DraftKings has set the Ottawa Redblacks’ win total for 2023 at 7.5, which means the team only has to finish 8-10 or better to reach the over. There are plenty of reasons for fans to be cautiously optimistic about the upcoming season, though it’s understandable that some remain skeptical regarding a team that has disappointed in recent years.
Here are reasons to bet the under and the over for the Ottawa Redblacks’ win total in 2023.
Why you should bet the under
The Ottawa Redblacks are 10-40 over the past three seasons, which is a pretty shocking level of ineptitude. Their lack of success at home has been particularly stunning with the team dropping 23 of their last 24 contests in the supposed-friendly confines of TD Place. The team’s struggles at Lansdowne aren’t new, either, as they’ve gone 22-46-2 at home in the regular season since 2014.
In theory, 2023 could be different, but until the team proves it has turned over a new leaf, it’s hard to trust them. This is also without mentioning that star quarterback Jeremiah Masoli likely won’t be ready for the start of the season and has only played 22 of a possible 50 games since 2019.
Bob Dyce is hardly a rookie coach as he has decades of experience in the Canadian game at virtually every level and has won multiple Grey Cups. With that said, this is his first season as a head coach from the outset of a season — is it really realistic to expect him to suddenly guide his squad to the playoffs?
The East Division has also improved since last season. The Toronto Argonauts are the defending Grey Cup champions and the Hamilton Tiger-Cats have a seemingly healthy Bo Levi Mitchell leading a deep and experienced roster. Given that the Redblacks play the Alouettes four times this season, betting the under likely comes down to how many times you believe Ottawa will beat Montreal.
Why you should bet the over
Forget the past. General manager Shawn Burke has now had two full off-seasons to mold his ideal roster. There’s been turnover at all positions and with a new head coach in place who commands respect and 2023 will be different.
The Redblacks also have a proper offensive coordinator for the first time since 2018, one who isn’t also working as the head coach or serving by committee. That alone should make a massive difference, especially with the experience and sterling reputation Khari Jones has brought to the nation’s capital.
Dyce has repeatedly stated that his team will be tough, physical, and impose their will on opponents. Burke has constructed a roster (especially on offence) built for that type of bully-ball. The offensive line, led by newcomer Drew Desjarlais, has been revamped to include an intriguing blend of youth and experience. The line’s average height and weight is six-foot-four and 307 pounds. They should be able to set the physical tone.
The Redblacks also boast a trio of powerful running backs in Jackson Bennett, Ante Milanovic-Litre, and newcomer De’Montre Tuggle, who can get north quickly and run through contact. Regardless of who emerges with the starting job, when combined with the big men up front, Ottawa should have no issues establishing a strong ground game.
Flipping to the other side of the ball, the Redblacks have proven veteran playmakers at every position. Lorenzo Mauldin IV and Cleyon Laing are difference-makers along the defensive line, as are Jovan Santos-Knox and Frankie Griffin at linebacker, and Brandin Dandridge, Cariel Brooks, Abdul Kanneh, and Justin Howell in the secondary.
Although the lack of success at home in recent years is concerning, the tide has to turn at some point for the Redblacks. Of the team’s 14 losses in 2022, nine came by one score. With three of the club’s first five games being played at Lansdowne, getting an early win would allow them to start the season off on the right foot and restore a bit of confidence for the local fans.
Looking around the division, despite the Argos being defending champions, their starting quarterback has thrown exactly 52 pass attempts in the CFL. There’s virtually no experience behind him, either, which doesn’t tend to end well for teams.
The Ticats will be strong — they always are — but Ottawa doesn’t play them until Week 5, allowing plenty of time for Jeremiah Masoli to return and feel comfortable in Jones’ offensive system. Finally, the fact that the Redblacks play Montreal four times — a team with a new coach, a quarterback coming off a shaky season, and a number of key free agent losses — bodes well.
What I’ll be betting
I’m taking the over this season. Dyce has the faith of the locker room, Masoli will be back soon, and the club is built to withstand an injury should he go down at some point during the season. This team may not win the East Division but I predict they’re ready to turn the corner and reach the playoffs with a minimum of eight victories in 2023.
Editor’s note: please visit our CFL betting page for all your betting needs this season. Please note that you must be at least 19 years of age to legally wager on sports in Ontario.