Fans of Canadian football will be rewarded for their patience when the CFL kicks off its 2021 season on August 5, as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a rematch of the 2019 Grey Cup. The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 CFL campaign and placed the future of the league in doubt. Despite the long layoff, the league looks poised to pick up right where they left off.
The Blue Bombers return to action as defending Grey Cup champions after knocking off Hamilton with a stunning 33-12 win back in November 2019. However, it is the Tiger-Cats who look to the new season perched as favourites atop the CFL futures. The Tiger-Cats emerged as the class of the CFL during the 2019 season while going 15-3. However, the Tabbies are likely to face stiff challenges from East Division rivals Toronto and Montreal, as well as the Saskatchewan Roughriders, who will be aiming to atone for their speedy exit from 2019 CFL playoffs.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at what is in store for the 2021 CFL season as the countdown to opening night continues. Sports bettors looking to get in on CFL action for the first time can in-depth CFL betting guide and reviews to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their CFL betting experience.
|Odds to Win 2021 Grey Cup|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers||6.50||6.25||6.50|
Bombers Need Help in their Bid to Repeat
A late-season swoon threatened to spoil what was otherwise a steady campaign for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in 2019. The squad opened the season on a torrid 5-0-0 run and looked poised to run away with first place in the West Division standings before enduring a dismal stretch run, posting losses in four of their final six regular-season contests. The highest-scoring team in the league during the regular season, the Bombers subsequently leveraged a stingy defence during an unlikely playoff run, allowing just 39 total points during a three-game march to their first Grey Cup victory since 1990.
— Last Word On CFL (@LastWordOnCFL) December 5, 2019
However, Winnipeg faces a huge task in its bid to win consecutive Grey Cup titles for the first time since 1962. That is reflected in their lengthy odds to win the 2021 Grey Cup at Betway (6.50), where a $20 bet returns $130. Of particular concern is uncertainty over who will be under centre for this season’s edition of the Bombers. Winnipeg piled up a league-best 508 points in 2019 despite ranking in the middle of the pack in passing while splitting time between pivots Matt Nichols and Chris Streveler.
This time around, the Blue Bombers are expected to hand the ball to veteran Zach Collaros. The 32-year-old saw action in just three regular-season games in 2019, and while he took the vast majority of snaps during the team’s 2019 playoff run, his stats were far from overwhelming, tossing just two total TD passes while averaging just 180 yards per game.
Mitchell’s Return Bolsters Stampeders’ Chances
That opens the door for challenges from both Saskatchewan and Calgary, who both finished ahead of Winnipeg in the 2019 standings, and hold a narrow edge on the Grey Cup odds. After overcoming a shaky start to the season, the Roughriders quickly climbed to the top of the West Division standings, where they went on to finish the year with a 13-5-0 record.
— CFL (@CFL) November 3, 2019
Now sporting the shortest odds of any West Division team, the Roughriders are attracting considerable interest in Grey Cup betting at Betway (6.00), with a $20 bet paying out $120. A defensive force down the stretch of the 2019 CFL season, the Stampeders have pegged as early Grey Cup favourites a year ago before the 2020 season was cancelled, and are now hoping to benefit from Bo Levi Mitchell’s return to health.
I caught up with @calstampeders QB Bo Levi Mitchell. After missing 7 games last year with a shoulder injury & undergoing off season surgery, he won’t begin throwing until April & talks about the challenges he’s faced on his road to recovery: @CFLonTSN https://t.co/vldnojWSnd pic.twitter.com/oR1nyrjUC6
— Farhan Lalji (@FarhanLaljiTSN) March 27, 2020
The two-time CFL Most Outstanding Player was limited by injury to just 11 regular-season games in 2019 and never regained his award-winning form in the postseason, tossing three picks in a shocking 35-14 loss to Winnipeg in the West Division semi-final. However, if Mitchell is able to regain his touch, it is tough to ignore the high-value odds of Calgary claiming its third Grey Cup title since 2014, with a $20 bet at 10bet (6.50) returning a tidy $130.
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Tiger-Cats High-Value Favourites
Of course, as the Blue Bombers discovered two years ago, all roads to the Grey Cup lead through Hamilton. Once again expected to be the top team in the CFL this time around, the Ti-Cats sit perched as clear favourites to raise the Grey Cup for the first time since 1999, and with good reason.
“Brandon Banks went from ‘return guy’ to polished receiver. He’s got this ability to get in and out of breaks, create separation.”@mcauz56 had some high praise for MOP @speedybanks87 in our latest episode of the @Ticats Season Preview Podcast!https://t.co/PQ2ijz6Sny pic.twitter.com/ukhfaGsZAC
— Louie B (@LouieB_TV) July 8, 2021
The Tiger-Cats sat at or near the top of the league stats in passing and rushing yards and were simply spectacular on home turf while surrendering just over 20 points per game. Having the reigning CFL MOP Brandon Banks back for another year, along with a healthy Sean Thomas-Erlington in the backfield, while Jeremiah Masoli and Dane Evans battle it out for the starting QB job virtually assures that Hamilton will once again run up the score with regularity.
There are wide variations in the odds available on the Tiger-Cats to return to glory. A $20 bet at Sports Interaction (3.98) returns just $79.59. Sports bettors can still find better prices elsewhere, particularly at 10bet (4.50). However, with the start of the season just three weeks away, the time to get in on the Ti-Cats is right now.