Canadian Football Betting

It’s hard to ignore the attraction of the NFL and this is the football league that grabs all the attention, but there is a huge football league being played further north as well, and that is the CFL. Canadian football is a huge sport across the top tip of north America and with their own star teams and star players, the Canadian football betting markets are in constant demand. Not only in Canada either, as nearly all the top bookmakers include CFL markets in their sportsbook and this shows that this sport holds a global fanbase. This betting guide will teach you all about CFL, the top leagues and competitions, and how to make the most of your money. First up, what is the game all about and how is it played?

Canadian football explained

Canadian Football is a team sport played in Canada that features 12 players on each team who compete across a field of play measuring 110 yards long and 65 yards wide. The idea, like many other sports, is to outscore your opponent. Scoring in Canadian football can be done in many ways. Firstly, there’s a touchdown which is achieved when a player takes the ball into their opponents end zone. A touchdown is awarded 6 points. After a touchdown, a team gets the opportunity for a conversion where they get a scrimmage opportunity to add one point via a field goal, or two points via another touchdown. A field goal gives a team 3 points and is scored by a drop kick that goes over the crossbar and between the two goal posts. 

A safety is scored when the ball becomes dead in the possession of a team in its own goal area, or when the ball touches or crosses the dead-line and this is worth two points. This is different from a single as the team scored against begins with possession of the ball. Lastly, a single (also called a rouge) occurs when the ball becomes dead in the possession of a team in its own goal area, or when the ball touches or crosses the dead-line, or side-line-in-goal, and touches the ground as a result of the ball been kicked from the field of play into the goal area by the scoring team. The difference between a rouge and safety is the team that conceded the point receives possession after the (rouge) score. As the name suggests, a single/rouge is worth one point.

Although less popular than American football, Canadian football has a reputation for its entertaining and unpredictable nature that captivates audiences across the globe.

Why is football and football betting so popular in Canada?

Canadian Football is one of the most participated sports within Canada and so it should come as no surprise that those who play and watch the game, also want to bet on the game as well. Millions of dollars are placed across the sport in every round of fixtures. An aggressive, explosive, and powerful sport, it is perfectly suited to betting with breaks in play for you to analyze the play and place your next bet. There is an extensive range of innovative and intriguing markets used in Canadian Football that are guaranteed to grip newcomers to the sport.

Canadian Football is also renowned for its great comebacks. The bigger pitches and three-down format ensure that no lead is safe, and once you have found yourself placing bets on games, you will want to sit down and soak up the action so you will inevitably end up an engrossed fan. There is also a great opportunity to make higher levels of profits when betting on CFL. 

Many bookmakers will play closer attention to the NFL and focus less on the CFL which means they aren’t paying close enough attention to the action or odds they are supplying. So, you may end up having more information about a specific game than the bookmaker, which is always a great place to be. 

Popular CFL bets

One of the reasons that Canadian Football betting is so popular is due to the vast amount of markets in which you can place your bets. There is such a variety of innovative and intriguing markets to discover, but in this guide we will bring you up to speed with the most common types of football bets and the ones easiest to understand which will serve as a clearer introduction to the sport.

Match or Tournament winner

You may well have seen match or tournament wins in other sports. They are the most common type of bet in pretty much every sport that you can bet on. It’s as simple as choosing who you think will win a particular game, placing your stake and seeing if your prediction is correct. Unlike in some team sports, there isn’t really the possibility of a draw in Canadian Football. A game will end at the conclusion of the 4th quarter, and if scores are tied, overtime will be played. Only if the match is a tie at this point, which is extremely rare, will the game be drawn. So generally speaking, you will be choosing for either side to win. A tournament win is simply deciding who will win the specific league or cup that they are competing in, such as the Grey Cup or the Superbowl.

First Touchdown

First Touchdown betting is another of the extremely popular markets which punters choose to bet on. It can be an unpredictable market, but this uncertainty creates favourable odds so that you can maximize your profit. Doing your research on player form and the likelihood that they will score a touchdown can prove pivotal in deciding who will score the opening touchdown of the game.


Over and under markets are offered by all bookmakers. In these markets the bookmaker will provide a specific number of points that will be scored, and you will have to bet on whether you think there will be over or under that amount of points scored in the game. As an example, a bookmaker might offer odds on over/under 48.5 points and it’s your job to choose the correct option to win your bet.


Accumulators are hugely popular with American Football fans. With so many games taking place over a weekend or even midweek, it’s a great opportunity to maximize your profits by correctly predicting the correct outcome of several games. You simply have to pick out your winner from any amount of games that you want, the odds will be multiplied due to the extra amount of variables and if all your results come in, you pick up a sizable profit.

Points Spread 

Points spread is a hugely popular bet type in both Canadian and American Football and is very similar to handicap betting in other sports. Essentially you are betting on the score gap between both teams. For example, you could bet that the points spread will -4.5 for one team, and as long as that team wins by 5 or more points, your bet will be successful.

The Canadian Football League

Canadian Football is played across many divisions within the country, however, the Canadian Football League (CFL), established in 1958, is the professional top level in the country. The tournament starts in June and culminates in the Grey Cup in November. The number of teams in the league has fluctuated since its formation but it currently comprises of nine teams from cities across Canada. These nine teams are split geographically into two divisions: the East Division containing four teams and the West Division featuring five teams. 

East Division

West Division

The season is kicked off by a two-game, three-week exhibition which doubles up as a pre-season to get players up to fitness. This is followed by the regular season which usually commences in mid-June. Each team will play the other eight teams twice, once at home and once away, plus an additional two games against an opponent from their own division, with these teams rotating each season.

