A Complete Guide to the CFL – Betting Sites and History of the CFL
Those of you who are huge football fans likely know a ton about the NFL and
U.S. College Football, but did you know that north of the border there is a
professional football league that has been in existence since the 1950s? The
Canadian Football League was launched all the way back in 1958 and provides
Canadians and viewers from other countries an exciting product. The CFL is also
a very popular gambling sport in Canada, but the game features some slight rule
changes which can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of bets.
We have put this page together to outline the differences between the CFL and
American football, as well as to give you some great options of where you can
play the game.
The Best CFL Betting Sites
Let’s start with the best place for you to make bets on the CFL. Outside of
Canada, the CFL is considered a bit of a fringe sport even though the basic
rules of the game are similar to the game played in the U.S. We review tons of
sportsbooks, and from the piles of reviews we have on file, we have selected the
sites you see below as the best CFL Betting Sites. You may not recognize some of
the names, but rest assured that we think that these places are the best place
to get down a bet on the Roughriders or the Alouettes!
Now, if you want to know why we have selected these sites, in particular,
let’s break down what got them onto this recommended list.
The Best CFL Betting Sites are ones that offer the most options for gamblers,
from future bets to in-play betting. As the sport isn’t as popular as some
others, some sportsbooks don’t have anyone knowledgeable enough to watch the
lines. The books on our list have clearly some understanding of the game as can
be seen by the number of bets that are available on each matchup.
This is more generic unless a site is really focused on the Canadian market.
However, the Best CFL Betting sites that give players the best bang for their
buck with bonuses and promotions are more likely to be sites that we recommend.
Betting on sports is a tough gig – any way that you can improve your bottom line
without having to win a bet is great in our opinion.
Best Mobile Interface
Whether you are watching a game live in the stadium or out on the go, the
in-play betting options are a great enhancement to the over CFL betting
enjoyment. The top CFL Betting sites all either have a native app or a great
browser-based interface which allows you to get your bets in quickly and with no
mistakes. Lines are updated in real time and tracking the bets from your phone
is very easy.
If you live outside of Canada, you may find it difficult to find a
broadcaster of the games. This is where a sportsbook can come to the rescue.
Many CFL Betting sites offer their real money players live streaming of all
fringe sports like the Canadian Football League to their real money players.
Differences Between the CFL and the NFL
When it comes to betting on the Canadian Football League, there are some
subtle differences in the game that you need to know to be a savvy gambler.
Let’s review the most notable of these difference here.
The Number of Downs
This is the rule change that is highly different between the two sports and
has the most dramatic impact on the betting.
There are only three downs in the CFL to gain 10 yards,
versus the 4 down leagues in the United States. This means each team has one less play
to extend drives, which has impacts all over the
First off, there are more passing attempts in the CFL than
the NFL, and far less rushing attempts. This can affect the individual prop bets
at CFL Betting Sites. Also, there are far more possession changes, which could
impact the overall score of the game as each team gets the ball more often
The Size of the Field
While the CFL field looks like an NFL field, there are some differences.
First off, the field is 10 yards longer, so there are potential drives and
scores of 110 yards instead of 100. The field is wider as well, meaning there is
more room to make plays than on a traditional U.S. football field.
With a larger field size, there Is an additional player on each team on the
field at one time – 12 instead of 11. This gives quarterbacks more targets for
passes, which can impact the number of passing yards. Another impact on passing
yards is that the receivers are given a running start at the line of scrimmage.
This means that they are already approaching top speed as the ball is snapped,
allowing them to get down the field faster than if they were standing still.
When you are visiting a CFL Betting site, you will want to take this into
account when thinking about what wagers to place.
The Configuration of the End Zone
The end zone of the CFL field has an impact on scoring for sure. First, the
end zone is 30 yards long, versus the 10-yard size of the NFL field. This means
there is far more room for receivers to get away from their defenders, and
passers have more room to throw the ball and remain inbounds.
Second, the goal posts are at the goal line in the CFL, as opposed to the
back of the NFL field. This has an impact on scoring as the kickers only have to
get the ball to the goal line to get it through the uprights, but there are two
possible other outcomes of kicks…
The Rouge and the Runback
When a placekicker steps up to make a Field Goal attempt in the CFL, they are
trying to get the ball through the uprights. However, with a field that is 20
yards longer in the end zone than in the NFL, there is a chance the ball doesn’t
make it all the way through.
All kicks that miss going through the uprights can be returned out of the end
zone by the defending team. The team can try to run the ball back (it is a live
ball so they could score a touchdown if they make it all the way down the field.
They also have the option of kicking it out of the end zone. If the defending
team does not get the missed kick out of their own end zone, or the ball goes
through the back of the end zone, the kicking team receives one point, known as
a Rouge. This point can have a major impact on the point spread or total of a
game, which is huge from a betting perspective.
The CFL’s Teams and Schedule
Let’s take a step back here and give you some of the basic information on the
league itself. Having formed all the way back in 1958, there have been lots of
teams and owners come and go along the way. Many of you may have vague memories
of a time when the CFL has expanded into the United States (remember the Las
Vegas Posse?), but that wasn’t a success, so those teams ended up folding and
not here are 9 teams in the league.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers
These teams are split into two divisions, the East (4 teams) and the West (5
teams). The league plays an 18-game schedule which runs from June to October,
followed by a playoff system and the championship, the Grey Cup in November.
