CFL Grey Cup Futures Odds and Season Preview
by Dave Schwab - 6/6/2011
The start of the 2011 NFL season is still up in the air due to the ongoing labor dispute between the league owners and its players, but our neighbors to the north in the CFL are busy gearing up for another season that kicks off on Wednesday, June 15, with the first preseason game off the year. Bodog has released the futures odds for each team’s chances to hoist this year’s Grey Cup as the league champion.
The Calgary Stampeders have been given the slight nod as this season’s favorite at 11/4. Calgary finished the 2010 season in first-place in the West Division with a record of 13-5. They lost to Saskatchewan in the CFL Playoff Finals, 20-16, just missing out a chance to return to the Grey Cup for the first time since 2008 when they beat Montreal, 22-14, to win the title. The Stampeders will be led by quarterback Henry Burris, who threw for close to 5,000 yards last season.
The second favorite at 3/1 are the two-time champion Montreal Alouettes, who will look to become the first team to win three consecutive Grey Cups since Edmonton won five straight from 1978 to 1982. Much of their chance to three-peat will revolve around the play of perennial All-Star quarterback Anthony Calvillo. The 38-year old signal caller needs just 4,221 passing yards to break the all-time record of 72,381 yards held by Damon Allen, who played 23 seasons in the CFL.
The team on the losing end of the last two Grey Cups, the Saskatchewan Roughriders, is the third favorite to win it all this year at 11/2. The Roughriders finished second in the West at 10-8, but advanced to the championship game with victories over British Columbia and Calgary in the playoffs. Their efforts to bring home the Cup fell short in a 21-18 loss to Montreal. Their quarterback, Darian Durant, led the CFL in passing last season with 5,542 total yards.
The fourth favorite to win the Grey Cup are the BC Lions at 6/1. The Lions finished third in the West in 2010 at 8-10 and had to win their final three games of the regular season just to make the playoffs, but are primed to make a run at the big guns in the division this season. The addition of free agent offensive lineman Ben Archibald should go a long way at providing better protection QB Travis Lulay.
The Edmonton Eskimos and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have both been opened at 7/1 to win this year’s title. The Eskimos are coming off a disappointing 7-11 record that kept them out of the playoffs after back-to-back appearances in 2008 and 2009.The team underwent a complete makeover this offseason by bringing in new Head Coach Kavis Reed and releasing 25 players from last year’s roster.
The Tiger-Cats finished the 2010 season at 9-9 to earn a playoff berth, but were beaten by Toronto 16-13 in the semifinals. They will look to QB Kevin Glenn, who was second in the league in passing with 5,102 yards and RB DeAndra’ Cobb, who rushed for 1,173 yards.
The Toronto Argonauts were able to turn things around last season with a 9-9 record after winning just three games in 2009. They are looking to build on last year’s success that included the playoff victory over the T-Cats. QB Cleo Lemon could be pushed for the starting nod after the Argos acquired Steve Jyles from Winnipeg back in March. Toronto has been opened at 8/1 to win the Grey Cup.
The final team on the list are the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at 10/1. The Bombers went 4-14 last season and finished the year by losing seven of their last eight games. They will look to running back Fred Reid, who led the CFL with 1,396 rushing yards last season and slotback Terrence Edwards, who was second in receiving yards with 1,372 yards to help turn things around in 2011.
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