CFL Grey Cup Outright Odds: Free-Agent Frenzy Underway As Field Chases Blue Bombers

It’s time to shake off that Super Bowl hangover and get ready for the upcoming CFL season, which officially gets underway on June 6.

Grey Cup futures odds are now posted at most sportsbooks, including bet365, as the league’s free agency period officially opened on Tuesday. Teams have had a busy last 24 hours signing players to improve their rosters for a potential Grey Cup run, giving bettors some food for thought while considering potential futures wagers. There are still many top players on the free-agent board, though, and many more signings still to take place, so keep that in mind when considering your early wagers.

Let’s take a look at the outright odds for the upcoming 2024 season and some of the notable free-agent signings for all nine teams:

Outright odds

TeamOdds to win Grey Cup
Winnipeg Blue Bombers+210
Toronto Argonauts+225
Montreal Alouettes+600
BC Lions+600
Saskatchewan Roughriders+1000
Hamilton Tiger-Cats+1500
Edmonton Elks+1500
Ottawa Redblacks+1500
Calgary Stampeders+1600

All odds courtesy of

Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The Blue Bombers didn’t announce a single signing on the first day of free agency, but the team took care of some important business leading up to the signing period by securing last year’s Most Outstanding Canadian Brady Oliveira and receiver Dalton Shoen to contract extensions. Keeping both of those elite players has solidified Winnipeg’s status as the league favourite.

It’s not all good news for the Bombers, though, as they failed to retain the services of 2023 All-Star defensive back Demerio Houston and offensive lineman Jermarcus Hardrick.

The team is seeking its fifth straight Grey Cup appearance and is still the cream of the crop in the West Division.

Outlook: There’s not much early value on betting the Bombers to win it all at +210. Hold off and a better price will likely be available as more teams load up in the coming weeks in an attempt to knock the Bombers off their perch.

Toronto Argonauts

Ouch! The Argos won’t have lead running back A.J. Ouellette, 2022 All-Star defensive back Jamal Peters, or standout defensive lineman Dewayne Hendrix on their roster for the upcoming season after failing to retain the trio of game-breakers. This comes after the Argos decided to trade receiver Kurleigh Gittens Jr. to the Elks in January.

However, the team did sign six free agents on the first day of eligibility, five of them on the defensive side of the ball. The signings won’t compensate for the huge losses via free agency, though.

Outlook: It’s surprising to see the Argonauts with short +225 odds after failing to retain so many key players. Yes, they still have last year’s Most Outstanding Player, Chad Kelly, calling the shots at quarterback, but the Argos definitely aren’t a better team than they were last year. Stay far away from them at this price.

Montreal Alouettes

The defending Grey Cup champions have had a quiet offseason to this point, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing after their unexpected run to a CFL title last season. Montreal extended the contract of starting quarterback Cody Fajardo through the 2025 season last December, and it signed four players, most notably receiver Tevin Jones (882 receiving yards last year with Saskatchewan), on the first day of free agency.

The Alouettes did release longtime running back William Stanback, but they have viable replacements already under contract in the backfield with Walter Fletcher and Jeshrun Antwi. Receiver Jake Harty also left via free agency to join the Lions.

Outlook: This isn’t bad value (+600) on a team that has a very good chance of prevailing again out of the East Division. Was last year’s Cinderella run a fluke? We’ll find out soon enough. The Als certainly don’t appear worse than last season at this point.

Alouettes to repeat as Grey Cup champs


BC Lions

The Lions suffered a huge blow when it was announced that defensive lineman Mathieu Betts, perhaps the most coveted free agent this year, had decided to change his stripes and sign with the NFL’s Detroit Lions on Tuesday. He led the CFL in sacks last season with 18, setting a single-season record for a Canadian.

BC also released 2022 All-Star receiver Dominique Rhymes in January after signing receivers Keon Hatcher and Alexander Hollins to contract extensions. Offensively, the Lions will still be a force with Vernon Adams Jr. and a competent stable of receivers, but the defence will truly miss the presence and pass-rushing ability of Betts.

Outlook: Sit tight on the Lions at +600. Other teams in the West Division have improved their rosters and that’s not good news for BC. They’re contenders, but are they serious contenders? Keep in mind that BC Place will host the 2024 Grey Cup, so there could be a few more notable additions to the roster coming in an attempt to get the Lions into the big game in front of their home crowd. Wait and see how everything unfolds before committing a wager.

