CFL Odds To Win The East Division Will Toronto Repeat?
East Division CFL Championship 2018 Preview
Much maligned for a few seasons, and despite the fact that Toronto and Ottawa have claimed the last two CFL Championships, East Division squads are underdogs to retain the Grey Cup again this season. Overall, our current Grey Cup futures board has Hamilton (+550) as top chalk - though they are third behind Calgary and Edmonton. The Argonauts (+700) are next up while the Redblacks (+950) and Montreal (+1400) both have longshot lines. Is it wise to count out the East again? Time will tell, but we feel the Cup will head West for the first time since Edmonton won the title in 2015.
CFL Week 1 Grey Cup Odds: Posted on June 13, 2018, at 7:00 AM ET @ Bodog.
|Bodog Sportsbook 2018 Grey Cup Odds|
|Calgary Stampeders (+280)||Edmonton Eskimos (+500)||Hamilton Tiger-Cats (+550)|
|Winnipeg Blue Bombers (+650)||Saskatchewan Roughriders (+700)||Toronto Argonauts (+700)|
|Ottawa Redblacks (+950)||British Columbia Lions (+1200)||Montreal Alouettes (+1400)|
While Ottawa and Toronto have basked in the CFL Championship spotlight, during the past two seasons, there are varying degrees of droughts for Montreal and Hamilton backers. Shorter of the two, backed by pivot Anthony Calvillo, the Alouettes won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. Fans in the Steel City have had a longer wait between wins. The Tiger-Cats last championship was 18 seasons ago when QB Danny McManus and WR Darren Flutie starred in the 87th Grey Cup in 1999. We are having a tough time buying into any teams in the East Division winning the Cup.
CFL East Division Championship Preview and Betting Advice
Toronto Argonauts 2017: Grey Cup Champs 9-9-0 Record
Additions: (QB) James Franklin, (PK) Ronnie Pfeffer, (LB) Taylor Reed, (DB) Abdul Kanneh
Departures: (LB) Victor Butler, (WR) DeVier Posey, (PK) Lirim Hajrullahu, (QB) Jeff Mathews
Aiming to win back-to-back Grey Cups for the third time in franchise history (1946-47 and 1996-97) Toronto rolls into the 2018 season as defending CFL Champions. Longest of longshots, with a (+1200) title line when the season opened, the Argonauts closed the 2017 CFL regular season on a 5-2 roll before slipping past Saskatchewan and Calgary in the playoffs to claim the Cup. Solid play from ageless wonder QB Ricky Ray, the emergence of RB James Wilder Jr. from Week 13 on, plus the installation of a new front office that included HC Marc Trestman, led the to the Argos success.
Largely intact, though the departure of Butler and Posey is significant, it's easy to understand why the Argonauts are posted with a 9.5 win total at Bet365. That number ties Hamilton in the East and the Argonauts will battle the Tiger-Cats three times this season. Now owned by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, the Boatman have a leg up as they are guided by 2017 CFL Coach of the Year. A solid season from QB Ray, who is 38-years old, plus continued strong play from RB Wilder, are pivotal to the Argos Grey Cup defence. Early on, we have Toronto as East Division Champions.
Argonauts 2018 Regular Season: 10-8 Projected Record + East Champions.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2017: Missed Playoffs 6-12-0 Record
Additions: (QB) Johnny Manziel, (HC) June Jones, (OL) Darius Ciraco (PK) Lirim Hajrullahu
Departures: (DB) Abdul Kanneh
Steadily sinking, going from 10-8 in 2015 to a 7-11 mark in 2016 and then finishing 6-12 last season, it appears Hamilton may have hit rock bottom. The Tiger-Cats opened the 2017 campaign on a 2-8 slide and then alternated wins and losses the rest of the way to finish with a dismal 6-12-0 mark. Defense was a problem for the Cats as their 545 points allowed was second worst to the 580 Montreal allowed. Hamilton wasn't much better on offense as QB Jeremiah Masoli (15 TD 5 INT) was ninth in passing yards and the Cats scored 443 points which was third last in the league.
Veteran NFL and NCAAF HC June Jones is the Tiger-Cats new bench boss as he returns to the CFL for the first time since he was the Ottawa Rough Riders OC in 1986. While still the starter, Masoli has competition from Johnny Mansiel at the quarterback position. Hamilton faces the beasts in the West in their first five games and if Masoli falters - the Johnny Football era will begin. Carrying tons of baggage, Manziel is probably facing his last opportunity in pro football but he is in good hands with US College savvy HC Jones. If the Cats find some defence - they will challenge in the East.
Tiger-Cats 2018 Regular Season: 7-11 Projected Record + Miss Playoffs.
Ottawa Redblacks 2017: Lost East Semifinal 8-9-1 Record
Additions: (DT) Mark Korte, (WR) Marco Dubois
Departures: (DT) Zack Evans, (LB) Taylor Reed
One year after winning the East with a 8-9-1 record, and then crushing Calgary during the 104th Grey Cup, Ottawa repeated the mark but finished second behind Toronto. Despite earning home field advantage, the Redblacks lost 31-20 to Saskatchewan in the playoffs. As is the case with every team, Ottawa is fortunate they play in the East as they would not have made the playoffs in the West during the 2016 or 2017 season. Ottawa returns most of their squad though the losses of Evans and Reed will hurt an already mediocre defense. The Redblacks enter their fifth CFL season.
Key to their success, as it is in all pro football, Ottawa needs QB Trevor Harris to continue his rise to CFL stardom. Supported by receivers Greg Ellingson, Brad Sinopoli and Diontae Spencer, Harris led the CFL with a 103.6 efficiency rating and his 30 TD passes tied Edmonton QB Mike Reilly for the most scores last season. Provided he can stay healthy, the Redblacks air-attack is supported by RB William Powell who rushed for 821 yards during the final six games. Scoring points won't be a problem - keeping opponents out of the end zone needs to be Ottawa's top priority this year.
Redblacks 2018 Regular Season: 9-9-0 Projected Record + Playoff Berth.
Montreal Alouettes 2017: Missed Playoffs 3-15-0 Record
Additions: (HC) Mike Sherman (WR) Chris Williams (LB) Hénoc Muamba
Departures: (WR) Nick Lewis, (OL) Jovan Olafioye, (CB) Jonathon Mincy (DL) Gabriel Knapton
After an amazing streak of playoff appearances, from 1996 to 2014 that included three Grey Cup Championships, Montreal has fallen on tough times. Over three seasons, the Alouettes have posted a 16-38 record - including a 3-15 mark last season that was the Als worst record since returning to the CFL in 1996. Montreal was abysmal on both sides of the ball, they were outscored by a 17.4 to 32.2 average count, as they scored 314 points and gave up 580 points. After opening with a 3-4 record – the Alouettes closed their season with nine straight losses that were largely lopsided.
Following a long NFL tenure, with Green Bay as coach and general manager, and then various stops after that, offensive guru Mike Sherman is taking his first shot at coaching in the CFL. One has to wonder if Sherman knows what he's getting into as the Alouettes are tagged with a 5.5 Over/Under win total and are overall longshots with a (+1400) Grey Cup winning money line at Bodog. A lack of Canadian talent continues to haunt Montreal and they are weak in that area again this season. Handicappers are advised to save their cash by staying away from all Montreal postseason lines.
Alouettes 2018 Regular Season: 4-14-0 Projected Record + Miss Playoffs.
CFL Regular Season, Playoff and Grey Cup Odds
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