For the Gamblers!
The CFL season is just around the corner – it is never too early to talk about the front runners of the league. The BC Lions are favored once again to win it all this year, but the gap seems to have closed a tad – there appears to be some other contenders… at least on paper!
Let’s take a brief glance at every team in the CFL heading into the season, their odds to win the Grey Cup and what could transpire in 2013. Odds from Bodog Sportsbook
B.C. Lions – 13/4
The BC Lions enter the 2013 CFL season in a familiar spot – as favorites to win the Grey Cup – and rightfully so. This is a team that won it all in 2011 and was the league’s best Regular Season team last year despite not getting a full year out of Travis Lulay. In Lulay the Lions have a top tier pivot which is crucial in this league to compliment a defense that was head-and-shoulders above the rest last season.
There have been a few changes on that defense – none that can’t be handled and the Lions will have to replace veteran receivers Geroy Simon and Arland Bruce. But younger, faster guys being brought in certainly won’t hurt the overall product.
On paper it is difficult to see who matches up with the Lions heading into the season – especially in the West. BC was good in 2011, very good in 2012 and they may field their best group in 2013!
Calgary Stampeders – 9/2
The Stampeders were the West’s representative in the Grey Cup last year and will be motivated to take the next step this year and win it all. Calgary had the best offense in the league last year – averaging nearly 30 points per game – but there are still some questions as to who will start at QB. Drew Tate is still relatively raw and Kevin Glenn is getting up there in age. But with a balanced attack, the Stamps figure to be BC’s biggest threat in the West. If they can catch lightning in a bottle again, they could represent the West in the West Final.
That said, the Stamps skated by with an average defense last year and this year’s squad will likely fail to impress once again. Calgary should be good in 2013 – not sure about them being great!
Montreal Alouettes – 9/2
Life without Marc Trestman begins in Montreal this year after he was lured away by the Chicago Bears. Dan Hawkins takes over a team that will be led once again by 40 year old Anthony Calvillo with the biggest question mark being, How much more can this guy take? He is still an elite QB in this league, he has a talented running game to keep defenses honest and he has some decent weapons to throw to and newly acquired Arland Bruce will only help Calvillo this year.
The biggest need is on defense, the Als were awful last year. But a few holes were plugged and this team is bound to bounce back from an off 2012 season.
Montreal, as always is a scary looking team but one that is absolutely reliant on the health of one guy – a 40 year old guy at that!
Toronto Argonauts – 5/1
The defending Champs become the hunted this year instead of the hunter – something that the Argos aren’t necessarily used to. Ricky Ray is back in the fold to guide the offense but the team did little to improve themselves from last year’s team – a team that went 9-9 during the regular season and may have gotten lucky during the playoffs. The Argos look mediocre on paper and likely will be on the field as well.
Hamilton Tiger-Cats – 7/1
New coach Kent Austin will certainly have his hands full guiding the underwhelming Cats – a team that finished 6-12 last season. The biggest concern is Chris Williams – their biggest offensive threat and perhaps their best all-around player has refused to report to the team and wants to defect to the NFL. Without him, the Cats are in serious trouble.
Henry Burris will return and have former NFL QB Brian Brohm backing him up. But with a defense that was dead last in the CFL last year, it won’t matter how much they score, this team will likely lose more than they win.
Saskatchewan Roughriders – 15/2
The Riders have the misfortune of playing in the West along with BC and Calgary – advancing in the playoffs will certainly be a task. Still, the Riders have the best fan base in the CFL, hands down, they have an incredible defense that will make them competitive, and they will have an effective Darian Durant back at QB. I see them making the playoffs but not getting too far after that.
Edmonton Eskimos – 9/1
The Eskimos enter the season with major question marks at the QB position and concerns all over the field. They are clearly the fourth-best team in their own division and although they have a knack of keeping games close, they will probably lose more than they win again this year.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers – 10/1
The CFL’s worst offense will once again enter the season with the brittle Buck Pierce at the helm and with an uber-inexperienced backup – Justin Goltz.
To make matters worse, the league’s worst offense will be backed up by the league’s second-worst defense.
Prospects for a successful season aren’t great in Winnipeg – therefore they are the longest shot on the board to win it all.