While the NFL has more than its share of fans across the nation, it’s also the Canadian Football League that stokes the passions here at home. The league’s nine teams all have massive fanbases, and each game captures plenty of interest.
There’s a good chance that the amount of attention the CFL receives will only increase as we move forward. Legal single-game wagering is close to being a reality in Canada, with Ontario being one of the likely provinces to get first crack at it.
Top industry names like DraftKings and FanDuel could bring their online sportsbooks to the Great White North as a result. While bettors have had the Pro-Line parlay games to lean on for years, single-game betting will change the landscape. Here’s what you need to know.
How to bet on the CFL online in Ontario
The current CFL betting option is Pro-Line, which features parlay games from Ontario Lottery and Gaming. To play, you have to make multiple choices and be correct on all of them to have a chance to win. At sportsbooks, there will be many more options to explore, just like you’d find in the US. You can get started at a sportsbook by doing the following:
- To create an account, click one of the sportsbook links on this site to head to the sportsbook’s website and begin registering.
- Follow the prompts and enter the necessary info, such as name, date of birth, etc. Verify that everything is correct and complete the process.
- After you’ve looked around for a bit, download the app directly from the sportsbook website if you haven’t already.
- Make your first deposit or claim any free bets.
- Review the latest CFL odds and get ready to bet.
You can take care of the entire registration process from your computer or mobile device. It takes minutes to get set up, and the end result will be a sportsbook that you can access at any time. You’ll be able to complete all functions right on the website or app, including funding and managing your account, or just shopping for lines and placing bets.
Be sure that the places you sign up to play with are completely legit. Our recommended operators pass that test, but we can’t say the same about offshore operators. These are sportsbooks that operate outside of legal jurisdictions. There are no protections in place for consumers at offshore books, including for your funds. If you’re ever unsure about a sportsbook, check the contact and home office information. When you find one that’s located in some far-off land that’s outside of local law, move along and take your business elsewhere.
Best CFL betting apps 2021
One of the great things about the growth of legal sports betting in Ontario is that there are lots of options for bettors to consider. There are some absolutely fantastic sportsbook apps available. We’re talking super slick and easy-to-use platforms with all the options you need packed inside.
Three of the apps at the top of the list are DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM. You can take care of all of your CFL betting needs at any of these. They have competitive odds and lines for each game on the schedule, as well as plenty of bets to consider. While there’s a strong case to be made for all three, they each have their own distinct strengths.
- DraftKings app: Highly regarded platform with a great approach to live betting.
- FanDuel app: User-friendly; popular same-game parlay feature.
- BetMGM app: Regular array of promos and clean listing of bet options for each game.
You don’t have to pick one right away. Instead, it may make sense to give all three a test drive. For more details, we also have detailed reviews of each option.
CFL sportsbooks vs. Pro-Line
The Pro-Line games from OLG first made their debut in 1992. Originally a retail-only product, it has since expanded online. There are a few ways to play, but all options share one big point in common: Games are parlay-based. That means that you have to make multiple choices from the listed selections. In order to win, you have to be right on all of your picks.
The basic format is a card of games, and you simply have to pick the winners. Through the years, options have expanded to include prop and spread elements. In all cases, the parlay concept is front and centre. While it’s possible to get lucky and win, it’s also incredibly challenging to consistently be right on all selections.
If you want to bet on the CFL, Pro-Line games are viable options for Ontario bettors, but sportsbooks will open the doors to even more possibilities. As opposed to just being restricted to parlays, you will have more control over what you can wager on.
- You can bet on individual games, anytime touchdown scorer, and much more.
- Bet at amounts you are comfortable with as opposed to being restricted to OLG limits.
- Clear-cut odds for each bet that you can also shop around and compare.
While single-game wagering will provide CFL bettors with much more in terms of flexibility, there are also downsides to be aware of. Here are some to watch for:
- Odds and lines on popular CFL games will move from release up until kickoff.
- Sportsbook oddsmakers are very good at what they do and tough to beat consistently.
- The menu of betting options for CFL games runs really deep.
If you like betting on parlays, that option is available at sportsbooks, and it’ll also make for a good transition point for experienced Pro-Line bettors. For those starting from scratch, the sheer number of options at sportsbooks makes the decision a no-brainer. Let’s take a closer look at the top ways to bet that you’ll have available to you.
Basics of CFL betting for beginners
When betting at a sportsbook, you’re not restricted to the listed options as you are at Pro-Line. Instead, you can explore each game on the CFL schedule individually and consider a range of bets for each. The main game line features the odds for a trifecta of bets. Here’s how they work:
Point spread, moneyline and over/under
The main listing for CFL games at online sportsbooks will feature the odds for point spreads, moneylines and totals. Odds generally come out soon after the current week’s games are in the books.
