CFL Betting Odds

The Canadian Football League has a history that stretches back to 1958. In the decades that have followed, fans across the nation have fallen in love with the sport and its teams, all of which have had magical moments and been home to memorable players.

The interest level may very well spike as we move forward. That’s because betting options on the sport appear poised to grow. The push for legal single-game wagering in Canada is reaching a crescendo, and it may be available in Ontario before too long.

The CFL is fun and exciting on its own, but the wagering aspect brings it to a whole new level. Legal sportsbooks offer scores of bets and odds to consider. This guide to CFL odds has you covered with what you need to know.

Latest CFL betting odds

From the opening kickoff straight through to betting on the Grey Cup, every CFL game will attract attention in betting circles. As a result, you can expect to see plenty of movement in the odds and lines as bets flow in and sportsbooks adjust in response.

You can compare the latest real time numbers from the industry’s top sportsbooks via our live odds feed. In one single spot, you can compare moneyline, spread and total odds from multiple books.

CFL opening lines

As the CFL weekly slate winds down and thoughts turn to the following week’s action, sportsbooks set their sights in the same direction. Odds for the next set of contests will come out soon after the current games wrap up. These opening lines represent the first look at the perception of the matchups through the eyes of the oddsmakers.

The opening release will reveal the first set of numbers for three main bets: moneylines, point spreads and totals. Each of the upcoming games will be available, generally with the home side on the bottom and the road team above. An average listing looks like this.

  • Montreal Alouettes         +140           +3.5 (-110)      O 58.5 (-110)
  • Toronto Argonauts          -160            -3.5 (-110)       U 58.5 (-110)

When reading odds and lines, you should first make note of the direction of the numbers: negative for favourites, positive for underdogs. On spreads and totals, there will be the benchmark line — 3.5 and 58.5 in this case — and the current odds on those choices right next to that.

Following the release, bets will begin to come in. You can expect to see some movement in the numbers in response. Sportsbooks will react to the market action. If one side sees the majority of wagers while the other brings in much less, the book will tweak the numbers in a bid to even things out. This process can continue right up until game time.

Naturally, bettors have control over when they wager and at what price. You can always shop around to compare prices, and you have the option of wagering soon after release or waiting things out to see what the market does. There are pros and cons to both approaches.

Betting on CFL opening lines

  • Pro: Make your bets on the lines before the market has a chance to react.
  • Con: As the games approach, things may happen that could impact the proceedings.

Betting in response to CFL market action

  • Pro: News and notes on the game and the matchup as a whole are available.
  • Con: The numbers can move in the opposite direction from what you had initially anticipated.

If your strategy calls for waiting to get your wagers in, then be sure to track the lines for CFL games from the time they are released. The movements can provide additional insight on market perception of the matchup, and potentially point you to things you may have missed in your research.

CFL moneylines

The moneyline wager is simple and straightforward. You simply pick which team you think will win the game. There are odds attached to both possible choices: negative for favourites and positive for underdogs.

  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats +110
  • Ottawa Redblacks -130

Ottawa is favoured slightly over Hamilton in our example. We can tell the perceived closeness of the matchup by noting the range between the two numbers. A much larger span would indicate a paper mismatch, while really close numbers point to a game that could go either way.

To place a moneyline wager, you just have to click on the odds that match your choice. Once you do that, your selection goes onto the betting slip, where you’ll have to add in your stake, give it a once over, and then click submit. You’ll receive confirmation that the bet has been accepted.

Returns on moneyline bets are based on the odds. While the bet slip will display the potential winnings, you can also make an estimate based on the numbers. For favourites, the negative number equals how much you have to bet to get back $100 ($130 at odds of -130). On the underdog side, the odds show how much you get back for a winning bet of $100 ($110 at +110).

CFL point spreads

The spread is a number the sportsbook installs that represents an estimated margin of victory. You can pick the favourite minus the listed number or the underdog plus the same number. In order to win the bet, the side you choose has to cover the spread.

  • Calgary Stampeders +2.5 (-110)
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers -2.5 (-110)

In this example, Winnipeg is a 2.5-point favourite, which means it has to win the game by three points or more to cover. A 30-24 victory works, but a 24-23 win does not. On the Calgary side, a loss of two points or fewer is good, but a loss by anything over three points means Calgary has failed to cover. The Stampeders will also cover if they pull out an upset win.

As with the moneyline, the range between the numbers indicates the how close the sportsbook thinks it will be. A spread of a field goal or less points to a tight game, while one with a number set at a touchdown or more shapes up as a potential mismatch. The spread adds intrigue to even the worst matchups due to the added wrinkle of whether a side will cover.

For most sportsbooks, odds of -110 represent the starting point for spread wagers, but the numbers will adjust in response to betting action. When you place a $100 spread bet at the standard -110 odds, the potential return is $90.90.

CFL totals

Totals betting is when you wager on the combined points that both teams will score in the game. Sportsbooks set the bar with an estimated number, and you can wager on if the actual total will be over or under that line.

  • Over 56.5 (-110)
  • Under 56.5 (-110)

The total is set at 56.5 points. For over bettors, 57 points or more is the goal. A final of 35-31 works great, but 24-21 means a lost bet. It’s the opposite for under bettors as they are hoping for 56 points or fewer.

When examining the weekly CFL slate, you can use the mid-50s as a good benchmark for breaking down the games. Those in the upper 50s or above are projected to be high-scoring, while those in the low 50s on down could be lower-scoring.

