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For most football fans, the summer months are simply a countdown to September when NCAA and NFL action begins on the gridiron. If you’re starving for some pigskin, however, the Canadian Football League – CFL – kicks off its 2018 regular season on June 14 and goes all the way into the fall, bridging the gap and scratching that football betting itch.
Here are some tips and tactics to keep in mind if you’re looking to get involved in the weekly CFL betting odds this summer:
Faster game
The one big difference between American and Canadian football is the number of downs, with CFL games giving teams just three downs to move the ball 10 yards compared to the four down you see in the NFL or college. That means teams are more apt to strike for deep yardage and throw the ball more on first and second down.
That leads to bigger plays and more scoring, but another reason the CFL has a more action is the pace. The league uses a 20-second play clock compared to 40 seconds in the NFL, which means more snaps and less time for the defense to adjust and substitute players to match the offensive set.
These differences are seen in the totals, with CFL games boasting an average Over/Under line between 50 and 60 points – depending on the makeup of the teams involved. Most NFL Over/Under odds are between 40 and 50 points.
Unique scoring
Due to the structured scoring of football, there are key numbers books and bettors must look out for when handicapping games. Spreads of three, six, seven, 10, and 14 are most common in the NFL and NCAA, but the CFL offers some alternative ways to score points, which can lead to some unique final margins.
Canadian Football rules allow teams to put up points by kicking the ball through the end zone – also known as a rouge or single – which is worth one point. This is done by any legal means, outside of a convert or successful field goal. So, a punting team can boot the ball through the opponents end zone, collect a single point, and then give their opponent the ball on their own 35-yard line.
Due to this “single” option, CFL pointspreads offer more value above and between these key numbers. In the NFL, oddsmakers will move quickly through “dead numbers” like four, five, eight, or nine, knowing that there’s a small chance the final score will be decided by those margins. In the CFL, however, bettors will see those so-called “dead numbers” more due to this unique scoring set.
The NFL is the most-bet market in North America, which means the lines are drum tight and any value available with the opening numbers is attack by sharp bettors and dries up before the public starts to bet the games closer to kickoff.
The same can be said with any NFL betting trends. These opportunities don’t stick around long and the markets are quick to correct, slamming the door on any edge the betting public may have had. That’s not the case in the CFL.
Due to the obscurity of the league, books and bettors aren’t spending as much time analyzing the results and opening odds, nor are they catching on to any valuable trends that may surface as the season progresses.
In past CFL seasons, we’ve seen underdogs dominate the schedule, with a winning clip of 60 percent or higher for an entire year. We’ve also seen early-season trends continue to pop up year over year, without the books adjusting, and then predictively balance out at certain points in the slate.
Football bettors can get a great head start on the CFL campaign if they do a bit of investigating into past trends and which current ones are making money.

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