- Ottawa Redblacks +3.5 (-110) +155 O 56.5 (-110)
- Toronto Argonauts -3.5 (-110) -175 U 56.5 (-110)
On the spread and moneyline, it’s negative numbers for favorites and positive for underdogs. For the spread and totals, you’ll see the sportsbook’s line and the actual odds for placing the bet. Here’s what to remember about the big three bets, using the odds above as an example.
|Bet||How it works||Example|
|Moneyline||Pick the side you think will win the game.||Argos win 31-27. Moneyline bettors on that side win.|
|Point spread||Take the favorite minus the point spread number or the underdog plus the same number.||A four-point win for the Argos means they’ve covered.|
|Totals||Choose over or under on the estimated total points in the game.||A total of 58 points means that over bettors win.|
CFL props and futures
The three main pregame bets will bring in plenty of action for sportsbooks, but those aren’t the only choices when betting on the CFL. Props and futures are two additional options that are also popular. Each game will have a range of props for your consideration, while futures let you wager on the season as a whole.
If you click on the individual game listings, you’ll find the available props for that contest. A prop bet is basically like a side bet on things that might happen by the conclusion of the game. Many will be on the game as a whole or what the teams will do, while others will be based on the accomplishments of individual players.
- How many total passing yards for Matt Nichols — over/under 309.5?
- Which back will have more rushing yards — Karlos Williams or Bishop Sankey?
- Will Derel Walker score a touchdown — yes/no?
For two-sided props such as in these examples, there will be odds for both possible choices. You’ll also see props that have a range of selections, all of which will have odds, such as players to score multiple TDs in the game.
A futures bet requires much more of a long-range perspective. These are wagers on season-long outcomes. Sportsbooks won’t settle bets until then, so keep that in mind as you won’t be able to access any funds you’ve wagered until then. Odds will come out in the offseason and remain active from there. Here are some of the top CFL futures markets:
- Grey Cup winner
- Division winners
- Teams to make or miss playoffs
- Win totals for each team
- Player award winners — Most Outstanding Player, etc.
The most popular futures bet revolves around the odds on the Grey Cup winner. The odds board will remain active nearly all year, and it’ll shift in response to betting action and team performance. At the top of the board, odds for a few favourites might look like this.
- Hamilton Tiger-Cats +300
- Saskatchewan Roughriders +400
- Winnipeg Blue Bombers +450
Let’s say that you’ve considered the odds and feel that it’s Saskatchewan’s year to win it all. If you place a $100 bet at odds of +400 and the Roughriders go on to win, you’ll be looking at a profit of $400 once the result is final.
Guide to live in-play CFL betting
After the games get underway, there’s a whole new style of betting to consider. In game betting, also known as live betting, lets you wager in real time as the action plays out on the field. Offerings will vary, but you’ll see things like:
- Will the Argonauts make a first down on this drive — yes/no?
- Which side will have more passing yards in the second half — Alouettes or Lions?
- How many receptions for Darvin Adams before halftime — over/under 5.5?
There will also be updated odds and lines for the main pregame bets. As an example, let’s say that the Argonauts are a -140 moneyline favourite over the Redblacks. After the first quarter is in the books, Ottawa surprises with a 14-3 lead. The odds may adjust to where Toronto is now a +140 underdog on the moneyline.
If you went into the game expecting the Argos to win, you could double down on your call, or you could hedge and place a bet on the Redblacks to mitigate some damage. Live betting opens up even more possibilities as CFL games play out. It’s a fun and exciting way to wager, but remember to keep to your budget and always bet at your personal comfort level.
CFL teams to bet on
At the league’s inception in 1958, there were nine teams that made up the CFL. It’s the same story today, but there have been lots of changes in between. The league has made attempts at expanding into the US, and also seen clubs join or fold. There has been continued talk about future growth, but the league remains at nine teams. Here are some details on each franchise.
- Founded: 1954
- Home stadium: BC Place in Vancouver, BC
- Grey Cups: Six, last in 2011
- Playoff appearances: 40, last in 2018
- Retired numbers: 10
- CFL hall of famers: 40
- Team wall of fame: 73
- Founded: 1945
- Home stadium: McMahon Stadium in Calgary, AB
- Grey Cups: Eight, last in 2018
- Playoff appearances: 45, last in 2019
- Retired numbers: Seven
- CFL hall of famers: 21
- Team wall of fame: 49
Edmonton Football Team
- Founded: 1949
- Home stadium: Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, AB
- Grey Cups: 14, last in 2015
- Playoff appearances: 51, last in 2019
- CFL hall of famers: 51
- Team wall of fame: 31
- Founded: 1950
- Home stadium: Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, ON
- Grey Cups: Eight, last in 1999
- Playoff appearances: 47, last in 2019
- Retired numbers: Two
- CFL hall of famers: 35
- Founded: 1946
- Home stadium: Percival Molson Memorial Stadium in Montreal, QC
- Grey Cups: Seven, last in 2010
- Playoff appearances: 41, last in 2019
- Retired numbers: 11
- CFL hall of famers: 17
- Founded: 2010
- Home stadium: TD Place Stadium in Ottawa, ON
- Grey Cups: One, 2016
- Playoff appearances: Four, last in 2019
- Retired numbers: 10
- CFL hall of famers: One
- Team wall of fame: Two
- Founded: 1910
- Home stadium: Mosaic Stadium in Regina, SK
- Grey Cups: Four, last in 2013
- Playoff appearances: 38, last in 2019
- Retired numbers: Eight
- CFL hall of famers: 38
- Founded: 1873
- Home stadium: BMO Field in Toronto, ON
- Grey Cups: 17, last in 2017
- Playoff appearances: 34, last in 2017
- Retired numbers: Four
- CFL hall of famers: 57
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
- Founded: 1930
- Home stadium: IG Field in Winnipeg, MB
- Grey Cups: 11, last in 2019
- Playoff appearances: 42, last in 2019
- Retired numbers: Six
- CFL hall of famers: 40
Betting on the CFL playoffs and Grey Cup
The typical CFL season spans 21 weeks. Each of the nine teams, which are split into the East and West Division, will play 18 games. Teams receive two points for a victory, one for a tie and none for a loss. At the conclusion of the season, the top points getter in each division gains an automatic berth into the playoffs.
