Football bettors don't have to wait until college ball rolls around, or the NFL kicks off its campaign, because the 2013 Canadian Football League campaign is just around the corner; Montreal and Winnipeg get things started with a Week 1 CFL bout Thursday, June 27.
Who might take home the Grey Cup this season? Here's a quick look at some of the leading options, with futures odds courtesy of Bovada online sportsbook.
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The BC Lions won the Grey Cup two years ago and led the league with 13 victories last season, before getting upset by Calgary in the West Division Final. This year BC comes back with QB Travis Lulay, the former Montana State Bobcat who's thrown 59 touchdowns passes over the last two seasons against 21 interceptions, and a defense that led the league last year by holding foes to 295 yards per game and just under 20 points per game.
As of earlier this week, Bovada was listing the Lions as the favorites to win the Grey Cup this season at odds of 7/2 and as +125 chalk to win the West.
Those Stampeders are the second choice on Bovada's Grey Cup betting board at 4/1. Calgary used its 30 PPG last year, which ranked second in the league, to go 12-6 then upset BC in the playoffs before losing the Grey Cup championship game to Toronto. This year the Stampeders will probably rack up yardage and points in a similar fashion to last year, and they should be good on defense, too, after ranking third in points allowed at 24 per game and fourth in yardage at 354 YPG.
Calgary started 3-4 last year before winning 11 of its last 14 games. If the Stampeders can get off to a little better start, they should find themselves right in the running again.
The Stampeders are also getting +200 to win the West this season.
Movin' on in Montreal
The Alouettes won three of their last four games last year to win the East Division, then they lost their playoff opener to eventual Grey Cup champion Toronto. Montreal lived dangerously last year, because while it finished four games above .500, it also got outscored on the season by 11 points, winning five games by six points or less.
The Als return this season with QB Anthony Cavillo back at QB, but they also now move on without head coach Marc Trestman, who got hired away by the Chicago Bears.
Nonetheless, Montreal is the third choice to win the Grey Cup this season at Bovada at a price of 9/2, and is being offered at +165 to win the East, again.
Toronto went just 9-9 during the regular season last year, ranking sixth in scoring at 25 PPG, fourth in yardage, sixth in points allowed at 27 PPG and fifth in total defense. But something clicked in the playoffs, as the Argonauts beat Edmonton, Montreal and Calgary in succession, the last two as pointspread underdogs, to secure their first Grey Cup title since 2004.
This year, though, Toronto returns much of the same team that went just .500 last season, and pulling another postseason miracle would be asking a lot.
Even so, the Argonauts are the fourth pick on Bovada's Grey Cup board at 11/2, and they're also getting +165 to win the East.
The Rest of the Field
Saskatchewan, which went only 8-10 last year but owned the second-best defense in the league, is getting 13/2 to win the Cup; Hamilton, which has added former Louisville QB Brian Brohm but still owns one of the worst defenses in the league, is lined at 7/1; Edmonton, with the seventh-ranked offense and eighth-ranked defense, is getting 9/1; and Winnipeg, which ranked last in many important offensive categories last year but won four of its last seven games, brings up the rear on Bovada's Grey Cup betting board at 10/1.
2013 Grey Cup Predictions
BC is the favorite to with Cup this season, and deservedly so. And for a favorite, odds of 7/2 aren’t bad.
As far as one of the longer shots goes, the Roughriders led the league in time of possession last year, and they probably think they've got something to prove after losing their last five games. So we'll go with Saskatchewan getting 13/2.
The 101st Grey Cup championship game will be played Nov. 24 at Mosaic Stadium in Regina.
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