CFL Week 1 Odds: How I’m Betting Spreads, Totals To Start Season

Written By Evan Scrimshaw on June 6, 2022
CFL Week 1 odds lines spreads

Canadian football is back, and we have CFL odds for the opening week of the 2022 season. For the American uninitiated, there are nine teams in the league and four games on the opening slate – all but the Toronto Argonauts will play this weekend. Below we’ll breakdown all the CFL Week 1 odds.

Every CFL game is televised in Canada on TSN. In the United States, fans will be able to watch every CFL game live on the ESPN networks and ESPN+. At least 20 games will air on the ESPN networks, including one of the two Division Finals and the Grey Cup. The rest will air on ESPN+.

CFL Week 1 Odds: Thursday, June 9

Montreal Alouettes vs. Calgary Stampeders () – 9 p.m. ET
Total:

The Alouettes were on paper one of the better teams in the CFL last year, posting a +41 point differential and the league’s second-most prolific offence en route to a 7-7 record. Their 2-4 record in one-score games suggests some of that was bad luck, and Vernon Adams is a dual threat pivot who can make plays out of nowhere and stretch a defence both vertically and horizontally.

The problem for the Alouettes is that they’re playing the Stampeders, who have a top-two quarterback in the league in Bo Levi Mitchell and a +52 point differential. Yes, Mitchell’s 2021 was mediocre at best, but he played through shoulder injuries that have finally healed, and all reports are that he is back to full health. And if that’s the case, the Stampeders should roll the Alouettes, especially at home.

With Mitchell looking back to health and the Alouettes going 2-4 against the Western Division last year – including a six-point loss to the Stampeders in Calgary – it’s hard to see how Montreal can keep this close enough to cover the +3. Early-week bettors agree, having already moved this to 3.5 on Monday.

Evan’s Bet: Calgary -3 (placed Sunday)
Best Available Odds: Calgary

CFL Week 1 Odds: Friday, June 10

Hamilton Tiger-Cats () vs. Saskatchewan Roughriders – 7 p.m. ET
Total:

Dane Evans leads the Ticats for the first time as the undisputed starter, after getting hurt in the Grey Cup and spending 2021 in a duel with Jeremiah Masoli. His numbers were less than stellar, but Hamilton’s real edge was their second-ranked defence, which managed to stifle the explosive Bombers for three quarters in the Grey Cup. If Evans is better than he was in spot duty last year – which is likely after a year of adjusting to the Canadian game – then Hamilton should be a team to be feared.

The Roughriders, on the other hand, won nine games on a +6 point differential and had an offense that struggled at times last season, failing to break 300 points scored. Cody Fajardo’s 7.4 yards per attempt is a fair representation of their offence – non-explosive and conservative. Against the Ticats defence, they’ll need to be more aggressive, and they just don’t have the talent to justify being favoured in this game – except that they won more games than the Ticats.

Yes, the Ticats only won 8 games, but this team is more talented than their record and are easily the best team in the East, and they should prove it here. The over/under of 47 is also high – given Saskatchewan will take the life out of the ball with short passes, and Hamilton’s defensive abilities, this should be a slow, methodical game.

Evan’s Bets: Hamilton +110 ML, Under 47 (placed Sunday)
Best Available Odds: Hamilton , Under

Ottawa RedBlacks () vs. Winnipeg Blue Bombers – 8:30 p.m. ET

If you just go by 2021, then the Blue Bombers would likely win this by 30 points – and they still might. The favourite in 2022 Grey Cup odds led the CFL in offence, defence, and had a +173 point differential on route to a 11-3 record. Oh, and their quarterback, Zac Collaros, is the best QB in the game, leading the league with a 9.2 yards per attempt  and only coming short of the total passing yards lead because the Bombers were routinely up so much he didn’t have to pass or play fourth quarters.

On the other side of the ball, the Ottawa RedBlacks were horrible, with a negative -160 point differential and a 3-11 record that feels shocking that they managed to win three games. That said, Ottawa management overhauled the roster this offseason, including fixing their QB crisis with Jeremiah Masoli, who boasted an impressive 9.0 yards per attempt last season and led the Ticats to the brink of a Grey Cup win. The RedBlacks have done this before successfully, grabbing an aging but still talented QB as a stopgap, and it worked in 2016, when they went from a three-win team to a Grey Cup appearance.

The fact that this is Week 1 adds to the variance of this game, and makes a 9.5 point line just too high for a team with as much uncertainty as the RedBlacks.

Evan’s Bet: Ottawa +9.5 (placed Sunday)
Best Available Odds: Ottawa:

CFL Week 1 Odds: Saturday, June 11

Edmonton Elks vs. BC Lions () – 10 p.m. ET
Total:

The Elks and Lions both had 2021s to forget, with the Elks running through a painful three-win season and a -132 point differential. Taylor Cornelius is Edmonton’s great hope, after a horrible offensive season for the Elks, but the sophomore pivot only averaged 128 yards per game as a rookie. Unless he can make a step up, the Elks are in real trouble, with a bad defence unlikely to get better.

The Lions, on the other hand, had a better 2021 – a five-win season and only a -39 point differential – but star QB Mike Reilly retired this offseason, leaving them trusting sophomore Nathan Rourke, who played spot minutes in 2021. The Lions defence is quite bad, just like the Elks’, meaning the differentiator last season was Reilly.

If Rourke is anything resembling good, the Lions should cover the -3 against the Elks, especially given the porous defence he’ll be playing. He’s an aggressive thrower, with a 9.2 yards per attempt and a 3:5 TD:INT ratio last season, and against the Elks he should be able to make a few big plays count.

Evan’s bet: BC -3 (placed Sunday)
Best Available Odds: BC

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