cfl betting article. couple years old but still relevant.
Canadian Football League: A Gold Mine In The Great White North?
by Bobby Bryde, 05/03
Charity Football League? or Canadian Football League? Those who bet the CFL regularly may be excused if they prefer the former. Betting - and beating - the CFL has become almost too easy; many bettors post season records of over 60 percent.
Why? The lines-makers just donâ€™t put the work into it. In Las Vegas, only two or three books put it on the board, and those that do wait until Wednesday afternoon (or the day of the game) to put up the lines, allowing the bettors offshore a chance to move the numbers. Itâ€™s not unusual to see lines move 2, 3, or even 4 points after opening; in fact, most limits are so low (offshore books take two-three dimes at most on sides) one limit bet can move a game a full point. Since most books just play “follow the leader” and adjust their CFL lines without even taking a bet, this gives a player with several offshore accounts the opportunity to side/middle games.
Just lay -2.5, watch the screen light up, and before kickoff the worst case scenario is the bettor can buy back 3.5 to +4.0 points. CFL games rarely get middled, but itâ€™s nice knowing if you hit a side hard early, you may get an opportunity to buy some back at kickoff.
How soft are the lines? Two years ago the Hamilton quarterback missed three games; the books didnâ€™t know it and the bettors bet against the Ti-Cats all three games, which Hamilton lost. In game four, the quarterback, McManus, returned, and the books left the game off of the boar, having just found out the QB was hurt. The kicker was that McManus was returning that week. After sending an e-mail to a local line service notifying them, they still refused to send a line on the game. Oh, McManus played; Hamilton won. Sure, they put work into the numbers.
Last year a supervisor at the Horseshoe in Las Vegas was asked why they didnâ€™t book the CFL. He replied: “We only book real sports here.” On a screen above his flat head was a Major League baseball game in which all the players were sitting in the dugout because it was raining. I pointed to the screen, saying: “Yeah, but at least the CFL players arenâ€™t afraid to get wet. But you book baseball, a real sport.”
One Canadian bookie who has been betting Canadian Football for thirty years laughs when neophytes describe Las Vegas as the sports betting capitol of the world. “They [Las Vegas] take a nickel on the sides and $200 on totals. Shit, I take three dimes on totals and they shake on a two dollar bet!”
CRIS, an offshore book, has been putting up CFL lines for seven years. "Our action has improved, "says Mac, “but we put up CFL more as a courtesy than anything else.”
Surprisingly, Mac says most CFL bettors arenâ€™t from Canada. “We have some wise guy action, but itâ€™s mostly a very small select group.”
There are some drawbacks to betting the CFL. Unless one has an offshore account - forget it. Limits are low. Half-time lines are hard to find. U.S. residents donâ€™t get the feeds, so unless a bettor has a satellite or internet access to the radio broadcasts, watching or listening to the games is impossible (which indirectly hurts handicapping). And just try finding a score. ESPN refuses to put CFL games on their ticker, saying: “There just isnâ€™t the interest.” CNNSI obviously doesnâ€™t feel thatâ€™s the case, as they put CFL scores on their screen.
It seems like ages ago when CFL bettors in Las Vegas played at Gary Austinâ€™s Sports Book, then trotted down the street to The Castaways to watch the sports-ticker and drink four-bit beers, and I wish it could be said that the Las Vegas books have grown with the times; unfortunately that hasnâ€™t happened. Maybe the Canadian Football League had the Las Vegas sports book directors in mind when the CFL came up with their slogan: “Our Balls Are Bigger”.