Hockey usually gets the spotlight but the truth is, one of Canada’s most proud and popular sports is Canadian football. While NFL dominates both the sports headlines and betting markets its Canadian cousin can be just as lucrative. This page is your comprehensive guide to betting on CFL.
Whether you’re a long-term fan or a new convert, everything you need to start betting on one of Canada’s most iconic sports is covered here. Check out our guide to Canadian Football Betting.
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We designed this page to be both practical and interesting. We want to make sure our readers have a total understanding of the fundamentals of CFL betting in Canada, but also give you the critical tools to make intelligent and winning bets.
Lots of the markets you might naturally associate with NFL betting are available on CFL. This means the likes of moneyline bets, spread betting and totals, and even more complicated bets like props. If you’re not familiar with all of the above, don’t worry. We’re going to explain them all in depth a little later.
There are a few important considerations before we can jump straight into betting however. The first step is to select and sign up with a secure online betting site which accepts Canadian players. We want to give you the full picture so you understand exactly how Canadian sports betting works from a legal point of view. If you need to know more about wagering requirements specifically, check out our expert guide.
The betting laws in Canada are, to put it mildly, unclear. To put it a little more strongly, they’re a mess.
Online sports betting and gambling in general has been one of the fastest growing industries in the world in the last decade or two. A huge part of this has been down to technology. Sports betting as we know it has been transformed by advances in internet technology. Super fast internet, live betting, mobile internet – all of these and more have combined to mean that today you can basically place a bet on any sport, in real time, from wherever you are in the country.
Laws in Canada simply have not been updated at the same rate. Instead, much of the legislation regarding gambling was written in a time long before any of this was possible. Each province in Canada is also entitled to set its own gambling laws, with respect to the federal laws. This just complicates things even more.
To get back to the question at the start of this section – is CFL betting legal? The answer is that the laws in Canada don’t allow for a simple answer.
What is clear is that there is nothing in Canadian law that outlaws placing a bet online. This means that Canadian players are free to sign up and gamble using safe and secure betting sites that are hosted in other countries.
Canadian laws basically don’t legislate for this, and folks in Canada have been happily gambling in this way for years with no legal challenges.
So while a bit on the murky side, the laws in Canada don’t prevent us from gambling using offshore sites. This means it’s up to us to make sure we pick the best and safest ones that are available to Canadian players.
While lots of offshore sites might allow you to sign up from Canada, you would be well advised to choose carefully. Since they are not legally registered in Canada, dodgy sites can let you sign up, deposit money and disappear, taking your cash with them. While others may not disappear, you might find they make life very difficult when it comes to withdrawing a big win.
But don’t worry. There are also tons of high quality, safe, legally registered and regulated betting sites out there which serve happy customers from all around the world.
Well, reputation is a big consideration. World-famous sites with reputations built up over many years and millions of customers are much more likely to be legit. Even if a site isn’t exactly a household name, some basic research will usually give you a good feel for how secure a site is. Online bettors are a fairly close-knit community, and if a site is dodgy it tends to spread around the internet fairly quickly.
There are literally hundreds of sports around the world, which means there are plenty of betting opportunities. For our Canadian bettors the sports betting options we look for are include betting on NHL hockey, CFL, NFL, Basketball, Boxing, Cross Country Skiing, Curling, and many more.
There are several gambling commissions in countries around the world which legally accept players from Canada. They include the likes of Gibraltar, the UK and Malta. A licence from these countries means that the betting site is being independently regulated, and your funds are protected.
When it comes to online betting, bonus offers are the icing on the cake. They offer the player a little extra something to enhance their experience. So, with that in mind when it comes to finding the best sports betting sites for Canadian bettors SuperLenny looks at the sports betting bonuses available.
Of course, if you don’t feel like doing the research yourself, you can simply use the sports betting sites that we recommend here at SuperLenny. Our betting experts know exactly what to look for, and we conduct extremely thorough reviews of every online sports betting site that is included on SuperLenny. You can rest assured that any site we recommend is safe for Canadian players.
No matter what betting site you choose, the sign-up process is usually pretty consistent and very easy.
It’s in the sports betting sites interest to keep the admin to a minimum so players can get straight to the betting – which is good for us!
Signing up is often a couple of steps and involves giving some basic personal information. You can expect to have to provide:
You’ll also need to confirm that you accept the sports betting sites terms and conditions, and confirm your age and identity. It’s also worth noting that some betting sites may require additional documentation to confirm your identity before you will be able to withdraw, often a copy of your drivers licence or passport.