Teams are awarded two points for a win, one point for a draw and zero points for a loss. Upon the conclusion of the regular season, the top team from each division automatically qualifies for home advantage in the divisional final. Second from East Division plays third from East Division, and likewise in the West Division, (unless the team who finishes fourth in one division outscores the third placed team in the opposing division). The winners of the regional semi-finals then travel to their divisional champions, who have enjoyed a week's rest, for the regional final. The two winners from the regional finals then meet to compete for the Grey Cup. The most successful team in CFL history are the Toronto Argonauts who have lifted the Grey Cup a staggering seventeen times.

The week prior to the Grey Cup, the individual league awards such as the Most Outstanding Player and Most Outstanding Defensive Player are awarded at a dedicated event in the Grey Cup’s host city. Once the final has taken place, there is also a ceremony to decide the Grey Cup MVP and Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian.

Football betting tips

Canadian football varies quite significantly from American football so by now you may have already assumed your betting strategy will be different, and your assumption would be right. We’re going to take a look at some of the pivotal things to be aware of when placing your Canadian football bets in order to maximize your overall profit.

Keep up with the action - Things in Canadian Football change rapidly! Rosters alter significantly from year to year with shorter contracts and tighter employment laws regarding the ratio of Canadian players within a roster. Last year's walkaway champions may have fallen significantly behind their rivals, so it always pays to be cautious early season when teams are finding their feet. The best advice we can give is, make sure that you are keeping up with the latest transfers and results, either via social media or through newspapers and the press.

1 - Know the schedule

Fatigue and form play a huge part in Canadian Football. Checking the schedule to see when teams last played can give you a head start when it comes to placing your bets. Teams who have had longer to recover from their previous game will be at a suitable advantage.  The CFL schedule is fairly erratic and games are played across several days within a week, so it is fairly common for one team to be much more rested than their opposition. A lack of rest can increase the likelihood of injuries which is another variable to think about within your strategy. 

Check who is available from each team's roster, if a key player is missing it could have a significant impact on the way the team plays. Which leads us nicely on to form. Momentum and form play a huge part in all sports, and it’s certainly true for Canadian Football. Whether it’s a team or an individual, make sure you do your research into who is hot in form and who is down in the dumps, because this can be the difference between winning and losing.

2 - Score spreads vary

In the NFL almost one third of games are decided on spreads of 3 or 7 points. In the CFL this figure is much lower. There are several reasons why this might be the case, but it’s important to factor that in when pondering over your bets. It’s not to suggest that 3 and 7 aren’t still important spreads, they are, it’s more to change your mindset and attitude towards these types of bets. In Canadian Football a point can be scored at almost any time within a game, which means the usual spreads happen less frequently and score lines fall into a less ‘traditional’ pattern than American Football.

3 - Check the weather and the conditions

Weather and conditions can play a pivotal role in the outcome of a specific match. From hot and humid conditions, to heavy frosts and snow in the winter or even being forced to play indoors, players can find it hard to acclimatize to differing weather conditions. 

Time zones can also play a crucial role in the outcome of a game. If you are travelling all the way from the East Coast to play a game on the West Coast, not only do you have to factor in the players' conditions from travelling but they are also likely to play a game up to four and a half hours later than they would be at home. Some teams will adapt better than others, so it’s always worth being patient and awaiting early season results before seeing who fares well and who struggles.

4 - Avoid emotional betting

Although you may want your favourite team to win, sometimes it just makes sense to bet against them, no matter how hard it may feel. Don’t let your emotions get in the way of your betting decisions, it only ever ends badly. That’s not to say you shouldn't ever bet in favour of your team, you should if it is sensible and makes logical sense but don’t let your heart rule your head.

Best Sites for Football Betting in Canada

Choosing the right betting company for your sports bets is crucial and this also applies to football. Ensuring your stakes are safe and secure, and that you are getting good value for money with your bets is of paramount importance. In this guide we will look into some of the best companies to look out for when placing your football bets and what you might come to expect from the experience.

William Hill

William Hill are a safe and secure partner for your betting strategy. They provide countless online sports betting opportunities and offer a wide range of markets with great odds on Canadian Football. They are also well known to offer a wide range of promotions for you to take advantage of as well. Whether it’s a welcome promotion, a loyalty bonus, or a money back offer, you are sure to find great value betting online with William Hill.


Svenbet is a versatile sports bookmaker who not only provides extensive markets across Canadian Football, but also accepts a wide range of deposit methods including Skrill and Neteller among many others. They deliver a great range of loyalty offers and promotions whilst they also offer a 100% initial welcome bonus to entice you in as well.


Unibet provides a full range of CFL betting markets as well as in depth stats across every game of the season for you to use to your advantage. Unibet delivers a seamless betting experience both on desktop or mobile for simple navigation and ease of use, so you can find the markets you want in quick time. Unibet also put emphasis on their customer service. Someone is available 24/7 to assist you should you require it whether that be via live chat, email or on the phone.

Canadian Football Betting FAQs

When can I collect my winnings?

If your bet is successful you should be able to collect your winnings shortly after the result has come in. Most bookmakers will then process the withdrawal and have the money back into your bank account within 72 hours.

Can I use promotional offers on Canadian Football?

Almost certainly yes. It’s always worthwhile reading the terms and conditions of your specific bonus to avoid disappointment, but most offers, unless otherwise specified, will be applicable to Canadian Football markets

Can I bet in-play on Canadian Football?

Yes. Most leading bookmakers will also offer an extensive range of in-play markets throughout the duration of a game. This means the excitement never stops and you can remain involved in the action until the full time whistle blows.