November 12, 2019

CFL Simulation: And then there were four

The Canadian Press

TORONTO — One game separates four teams from the biggest game of the entire year, and heading into Division Finals, the CFL Simulation has looked kindly upon the two hosts on Sunday.

As the number of teams gets smaller with each passing week, the odds change. The Saskatchewan Roughriders dropped from 75 to 70. Additionally, they have the best odds to win the 107th Grey Cup presented by Shaw and feature in the most likely championship matchup.

That most likely showdown comes against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. The Tabbies have the highest odds to head to Calgary, on top of their 26 percent odds to win the title, they are also in the two likeliest head-to-heads.

Winnipeg has significantly boost its odds with a victory over Calgary in the Western Semi-Final. They have the third-best odds to both appear and play in the Grey Cup game.

The Edmonton Eskimos’ odds are the worst of the bunch, but in a single-elimination game, anything can happen. As Jason Maas and his squad have said, why not them?

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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 82.03%
 Saskatchewan Roughriders  70.53%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers  29.47%
 Edmonton Eskimos  17.97%


Odds to Win 107th Grey Cup
Team Projection
 Saskatchewan Roughriders 49.27%
 Hamilton Tiger-Cats 26.72%
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 19.94%
Edmonton Eskimos 4.07%


Most likely matchups in 107th Grey Cup
Teams Projection
Saskatchewan-Hamilton 57.77%
Winnipeg-Hamilton 24.26%
 Saskatchewan-Edmonton  12.76%
Winnipeg-Edmonton 5.21%