Also, don’t forget that the sign-up process is often when you have the chance to claim your welcome bonus, by typing in a bonus code when prompted.
Welcome bonuses vary across online betting sites, but they can be in the form of free bets, an enhanced first deposit, risk free bets or cash back,
Picking a sports betting with a valuable welcome bonus is a big consideration when choosing where to sign up.
Check out our recommended online sports betting sites for more details, where you will always find the most up-to-date bonus codes and links.
Now that you’re all signed up, the final step before the fun stuff starts is depositing money into your account.
Just like signing up, depositing funds tend to be very straightforward. Head to the cashier section of the betting site, choose your banking method and just follow the instructions. Chances are, your money will be available to bet with within a minute or two.
The best sports betting sites have lots of different options for depositing and withdrawing funds.
Below are the most common:
You can be sure to find some or most of the above banking methods. If there is a specific way that you want to make your transactions with your sports betting site, you should check out the banking options before signing up to make sure it’s there.
The vast majority of betting sites don’t charge for depositing funds, and the money is usually available to bet with immediately.
Once you hit the jackpot betting on CFL, it’s time to withdraw.
Withdrawing funds tends to be a little more time consuming than depositing, but the best sports betting sites make it easy too. Often, you are expected to withdraw using the same method that you deposited, but you can also sometimes pick a different method.
In general, there tend to be fewer withdrawal methods. Some online betting sites charge a small fee for withdrawals, but many don’t. While depositing is instant, withdrawals often take a couple of days or more. That said, you can also find some online betting sites with instant withdrawal options.
It’s up to you to check all this out before signing up.
Alright, now the boring stuff is out of the way we can get down to the football betting!
As we mentioned, CFL betting has quite a lot in common with betting on the NFL, but there are differences too. Enough differences in fact that you should certainly not assume you implicitly understand the sport just because you have experience with betting on the NFL.
One obvious difference between the two sports which actually makes betting on CFL theoretically easier is the number of teams. While there are 32 teams in the NFL, the CFL consists of just nine teams split into two divisions.
Simply put, it’s a lot easier to analyze and keep track of nine teams than 32.
Much fewer games per week is a disadvantage in one sense, seeing as there are fewer betting opportunities, but it also focuses the mind and sharpens up predictions as your attention isn’t spread so thin.
There is already a pretty healthy array of betting markets on the CFL, but the sport is still growing in the betting world, and it’s tiny compared with the NFL.
We’re going to through all the types of bets you can expect to find on CFL.
Before that however, we’re going to take a look at how to read odds in CFL betting.
If you have experience in sports betting already none of this will be new to you, and if you are used to betting on the NFL specifically the following example lines will probably look pretty familiar.
The most common way you see odds expressed in North America is the moneyline format. If you’re betting on CFL in Canada, chances are you’ll be reading moneyline odds.
If this is new to you, we’re going to break down how to understand odds as simply as possible.
Let’s start with an example:
Saskatchewan Roughriders -300
BC Lions +240
The first thing to know about the moneyline odds format is that the favorite is always the team with the negative (-) number, or the lower number.
The team with the positive (+) or the higher number is the underdog.
A negative number refers to how much you would need to bet in order to win $100.
In this case, the Roughriders are the favorites and in order to win $100 dollars you would need to bet $300. This means your total return would be $400.
A positive number refers to how much you would win if you bet $100.
Here, the BC Lions are the underdogs and if you bet $100 you would win $240. This means your total return would be $340.
You also don’t have to bet in terms of $100. For example if you bet $20 on the Roughriders you would win $6.66. A $20 bet on the BC Lions would win $48.
Now if this is your first time reading moneyline odds it probably seems a little complicated. But there’s really nothing to be concerned about. You end up picking it up really quickly.
You don’t even really need an extremely in-depth understanding of moneyline odds anyway. Every sports betting site will show you how much you stand to win from a bet before you actually place it. You can type in different stakes and the outcome will be updated automatically.
The more experience you get with moneyline odds, along with testing out bets on the betslip, the more the whole thing will just become second nature.
There are two other formats of displaying odds that are less popular in Canada, but many sports betting sites will allow you to use instead.
In this case, the same information as we saw with the moneyline odds is expressed using a decimal number. These types of odds are much easier to intuitively understand.
