CFL Expansion to Halifax: How it Affects the League
Halifax Expansion Team Will Stabilize the League
Although CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie and league officials didn't directly address the buzz around a potential Halifax expansion team, they were definitely aware of it and are enthusiastic at the possibility of having a ten-team CFL league. Finally, the CFL will cover the entire nation of Canada from coast to coast.
There are more reasons for why Halifax, or any other expansion team, deserves to make it into the CFL and it's more of a "when" than "if" question. The main reason is to stabilize the league's schedule. Right now, with a nine-team league, the CFL's schedule is less than ideal for some teams having to play as many as three games in under two weeks while some getting extended breaks.
A new team in Atlantic Canada will also open a new market that has long been a small but passionate Canadian football fanbase. It also allows for the league to create and develop new stars via the expansion draft and like the Ottawa REDBLACKS proved, becoming competitive can be done as quickly as two seasons.
We look at how the addition of a Halifax team will impact the CFL mainly the Eastern Conference:
A Halifax Team Will Make Eastern Conference Even Wilder
While a team in Halifax is still a long way from coming to fruition, it's never too early to prognosticate how their addition will impact the league. Assuming they are up and running by five years, the shape of the league could be drastically different. The CFL's Eastern Conference today, despite producing the last two Grey Cup champions, has consistently been inferior to the Western Conference.
The Toronto Argonauts won the Grey Cup with a 9-9 record while the REDBLACKS won it two seasons ago with an 8-9-1 record. This season, both the Argos and REDBLACKs made the CFL Playoffs with these records and if this playoffs format remain the same, the new Halifax team can simply aim to win most of their conference games and get within the .500 mark.
While the Western powers remain mostly the same, teams like the Argos and REDBLACKS can jump from last to first and vice versa within just one season. Adding a Halifax team could exacerbate this trend.
If the 2013 CFL expansion draft's rules remain the same, Halifax will be able to select players from each of the nine teams but not the same quarterback and/or kicker/punter from the same team. Right now, young quarterbacks waiting in the wings include Eli Jenkins (23) and Marquise Williams (25). They could be decent enough to be the Halifax's first QB.
At this point, it's difficult to build a roster for a Halifax team that is still far away from being official. It took the REDBLACKS up to five years and Ottawa was already an established Canadian football market with a history and a stadium on the way.
While it's a beautiful dream, fans should temper expectations because the battle for a CFL team in Atlantic Canada hasn't even begun.
The Stampeders and the West Remain the CFL's Elite
*All odds via SportsInteraction
The addition of Halifax will not impact the CFL's Western Conference as much. Though we look at where they stand in the present. The 2018 Grey Cup odds remain mostly the same with a few notable movements in the lines. The Calgary Stampeders remain the favourites and see their odds went down to +200 from +325 thanks to some significant roster and personnel moves.
The Edmonton Eskimos rose from +500 to +700 while the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Winnipeg Blue Bombers are tied at second at +650. Quarterback Zach Collaros was a big upgrade at centre for the Riders while the Bombers made small but crucial upgrades to their offence.
The BC Lions could be the dark horse of the conference at +1000. They entered 2017 with plenty of hope and were arguably the second-best team behind the Stampeders until injuries and inconsistent offence cut their season short. But this team is just two seasons removed from being the third-best offence in the league.
More moves will determine how these odds shake up but you can bank on the Stampeders to once again be the cream of the crop.
Betting On The 2018 CFL Season
No matter what year it is, the CFL remains exciting whether on the field or off the field. As the CFL offseason is underway, teams make key additions and subtractions and you can bet next year will be different for most teams. Canadians can't get enough of the CFL and head to these top online sportsbooks put their wagers on their favourite teams.
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