The balance of power shifted during the offseason, creating an opening for a new CFL champion to rise. Last season, the Calgary Stampeders finally broke through for a Grey Cup after disappointing losses to the Argos and Redblacks in years prior. The west still looks primed to dominate the league, especially after the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and B.C. Lions landed the biggest fish during the 2019 free agent rush.
CFL Grey Cup Odds 2019
After a tumultuous offseason of changes for the Stampeders and Redblacks, CFL odds
list Calgary and Ottawa as the favorites of the west and east divisions
, respectively. In 2019, the Stamps and Redblacks will deal with fierce competition – especially from the Blue Bombers, who solidified their defence at the expense of the Roughriders.
- Calgary Stampeders +400
- Ottawa Redblacks +450
- Saskatchewan Roughriders +450
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers +450
- British Columbia Lions +750
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats +900
- Edmonton Eskimos +1000
- Montreal Alouettes +1200
- Toronto Argonauts +1200
Calgary Stampeders +400
Much to the relief of pigskin fans in Calgary, Bo Levi Mitchell stayed true to his word and resigned with the Stampeders instead of accepting an NFL gig holding a clipboard as a number three pivot. This ensures that Calgary will remain in the running for a second consecutive Grey Cup, even if the rest of the lineup will look different when the 2019 CFL schedule kicks off.
Calgary’s been dominant for a half-decade out of the west, but salary cap concerns prevent the Stamps from retaining all of their championship talent, some of whom defected to enemy squads. Coach Dickenson and President Hufnagel will find a way to ensure another trip to the post season, but the gap between the Stampeders and the rest of the CFL has shrunk.
Ottawa Redblacks +450
Pivot Trevor Harris will no longer guide the Redblacks offense with a steady hand, resulting in an impending contest between Dominique Davis and Jonathan Jennings to determine the starting quarterback. RB William Powell and WR Greg Ellingson also bolted, but the vacuum at QB will be a more pressing issue for the organization.
This organization will place a premium on youth for 2019, adding uncertainty to the mix. Instead of relying on veterans with a definable ceiling, Ottawa’s leaning on the potential for breakout seasons from newcomers. Good thing the defense should remain solid as the Redblacks attempt to discover a potent mix for their attack.
Saskatchewan Roughriders +450
Despite an attempt to land a new starting quarterback to begin 2019, Saskatchewan will ride once again with Zach Collaros at the helm. The Roughriders upgraded their running back position by signing William Powell away from the Redblacks, but Saskatchewan’s season will likely be determined by whether or not Collaros regains consistency. As such, new coach Craig Dickenson will inherit the same old issues.
The Riders had the second-best record in the CFL at 12-6 last season, mostly because of a tough defensive mindset that served Saskatchewan well at home and on the road. In 2019, defense will still dictate the Roughriders destiny, but any help from their underachieving offense will go a long way, especially if they aim to take the next championship step.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +450
Perhaps the most exciting team in the CFL, Winnipeg lead the league in scoring while maintaining the second stingiest defense in Canadian football. Despite their statistical excellence, the Blue Bombers ended up finishing third in the west because of weak performances on the road. After establishing themselves as an outstanding club in 2018, Winnipeg has the potential for greatness this season.
Winnipeg’s front office pulled off one of the biggest signings over the offseason in Willie Jefferson, a two-time all-star DE who was nominated most outstanding player and defensive player for the Roughriders over the past couple of years. The Blue Bombers are primed to leap over western competitors as the best team in the division.
B.C. Lions +750
Among the best CFL picks in terms of betting value, the B.C. Lions landed star pivot Mike Reilly in the offseason with the express intent of winning their first Grey Cup since 2011. But offense wasn’t a big issue on the west coast. The Lions were swiss cheese against most opponents, giving up the most points of all western rivals.
After the retirement of Wally Buono, former defensive coordinator DeVone Claybrooks will be tasked with rebuilding B.C.’s defense into winning form. Unfortunately for the Lions, spending a large amount of cap space on their prized free agent catch will require plenty of growth from lesser paid contributors.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats +900
One of the more fortunate teams currently in the CFL, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats enjoy the benefits of playing from the weak eastern conference, which all but guarantees a playoff spot. The Hammer had fewer wins than all the teams in the west division, but secured home advantage in the first round nonetheless.
This lack of divisional competition will provide the TiCats with an opportunity to focus on developing into a Grey Cup worthy club, giving new coach Orlondo Steinauer extra time to infuse his players with the discipline needed to finish above .500 in the regular season.
Edmonton Eskimos +1000
Toiling in a ridiculously competitive western division, the Edmonton Eskimos spent most of their offseason hiring former Redblacks stars to replace lost personnel. Mike Reilly defected to B.C., so Edmonton decided to poach Trevor Harris from Ottawa, along with WR Greg Ellingson and LT SirVincent Rogers.
This implies an unfortunate downturn for the Eskimos, a team unable to sneak into the post season last year. Similar to the Lions, Edmonton needed an upgrade on defense to contend out of the west, plunging their odds for a Grey Cup significantly.
Montreal Alouettes +1200
The Alouettes lost a lot of football games last year, but they were entertaining in doing so because of the fact that they started five different QBs under centre. Now that the perpetually disappointing Johnny Manziel is no longer allowed in the CFL, Montreal can begin to rebuild properly.
In the meantime, Montreal will likely struggle to find consistency this season as they develop their stable of young picks and new talent. Part of the issue will be the fact that Antonio Pipkin isn’t the new Anthony Calvillo. If Pipkin steps up, Les Alouettes could be the best surprise of 2019.
Toronto Argonauts +1200
Will new coach Corey Chamblin import his Grey Cup winning ways from 2013 into the least inspiring team in the CFL? The Argos were a mess last season after their surprise Grey Cup victory in 2017, falling to the worst record in the CFL – including an 0-9 road record.
Nothing much went right for the Argonauts in 2018, allowing the most points in the league while struggling to score, finishing with the second most anemic attack in the CFL. Unless a couple of players bloom into superstardom on both sides of the pigskin, the Argos will likely find themselves close to the bottom again in 2019.
CFL 2019 Predcitions
- East Division Winner: Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
- West Division Winner: Calgary Stampeders
- Grey Cup Champions: Winnipeg Blue Bombers
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