CFL Grey Cup Betting: Who Can Stop Winnipeg Blue Bombers’ Three-Peat?
While NFL aficionados sweat through the preseason opener and eagerly count down the days until the first official game on September 8, Canadian football fans are knee-deep into the 2022 CFL competition, having tipped just beyond the crest at the halfway point along the road to the playoffs.
Things are looking decidedly hot as CFL Grey Cup betting odds fans make their predictions for which team will prevail and lift the Grey Cup this November, particularly since the Bombers met their first stumble of the season, and by no one other than their Eastern Division rivals, the Montreal Allouettes.
Here at Bodog, we’ve also been focused on the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and whether there are any teams in with a decent chance of putting an end to their dominance at the top of the CFL. But after the recent turn of events, we’ve hit the pause button to reassess the state of play.
Let’s take a look at where we’re at.
Winnipeg Blue Bombers: CFL’s Dominant Force
Just a few years ago, the Winnipeg Blue Bombers endured a protracted drought after failing to claim the Grey Cup for almost 30 years. But after a major top-down shake-up of the senior management team, the foundations were laid for a glorious turnaround. And the players obliged accordingly.
It started with Wade Miller becoming CEO in 2013, quickly followed by Kyle Walters becoming general manager, and Mike O’Shea taking up the head coach position.
These sweeping changes alone didn’t yield a playoff victory, but a turn of events in 2019 that saw Andrew Harris get suspended and Matt Nichols get injured, also created the impetus that led to the Blue Bombers acquiring quarterback Zach Collaros.
Partnered with Chis Steveler, the two quarterbacks, working as a unit, proved to be the team’s missing cog as they turned the season around dramatically enough for Winnipeg to win its 11th Grey Cup.
The cancellation of the 2020 season stopped the team from immediately defending its title, but that little setback only hit pause on their newly acquired powers on the field.
They ended the 2021 regular season with an 11-3, .786 record, topping the West Division for the first time since 1972 and leading the entire league in wins. This earned the Blue Bombers qualifications in the second round of the playoffs where they beat the Saskatchewan Roughriders 21-17 en route to the final.
It was there that, in overtime, Winnipeg beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 33-25.
In the 2022 season, O’Shea’s men seem to have grown even better. They won all of their first nine games, putting them way out in front in both the division and the league.
In fact, nothing seemed to be slowing them down until week 10, in an unexpected turn of events saw the Alouettes get the better of them in overtime for a 20-17 win.
Even so, it’s easy to see why the Winnipeg Blue Bombers remain the favourites in this season’s CFL odds with Grey Cup betting odds of +160.
Who Can Stop The Bombers?
Can anyone stop the Bombers from achieving a three-peat? It seems like a tall order, but Week 10 made that possibility all the more tangible.
And, every once in a while, it seems prudent to remind ourselves that performance in the regular season only counts for so much in the playoffs. Even if the team is positioned to bypass the division semi-finals, they still enter that first playoff game on an even keel,
So even if Winnipeg does manage to end the season with a 17-1 record, it won’t matter by the time they’re competing for the West Division title.
The winner-takes-all nature of the CFL playoffs means that one of these teams needs to find a crack in the Bombers armour and exploit it only once. That almost happened last season, so it’s within the realm of possibility that the Bombers’ fate could end differently this November if it happens successfully this time around.
The Alhouettes will need to show a pattern of domination in order to make the list of existential threats, but until then, if anyone can find in the Bombers’ game a weakness to exploit, it’ll most likely be one of these teams.
British Columbia Lions (+250)
The BC Lions have impressed this season. They were shaping up to be the most likely to challenge the Blue Bombers in the playoffs, but after running roughshod over the Roughriders in their Week 11 stout-hearted, they again proved why they’re best-placed to dismantle the Bombers and claim the Grey Cup. They currently trail Winnipeg in the West Division, sitting in second place with a 7-1 record. That’s two wins behind, but they’ve also played two fewer games.
That’s a big change from what we saw last season with the team finishing the season second from bottom in the west with the third worst record in the entire CFL. 2019 was just as bad when they finished 5-13, putting the Lions last in their division and third from bottom in the league.
There’s no doubt that much of their success has been at the hands of Nathan Rourke, the 24-year-old quarterback who stepped up into a starting role this year. He’s done so well that he’s been declared the CFL’s Top Performer for five of the 10 weeks so far this season.
Calgary Stampeders (+475)
Fresh off the back of a solid Week 11 victory against the Argonauts, the Calgary Stampeders are a team that have been in the mix fairly constantly for the last two decades. The Stamps have won eight Grey Cups in total, with half of them coming since the turn of the new millennium and six in the last 30 years.
They last won the biggest prize in Canadian football in 2018, four years after their last.
Given that they are always up there in the mix, the Stampeders are continually primed and ready to pounce when a rival slips up; a disposition that could help them defeat the Blue Bombers in 2022.
Saskatchewan Roughriders (+900)
The Saskatchewan Roughriders are another team that have provided a challenge for the Blue Bombers in the last few years. In 2021, they finished second in the regular season with a 9-5 record and made it into the Division Finals where they were beaten 21-17 by the Blue Bombers.
In 2019, the Roughriders topped the West Division with a 13-5 record but lost out again to the Blue Bombers in the second round.
2022 hasn’t been their best year insofar as the team sits 4th in the West Division with a 5-4 record, but there’s still plenty of time for the tide to turn.
Their faltering record hasn’t been helped by the fact that Garrett Marino and Duke Williams were both suspended, and 13 players caught COVID-19. If they can manage to shape back up into full strength, Saskatchewan could likely get back into the playoff spots and challenge the Blue Bombers.
The Winnipeg Blue Bombers certainly seem like they can do no wrong, but these contenders are just as set on winning the trophy, and they just might have the resources to send Winnipeg packing. CFL Grey Cup betting is officially open at Bodog, so your bet slip is your time-captured vote for which CFL team is best shaping up to take Winnipeg down a notch or two.