Eskimos, Stampeders Expected To Pace CFL Again

The Calgary Stampeders are expected to be neck and neck with the provincial rival Edmonton Eskimos for top spot in the CFL this season. (Photo credit: IcE MaN Photography via Foter.com / CC BY)


The 2016 CFL season kicks off Thursday when the Hamilton Tiger-Cats will visit the Toronto Argonauts at their new home at BMO Field.

Other Week 1 matchups include the Alouettes at Blue Bombers on Friday, and a Saturday double-header of Redblacks at Eskimos and Stampeders at Lions.

In this article, we’ll cover the 2016 Grey Cup Odds to start the season, list each team’s 2016 CFL season win totals (with reasons why they’ll go Over or Under those totals), and give out our three favourite CFL win totals bets.

 

2016 Grey Cup Odds

Grey Cup odds

The defending champion Edmonton Eskimos are favoured to repeat as CFL champs this season at Bodog, paying +400 (4:1) on the 2016 Grey Cup odds.

Their provincial rivals, the Calgary Stampeders, are hot on their tail at +450, with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats close behind at +500.

Based on the odds, it should be a very competitive and interesting CFL season. The Montreal Alouettes are the biggest longshot to win the 2016 Grey Cup, paying just +1200.

When 12:1 odds to win a 9-team league are the biggest longshot, that suggests some serious parity!

Note: If you’re unsure how to read odds like +400 or 4:1, check out our article on how to read sports betting odds.

 

2016 CFL Season Win Totals And Team Previews

CFL season win totals betting is when the oddsmaker posts a number of victories a team will get and you can bet that they’ll win more than (Over) or less than (Under) that amount.

In case you’re wondering why a season win total is 8.5 (since it’s impossible to win half a game), that’s so that there aren’t any pushes (ties) on that bet. Either you win or you lose.

Even if you aren’t into CFL season win totals betting, these team previews should help you know what to expect from each of these clubs – especially early, when the oddsmakers don’t have a lot to go on when setting the CFL point spreads.

Odds on these 2016 CFL season win totals were as of Wednesday, June 22. For up-to-the-minute odds, visit SportsInteraction.com or Bodog.eu. Sports Interaction and Bodog are two of the best sportsbooks for CFL betting because they cater to Canadians and understand the importance of Canadian football.

British Columbia Lions Preview

gtUMUchn

2016 Season Win Total: Over 8.5 -125/Under 8.5 -111 (Sports Interaction)

Expectations aren’t that high for the Lions, when you consider a .500 season (9-9) would eclipse their projected season win total.

Why they’ll go Over 8.5 wins

  • Wally Buono is back as a coach after a 4-year hiatus from the sidelines. The last time Buono coached the Lions, they won the Grey Cup.
  • BC’s defence got better as last season went on, especially the secondary, and the team has made off-season upgrades.
  • The offensive line, which has been a weak spot for years in B.C., should be improved.

Why they’ll go Under 8.5 wins

  • The Lions have lost starting RB Andrew Harris and there seems to be no clear-cut replacement.
  • QB Jonathon Jennings has shown flashes of potential, but he threw 10 picks in 6 starts and might not be ready yet to be a full-time starter.
  • BC was just 7-11 last year and is 4-9 in its last 13 games, including the playoffs.

Edmonton Eskimos Preview

Edmonton_Eskimos_Logo.svg

2016 Season Win Total: Over 11.5 -133/Under 11.5 -105 (Sports Interaction)

Edmonton is not only the Grey Cup favourite, they’re also favoured to win the most games in the CFL this season. Their odds on winning 11.5 games are better than Calgary’s.

Why they’ll go Over 11.5 wins

  • The Eskimos enter the year on a 10-game winning streak and plenty of momentum.
  • Mike Reilly emerged last season as one of the CFL’s top quarterbacks, and he’ll throw to perhaps the best 1-2 receiving tandem in the league in Adarius Bowman and Derel Walker.
  • After posting a 14-4 record last year, winning 11 games or less would be a significant dropoff.

Why they’ll go Under 11.5 wins

  • Heavy is the head that wears the crown. Only 2 teams have repeated as Grey Cup champions in the last 33 years.
  • Edmonton may get off to a slow start as it adjusts to a new coaching staff and some key departures on defence.
  • Winning 12 or more games in the West will be tough, considering the Stampeders are also projected to win 11-plus games and the Lions and Roughriders appear to be improved.

