Although the CFL and NFL are both played in North America – Canada and the United States respectively – there are some differences between the two leagues that may potentially affect betting strategies. Below are four ways in which the CFL differs from the NFL in terms of betting:
CFL vs. NFL Field Size
The football playing field size varies between the two leagues. In the CFL, the football field length measures 110 yards from one goal line to the other, with the midfield line at 55 yards. On the other hand, the football field length in the NFL measures 100 yards from one goal line to the other, with the midfield line at 50 yards. In terms of the width of the football field, CFL football fields have a width of 65 yards whereas NFL football fields have a width of 53 and 1/3 yards. Additionally, the end zones are different lengths as well – CFL end zones are 20 yards deep whereas NFL end zones are 10 yards deep. As a result, CFL teams utilize more of a passing-oriented offense whereas NFL teams rely on a greater balance between the passing and running game. Since the football field size is larger in the CFL, it is slightly easier to complete a pass and catch for more yards as the bigger field size allows receivers more room to get open – CFL teams enjoy a higher average pass completion percentage and yards per completion than the NFL. Additionally, the goal posts are situated on the goal line in the CFL whereas the goal posts are situated on the back of the end zone in the NFL, resulting in more field goal attempts in CFL games. On average, scoring tends to be higher in the CFL compared to the NFL, which plays a role in betting game totals as well as team totals.
CFL Scoring vs. NFL Scoring
For the most part, scoring in the CFL and NFL are similar – a touchdown gains six points, a field goal gains three points, a kicked extra point gains one point, a conversion run gains two points, and a safety gains two points. A unique exception applies to the CFL in terms of what is called the single point, or rouge. A single point is awarded to the kicking team when either one of the two situations occurs: (1) the kicking team misses a field goal or punts the football and the receiving team catches the football and decides not to run out of their own zone, resulting in an additional point for the kicking team; (2) the kicking team misses a field goal or punts the football and the ball goes out of bounds in the end zone, resulting in an additional point for the kicking team. Over the course of a game, numerous extra points may be awarded, resulting in extra points that may push game totals upwards. Additionally, the single point, or rogue, may play a factor in affecting the outcome of spread betting as well, since NFL final scores tend to be decided by a multiple of six (one touchdown), seven (one touchdown plus kicked extra point), or three (one field goal) whereas CFL final scores tend to be more random.
Overtime rules are often extremely confusing in football for individuals new to the sport. If the game is tied at the end of the fourth quarter, teams will play an overtime quarter to decide the winning team. In the CFL, a coin toss determines the team that will obtain the first possession. The winning team of the coin toss can choose whether to take the first or second possession. There is no kickoff and instead, the ball is placed on the opposition’s 35-yard line, with the offensive team advancing the football until they score or lose possession. If the defense scores a point, the game ends. Once the first team’s possession is over, the second team receives the football in their own 35-yard line and will have a chance to match or exceed the first team’s score. If the second team beats the first team’s score, the second team wins the game. If the game is still tied after the second team’s possession, each team will have one more opportunity to put up points on the board. If the game remains tied, the game will end in a tie. In the NFL, the winning team of the coin toss has an option to receive or kick off the football. The overtime format is sudden death, with the first scoring team (via a safety, field goal, or touchdown) immediately winning the game. After 15 minutes of play, if neither team has scored, the game ends in a tie. The difference in overtime formats may affect the game totals or spreads since CFL overtime games may result in many more additional points being scored compared to NFL overtime games. Additionally, overtime games in the CFL may be decided by one point, whereas this situation can never happen in the NFL, which may affect the outcome of spread betting.
Number of Downs
In the CFL, the team on offense has three downs to complete a first down, kick a field goal, or score a touchdown. In the NFL, the number of downs increases to four. As a result, since the CFL has only three downs to gain 10 yards, the running game is often marginalized, with an emphasis on the passing game. On the other hand, NFL games have more of a grind-it-out feel since teams have an additional down to try and gain 10 yards. As a result, the difference in the number of downs may also play a role in game totals and spreads.