CFL Simulation: Love for the Bombers, warming to BC

TORONTO — As the wins pile up and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers get some standings separation between themselves and the rest of the league, it can only mean one thing when it comes to CFL Simulation: This machine that we may have thought was incapable of emotion is getting a little wide-eyed and smitten with what it’s seeing.

The Bombers are checking off all of the boxes when it comes to simulator points. They’re winning, taking their 5-1 record into Edmonton on Saturday, chasing their best start since the Swaggerville era, in 2011. They’re coming off a pair of wins against the team that had the next-best record and split a pair of games against an Argos team that’s currently in first-place in the East.

Winnipeg heads into an interesting stretch in their schedule, with Edmonton as its opponent in three of the next four games. From their game at Commonwealth on Saturday, they jump to BC Place next week for what should be a good showdown with Michael Reilly and the Lions, before doing a home-and-home series — their third different one this season — with the Elks.

With Trevor Harris’ sudden move to the six-game injured list on Thursday, that should make an already strong Bombers team heavier favourites for these three encounters. If they keep winning, expect to see the percentages below continue to swell in the Bombers’ favour.


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One team that seems to have caught the attention of the simulator is the BC Lions, who moved above .500 last week for the first time since Reilly came aboard in 2019. The Lions’ odds of making the playoffs and hosting a playoff game have jumped up this week, with the loftier goals — winning the division, appearing in the Grey Cup game or winning the whole thing — experiencing a slight uptick.

Check out how the teams stack up below.

ODDS TO MAKE PLAYOFFS

Team (Projected 2021 Record) Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers (9-5) 97.05%
BC Lions (8-6) 83.94%
Toronto Argonauts (7-7) 80.54%
Montreal Alouettes (7-7) 74.02%
Saskatchewan Roughriders (7-7) 72.18%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats (7-7) 71.44%
Edmonton Elks (6-8) 56.82%
Calgary Stampeders (6-8) 34.37%
Ottawa REDBLACKS (6-8) 29.64%

ODDS TO HOST PLAYOFF GAME

Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 81.97%
Toronto Argonauts 66.90%
Montreal Alouettes 59.19%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 55.35%
BC Lions 52.53%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 34.57%
Edmonton Elks 21.42%
Ottawa REDBLACKS 18.56%
Calgary Stampeders 9.51%

ODDS TO WIN EAST

Team Projection
Toronto Argonauts 33.76%
Montreal Alouettes 31.10%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 29.42%
Ottawa REDBLACKS 5.73%

ODDS TO WIN WEST

Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 56.06%
BC Lions 22.95%
Edmonton Elks 9.75%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 8.89%
Calgary Stampeders 2.35%

ODDS TO APPEAR IN 108TH GREY CUP

Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 48.62%
Toronto Argonauts 32.91%
Montreal Alouettes 27.90%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 26.08%
BC Lions 23.58%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 16.14%
Edmonton Elks 11.85%
Ottawa REDBLACKS 7.51%
Calgary Stampeders 5.41%

ODDS TO WIN 108TH GREY CUP

Team Projection
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 32.91%
BC Lions 14.89%
Toronto Argonauts 10.65%
Saskatchewan Roughriders 10.37%
Montreal Alouettes 9.19%
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 8.89%
Edmonton Elks 7.46%
Calgary Stampeders 3.25%
Ottawa REDBLACKS 2.39%

MOST LIKELY 108TH GREY CUP MATCHUPS

Team Projection
Winnipeg-Toronto 16.37%
Winnipeg-Hamilton 12.88%
Winnipeg-Montreal 12.85%
BC-Toronto 7.23%
BC-Montreal 6.49%

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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