As with the spread, -110 is the starting point for odds for totals bets. Market action can have an impact, so it’s not uncommon to see things like a -112 line on the over and -108 on the under. Books will do their best to level out the action when they wind up lopsided.

Futures bets

In addition to betting on each game on the CFL schedule individually, you can also wager on the season as a whole. These types of bets are called futures. You can place your wagers on outcomes that won’t be clear until the season is over. Odds for CFL futures will come out in the offseason. Here are some popular options you might see:

  • Grey Cup winner
  • Division winners
  • Clubs to make or miss playoffs
  • Team regular season win totals
  • Award winners — Most Outstanding Player, etc.

The futures market stays active nearly all year round. After the odds come out, people will begin to place bets. As with other wagers, the numbers may shift in response to how the betting action is flowing and any news that develops. If we look at the CFL odds for the winner of the next Grey Cup, a few favourites may have odds like this:

  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats +325
  • Saskatchewan Roughriders +375
  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers +425
  • Calgary Stampeders +475
  • Toronto Argonauts +650

When looking to bet on futures, it’s always good practice to shop around and compare prices. You might find more favourable odds by doing so. While a few ticks might not seem like much, it all adds up in the long run. For example, a winning $100 bet on the Argos at +650 pays $650, but you would receive an extra $50 if you found odds of +700.

Some futures bettors like to make their call after the release of lines and hold on until the end, while others remain active in the market and bet when they see something they like. Regardless of how you approach futures betting, just keep the long-term perspective in mind, as your funds will be tied up until the end of the season.

Other types of CFL bets

Bettors have plenty of choices at their disposal. They can pick and choose the games and events they want to bet on, and also explore a range of bets for each contest. For CFL betting, there are several other popular ways to wager. Here’s another trio of wagers and how they work.

CFL prop betting

If you click on the individual CFL game listings, you’ll see the available props for that contest. There will be some that depend on the game as a whole and some based on the accomplishments of a team or individual player.

  • Who will have more receptions — Derel Walker or Darvin Adams?
  • Total combined yards for Cody Fajardo — over/under 314.5?
  • Will Jeremiah Masoli score a rushing TD — yes/no?

Props let you really focus on specific segments of the game. For the player side, those with fantasy sports experience who are new to sports betting may find relatively familiar ground.

More prop guides: Touchdown prop bets

CFL live betting

After a CFL game gets underway, you can keep on wagering at the top sportsbooks. Live betting opens the door to real-time wagers that are based on what’s happening on the field. Potential bets include updated game lines as well as the following:

  • What will be the margin at halftime — over 3/under 3/tie?
  • How many rushing yards for the Argonauts in the second half — over/under 59.5?
  • How many first downs for the Roughriders on this drive — over/under 2.5?

This is a market that moves really fast and updates throughout the game. Sportsbook apps do a great job of laying everything out in crystal clear fashion, so you can jump right in whenever a wager you like comes up.

CFL parlays

If you’ve played Pro-Line games, then parlays will be right up your alley. You can include multiple choices on the same betting slip, but you have to be correct on all of them to win. For example, you could make a parlay of CFL moneyline picks.

  • Toronto Argonauts -136 over Ottawa Redblacks
  • BC Lions +152 over Edmonton Football Team
  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats -180 over Montreal Alouettes
  • Total parlay odds of +575

If you’re right on all of the above, you’re in line for a nice score — a $20 bet returns $114.97. However, the chances of winning decrease with each selection that you add to the slip. You lose the bet if you get just a single pick wrong.

CFL Pro-Line odds vs. online sportsbooks

The Pro-Line games from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. have been around since the early 1990s. Ontarians who have wanted to bet on the CFL have had them as an option, but the offerings are very limited in comparison to what you’ll find at a legal sportsbook. At the latter, you can choose what you want to bet on and compare the odds at multiple books.

Meanwhile, Pro-Line players are limited to the games that the service offers. There are odds attached and even games that have spreads and props to consider, but the differences are really night and day. While you might find Pro-Line odds that are in line with the overall Ontario sports betting market, you can’t wager on them individually.

Instead, all of the games revolve around parlays. You have to make multiple picks from the choices that a card offers. To win your bet, you have to be right on all of your picks. It’s certainly possible to win, but not exactly something that you can build up consistency with. For choices and clarity of odds, sportsbooks win over Pro-Line pretty easily.

Sportsbook house rules for CFL betting

All legal sportsbooks have rules in place for wagering on the CFL or any other sport. Many are of the standard and common-sense variety that explain how wagers are placed and settled, while others dive into circumstances that could impact your bets. For CFL betting, here are some of the key points that you need to know.

  • Sportsbooks consider all pregame bets to be action once the game gets underway. They’ll remain live in the event of a slight delay, but a complete cancellation will lead to the sportsbook voiding and refunding all bets.
  • Settlement of wagers depends on official league data and statistics. Winning bets use the odds at the time you placed your bet.
  • In the event of a full-season cancellation, the sportsbook would void and refund all futures bets.
  • Player prop bets will be taken off the board for players who are ruled out prior to the game. Rules may vary on players who fail to see game action, so consult the house rules for specifics.

On that last note, while there’s a lot of uniformity across the industry on how sportsbooks handle things, there could also be some anomalies in how one book treats a situation compared to its peers. To avoid confusion and unnecessary headaches, be sure to take the time to review the CFL house rules wherever you play.