November 1, 2022

CFL Simulation: Rolling into Semi-Final Sunday

Kevin Sousa/

TORONTO — As we get into the nitty gritty of the post-season, you’ll notice that the CFL Simulation looks a little different in terms of the probabilities offered up.

In our first playoff edition of the simulation the Winnipeg Blue Bombers are, as expected, favourites to win the whole thing and hoist the Grey Cup for the third season in a row. That would make them the first three-peat championship team that the CFL has seen since Edmonton was in the middle of its five-in-a-row dynasty, 42 years ago.

Of course, there are two weeks of playoff action to get through before we can really start to look at who will do any hoisting of the Grey Cup. And things in the present-day are pretty interesting themselves.

The Simulation is high on the Calgary Stampeders, despite them travelling to a rapidly-filling-up BC Place to face the Lions in the Western Semi-Final on Sunday. It puts the Stamps ahead of the Lions in both odds to appear in the Grey Cup and odds to win the Grey Cup.

No matter the week of the season, the Simulation is about taking an analytical snapshot of this moment. So, after the Eastern and Western Semi-Finals play out, we could be talking about a completely different picture in a week’s time.

» Matchups Set: 109th Grey Cup playoffs ready for kickoff
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Check out this week’s edition of the CFL Simulation to see how your team fares as we go into the opening week of the playoffs.

*C: Clinched a particular outcome
*E: Eliminated from achieving a particular outcome


Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 71.03%
Toronto Argonauts 68.30%
Montreal Alouettes 20.57%
Calgary Stampeders 18.20%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 11.13%
BC Lions 10.77%



Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 53.79%
Toronto Argonauts 16.18%
Calgary Stampeders 14.80%
BC Lions 7.14%
Montreal Alouettes 5.13%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 2.96%



Team Projection
Winnipeg-Toronto 48.42%
Winnipeg-Montreal 14.64%
Calgary-Toronto 12.47%
Winnipeg-Hamilton 7.97%
BC-Toronto 7.41%
Calgary-Montreal 3.73%
BC-Montreal 2.21%
Calgary-Hamilton 2.00%
BC-Hamilton 1.15%

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 100,000 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 20,190 of the 100,000 replications, then its Grey Cup victory probability would be 20,190 / 100,000 = 20.19%.

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

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