October 8, 2019

CFL Simulation: Can the Lions make the playoffs?

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — There’s a new team that’s surging down the stretch and vastly improving their odds in the CFL Simulation.

Wins by both the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats keep them among the top teams to appear and win the Grey Cup.

As winners of their last four games, the BC Lions have received the biggest bump among teams in this week’s simulation. With their latest victory over Toronto, their percentage of making the playoffs rose from 20 to 52 percent. Their odds to make the Grey Cup also improved by seven percent and their chances to win the whole thing. They also feature in the fifth-most common championship matchup.

That leaves the Edmonton Eskimos falling further down the ranks in the sim. Their odds to make playoffs went from nearly 80 percent to under 50 with their loss to Hamilton paired with BC’s win.

Toronto has become the first team that has been eliminated across the board, but depending on the outcome of the BC-Edmonton game in Week 18, there could be more teams added to that.

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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 (14-4) Clinched
Calgary Stampeders (12-6) Clinched
Saskatchewan Roughriders (12-6) Clinched
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (11-7) Clinched
Montreal Alouettes (10-8) Clinched
BC Lions (8-10) 52.75%
Edmonton Eskimos (7-11) 47.25%
Ottawa REDBLACKS (4-14) <0.01%
Toronto Argonauts (4-14) Eliminated


Odds to host playoff game
Team Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats Clinched
Montreal Alouettes Clinched
Saskatchewan Roughriders 97.46%
Calgary Stampeders 57.18%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 45.28%
Edmonton Eskimos 0.08%
Ottawa REDBLACKS Eliminated
Toronto Argonauts Eliminated
BC Lions Eliminated

Odds to win East
Team Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats >99.99%%
Montreal Alouettes <0.01%
Ottawa REDBLACKS Eliminated
Toronto Argonauts Eliminated


Odds to win West
Team Projection
Saskatchewan Roughriders 70.86%
Calgary Stampeders 22.93%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 6.21%
Edmonton Eskimos <0.01%
BC Lions Eliminated

Odds to appear in 107th Grey Cup
Team Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 81.54%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 69.20%
Calgary Stampeders 18.98%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 11.83%
Montreal Alouettes 11.27%
BC Lions 7.02%
Edmonton Eskimos 0.16%
Ottawa REDBLACKS <0.01%
Toronto Argonauts Eliminated

Odds to Win the 107th Grey Cup
Team Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 46.04%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 34.52%
Calgary Stampeders 7.32%
Montreal Alouettes 4.23%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 4.16%
BC Lions 3.70%
Edmonton Eskimos 0.03%
Ottawa REDBLACKS <0.01%
Toronto Argonauts Eliminated

Most likely matchups in 107th Grey Cup
Teams Projection
Saskatchewan-Hamilton 56.51%
Calgary-Hamilton 15.43%
Winnipeg-Hamilton 9.58%
Saskatchewan-Montreal 7.54%
Saskatchewan-BC 5.05%