With everyone in the sports world focused on the NBA Finals, NHL Playoffs, and the drama in the golf world right now, people are forgetting that the CFL season starts on Thursday night!
If you aren't familiar with the Canadian Football League, let me introduce it to you;
Each team has 12 players on the field at a time, end zones are 20 yards deep, fields are 110 yards long and 65 yards wide, slot receivers can get a running start, only three downs encourage more big plays. It's ELECTRIC.
The league has also been around a lot longer than you might think, with last year's Grey Cup being the 108th edition.
In celebration of the new season, let's dive into consensus odds to win this year's Grey Cup, as well as a quick breakdown of each team.
Odds to Win 2022 Grey Cup
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers +250
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats +500
- Saskatchewan Roughriders +550
- Toronto Argonauts +550
- Calgary Stampeders +600
- Montreal Alouettes +900
- Ottawa Redblacks +1200
- British Columbia Lions +1400
- Edmonton Elks +1600
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +250
The Blue Bombers are the back-to-back Grey Cup champions, and are the rightful favorites heading into this season. Their 2021 championship team was characterized by their stifling defense, allowing just 6.4 yards per play. The biggest question mark for the team this year is if they'll be able to find effective replacements for running back Andrew Harris, and offensive lineman Drew Desjarlais, who now plays for the New England Patriots.
They'll be vying for the first Grey Cup three-peat since Warren Moon led the Edmonton Eskimos (now the Elks), to five-straight championships from 1978-1983.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats +500
The Tiger-Cats are the defending champions of the Eastern Conference, and also the back-to-back Grey Cup runner-ups. They'll be looking to finally get over the hump, and win their first championship since 1999.
They've kept their roster largely intact from last season, but added defensive lineman Micah Johnson, who will be a force to be reckoned with on their defense.
Saskatchewan Roughriders +550
No province loves their Canadian football quite like Saskatchewan. They finished 9-5 last season, and this year's success will fall on the shoulders of quarterback Cody Fajardo, who had a down year in 2021. Their offensive line will also need to take a step forward this year, as they allowed the second-most sacks in the CFL in 2021.
Toronto Argonauts +550
As a self-proclaimed Argonauts fans, I'm excited to see what they can do this season. They finished with the best regular season record in the Eastern Conference, but their offense left a lot to be desired. To help fix their offensive woes, they signed All-Star running back, Walt Harris, from the defending champion Blue Bombers.
Not only does he give them a big-time offensive threat, but because he holds Canadian citizen ship, it will help Toronto with their ratio will free up a spot for another American on their roster.
Calgary Stampeders +600
The Calgary Stampeders were overshadowed by the Blue Bombers in the Western Conference, and even underperformed compared to how they ranked in offensive and defensive stats. If there's one team that I think can break out this year, it's the Stamps.
Quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell will be returning from injury, and they've added some key defensive pieces, such as linebacker Cameron Judge. Calgary is my official pick to win the Grey Cup at +600.
Montreal Alouettes +900
The Montreal Alouettes might be taking a step back in 2022. They lost several players to free agency, especially on defense, and didn't make enough signings to make up for them. Their offense will have to be amongst the best in the league if they hope to compete this season.
Ottawa Redblacks +1200
The Ottawa Redblacks made significant changes to their roster this offseason, so it's anyone's guess how they'll perform on the field this season. Jeremiah Masoli is the team's new quarterback, coming to Ottawa from the Hamilton Tiger-Cats.
The position that will need to improve the most is the offensive line, as they gave up 13 more sacks than the next worst team last season. They signed four new players to help out in that area, and if they can, the Redblacks could be a sneaky dark horse in the East.
British Columbia Lions +1400
Quarterback Michael Reilly announced his retirement in the offseason, so now the Lions will need to move on and fill his shoes. Young pivot Nathan Rourke will likely take over the starting role.
If the Lions want to have success, they'll need more production from a defensive line that ranked last in sacks in the 2021 season. Free agent signings of Woody Baron and David Menard will hopefully help in that area, but they have a big hill to climb to catch the top dogs in the West.
Edmonton Elks +1600
After the Edmonton Elks went 3-11 last season, the organization decided to make significant changes to the front office, in hopes of turning things around. With a new rebuild starting for the team, you shouldn't expect much from them this season.
You can track Iain's bets on Betstamp here.