Is third time the charm for Ticats’ Grey Cup quest?

Photo courtesy: CFL

The 2022 Canadian Football League campaign is right around the corner and one of the teams that Ontario bettors are showing interest in when it comes to futures odds is the hometown Hamilton Tiger-Cats.

Hamilton enters the new season with high hopes after going 8-6 in 2021 and reaching the Grey Cup after defeating in-province rival Toronto in the East Final.

It also is investing the third-highest amount of money in player salaries this offseason, now having just under $5.3 million on the books for 2022 and sitting near the top of the odds board to win the East Division and Grey Cup.

Now that there are plenty of regulated online sportsbooks in Ontario, bettors in the province have more futures betting options and more sites to use when line shopping for the best odds. The available markets include the East/West Divisions, the Grey Cup winner, and season win totals (PointsBet).

Below, we’ll get into whether the Ticats are worth investing in before the season kicks off on June 9!

Ticats among CFL betting favorites in 2022

Aside from the obvious fact that the Ticats are a hometown favorite for a solid portion of the CFL fanbase in Ontario, Hamilton is also among the league’s elite teams.

This is reflected in the odds, where Hamilton’s odds to win the East () makes them favorites in the division. Some oddsmakers have also pegged the Tiger-Cats as the most likely candidate to dethrone the Blue Bombers at the 109th Grey Cup ().

After all, Hamilton does seek to represent the East in the Grey Cup for the third straight time after appearances in 2019 and 2021, both losses to Winnipeg.

The Tiger-Cats’ biggest move this offseason occurred in-house in a sense, as Hamilton committed fully to fourth-year quarterback Dane Evans by giving him a two-year extension while allowing Jeremiah Masoli to walk in free agency.

Evans is far from an unproven commodity, having played in all 18 games back in 2019. He put up an impressive 3,754 yards with 21 touchdowns and 13 interceptions while adding another 161 and three scores on the ground in that season.

The Tulsa product then appeared in 10 games last season and was a perfect 16-for-16 for 249 yards and a touchdown in the East Division Final win over the Argonauts.

Evans certainly won’t have an empty cupboard to work with in terms of the skill positions. The backfield duo of Don Jackson and Sean Thomas-Erlington could certainly be productive, while the versatile pass-catching corps of Steven Dunbar, Tim White, and veteran addition Lemar Durant give Evans some trustworthy targets.

Perhaps the biggest X-factor on that side of the ball could be Bralon Addison. The explosive Oregon product played in only three regular-season games in 2021 due to knee and hamstring injuries, but he should be back to full health.

Still just 28 years old, Addison recorded a 95-1,236-7 line over 16 games in 2019 and also rushed for 218 yards and another score that same year, so the upside is certainly there for a return to true No. 1 receiver numbers.

The defense also returns Dylan Wynn, Micah Johnson, and Ted Laurent, all integral components of the defensive front. Three-time All-Star Simoni Lawrence, who had another stellar season in 2021 (73 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions, and two defensive touchdowns in 14 games) also leads a strong group of incumbent linebackers.

Bet on Hamilton’s 2022 futures across the board?

If forced to pick one team to win the East and give Winnipeg a run for its money, it’s no surprise that Hamilton is the pick. Actually, the Ticats are a sound investment across the board for win total, East Division, and Grey Cup futures.

The Tiger-Cats have been forced to play second fiddle to the Blue Bombers in two straight Grey Cups, so there’s no question Orlondo Steinauer’s squad has a sizable chip on its shoulder. But it also has the talent to follow through on its mission.

There’s not much uncertainty with Evans at quarterback given he’s put together a solid body of work. Not only is this a veteran team that knows how to win late in the season, but the Ti-Cats may well eventually prove to have the best quarterback in the division, even if the aging Trevor Harris wins the starting job in Montreal.

Hamilton’s odds are enticing, especially at sites like FanDuel where the number seems to be a bit higher. And if you’re looking for something a bit safer, taking Hamilton to win the East likely means needing to edge out Toronto and doesn’t bring Winnipeg into play at all.

Another consideration could be just to take Hamilton’s win total at Over 9.5 (+100). The Ticats won eight of 14 games in 2021 and with 18 contests on the schedule in 2022, we’re happy to bet this team goes 2-2.