The Canadian Football League returns this week after the 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last season was the first time since 1919 that the Grey Cup was not handed out to the league’s best team.
Originally, the 2021 season was expected to begin in early June but was delayed another two months as issues surrounding the pandemic continued to cause problems in the United States. For now, though, the league is ready to kick off and give Canadians live-action for the first time in over a year.
We dive into the matchups of the four games happening in week one and what to look out for. Let’s get right to it so you can bet against their CFL odds.
Canadian Football League – Week 1 Betting Preview
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Vs Winnipeg Blue Bombers – Thursday, August 5th, 8:30 p.m. EST
These two opponents met in 2019 in the championship, with the Blue Bombers coming away victorious, 33-12. Hamilton finished the regular season with a 15-3 mark while Winnipeg sported a respectable 11-7 record.
The Tiger-Cats return key players to the roster, including at quarterback, where both Jeremiah Masoli and Dane Evans return. Masoli was the team’s starter to begin the 2019 campaign before an injury allowed Evans to slide in and lead Hamilton a 9-2 record. Masoli was recently coined as the team’s starting quarterback to begin 2021.
Like the Tiger-Cats, the Bombers bring back many of the players from the 2019 championship roster. Running back Andrew Harris, the 2019 Grey Cup MVP, won’t be available for the opener, which will be a big blow to the Bombers’ offense.
BC Lions Vs Saskatchewan Roughriders – Friday, August 6th, 9:30 p.m. EST
The BC Lions finished last in the West Division in 2019 with a 5-13 record but closed out the season going 4-3. BC had major issues on the offensive line that gave no protection to quarterback Michael Reilly.
With improvements to the offense, the Lions’ defense should take a step forward in 2021 after being the team’s best unit two years ago.
Saskatchewan wrapped up 2019 in first place in the West Division but were upset by Winnipeg in the Division Finals of the playoffs. The breakout season for quarterback Cody Fajardo should have Roughrider fans excited for the season.
Defensively, the Roughriders suffered major blows to the unit in camp with three players, including star linebacker Larry Dean, suffering serious injuries.
Toronto Argonauts Vs Calgary Stampeders – Saturday, August 7th, 7 p.m. EST
Toronto made a bevy of moves in the off-season to improve their roster after a 4-14 season in 2019. The Argonauts have three dependable running backs in John White, Karlos Williams, and Kenneth Dixon to go along with starting quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson. Toronto’s defense should also show signs of improvement, with the Argo’s dipping into former NFL talent to strengthen the unit.
The Stampeders performed well in 2019 with a 12-6 record and spot in the postseason. Bo Levi Mitchell returns at quarterback but will have to get acquainted with new playmakers outside.
The defense should be solid again with the return of linebacker Jameer Thurman who tested the waters of the XFL and NFL.
Ottawa Redblacks Vs Edmonton Elks – Saturday, August 7th, 10 p.m. EST
Ottawa had the worst record in the CFL at 3-15 in 2019. The Redblacks hired Paul LaPolice after the season to take over as head coach. Ottawa brought in veteran quarterback Matt Nicols to help improve an offense that averaged a league-worst 14.3 points per game in 2019.
The Elks, formerly named the Eskimos, were 8-10 in 2019, and hope the name change will translate to success on the football field. Trevor Harris is one of the better signal-callers in the CFL and will have a slew of playmakers to utilize in the offense.
Off-season signings to bulk up the secondary should improve the defense and make Edmonton a dark horse candidate in the league.