September 17, 2019

CFL Simulation: Bombers favoured to take the West

Jason Halstead/

TORONTO — The CFL Simulation was a big fan of the Winnipeg Blue Bombers during their bye week.

The Bombers won the West Division over 77 percent of the time, appeared in the Grey Cup over 70 percent and won the whole thing in over half the simulations.

Despite their loss against the Calgary Stampeders, the Ticats didn’t lose much traction. Some of their simulation odds did take a dip, but with Montreal losing their matchup with the Riders, Hamilton’s Grey Cup appearance odds went up.

Calgary and Saskatchewan are both still projected to finish the season with identical 11-7 records, but the sim has been kinder to the Stamps, giving them higher percentages to both appear and win the Grey Cup. Calgary also appears in two of the most likely championship matchups this time around.

With their victory over the Ottawa in Week 14, BC improved it odds — albeit slightly — and jumped the REDBLACKS in most categories. The two teams could flip flop again with another head-to-head taking place on Saturday.

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The model considers the following:

  • Each team’s current win-loss record.
  • Opponents already played (including whether it was a home or away game).
  • The 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 and resulting playoff bracket (including the possibility of a playoff crossover team).  For each replication, the model keeps track of a number of performance metrics (for example, which teams earned home playoff games, which teams appeared in the Grey Cup, etc.).

For instance, if Winnipeg won the Grey Cup in 1,990 of the 10,000 replications, then its Grey Cup victory probability would be 1,990/10,000 = 19.90%.

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

Here’s a look at how all the teams stack up:

Odds to make playoffs
Team (Projected 2019 record) Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (13-5) >99.99%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (13-5) >99.99%
Calgary Stampeders (11-7) 99.95%
Saskatchewan Roughriders (11-7) 99.92%
Montreal Alouettes (10-8) 98.87%
Edmonton Eskimos (9-9) 95.69%
BC Lions (5-13) 2.86%
Toronto Argonauts (5-13) 2.65%
Ottawa REDBLACKS (4-14) 0.06%


Odds to host playoff game
Team Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats >99.99%
Montreal Alouettes 98.72%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 94.71%
Calgary Stampeders 62.70%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 38.19%
Edmonton Eskimos 4.40%
Toronto Argonauts 1.23%
Ottawa REDBLACKS 0.05%
BC Lions <0.01%

Odds to win East
Team Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 94.72%
Montreal Alouettes 5.28%
Ottawa REDBLACKS <0.01%
Toronto Argonauts <0.01%


Odds to win West
Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 77.06%
Calgary Stampeders 14.38%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 8.50%
Edmonton Eskimos 0.06%
BC Lions Eliminated

Odds to appear in 107th Grey Cup
Team Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 78.89%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 71.21%
Calgary Stampeders 22.43%
Montreal Alouettes 16.26%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 7.94%
Edmonton Eskimos 3.01%
Toronto Argonauts 0.18%
BC Lions 0.08%
Ottawa REDBLACKS <0.01%

Odds to Win the 107th Grey Cup
Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 53.21%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 24.25%
Calgary Stampeders 14.54%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 3.74%
Montreal Alouettes 3.59%
Edmonton Eskimos 0.60%
BC Lions 0.04%
Toronto Argonauts 0.03%
Ottawa REDBLACKS <0.01%

Most likely matchups in 107th Grey Cup
Teams Projection
Winnipeg-Hamilton 56.28%
Calgary-Hamilton 16.84%
Winnipeg-Montreal 11.21%
Saskatchewan-Hamilton 5.43%
Calgary-Montreal 3.82%