Calgary Stampeders Preview

4656_calgary_stampeders-primary-2012

2016 Season Win Total: Over 11.5 -118/Under 11.5 -118 (Sports Interaction)

Though Edmonton won the 2015 Grey Cup, the Stampeders tied them for the best regular-season record with a 14-4 mark. There is plenty of optimism in Calgary once again this year.

Why they’ll go Over 11.5 wins

  • The Stamps haven’t won less than 12 games since 2011, and that year they won 11. Calgary is consistently one of the CFL’s top teams.
  • QB Bo Levi Mitchell might be the best player in the league, and he’s only 25 years old.
  • Calgary should be motivated by last year’s playoff loss to the hated Eskimos.

Why they’ll go Under 11.5 wins

  • The Stampeders have lost several key players on the offensive line and in their receiving crops.
  • Just like Edmonton, Calgary will likely find it more difficult to win 12 or more games in an improved West Division.
  • Just like Edmonton, the Stampeders need to adjust to a new coach. Dave Dickenson is the Calgary field general, replacing John Hufnagel.

Saskatchewan Roughriders Preview

saskatchewan-roughriders-logo-new

Season Win Total: Over 7.5 -147/Under 7.5 +105 (Sports Interaction)

There’s nowhere to go but up for the Green Riders, who are coming off a 3-15 campaign in 2015. They’re hoping some big changes during the offseason lead to a big turnaround.

Why they’ll go Over 7.5 wins

  • Coaching. Saskatchewan’s new coach, GM and VP of football operations is Chris Jones, who guided the Eskimos to the Grey Cup last year.
  • This will be an entirely different-looking team from a year ago. The Roughriders released 19 players within 8 days of Jones being hired.
  • QB Darian Durant returns this season after missing nearly all of 2015 with a ruptured Achilles. Durant won the Grey Cup in 2013 and has a winning record in his career.

Why they’ll go Under 7.5 wins

  • Durant has shown to be injury prone, suiting up for just 11 games in the last two seasons combined. If he goes down again, the Roughriders are in trouble.
  • Saskatchewan had the worst defence in the CFL last year by a mile, surrendering 31.3 points per game. A new scheme and new players will help, but that’s a lot of improving to do.
  • Jones had success with a talented roster in Edmonton, but it remains to be seen how quickly he can do a rebuild – especially now that he’s wearing a couple of front-office hats as well.

Winnipeg Blue Bombers Preview

Winnipeg_blue_bombers

Season Win Total: Over 6.5 -175/Under 6.5 +125 (Sports Interaction)

A playoff appearance is the goal this year for the Blue Bombers, who have failed to reach the post-season in four straight years.

Why they’ll go Over 6.5 wins

  • The front office is motivated. Another poor season could cost GM Kyle Walters and head coach Mike O’Shea their jobs.
  • The Bombers opened their wallets in the off-season, bringing in star RB Andrew Harris and upgrading their receiving corps and defensive line.
  • They’ve added the most accurate kicker in the CFL (Justin Medlock), which could help Winnipeg win a couple more close games.

Why they’ll go Under 6.5 wins

  • The Blue Bombers have won 7 or more games just once in their past four seasons.
  • QB Drew Willy is coming off a serious knee injury that ended his 2015 campaign.
  • There’s a lot of improving to do. Winnipeg had the worst point differential in the CFL last year, getting outscored 502-353.

Toronto Argonauts Preview

2005

Season Win Total: Over 10.5 -111/Under 10.5 -125 (Sports Interaction)

The Argos are moving from the Rogers Centre mausoleum to outdoor BMO Field this season, and they’re hosting the Grey Cup. They’d love to be in the big game.

Why they’ll go Over 10.5 wins

  • Toronto went 10-8 last year despite having QB Ricky Ray in the lineup for just 3 games. Their offence should be better with him under centre.
  • The Argos’ defence seems bound to improve under Rich Stubler, who returns to the team this year as defensive co-ordinator.
  • They’ve got a dynamic group of young receivers in Diontae Spencer, Vidal Hazelton, Kevin Elliott and Tori Gurley.

