdog with a positive sign (like Toronto +210).
Used more commonly in Europe for their version of football, decimal odds sometimes pop up in Canadian sports betting; the equivalent decimal odds for the Vegas odds in our previous example would be Montreal 1.4 and Toronto 3.1.
The first CFL odds to hit the online betting board will usually be the point spread, moneyline bet and game totals. Other betting opportunities will come later during the week, including our next category:
In Canadian sports betting, as in the States, you can wager on the results of just the second half; these lines will be posted by half-time, and will close once the second half kicks off.
Playoff football in the CFL is all about one thing: the Grey Cup. This is the second-most important trophy in Canada behind only the Stanley Cup; six of the nine CFL teams will qualify once the regular season ends, and there are four more football games to be played before the Grey Cup final, each with playoff odds attached just like the NFL.
The aforementioned spread, moneyline and total take up most of the CFL sports betting market, but there are many other wagers you can make beyond standard single-game sports betting. Your betting options include alternate lines, game prop bets (e.g. Margin of Victory), player props, team props – you can even place a futures bet on who will win the next Grey Cup.
Whether you live north or south of the 49th Parallel, Canadian sports betting looks and cooks just like its American cousin. Simply visit your chosen online sportsbook, select a tasty wager or two from the CFL odds list, and submit your bet slip.
The three-down rule is the most familiar of the differences in rules between the CFL and the NFL. There are also 12 players per side instead of 11, and rosters are only allowed a limited number of American players, which ensures employment for Canadian players.
There are nine Canadian Football League teams as of 2023: Four in the East Division, and five in the West.
ESPN has streaming coverage of all games for CFL fans in the United States, with occasional games aired on ESPN2 and ESPNews.
Unlike American football, a typical CFL regular season runs from June through October, with the Grey Cup in late November.
Major sportsbooks usually release their CFL game lines early in the week before kick-off; futures odds for who will win the next Grey Cup should be available at your chosen online sportsbook shortly after a new champion is crowned.