Recent Winners of the Grey Cup
The CFL has been around since 1958, and the Grey Cup Trophy has been given to
the champion since then (it was given out in other sports since 1909). The list
of champions does go back all the way to 1909, and for record-keeping purposes,
the team that has won the Grey Cup across all the sports the most is the
Edmonton Eskimos, who have lifted the trophy 17 times.
Did you know that there was an American champion of the CFL? The
Baltimore Stallions won the Grey Cup twice while in the league in the 1990s as
part of an expansion that saw teams join in cities like Sacramento and Las
Vegas. Those teams were folded when the league decided to stick to playing in
The most recent list of Grey Cup winners is below:
2019 – Winnipeg Blue Bombers
2018 – Calgary Stampeders
2017 – Toronto Argonauts
2016 – Ottawa Redblacks
2015 – Edmonton Eskimos
2014 – Calgary Stampeders
2013 – Saskatchewan Roughriders
2012 – Toronto Argonauts
2011 – BC Lions
2010 – Montreal Alouettes
2009 – Montreal Alouettes
2008 – Calgary Stampeders
One interesting twist in the league is the playoff format. With one division
holding more teams than the other, the way the playoff system works is as
The two division winners are given a bye into the league semifinals. The
teams that finish second in their respective decisions play a home playoff game
against the third place team in their division, with one exception. If the 4th
place team in either division ends up with a better record than the third place
team in the other division, they cross over to play in the playoffs. This is a
great way to get the 6 best teams out of the 9 into the playoffs, which in
theory should produce better games. It’s a blueprint that we suspect we will see
adopted in other professional sports in the future.
How Do Teams Make It to the Grey Cup?
As we mentioned, the Grey Cup is the championship game for the 9-team
Canadian Football League. The league has two divisions – the East, which has
four teams, and the West that houses the other five. There is an 18-week regular
season which is spread over 21 weeks, giving each team 3 bye weeks during the
season that starts in June.
The playoff format is not too different than that of the NFL, with one clear
exception. The two division winners are given a bye into the conference finals,
leaving them one step away from the big game! The second-place teams in each
division also qualify automatically to host a playoff game. They play against
the third-place team in their division, unless the fourth-place team in the
other division has a better record than the third-place team, in which case that
team qualifies and crosses over and into the playoffs. This ensures that the top
teams fight it out for a chance to play for the championship.
The Grey Cup is hosted in a different city each November, and this gives the
host city the chance to put on one hell of a party. CFL fans are known to travel
long distances to see their team play, and even if their team doesn’t make it to
the big game, they still flock to the host city for all the parties. These
parties have been epic, including
horses making their way into hotel…
Differences Between the Grey Cup and the Super Bowl
Now, the game itself is very similar to American football, as we mentioned
earlier, but if you are going to bet on the Grey Cup, there are a few rule
changes that you should be aware of before you place any wagers.
The single point
The field size
The players on the field
The Single Point
Yes, you read that right – there is a single point scoring play in the CFL
(and we don’t mean an extra point). If a kicker attempts a field goal during the
game and misses, the kicking team still has a chance to get one point if one of
the following two things occurs:
The ball goes through the end zone (tougher than you may think – see
The returning team doesn’t get the ball out of the end zone before being
Given that the Grey Cup takes place in November and almost always outdoors,
this single point, called a rouge, can come into play a lot, and this can wreak
havoc on betting lines.
The Field Size
We brought up the rouge first to highlight one of the differences in a CFL
field. The end zone is actually 30 yards deep, with the goal posts at the front
as opposed to the NFL where they are at the back of a zone that is one-third the
size. That isn’t the only size difference – the field is also an extra ten yards
in length and 5 yards in width. This means more yards to cover on a scoring
drive and more chances to throw the ball deep from the red zone.
The Players on the Field
To utilize the space of the larger field, there is one extra player on the
field for both teams in a CFL game than in an NFL game. This means each side has
12 men playing at once. Also, another interesting fact is that a certain number
of players are allowed to be in motion when the ball is snapped by the center.
This means that a wide receiver could already be running when the ball snaps,
although this can also lead to an increase in false start penalties if the run
isn’t timed properly.
The game is 60 minutes split into 4 quarters just like the Super Bowl, but
the Grey Cup rules (and the league rules) dictate that the offensive team has
only 3 downs to move the ball ten yards. The traditional “three and out” term in
American football is replaced by “two and out” in Canada. This adds to the
excitement of the game, as teams are forced to move the ball further and faster
than in the American version. It’s rare to see a low-scoring CFL game with this
many changes of possession!
Those are the most crucial differences you will notice in the Grey Cup versus
the Super Bowl…oh, except, of course, that the anthem singer is singing O Canada
instead of the Star Spangled Banner for those of you planning to bet on its
A Fun Alternative to NFL Betting
As you can see, the Canadian Football League offers up a lot of great betting
options for gamblers, and with a season that starts three months earlier than
the NFL, football fans who love to gamble can get their fix for a longer period
of time. There are definitely some rule changes that all gamblers should be
aware of, and many of them also make the game very exciting to watch!
CFL games seem to always go down to the wire, and now that you are more
knowledgeable about the sports, we think you will want to visit the best CFL
Betting Sites to watch the teams as they play all season and try to win the Grey
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