NFL Betting: Which Teams Have the Best Canadian Following?
A new season of football kicks off next week. To start things off with a bang, the season opening game will feature the defending champion LA Rams taking on this season’s NFL Super Bowl odds: the +550 Buffalo Bills. Canadians will be tuned in to TSN, CTV and CTV2 to watch the action from SoFi Stadium on Thursday.
With every passing year, the Canadian fanbase for the NFL grows—as does NFL betting in Canada. Since 2010, the population percentage of Canadians watching NFL games has been equitable to the Americans. After the NHL, NFL is the most followed league in Canada.
But with no team of its own, Canada doesn’t have a consensus national favourite. Most of the followings mirror teams that are in close geographic proximity. The Seattle Seahawks are a stone’s throw from British Columbia, while the Detroit Lions and Buffalo Bills are right on the border between Michigan and Ontario. Minnesota, all be it a touch further, is within driving distance to Thunder Bay, Ontario. And some teams break this mold because of the history of the club, such as the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. We’ll discuss each team’s odds heading into the 2022-23 season.
Minnesota Vikings +3000
There are few American states that better reflect the culture of Canada than Minnesota. The blustery winters, vast forests and sprawling lakes link Minnesota’s heritage with Canada. And given the limited major sports in northern Ontario and Manitoba, Minnesota is a hub for Canadian sports fans.
The Vikings have long been a Canadian favourite because of their ongoing success as well; however, they’ve missed the postseason in each of the previous two seasons. Despite that, they kept their roster together for this season, but we’ll see a new head coach take the reins in Kevin O’Connell. The Vikes certainly have the skill to compete for a playoff spot, but if they faulter for a third season in a row, there could be roster changes.
Seattle Seahawks +15000
The Pacific Northwest of the United States and coastal British Columbia share similar geography and history. And the accessibility of the great city of Seattle, which is home to teams from every major sports league, make it a top destination for a west coast Canadian sports fan. Seattle has had plenty of success over the past decade as well, which has further bolstered the Canadian fanbase.
But the Seahawks will look very different this year with the departure of long-time starting QB Russell Wilson to Denver this offseason. With Geno Smith and Drew Lock taking over the pivot position, expectations of this team have been adjusted accordingly on the NFL odds board. The Seahawks still have two of the top receivers in the NFL in DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett, but they’ll be hard-pressed to reproduce the dominant seasons of the past with what will surely be a below-average passing game. We expect the ‘Hawks to be among the league’s bottom-dwelling teams this season.
Buffalo Bills +550
A quick drive over the Niagara River from Ontario to New York takes fans into the heart of Buffalo Bills country. From their glory years in the 1990s, the Bills developed a rabid fanbase north of the border. And after many lean years in the early 2000s, the Bills have once again rose to the top of the NFL and sit in the top spot on the Super Bowl odds board.
Josh Allen will once again lead the Bills offense, which has come to rival its stalwart defense as the team’s primary strength. A new wrinkle this year is the addition of Offensive Coordinator Ken Dorsey. Dorsey was previously the QB coach for the Bills, so clearly he has the confidence of Allen. The main question is whether the Bills will be able to get back at the Chiefs, who ousted them from the playoffs in each of the previous two seasons.
Detroit Lions +12500
Southwestern Ontario and Detroit have been connected by the motor vehicle industry for over 80 years. But because of the proximity of the sports-crazy city of Detroit to so much of the Canadian border, teams like the Red Wings, Tigers and Lions have become Canadian favourites. The Barry Sanders era captured Canadian sports fans hearts during the 1990s and Matthew Stafford established himself as one of the most exciting QBs in the NFL with the silver and blue.
It’s been tough sledding of late, however, as Detroit has had four-straight losing seasons and gone through just as many head coaches. After being featured on HBO’s Hard Knocks this season and drafting homegrown superstar defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the second overall pick, the Lions’ fanbase is amped up for this coming season. We expect them to improve on their 3-win season from last year.
Dallas Cowboys +2000
The Dallas Cowboys have the biggest fan base in America and across the globe. This high-class franchise is valued as a league-high $7.64 billion, and has earned international acclaim because of their long history as a winning franchise and their propensity to be discussed in the media. Canadians fell in love with the Cowboys of the ‘90s with Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and Michael Irvin.
In more recent years, the Cowboys have had mixed results during the Dak Prescott era. They’re coming off of a 12-5 season, but disappointingly lost in the first round of the playoffs to the underdog San Francisco 49ers. The Boys are expected to be competitive again this season with +2000 odds, but if they faulter, it may usher in a season of change for this version of the Dallas Cowboys.
Green Bay Packers +1000
The Packers are one of the oldest NFL franchises and as a major city on Lake Michigan, has become a Canadian favourite for road trips. Lambeau Field itself is worth the trip from Canada, but getting to watch Aaron Rodgers for the last 15 years has further built the Packers’ reputation among Canadians.
While it may be the twilight of Rodgers’ career and with Green Bay entering the post-Davante Adams era, the Packers are still expected to challenge for the Super Bowl this season because of their defense. The return of CB Jaire Alexander will almost certainly help in the development of what should be a top-tier defensive line.
*Odds subject to change.
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