The Canadian Football League is expected to return to the field after canceling the entire 2020 season, but fans of the league will have to wait till later in the summer with a shortened schedule. Last week, the CFL announced a target date of Aug. 5 with the Grey Cup slated to take place on Dec. 12.
BREAKING: The CFL regular season has a revised target start date of August 5th and the #GreyCup has been re-scheduled to December 12th in Hamilton, Ontario
— CFL (@CFL) April 21, 2021
The initial schedule had the season set to begin on June 10, and the 2021 season will now be played over the course of 16 weeks with each team competing in 14 games. In the release on the official CFL website, the league’s commissioner Randy Ambrosie acknowledged the Aug. 5 proposal is simply a target date and could be moved due to unforeseen circumstances with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Last year’s CFL season was canceled due to financial concerns as the league relies on ticket revenue more than most major sports leagues, and fans would not have been allowed to attend games. Because of this, the fate of the 2021 season could still be impacted by the virus over the course of the summer.
In order to start the season on time on Aug. 5, Ambrosie said two items will be required including “the approval of public health officials across the country of our plans for protecting the health of our players, coaches, and ultimately our fans.”
The other necessity was described as “permission from governments to host a significant number of fans in the stands, in a significant number of venues at the start of the season, and in the rest of our venues soon after that.”
The coronavirus has been incredibly unpredictable as a new virus, but the league is hoping fans will be in attendance so games can go on as normal as possible.
Also on the league’s website, Ambrosie discussed the possibility of partnering with the XFL, a professional football league in the United States that suspended operations in the spring of 2020 and is not expected to return in 2021. He said the CFL is pondering different areas to improve the league’s business model for long-term success. Ambrosie said there is nothing to announce in terms of an agreement between the two leagues but that conversations are ongoing. The XFL has announced it plans to return to the field in the spring of 2022.
Grey Cup Winner Odds
With the expectation of a 2021 CFL season, here’s a look at who is expected to contend for the Grey Cup this fall. There figures to be plenty of movement in the odds markets from now till the start of the season with additional news throughout the league as we are at least three months away from the projected start date. All odds are via a popular United States sportsbook.
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats lost the last CFL game that was played, which occurred on Nov. 24, 2019 in a loss to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Grey Cup, but the Tiger-Cats are the betting favorites to win it all in 2021 at +300 odds. Winnipeg is right behind them with the second best odds at +400.
Oddsmakers slotted the Saskatchewan Roughriders with the third best chance at +500 in front of the Calgary Stampeders at +550 odds. The Toronto Argonauts are on a tier by themselves at +750. The Edmonton Football Team has the most Grey Cup titles, but they have the sixth best chance among the nine franchises at +1000. The BC Lions and Montreal Alouettes are tied for the seventh best odds at +1100.
The Ottawa RedBlacks are the biggest long shots to win the title with +1600 odds.