5 Things to Know About Betting on the CFL
If you are looking to bet on live football games, you do not have to wait until the fall for college football and the NFL to start back up with the Canadian Football League returning to the field on June 22 for the start of the 2017 regular season. They play a full 18-game schedule ‘north of the boarder’ over a span of 20 weeks along with three rounds of playoffs so there is no shortage of betting action from the beginning of summer all the way until the CFL Grey Cup title game in late November.
Know the Rules
Football is football, but there are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to the CFL. Both the playing field (110 yards) and the end zone (20 yards) are longer than an NFL playing field and there are 12 players on each side of the ball as opposed to 11. The biggest difference is that in the CFL you only get three chances to get a first down not four. This rule change places quite a bit of emphasis on moving the ball through the air as opposed to running it on the ground.
Scoring is basically the same; however the kicking team can score a single point if a missed field goes out of the end zone or a punt goes out of bounds in the end zone. This can have an impact on the betting spreads that traditionally revolve around three points and seven points.
Know the League
There are only nine teams in the CFL as opposed to the 32 teams in the NFL. The East Division is made up of Hamilton, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto. The five teams in the West Division include British Columbia (or BC), Calgary, Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Winnipeg.
Divisional opponents face each other at least three times a season and everyone plays each other at least twice. Also unique to the CFL is the home-and-home series where the same two teams will play each other in consecutive weeks at each one’s home venue.
The West Division has dominated play the past few seasons from a win/loss perspective and it has a slight 3-2 edge in the last five Grey Cup title games.
Know the Quarterbacks
Seeing how the CFL brand of football is pass driven, it is important to get to know each team’s starting quarterback as well as the depth chart for backups. Last season, Edmonton’s Mike Reilly led the league in passing yards with 5,554 and he was second on the list in touchdown throws with 28. Bo Levi Mitchell is the starting quarterback for Calgary and he led his team to a straight-up 15-2-1 record in the regular season while also leading the CFL in touchdown throws with 32.
Just like in the NFL, injuries are common at this position so educating yourself about each team’s backup becomes an important part of the handicapping process. You should also know each team’s top wide receivers as well as their slot backs since these players also play a big role in any team’s ability to move the ball through the air.
Know the Injuries
Injuries at the quarterback position would be at the top of the list, but getting timely and accurate information for every injured player on every CFL team is another big factor when it comes to breaking down the games. The CFL is not as nearly as deep in talent as the NFL, so if a key position on either side of the ball is depleted by multiple injuries it can have an impact on the outcome of a game.
Know the Weather
Most of the CFL season is played in decent weather since it starts in late June, but by the time late October into November rolls around, the field conditions in the Great White North can become a major factor. Storms pop out of nowhere and the snow can quickly pile up over the course of a three-hour game. Make sure that you check the weather of any CFL game you are looking to bet on before actually placing that bet.