2011 CFL Grey Cup Odds Preview
If you are like millions of other football fans that are fed up with the antics of the owners and the players in the NFL, it may be time to turn your attention north to the Canadian Football League, which gets underway next week with a full slate of preseason games.
The CFL’s equivalent of the Vince Lombardi Trophy that is presented to the winning team at the Super Bowl each year is known as the Grey Cup. The following is a brief preview of each team along with their odds to win this season’s Grey Cup as provided by Bookmaker.com
Calgary Stampeders +250
Calgary finished the 2010 regular season with a league-best 13-5 record and the No. 1 seed in the West Division, but once again failed to make it back to the Grey Cup, since winning the title in 2008, with a 20-16 loss to Saskatchewan in the Division Finals. The Stampeders will look to quarterback Henry Burris, who threw for close to 5,000 yards last season and running back Joffrey Reynolds, who was third in the league in rushing with 1,200 yards to lead the way on offense. Calgary will also rely on a defense that was ranked first in the league in total yards allowed.
The two-time Grey Cup winners will be going for the three-peat behind veteran QB Anthony Calvillo, who needs just 4,221 yards to become the CFL’s all-time leader in passing yards. Montreal won the East Division with an overall record of 12-6 successfully defended its 2009 title with a 21-18 victory over the Roughriders in the 2010 Grey Cup Championship game.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats +650
Hamilton bowed out of the playoffs in the first round last year, but is primed for a deeper run this time around behind QB Kevin Glenn, who was second in the league in passing with 5,102 yards. The Tiger-Cats signed RB Avon Cobourne as a free agent from Montreal to replace DeAndra’ Cobb, who was released in March.
Toronto Argonauts +650
Toronto was the surprise team of the 2010 season with a 9-9 record and third-place finish in the East after winning just three games in 2009. The Argonauts upended the T-Cats 16-13 in the Division Semifinals, but were crushed by Montreal 48-17 the following week. They acquired QB Steve Jyles from Winnipeg this offseason to compete with Cleo Lemons for the starting job after Lemons battled with consistency for most of the season.
British Columbia Lions +700
Last year’s third-place finish in the West with a losing record of 8-10 was good enough to earn a spot in the playoffs but BC knows it will need a better effort across the board to seriously compete for a title this season. One of the Lions primary goals this offseason was to provide better protection for QB Travis Lulay so they went out signed Ben Archibald, who was one of the most coveted free agent linemen available.
Saskatchewan Roughriders +700
Back-to-back losses in the championship game by a combined three points should provide the necessary motivation for Saskatchewan to make another deep run this season. The Roughriders finished the 2010 season in second-place in the West at 10-8 behind the play of Darien Durant, who led the CFL in passing last season with 5,542 total yards, but had a defense that ranked second to last in points allowed.
Edmonton Eskimos +700
Edmonton wound up fourth in the West with a 7-11 record last season; missing the postseason after back-to-back appearances in 2008 and 2009. The Eskimos brought in Kavis Reed as their new head coach to right the ship, and he wasted little time putting his own personal stamp on this team by releasing 25 players from last season’s roster.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers +1200
It could be another tough season for Winnipeg after last season’s collapse down the stretch led to seven losses in its last eight games to end-up a league-worst 4-14 on the year. The Bombers still have some weapons on offense with RB Fred Reid, who led the CFL with 1,396 rushing yards last season and slotback Terrence Edwards, who was second in receiving with 1,372 yards.
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