The 2017 CFL season kicks off this weekend with a trio of Western Division teams battling for top spot on the Grey Cup odds, with the Calgary Stampeders leading the way as the +350 Grey Cup favourites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
The Stampeders were the class of the CFL last season, winning 14 straight games en route to a league-best 15-2-1 record during the regular season.
A 39-33 overtime loss to Ottawa as 9.5-point chalk marked Calgary’s second Grey Cup loss in five years, but the Stampeders get an early chance at revenge when they visit the RedBlacks as a 3-point road favourite in a Week 1 matchup on Friday night.
The defending-champion RedBlacks open the new season well back of the favourites and deadlocked with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at +700 on the Grey Cup odds.
The RedBlacks endured an inconsistent regular season in 2016, failing to win consecutive games after opening the campaign with a pair of upset wins on the road. But after finishing 8-9-1 to capture top spot in the middling Eastern Division, Ottawa caught fire in the post-season, upsetting Edmonton 35-23 as a 2.5-point underdog in the Eastern Final to set the stage for their Grey Cup win over Calgary.
The B.C. Lions represent the Stampeders’ closest competition on the Grey Cup odds, trailing at +500, followed by the Eskimos at +550.
After romping to victory in their final three outings the Lions trailed only Calgary with a 12-6-0 regular-season record last season, but struggled to a 32-31 win over Winnipeg as 5-point home chalk in the Western semifinal before getting crushed 42-15 by the Stampeders as 7.5-point underdogs in the Western Final.
The Lions open the campaign on Saturday as 2.5-point chalk in a matchup with Edmonton, but face an Eskimos squad that turned the corner down the stretch last season, winning six of their final eight contests including four outright road victories.
The Tiger-Cats look to bounce back from a dismal end to last season when they open their 2017 schedule in Toronto on Sunday afternoon, taking on the Argonauts as 3.5-point chalk. Hamilton has posted victories in just four of its last 14 games overall, and has just one win in its past seven outings.
The Montreal Alouettes own +750 odds of ending a seven-year Grey Cup drought, ahead of the Blue Bombers and the Saskatchewan Roughriders at +800, while the Argonauts are pegged as +1200 longshots on the CFL futures heading into the season.