Plenty of Ontario Sports Betting Buzz Surrounding Sunday’s CFL Division Finals

Plenty of Ontario Sports Betting Buzz Surrounding Sunday’s CFL Division Finals
By Mark Keast

Those looking to wager on Sunday’s Hamilton Tiger Cats/Toronto Argonauts CFL Eastern Division Final at BMO Field are having to factor in more than injury reports and weather conditions.

Ontario bettors can place wagers through PROLINE+ from the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp. as the province looks to launch Ontario sports betting apps in early 2022, possible before the NFL Super Bowl.

Those interested in Ontario online sports betting are monitoring the Argos, who have a serious situation brewing, as they didn’t know as of Saturday if starting quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson will be allowed to start. He is being held out of practice and was sent home for violating the CFL’s COVID-19 protocol. On Friday, the league said Bethel-Thompson will have to produce negative COVID-19 PCR tests Friday and Saturday as well as a negative Rapid Antigen Test Sunday after 48 hours of quarantine.

So who knows? At least the league left a window of opportunity there for the Argos to get their starting quarterback into the lineup, which obviously greatly relieved head coach Ryan Dinwiddie.

Is News Affecting Odds?

On Thursday, before all of this, some interesting CFL PROLINE+ betting tidbits were sent out by the OLG.

In terms of Hamilton (-1.5) versus Toronto (+1.5), Toronto had been slight favourites in the game on Thursday, and early money favored Hamilton to win (79% of the moneyline wagers were on the visiting Ticats).

The point spread before the Bethel-Thompson news broke was Hamilton +1.5 and Toronto -1.5. As of Thursday, the total dropped slightly since the line opened (from 45.5 to 43.5) but 100% of the wagers were still on the OVER.

In West, Winnipeg Heavily Favored

After the Argos/Ticats game, the Western Division Final game has the Saskatchewan Roughriders heading to Winnipeg to play the Blue Bombers.

Winnipeg was the heavy betting favorite on Thursday (-6.5, Saskatchewan at +6.5), and that’s now been adjusted — the Bombers now sitting at -9.5, Riders at +9.5, with -22C temperatures and snow in the forecast for the game.

In that game, again as of Thursday, customers were taking the favourite, not only to win the game but to cover the spread as well - 96% of the point spread money was on Winnipeg. Customers again liking the OVER in this one with 100% of the wagers there.

U.S. Paying Attention to CFL

Some interesting Grey Cup futures wagers as well — 39% of the wagers were on Winnipeg (current odds of 1.83), 32% of the wagers were on Hamilton (current odds of 4.50), 12% of the wagers were on Toronto (current odds of 4.50), 8% of the wagers were on Saskatchewan (current odds of 6.00).

Plus, if the Argos manage to win the Grey Cup, the 49ers win the NFC Championship and the Titans win the AFC Championship, one PROLINE+ customer will turn their $2 wager into $3,060. Wonder what that person is thinking now with the Bethel-Thompson news?

After the division finals this weekend, the Grey Cup Festival next week will include celebrations daily leading into the championship game.

On the U.S. sports betting front, as it relates to the CFL, Johnny Avello of DraftKings Ontario told The Parleh that in fact there’s plenty of betting interest in the league south of the border, not a surprise since a large number of U.S. college players come up here to play.

There’s always interest in Canadian football, Avello said, and odds on the Ticats/Argos game shifted because of the status of Bethel-Thompson. The 8.5 in the Bombers/Riders game is holding, he added, but what has dropped is total points — from 48.5, now to 45.5.

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Contributors

Mark Keast

Mark Keast has recently covered the sports betting industry in Canada for The Parleh, and is a long-time sportswriter and editor, most notably with the Toronto Sun.