The 2022 Canadian Football League season is fast approaching the excitement is palpable, as the upcoming campaign is set to play out over 21 weeks for the first time since 2019.
This will also be the first CFL season since the introduction of widespread regulated sportsbooks in Ontario, and we’re here to tell you why bettors may want to consider futures odds for the hometown Argonauts before Week 1 kicks off on June 9!
Argos’ Canadian depth is second to none
One of the keys to season-long success in any sport is roster depth and in the CFL, that means having a strong pool of Canadian players to choose from.
Our own John Hodge is on the record with his feeling that Toronto has the best Canadian depth in the entire league, even if the Argos may not have the most talented pool of Canadians overall.
The Game Rule Ratio lays out the roster requirements for the CFL, and it states that teams are required to have a minimum of 21 Canadian-born players on their 46-player roster. It stands to reason that having strong depth in this area can be one of the keys to success over the course of a season.
As Hodge mentioned, we can look back to last season for evidence that the Argos are excelling in this area. Toronto went 9-5 and finished the regular season atop the East Division while starting 22 different Canadian players at slotback, wideout, centre, guard, tackle, defensive tackle, defensive end, safety, cornerback, and all three linebacker spots.
Toronto’s prized offseason acquisition only adds to that list as running back Andrew Harris joins the Argonauts. A five-time CFL All-Star, two-time Grey Cup Most Valuable Canadian, one-time Grey Cup MVP, and three-time CFL rushing champion, the 34-year-old Winnipeg native brings some serious championship pedigree to a team that could be knocking on the door to a Grey Cup appearance.
Meanwhile, one of the promising prospects lucky enough to serve as a Harris understudy this coming season is Dion Pellerin, a 2020 fifth-round pick who was a standout during his college days at Waterloo with 2,674 total scrimmage yards and 21 touchdowns.
Other notable Canadians set to suit up for the Argos in 2022 include longtime fullback Declan Cross, last season’s second-leading Canadian wideout Kurleigh Gittens, Jr. (50 receptions, 605 yards, 4 TD), the oft-injured but talented Juwan Brescacin, accomplished linebacker Henoc Muamba and recent trade acquisition Royce Metchie.
2022 CFL futures betting | oddsmakers say Argos can contend for East, Grey Cup
For all of its Canadian talent (and talent in general), how will it translate in terms of results? When we get a look at the futures odds for both the East and the Grey Cup, oddsmakers see the Argos as a factor in its division and perhaps even a candidate to upend Winnipeg.
First off, the Argos are co-favorites with rival Hamilton to win the East (). The Argos’ division futures naturally won’t fetch as appealing a price, simply due to the smaller field of teams Toronto needs to overcome. But considering the price and state of the East, it’s an intriguing proposition nonetheless.
The Redblacks, Toronto’s fellow Ontario denizens, seemingly still have a long way to go in their climb back to respectability. That means the Tiger-Cats (with Dane Evans and not Jeremiah Masoli at quarterback) and the Alouettes (with QB questions of their own) seem to be the only two potential hurdles in the Argos’ way.
There’s also potentially great value to be had in Toronto’s price to win the Grey Cup (), where most sportsbooks have the Argos with the fourth-longest odds. The lines do vary, however. and some simple line shopping tells us that BetMGM currently has the longest odds compared to other regulated sites.
Toronto narrowly lost in the East Division Finals to the Tiger-Cats and could very well be back in the same position, except with an improved roster. Not only did the Argos retain McLeod Bethel-Thompson under center and add Harris, but they also signed the electric Brandon Banks to augment an already-impressive pass-catching corps that includes Ricky Collins, Eric Rogers and Josh Huff.
The acquisition of Metchie also gives Toronto’s defense, which finished around the middle of the pack in most major categories last season, a boost against both the run and pass.
In the lead up to Week 1 kickoff, bettors in Ontario certainly have a few reasons to consider the hometown Argos among their 2022 CFL futures bets.