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Canadian Football League: The Ottawa Redblacks were hoping to follow up their first-ever Grey Cup win in 2016 with another title in 2017, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Instead, Ottawa went 8-9-1 and lost in the division semifinals to the Saskatchewan Roughriders. Now that they’ve tasted victory, however, the Redblacks will definitely be hungry for more in 2018.
Ottawa is under the direction of head coach Rick Campbell, who made his head coaching debut with the Redblacks in 2014. After a rocky start to his head coaching career, Campbell has taken the team to the playoffs for the past three straight years, including two Grey Cup game appearances. Quite the turnaround for the 47-year-old, who went 2-16 during his inaugural season. He’s also been a part of two Grey Cup wins as an assistant coach.
The Redblacks have an interesting team after making quite a few changes this offseason after the title defense fell flat. Time will tell whether all the movement ends up being a net positive or negative.
Much of the season could be dependent on the performance of quarterback Trevor Harris. He suffered a lower-body injury early in the team’s preseason opener but hopefully he can return for the start of the regular season. Harris led the CFL in passer efficiency a season ago and threw 30 touchdowns, and the team’s passing game is expected to excel once again.
Diontae Spencer is a special talent and could be hard to corral for opposing defenses. The Ottawa offense should light up the scoreboard once again but the defense is a concern. Ottawa has trouble forcing turnovers or getting sacks a season ago and need to improve in order for the Redblacks to get back into the upper echelon of teams in the CFL once again.
CFL Odds To Win the Grey Cup at BetCRIS
Calgary Stampeders 2/1
Edmonton Eskimos 6/1
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 13/2
Toronto Argonauts 13/2
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 7/1
Saskatchewan Roughriders 15/2
BC Lions 10/1
Ottawa Redblacks 12/1
Montreal Alouettes 18/1
The oddsmakers are not buying the Redblacks’ offseason as they have long odds to capture the Grey Cup despite winning the title just two seasons ago. A good quarterback goes a long way but the presence of Harris does not seem to make up for deficiencies elsewhere on the team, according to the odds.
This could be a sneaky good longshot play as the payout would be nice for a team with some high-end talent in important spots. While others may not have thought much about Ottawa’s offseason, if the front office made the right moves the team could find itself back in contention for a Grey Cup.
Grey Cup Titles
1 -- The Redblacks’ one and only Grey Cup championship in franchise history came in 2016. Despite finishing the season with a losing record that year, Ottawa won its division and defeated the Calgary Stampeders 39-33 in overtime to win the 104th Grey Cup. The franchise, initially created in 1876, has been shut down and revived a couple of times now but the 2016 title meant the end of a forty-year championship drought for Ottawa.
That Cinderella story didn’t translate to 2017 and the expectation is that Ottawa has a rough season in CFL wagering.
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