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Betting on CFL vs Other Canadian Sports

The CFL (Canadian Football League) is incredibly popular among sports lovers in the Great White North. While not quite as ubiquitous as the NFL (National Football League) in the US, the Canadian sport is steadily growing in popularity and reach, with spectators outside of Canada beginning to take notice.

As with any sport, the CFL lends itself to those who enjoy wagering money on games. In fact, now that the CFL has signed contracts with sportsbooks, it is more popular than ever. However, compared to other sports betting, CFL has some unique differences, which we’ll look at closely below. 


One of the first and most glaring differences between the CFL and other sports is the environment in which the game is played. CFL is similar to sports like soccer and lacrosse in that it is almost always played outside on a grass field or pitch.

By comparison, other Canadian sports are vastly different. For instance, ice hockey—the most popular sport in the country by far—doesn’t occur on a grassy field. This game is played on a slab of ice in a cooled arena.

Canadian basketball is similar to ice hockey in that it also occurs inside a stadium or arena, albeit on a hardwood floor.

Inexperienced gamblers may shrug this off as a simple difference. However, those who have placed more than a few wagers or have a solid understanding of sports know that a simple change in environment can massively affect its outcome.

In fact, a game’s environment is one of the most critical factors to consider when determining a team’s probability to win. Other factors include weather conditions, which have a substantial impact on sports played outside but are irrelevant for games played in a closed arena or stadium. 

In-Game Factors

Similar to the environment, multiple in-game factors must be considered when attempting to make an accurate bet. With CFL, these vary significantly from what you would consider when wagering on other Canadian sports.

For hockey, considerations include the pace of play, power plays, penalties and, more important than anything else, the goalie. None of these factors are useful, however, when betting on CFL.

With the CFL, things like the number of downs, recent player injuries and field conditions should be considered instead. These factors are unique to the game and should be understood in order to make accurate bets. If not, a gambler would actively need to see more games and read more guides on how such factors influence the game and become more knowledgeable with them.

On the other hand, some factors remain the same for all sports. For example, home-field advantage is just as relevant to hockey games as it is to CFL games in determining whether a team does better when playing at their home stadium versus when they are away.

Betting Availability and Types

While the CFL is gaining some popularity outside of Canada, it is still not popular internationally. Basketball, however, is wildly popular in many countries around the world. Because of this, it offers more betting opportunities. The same is true for most of Canada’s other sports.

Furthermore, gambling on basketball and other popular Canadian sports tends to offer more betting types than CFL. That said, CFL is supported by almost any sportsbook operating within Canada, and a wide range of bet types are available for it. 

Aside from betting availability, the types of bets can also vary. A standard moneyline bet for CFL is commonly known as a 1×2 bet. This wager allows you to guess which of the two teams will win or whether the game will end in a draw.

Basketball also offers simple moneyline bets that, like CFL bets, require you to predict the winning team. However, these bets don’t offer the option to indicate a tie. You can only predict an outright winner, which is why these moneylines commonly come with a half number attached to them.

Game Format

One of the most fundamental differences between betting on CFL and other sports is also the most obvious—even to people who may have never placed a bet. CFL has unique rules, playtime and scoring systems.

The game format of CFL, which comprises four 15-minute quarters, differs from ice hockey, which has three periods that last 20 minutes each. Like other factors already mentioned, these differences can also impact the types of bets available to gamblers.

While ice hockey will allow you to place a 60-minute line bet, requiring you to predict the game’s outcome at the point when the official timer runs out, CFL doesn’t have a bet like this. Instead, it offers quarter and half bets, which require the same prediction except at various points in the game.

Although CFL also has a full-time bet (which could be considered similar to hockey’s 60-minute bet), this factors in possible overtime, whereas the variant of the bet supported by ice hockey does not.

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Priyanka Chaudhary
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