Saskatchewan Roughriders

After posting just six wins in back-to-back seasons, the Roughriders are making a serious effort to improve their roster ahead of the 2024 season. The additions of Ouellette and Hardrick are good ones, and luring ball-hawking linebacker Jameer Thurman away from Hamilton is the icing on the cake.

Two weeks ago, the team also inked breakout receiver Shawn Bane Jr., who led the team with 93 catches and 1,104 receiving yards last year, to a two-year contract extension.

Outlook: Some nice improvements here from the Roughriders, but the team still has question marks at the quarterback position. Trevor Harris, who will be 38 years old in May, is coming off a major knee injury and Mason Fine will return next season to back him up. They’ve got a lot to prove before they can be considered Grey Cup contenders.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats

The Tiger-Cats haven’t won the Grey Cup since 1999, and that could inspire some drastic changes under new general manager Ed Hervey, who appears to have the goal of improving the team on the defensive side of the ball this offseason.

The additions of Peters and Hendrix will help shore up the defence, but Hamilton’s faithful are becoming increasingly nervous that franchise player Simoni Lawrence won’t be back with the team. Lawrence and the Ticats have failed to get an extension done, at least to this point, and Lawrence is now also negotiating with other teams. The 35-year-old linebacker enjoyed a resurgent 2023 season, posting 84 tackles and five sacks in 18 games for Hamilton. He means a lot to the local community and even had a City of Hamilton snow plow recently named after him.

The team’s top receiver last season, Tim White, also appears to be on his way out of town as he’s one of the top free agents still on the board as of Wednesday.

Outlook: The Ticats appear to be in a retooling stage and how much can really be expected of oft-injured quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell at this point in his career? They’re far from contenders and not a viable longshot at +1500.

Edmonton Elks

The Elks were the laughingstock of the league for much of last season, but there’s optimism the team will be much better this year after signing quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson in January. MBT led the Argos to two Grey Cups in five seasons before leaving the team for the USFL’s New Orleans Breakers, where he led the league in passing last year. Now, the veteran quarterback will be in a position to mentor Tre Ford, a promising dual-threat quarterback who showed flashes of brilliance last season for the Elks. The two quarterbacks should provide the team with a formidable one-two punch, with Ford handling short-yardage situations.

Edmonton already boasts one of the top receivers in the game in Gino Lewis, who should rebound from a tough 2023 season now that he has a competent pass thrower in Bethel-Thompson.

The Elks haven’t done anything to improve their matador defence via free agency yet, but there’s still time to improve the unit that coughed up 28.7 points per game last year.

Outlook: There’s a path for the Elks to make the playoffs this year and they look like a great dark horse pick at +1500 odds to win it all. A competent quarterback with experience goes a long way in the CFL.

Elks to win Grey Cup


Ottawa Redblacks

Like the Elks, the Redblacks should make some strides after a few terrible seasons.

Last week, the Redblacks signed strong-side linebacker/defensive back Adarius Pickett, who was released by the Argos, to a one-year contract. That news came after Ottawa had already traded for, and signed, quarterback Dru Brown, and got a two-year deal done with Rhymes, who had been released by the Lions.

Dustin Crum and Jeremiah Masoli will compete for the starting quarterback position, with Brown also serving as a viable option. Masoli has missed the majority of the past two seasons with serious injuries, so the team has a good insurance policy in case he can’t bounce back to an elite level.

Outlook: Nothing to see here from a futures odds perspective. The Redblacks appear to be moving in the right direction, but they’ll likely be competing with the Tiger-Cats to stay out of the basement in the East.

Calgary Stampeders

The Stampeders have qualified for the playoffs in 17 straight seasons, the longest active streak in the CFL, but that trend is likely to end this year.

Calgary did bring in Matthew Shiltz to back up Jake Maier at quarterback, and the addition of Houston at defensive back is a shot in the arm to the defence. However, running back Ka’Deem Carey is gone and linebacker Silas Stewart won’t be back.

The receiving core lacks depth behind Reggie Begelton and it’s hard to see Maier improving on his 19-to-15 TD-to-INT ratio from last season until he gets better protection and a viable stable of pass catchers.

Outlook: The Stamps still have time to improve their roster, but it’s looking like it could be a last-place finish in the West for them at the onset of free agency.