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November 5, 2019

CFL Simulation: Riders sitting in prime position

Arthur Ward/CFL.ca

TORONTO — We’re well on the Shaw Road to the Grey Cup, and with the Eastern and Western Semi-Finals upon us, the CFL Simulation takes a look at who has the best chance at hoisting the 107th Grey Cup presented by Shaw.

As the leaders of their respective divisions, the Saskatchewan Roughriders and Hamilton Tiger-Cats hold the best odds of all the teams involved.

The Riders have 75 percent odds to appear in the Grey Cup game and the best odds to take the trophy home. They also feature in three of the four most likely championship game matchups.

Hamilton holds the best odds to appear in the final game of the year and 32 percent odds to win the game. They are in the two most likely Grey Cup showdowns.

Calgary sits not too far behind

Both Montreal and Edmonton have similar odds, however, the winner of the Eastern Semi-Final still has to go through Tim Hortons Field. The fourth most-likely game for the title has Edmonton going up against Saskatchewan in the first-ever West vs. West Grey Cup game.

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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 Appear in 107th Grey Cup
Teams Projection
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 86.11%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 75.59%
Calgary Stampeders 19.70%
Montreal Alouettes 8.16%
Edmonton Eskimos 5.73%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 4.71%


Odds to Win 107th Grey Cup
Team Projection
Saskatchewan Roughriders 50.52%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 32.20%
Calgary Stampeders 12.32%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 2.43%
Montreal Alouettes 1.29%
Edmonton Eskimos 1.24%


Most likely matchups in 107th Grey Cup
Teams Projection
 Saskatchewan-Hamilton 65.35%
 Calgary-Hamilton 16.89%
Saskatchewan-Montreal 5.81%
Saskatchewan-Edmonton 4.43%
Winnipeg-Hamilton 3.87%
Calgary-Montreal 1.84%
Calgary-Edmonton 0.97%
Winnipeg-Montreal 0.51%
Winnipeg-Edmonton 0.33%