Using decimal odds, the same line looks like this:
Saskatchewan Roughriders 1.33
BC Lions 3.40
To see how much your bet returns you just multiply your stake by the decimal number. Since you can never lose money from a winning bet, decimal odds will always appear as more than 1.00
As you can see, a $10 bet on the Roughriders would return $13.30.
$10 on the Lions would return $34
In the UK they tend to use fractions instead of decimals. Here is the same line, only with the decimal numbers converted into fractions instead:
Saskatchewan Roughriders 3/10
BC Lions 12/5
In every one of these example lines, the actual odds don’t change – just the way they are expressed.
You can bet on practically anything these days.
Even the most obscure sports from far flung countries tend to have one or two betting markets available somewhere, and the very top ones like NHL and NFL have hundreds if not thousands of diverse bets on offer for every single game.
CFL falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
With its similarity to NFL, CFL is naturally well suited to all the same types of bets that we are used to seeing in the NFL.
However, you won’t find the same number of markets as you would for NFL games.
In this section, we’re going to run through all the bets you can expect to make on CFL, and also speculate on what we might see in the future.
Moneyline bets are both the easiest and the most popular way to bet on CFL. To put it simply, a moneyline bet is a bet on which team will win a game.
That line we saw earlier? That’s an example of a moneyline bet.
Saskatchewan Roughriders -300
BC Lions +240
Tied games are possible in CFL, but tend to happen extremely rarely. In the event of a tie, you get your stake back. This is known as a push.
Betting on the moneyline is a sports bettor’s bread and butter. When most people think about gambling on sports, this is what comes to mind.
Moneyline bets are very beginner friendly, since all you need to do is make an educated prediction on who will win and don’t need to worry too much about anything else.
But moneyline bets also make up a huge part of the way more experienced players bet slips too. So much of betting on sports can be boiled down to predicting who is going to win a game, figuring out if the odds on offer represent good value, and placing your bet. This is moneyline betting in essence.
Point spread betting is like moneyline betting in that you are still betting on one team or the other in a single game. The difference is that this time you are betting on the margin of victory.
The online betting site sets the spread, which is essentially the predicted margin of victory or loss.
Check out this example line:
Saskatchewan Roughriders (-9.5) -110
BC Lions (+9.5) -105
In this case the spread is set at 9.5 points. It helps if you imagine the underdogs are given a head start, or the favorites have to start with a negative score.
Here, to win a bet on the Roughriders they would need to win by 10 points or more. Anything else, even a 9 point victory, would mean they don’t cover the spread and your bet loses.
On the other side, to win a bet on the BC Lions they simply have to not lose the game by 10 points or more. They could lose by 9 or 5 or 1, or even win the game and every time you would win your bet.
The point spread is sort of a way of levelling the playing field. The online betting site sets the spread at a number that they think corresponds to the disparity in quality between the two teams. For this reason, the odds on the spread are generally very close to -110.
Lots of people like betting on the spread for a few reasons. One is that it removes a large element of risk and reduces the chances of your bet being dead early. A bet on the spread very often ends up being a close-run thing.
Another is that it gives you the chance to bet on the favorites without having to accept terrible odds.
With a totals bet, the winner of the game doesn’t matter. Instead, we are only interested in how many points are scored in the game.
Totals bets are great because they allow you to still profit even if you think a match is too close to call – if you can predict whether the game will be high or low scoring.
A totals line might look like this:
Saskatchewan Roughriders vs BC Lions
Total Points (50.5)
Here, if you bet on the Over you will win provided at least 51 points are scored in the game. It could be 37-33, 25-26 or 40-14 and every time you would win.
To win a bet on the Under, you just need 50 points or fewer to be scored, whether it’s 25-25 or 3-0.
Just like point spreading betting, the sports betting site generally sets the total so that they think it’s close to a coin flip – meaning the odds on totals tend to be around -110.
A futures bet usually refers to a bet on the overall winner of a tournament, often placed before the tournament has started or in the early stages. In a more general sense, a futures bet is any bet on an outcome that is a long way off, with many different factors still in play.
IN CFL, the most popular futures bet is on the winner of the Grey Cup, and you can also bet on the winners of each of the two divisions or on things like the Grey Cup MVP.
A line for betting on the Grey Cup winner might look like this:
To win the Grey Cup:
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +300
Hamilton Tiger-Cats +500
Calgary Stampeders +800
Saskatchewan Roughriders +900
Edmonton Eskimos +2000
Since it’s generally pretty difficult to predict things so far in advance, the odds on futures tend to be good, even if you’re betting on the favorites.
