CFL Simulation: Bombers stand as heavy favourites

TORONTO — You’ll be hard pressed to find a player in the next 48 hours that will openly admit to thinking about their team playing in the Grey Cup game.

The players and coaches with all four of the Divisional Fina teams will tell you it’s all about the task at hand, keeping a focus on the present and doing the things that need to be done to extend their season another week.

Here, you’ve found one place and one rapid-calculation machine that has no problem looking at this week with one metaphorical eye and the 108th Grey Cup next week with the other.

The CFL Simulation is more than willing to fill in the blanks of next week, while giving you something interesting to think about in this week’s double-header.

We’ll start with the East, where the Argos are a slight favourite over Hamilton on Sunday. However, when looking at the possibilities of next week, the Ticats hold a higher likelihood of winning the Grey Cup than Toronto would.

In the West, it’s much more cut-and-dry. The Bombers are overwhelming favourites against the Riders, a team they topped twice in the regular-season and the team they got past in the 2019 Western Final, en route to their Grey Cup win. Winnipeg has an almost 87 per cent chance of winning on Sunday and making a repeat appearance in the Grey Cup game.

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Take a look to see how the simulation thinks this week and next might play out.


Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 86.64%
Toronto Argonauts 53.14%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 46.86%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 13.36%


Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 63.14%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 17.92%
Toronto Argonauts 12.29%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 6.65%


Team Projection
Winnipeg-Toronto 46.13%
Winnipeg-Hamilton 40.51%
Saskatchewan-Toronto 7.01%
Saskatchewan-Hamilton 6.35%

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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