Why they’ll go Under 10.5 wins

  • Without a clear backup QB, the Argos will be in trouble if the 36-year-old Ray gets injured.
  • Toronto’s special teams will likely be weaker with the losses of kicker Swayze Waters and returner Chad Owens.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats Preview

Hamilton_Tiger-Cats_logo.svg

Season Win Total: Over 10.5 -133/Under 10.5 -105 (Sports Interaction)

The door looks wide open for the Tiger-Cats to make their third trip to the Grey Cup in four years, but they’ll have to overcome starting the season without star QB Zach Callaros.

Why they’ll go Over 10.5 wins

  • The Tiger-Cats might have the best pass rush in the league this year, especially after adding DE John Chick.
  • Hamilton started last season 9-4 before a knee injury to Callaros derailed their season.
  • Jeremiah Masoli, who will start the year as Hamilton’s QB, has looked good in pre-season action.

Why they’ll go Under 10.5 wins

  • Callaros, who was a legit candidate to win Most Outstanding Player last year, is out for at least a few weeks as he rehabs a knee injury.
  • Even when Callaros returns, how quickly will he be able to regain his form?
  • The Tiger-Cats need to adjust to a new offensive co-ordinator who is unproven at the CFL level.

Ottawa Redblacks Preview

Ottawa_RedBlacks

Season Win Total: Over 9.5 -125/Under 9.5 -111 (Sports Interaction)

Coming off their city’s first Grey Cup appearance since 1981, the Redblacks are optimistic they can make an encore trip in a wide-open East Division.

Why they’ll go Over 9.5 wins

  • QB Henry Burris, who led the CFL last year with 5,703 passing yards and was named Most Outstanding Player, is back.
  • The Redblacks have good depth at QB, with Trevor Harris (last year’s CFL leader in TD passes) ready to step in if Burris gets hurt.
  • Ottawa was 12-6 last year and plays in a mediocre East Division, so 10 wins don’t look like that much to ask.

Why they’ll go Under 9.5 wins

  • The hangover effect. How will last year’s Grey Cup loss (a game in which Ottawa led 13-0 at one point) affect the Redblacks this season?
  • Ottawa lost RBs Jeremiah Johnson (B.C.) and William Powell (injury), and several impact players on defence.
  • Burris is now 41 years old, making it hard to expect another MOP season out of the Redblacks starting pivot.

Montreal Alouettes Preview

Montreal_Alouettes_Logo.svg

Season Win Total: Over 7.5 -118/Under 7.5 -118 (Sports Interaction)

The Anthony Calvillo era is starting to become a distant memory in Montreal. The Als went 6-12 last season, their worst record since returning to Montreal in 1996.

Why they’ll go Over 7.5 wins

  • Long-time GM and Grey Cup-winning coach Jim Popp is back on the Montreal sidelines for the start of the season. He took over as head coach last year in the middle of the campaign.
  • WR Duron Carter (son of NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter) returns to the Als this year after trying out for the Indianapolis Colts. He’ll produce offensively while also opening up the field for Montreal’s other receivers.
  • Montreal can rush the passer with the best of teams, led by star DE John Bowman.

Why they’ll go Under 7.5 wins

  • The Alouettes’ biggest goal this year might be to find a long-term answer at QB. 37-year-old Kevin Glenn looks like their best option this year, but they could experiment throughout the season to find their pivot of the future.
  • There’s a big hole to fill at left tackle after the departure of Josh Bourke, who had been there since 2006.
  • There’s already dissension in the ranks on Montreal’s defence, made worse by the fact that defensive co-ordinator Noel Thorpe attempted to sign with the Eskimos during the off-season.

 

Our Favourite 3 2016 CFL Season Win Totals Bets

1. Montreal Alouettes Under 8.5 -120

We actually found a much better line on this bet at www.Bet365.com. Sports Interaction and Bodog both listed the Alouettes season win total at 7.5.

2. Edmonton Eskimos Under 11.5 +100

Bodog had the best odds on this one, with Sports Interaction not far behind. Bet365 had this line at -120 odds.

3. Saskatchewan Roughriders Over 7.5 -135

Once again, Bodog is the best sportsbook to use for this bet, though Sports Interaction is offering 7.5 -147.

Bet365 has the Roughriders season win total at 9.5 (which actually opens up a nice middle opportunity where you could bet both Over 7.5 and Under 9.5, and win both bets if the Roughies win 8 or 9 games.)