Futures have a different feel to other bets, thanks to the fact that they play out over a long period of time.
They are great for giving casual fans something extra to root for over the course of a season, and more seasoned bettors also use futures when they think they’ve spotted big improvements in pre-season, or when there is a discrepancy between the quality of a team and their form early in the season.
A parlay bet is a combination bet, where you combine two or more separate bets onto a single slip. The odds are multiplied, and in order to win the overall bet each individual leg must come in. If just one part of the bet fails, you win nothing.
Since it’s harder to predict multiple outcomes, parlay bets have the potential to have very attractive odds.
CFL is actually very well suited to parlay betting.
With only two divisions and nine teams in total, CFL has a comparatively small weekly schedule of games. Only three or four games a week means it’s not unreasonable to place a parlay picking the winners of each game every week – which just wouldn’t be practical in most sports.
At the same time we don’t want to advise you to bet on everything simply because there are only a few games. Make sure your parlays are well grounded in analysis and avoid the trap of just betting for the sake of betting.
The individual legs of parlays can be any type of bet – you could pick all moneyline bets if you wanted, or combine moneylines and totals, or spread bets and totals. Just add a bet to your slip and your online sports betting site will do the rest. It’s easy to add and remove different legs to check the odds and to test out how much you would win by typing in different stakes.
Thanks to the potential for higher odds, players who prefer parlay bets can easily lose a majority of their bets and still end up big winners overall.
Prop bets are a huge part of NFL betting and they are starting to become more widely available on CFL too.
A prop or proposition bet is a bet on something which might or might not happen in a game, which could be incidental to the result.
For example, you may be able to bet on the number of yards a quarterback throws for, or which player has the best rushing stats in a game.
Sometimes prop bets can be fun, and occasionally slightly silly, side bets which are offered for the sake of novelty. But they can also be really valuable, and a great way to make the most of your analysis when you don’t want to be pick the winner of a game, or bet on a points total.
If you think the stylistic matchup of the two teams is going to lead to a certain type of scoring, or one offensive player is strong compared to the opposing defence, prop bets allow you to bet specifically on how you think this will play out in the game.
If you’re interested in making live bets, you’ll be happy to know that most sports betting sites allow you to bet on CFL games as they happen.
While it’s common for sports betting sites to have a significantly reduced betting menu on live games, often just picking the winner, some sites will allow you to place totals, bets on the spread and even props, with the odds being updated every second.
“Live betting is really exciting. Reacting to the game in real time and making split-second calls on how to bet is just a whole different kind of buzz to traditional betting” – SuperLenny
As well as being so fun, live betting can be really profitable. The sports betting site is updating their odds all the time, but if you can spot something which is going to alter the game in advance, you might be able to get in quickly and bet before the odds change.
Live betting also throws up some betting opportunities that are unique to CFL, as we will see in our strategy section…
The best indication we have for how CFL betting might look in the future is to look to the betting options on NFL. The two sports are similar enough that almost all of the betting markets that you can find on a typical NFL game could apply to CFL too.
The NFL currently has way more betting options than CFL. While you might find a couple of prop bets an each CFL game, there will often be hundreds in the NFL – lots of bets on individual player statistics, the ability to bet on what happens in each quarter individually, even the timing of every point scored.
These kinds of things have started to spread to CFL, and as the sport becomes more popular in the betting world we expect the markets to expand.
Another area of betting that we expect to become more popular in CFL is the ability to buy points on the spread, as well as teaser bets.
Both of these types of bets allow you to change the point spread in your favor in exchange for a reduction in odds. Teasers only apply to parlay bets, while you can buy points on the spread for individual games.
If you want a glimpse into a potential future for CFL betting, look no further than the NFL section of your online sports betting sites.
We love CFL here at SuperLenny. It’s a really great sport to follow – more high scoring than NFL, quite a small pool of teams meaning you can really follow the whole season closely, and ultra competitive – eight different Grey Cup winners since 2010.
CFL is a unique sport, and betting on it successfully requires a unique set of skills. With that in mind, we asked our experts to come up with their top 5 betting strategies for CFL.
The following are all things to bear in mind when betting on CFL, whether you’re a rookie bettor or shark. Pay attention, cause these tips are worth $$$!
As you have probably noticed, even though it’s a guide to betting on the CFL, we have made reference to the NFL a fair few times on this page.
This makes sense – the NFL is a natural reference point. The two sports are similar, the types of betting available on both are often similar, and lots of people who are new to betting on CFL might have experience with NFL betting already.
