There are long odds. Then there are really long odds. And then there are the odds of the Edmonton Elks winning this year’s Grey Cup.
The team opened the season with the longest odds to win the CFL’s championship game, which made sense given that the club was 4-14 last year. However, despite still facing questions at the quarterback position, the Elks were expected to be significantly better this season following the addition of marquee players like Eugene Lewis, Steven Dunbar Jr., A.C. Leonard, and Loucheiz Purifoy.
There was also historical precedent to consider heading into this year. Chris Jones went 5-13 in his first season as the head coach and general manager of the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016 before improving to 10-8 the following year, falling just shy of a Grey Cup berth. It wasn’t impossible to envision Edmonton taking a similar leap in 2023 after undergoing a complete overhaul the previous year.
Instead, the Elks are the league’s only remaining winless team at 0-7. They have lost 20 consecutive home regular season games, tying the all-time professional sports record, and are six points back of a playoff spot.
For those unfamiliar with sports betting, odds of +25000 mean that a bet of $10 would pay out potential winnings of $2,500. This illustrates how little confidence oddsmakers have in Edmonton’s chances of turning things around. The Elks’ odds are now 10 times longer than any other team in the league (scroll down for the full list).
The B.C. Lions overcame a 1-6 start in 2011 to finish the regular season with an 11-7 record and win the Grey Cup, which could provide fans in Edmonton with a glimmer of hope. If the Elks are to achieve a similar fate, they’ll need to rattle off seven or eight consecutive wins over the coming weeks.
The two teams with the shortest odds of winning this year’s Grey Cup are the Toronto Argonauts and Winnipeg Blue Bombers, who faced off in last year’s championship game in Regina. Toronto is the league’s only remaining undefeated team and have dominated their opponents with an average margin of victory of 15 points.
Interestingly, the B.C. Lions have longer odds of winning the Grey Cup than Winnipeg despite being two points ahead of them in the West Division standings. The Lions also crushed the Blue Bombers in their only meeting so far this season, beating them 30-6 at IG Field. The rivals are set to play again relatively soon with their second of three matchups this season set for Thursday, Aug. 3 in Winnipeg.
The league’s middling teams — Calgary, Saskatchewan, Hamilton, Ottawa, and Montreal — all have similar Grey Cup odds heading into Week 8. The Redblacks’ odds shortened after back-to-back wins and the emergence of rookie quarterback Dustin Crum, while the Riders’ odds grew after a potential season-ending knee injury to Trevor Harris.
The 110th Grey Cup is set for Sunday, Nov. 19 at Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton.