Which teams play in the CFL?

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CFL West and East Divisions

CFL West Division
  • BC Lions

  • Calgary Stampeders

  • Edmonton Elks

  • Saskatchewan Roughriders

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers

CFL East Division
  • Hamilton Tiger-Cats

  • Montreal Alouettes

  • Ottawa Redblacks

  • Toronto Argonauts

The best CFL sportsbooks


How many CFL teams are there?

The CFL currently has nine teams, also known as franchises. The teams are split into two divisions, with the West Division comprised of five teams and the East Division made up of four. Of the league’s nine teams, six make it through to the playoffs every season – the teams that finish first and second in each division and the two teams from the remaining five that have the next best regular season records. You can bet on CFL division futures every season.

Over its long history, the number of teams in the CFL has fluctuated. The league featured as many as 13 teams during its experiment with expansion into the US during the 1990s, and has also featured as few as eight in more recent seasons. Despite those changes, divisional split have historically been determined by geography.

This consistent structure has provided sports bettors with a wealth of historical data on team performance. With the CFL featuring fewer teams than other contemporary sports leagues, there is no shortage of long established rivalries that can add a layer of excitement to betting on the CFL.

Football_CFL_Montreal Alouettes quarterback Trevor Harris
© Bruce Fedyck-USA TODAY Sports

How many players are on a CFL team?

Unlike in the NFL, where team rosters feature 53 players, CFL rosters include just 46 players, with a maximum of 45 eligible to dress for a game. Among the 45 players that dress for a game, a minimum of 21 players must be designated as national players, meaning they were Canadian citizens at the time their contract was signed or were a legal resident in Canada for at least five years prior to turning 18 years old.

Similarly, while in the NFL each team has 11 players on the field at a time, there are 12 players per side in the CFL. This is due to the larger field used, which is closer in size to a soccer pitch than an NFL gridiron.

Overall, there are 24 different player positions, each of which require specific skills and carry different responsibilities. Understanding each role and the effectiveness of the player filling it can be crucial to your success in CFL betting. Key positions include the quarterback, who calls plays and guides his team’s movement while playing offence, and running backs, who receive the ball from the quarterback and attempt to gain yardage by carrying the ball from the line of scrimmage.

All-time CFL team stats

The origins of the CFL date back to the 19th century, although the league itself was formed in 1958. With the exception of its experiment with American expansion during the 1990s, it has remained largely unchanged since then. Indeed, eight of the nine teams that participated in its first ever season still exist today.

The one exception is the Ottawa Rough Riders, which folded at the end of the 1996 season. Ottawa remained without a CFL team until 2002, when the Ottawa Renegades entered the league. However, the Renegades would survive only four years before folding themselves, leaving Canada’s capital city without a team again until the Ottawa Redblacks were founded in 2010.

The symbol of football greatness in Canada for over a century, the Grey Cup has been awarded to the CFL champions since the league’s founding in 1958. The trophy actually pre-dates the CFL by almost half a century, with the prize first awarded back in 1909.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers have made the most appearances in the Grey Cup, battling for the trophy on a record 26 occasions. However, the Toronto Argonauts have won it the most times with 17, although just seven of these have been during the CFL era.

Football_CFL_Winnipeg Blue Bombers wide receiver Janarion Grant
© John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

CFL teams FAQs

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BET.CA staff
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