November 14, 2017

CFL Simulation: Esks, Argos heavily favoured to play in Grey Cup

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — The Toronto Argonauts and Edmonton Eskimos are heavy favourites to play in the 105th Grey Cup presented by Shaw.

The odds were revealed on Tuesday, with the Argos leading the pack at 79.99 per cent odds to make it to the championship and the Eskimos sitting second with a 60.36 per cent chance.’s computers consider wins and losses, recency and a number of other key metrics and statistics to create a computer simulation that generates 10,000 replications of the remainder of the season. The computer likes the fact that the Eskimos have won six straight games, while the Argos have won five of seven and are at or near the top of the league in a number of key statistical categories (and also 6-3 at home, where they’ll play the Eastern Final).

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Hurting the Stampeders is the fact that they’ve lost three straight, including two in a row at McMahon Stadium, previously an unthinkable scenario. The Riders, meanwhile, are trying to do something that’s never been accomplished: Reach the Grey Cup as a crossover team.

With that said, the unlikeliest scenario appears to be an all-West duel between the Eskimos and the Riders.

Let’s take a look at the odds:

Odds to Meet in 105th Grey Cup

Matchup Projection
Edmonton-Toronto 48.17%
Calgary-Toronto 31.82%
Edmonton-Saskatchewan 12.19%
Calgary-Saskatchewan 7.82%


Odds to Appear in 105th Grey Cup

Team Projection
Toronto Argonauts 79.99%
Edmonton Eskimos 60.36%
Calgary Stampeders 39.64%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 20.01%


Odds to Win 105th Grey Cup

Team Projection
Toronto Argonauts 43.40%
Edmonton Eskimos 36.42%
Calgary Stampeders 12.19%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 7.99%


The model considers the following:

•             Each team’s current win-loss record.
•             Opponents already played (including whether it was a home or away game).
•             Margin of victory (or loss) in games previously played in the season.
•             Remaining opponents to be played (including whether those games are home or away).
•             Most recent results (a recent win is weighted more heavily than a win back in Week 1, for example)

The model calculates each team’s probability of victory in each remaining game. It then simulates 10,000 replications of the remaining regular season schedule.  The first place team in each division is the one with the most regular season wins.  For each replication, the model keeps track of which team finished first.

For instance, if Winnipeg finished first in the West Division in 1,990 of the 10,000 replications, then its first place probability is 1,990 / 10,000 = 19.90%.

The model is updated weekly based on the results of games played that week.

Fan Poll
Which Grey Cup matchup do you think is most likely?