Will Bombers’ high spending lead to Grey Cup three-peat?

Photo courtesy: Winnipeg Blue Bombers

The 2022 Canadian Football League season is approaching and now that there are a huge number of regulated online sportsbooks in Ontario, the expectation is that more futures bets will be placed on the CFL than ever before. One of the teams sure to see the most action? You guessed it, the defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers.

It should come as no surprise that the odds-on favorite to win the 109th Grey Cup is Winnipeg, which goes for a three-peat after winning in 2019 and again in 2021 (the season was cancelled in 2020).

Winnipeg may have lost a couple of pieces but have returned plenty of talent from last year’s championship team and made several new financial commitments that have led it to spend more money than any other team in the CFL.

But does high spending and low odds mean you should be placing a futures bet on the Bombers before Week 1?

Blue Bombers pace the field in projected salary expenditure

Not too long ago, 3DownNation analyzed the CFL salary cap situation for each team. Unsurprisingly, the defending champion Winnipeg Blue Bombers are investing heavily into their stellar personnel, many of which were in line for raises this offseason, as the team attempts to win a third consecutive Grey Cup.

The Bombers are currently expected to spend a total of approximately $5.3 million in player salaries for the 2022 season. It would be the highest amongst the league’s nine clubs, and that’s even with Winnipeg allowing running back Andrew Harris and receiver Kenny Lawler to depart in free agency.

After all, the Bombers are home to the CFL’s single highest-paid player, that being three-time Grey Cup champ (twice with Winnipeg) Zach Collaros.

While Collaros does claim the biggest piece of the Bombers’ salary cap pie ($550,000 in 2022), most would argue it’s warranted and that the 33-year-old quarterback gives Winnipeg the best chance for another Grey Cup, especially now that Harris is elsewhere.

Winnipeg also handed out raises to keep several other top-end players and is financially committed at nearly every position on the depth chart going into the 2022 season. But should you bet on that spending translating into another championship?

Winnipeg worth a bet as unanimous favorites for Grey Cup three-peat?

The Bombers are once again odds-on favorites to win both the West Division () and the 109th Grey Cup (). If you’re wondering whether a play on Winnipeg is a worthwhile one at these prices, the answer really depends.

If you’re looking for uber-attractive odds and a huge payout at the end of the season, the Bombers aren’t for you. But if you’re most interested in taking a team with one of the best chances (if not the best) to finish atop the mountain, this is still your bet, as boring as it sounds. Especially if you can still get three times your money or better by shopping around.

The expectations are based first and foremost based on Collaros’ presence. In his first season as a full-time starter for the Bombers in 2021, Collaros threw for 3,185 yards with 20 touchdowns and only six interceptions across 13 regular-season games, adding 63 yards on 10 carries. The veteran completed 70.2 percent of his passes.

He did throw five interceptions during the Bombers’ two-game postseason, but his pair of touchdown passes in the Grey Cup win over the Tiger-Cats were the difference in an eight-point victory.

The likes of returnees Drew Wolitarsky, Nic Demski and Rasheed Bailey should once again be key targets for Collaros, as will new arrivals Jalen Saunders and four-time CFL division All-Star Greg Ellingson. The team believes it’s prepared to adequately replace Harris with the help of the backfield duo of Johnny Augustine and Brady Oliveira.

Not to be outdone, there is also a crew full of stats elsewhere on the roster. Plus, a defense that allowed a CFL-low 13.4 points and 281.3 yards per game along with a CFL-low 16 touchdowns returns the majority of its key pieces.

That includes six-time CFL All-Star linebacker Adam Bighill, standout second-year cornerback Deatrick Nichols, and stalwart safety Brandon Alexander, although the latter will begin the season on the six-game injured list.

While the Roughriders and Stampeders also forged winning marks in the West Division in 2021, Winnipeg arguably has the advantage over both in those all-important areas of quarterback and defense to give them a leg up on getting back to the title game and extending its burgeoning dynasty.

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