The second- and third-place teams in the divisions open the postseason with semifinal matchups. The exception to this is if a team from the opposite division has a better record than the third-place finisher, at which time the crossover rule is goes into effect.
The winners of the semifinal games advance to play the top seeds to determine division champions. The two champs then go on to compete for the Grey Cup, which traces its roots back to 1909. It’s the second-oldest trophy still currently awarded in North American professional sports, behind the Stanley Cup.
While CFL regular season games attract plenty of betting action, interest naturally rises when the stakes are the highest. Throughout the postseason, you’ll be able to bet in all of the standard ways, and you may even find special promotions at sportsbooks that tie into the playoffs and Grey Cup final. Here’s a look at the records for the currently active teams in the title tilt.
|Team||Record||Last Win||Last Appearance|
|Edmonton Football Team||14-9||2015||2015|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||11-14||2019||2019|
Best CFL bets for beginners
There are big differences between being a fan of the CFL and actually betting on it. While any knowledge you bring to the table will certainly help, there’s a learning curve to overcome with the different bets, odds and other facets. The good news is that you can overcome it pretty quickly if you’re willing to put in the effort.
When starting out, there’s no need to try to tackle everything all at once. As opposed to doing that and overwhelming yourself, keep it simple and learn the basics. When your skill level increases, you can expand your reach and begin the process again with other bets you’re interested in. Here are some solid areas of focus for beginning CFL bettors.
1. Home favourites with reasonable odds
No, the home team doesn’t always win, but the stronger teams in the league get to where they are by consistently performing well. Unfortunately, when they’re at home and matched up with a lesser foe, the moneyline odds aren’t always very appealing. However, you can scout out the odds board and look for the best lines.
When you’re examining the weekly slate, make note of home favourites that have odds of -200 or better. From there, pick out the game that you feel most comfortable with. The returns won’t always be fantastic, but this is a way to rack up a good winning percentage while building up your bankroll.
2. Find the shootout on the weekly slate
CFL games can quickly devolve into shootouts in which the scoreboard lights up like a holiday tree. It doesn’t happen all of the time, but the stars can align just right when two solid offences are on opposite sides. Your goal is to try to identify the potential shootouts on the weekly slate.
For starters, look at the totals for all games. Next, cross-reference with team records on the over/under. When you have a matchup of two teams that are consistently hitting the over, you could have a winner on your hands for a high-scoring game. While it’s not a guaranteed win, the pieces are in place for an active scoreboard.
3. Scout home underdogs on the spread
In the run-up to games, teams and players will generally keep their distance from gambling-related topics. However, you can rest assured that they’re aware of the spread. In fact, it’s not out of the realm of possibility for it to serve as bulletin board material as the clubs go through the week.
Once again, scout the lines and make note of any home underdogs for the week. You should take it on a case-by-case basis, but there will be times when the home side is playing much better than the records would indicate. When you find a gem like this, it can be a great time to pounce on the home dog plus the points.
4. Player props for star players
Props let you focus on certain aspects of the game, including on what the individual players will accomplish. It’s basically a mash-up of fantasy sports and sports betting. Sportsbooks will list props for players on certain accomplishments, such as yardage gained and touchdowns scored.
You can begin by focusing on some of the CFL’s star players and see where the bar is set for them for the week. From there, examine the matchup as a whole along with their recent performance. The goal is to get a read on what they might accomplish and then place your bets if you see something you like.
It’s important to note that there are absolutely no guarantees when it comes to betting on the CFL or any other sport. No matter how much research you do, games can break in an entirely different way from what you were expecting. Balls can bounce awkwardly, officials can make bad calls and turnovers can happen at inopportune times, for example.
However, you can place yourself on the side of the more likely outcome by digging in and doing your due diligence. At the end of the day, the goal is to have more wins than losses and to turn a profit. By following these four simple CFL betting tips and strategies at the start, you can begin putting yourself in a position to make that happen.