However, while they may be similar they are not the same.
If you apply the exact same strategies you use for betting on the NFL to CFL betting, you will lose. CFL is it’s own sport. Don’t think that you understand it just because you have a good grasp of NFL.
A great example of this is a totals bet. Check out an example of a typical line:
Saskatchewan Roughriders vs Toronto Argonauts
Total Points (52.5)
Now if you’re looking at this line through an NFL lens, we know what you’re thinking. That is one high total. I’m definitely going to take the under here. Which would probably be a good policy in NFL – but this is CFL.
CFL is more high scoring on average than NFL, by somewhere around 6-7 points a game. A 52.5 total, while comparatively uncommon in NFL, is totally normal in CFL. Similar discrepancies are found in other betting markets.
It’s important to be tuned into the nuances of CFL when betting. This is true of every sport of course, but due to CFL being similar to NFL up to a point, it’s a trap that NFL fans can fall into if they’re not careful.
It’s easier than you would think to see a line like the one above and your brain reacts as if it’s in “NFL mode”. Don’t let this happen to you.
For just about every sport with a schedule based on home and away matches, the home and road teams should be a factor in your predictions. The same is true of the weather. However, in a country the size of Canada with a season that stretches into the start of winter, this consideration becomes even more relevant.
By the time the postseason rolls around it’s not uncommon to see teams playing in subzero conditions. You can be sure that is going to have an impact on how the game pans out.
Colder conditions, snow, rain, all of these contribute to messy, low scoring games. The opposite is true of nice, dry conditions.
Also, every team reacts differently both to the weather and to long trips on the road. With only nine teams in the CFL, it’s totally attainable to build up a comprehensive knowledge base of how much or little these factors affect every team in the league.
Putting in the time to analyze these things pays off big time over the season.
CFL is growing more popular, but it’s still relatively niche in sports betting terms. While this means betting options are more limited, it does open the door to some unique opportunities.
With really popular sports an accepted piece of wisdom to often consider betting against the public. Lots of action on one side of a bet means the line moves in favor of the other side. If public opinion is being swayed in one direction, it inflates the value in the other direction.
However, with sports like CFL, which don’t have huge numbers of casual bettors, this doesn’t apply quite as much. Instead, fewer casual bettors mean more smart money in play. If you notice a line moving a lot in the run-up to a game, it’s more likely to be because the smart money leaning heavily on one side, and you should consider following suit.
This is where shopping around also becomes important.
There are fewer top-rated sports betting sites taking bets on CFL in general, and if the line moves quickly on one site you can often find better value for the same bet on another betting site.
In a smaller field of bettors, the smart money is more powerful.
This is another opportunity that arises due to CFL being somewhat more niche than other sports.
To put it bluntly – some sports betting sites might not pay close enough attention to CFL, and won’t move their lines properly.
If Tom Brady is ruled out two days before the Super Bowl, you can certain the betting lines will move accordingly the moment the news breaks. The same just can’t be said of the starting quarterback of a mid-ranking CFL team in an early-season game – even though the two players might have the same influence on their respective games.
Keeping up to date on things like team selection and injuries, and acting as soon as the news is released, can pay off big time in CFL.
However, the best way to exploit any laziness on the part of the sports betting site is with live betting.
Betting quickly and decisively in reaction to what is happening in a live game has the potential to give you an edge that just doesn’t exist in the biggest sports.
With sports growing in popularity like CFL, it’s always worth keeping a close eye on any new markets that are released. Check out our section on the future of CFL betting above, and keep an eye on whether any brand new types of bets become available during the season.
A totally new market means something of a learning curve for online sports betting sites. A certain amount of trial and error while the online betting site gets used to offering a new type of bet can result in some very loose lines, which you can take advantage of.
Brand new betting markets are way more likely to have badly set odds than ones which the sports betting site have been offering for years. If you can spot this happening, you can make a profit.
CFL is in such a great position in terms of sports betting right now.
The sport is growing and becoming more popular outside of Canada. There are already a really healthy amount of betting markets available, but you just know they are only going to improve as the sport gains more traction.
It’s also tailor-made for new fans to get involved, thanks to the summer schedule which doesn’t conflict with many of the most popular sports, and the comparatively small number of teams to get to know.
This is a sport with a lot of potential for those who are just discovering it – the potential for enjoyment and potential for profits.
There has never been a better time to start betting on CFL.