Last season, the Montreal Alouettes were not a good team and finished the season 5-13, far away from being in any Grey Cup conversations. There was a lot of room for improvement. While the team did address some needs during the offseason, they didn’t address them all.
So, when they started the season with a loss (32-25 to Edmonton) but were competitive in the game, it was a little surprising. But then hopes for a good season came crashing back down to Earth when they were dominated by the Hamilton Tiger-Cats their next time out (Week Three, 41-10).
At that time, it appeared as if the Alouettes preseason odds of winning the Grey Cup might have been a little generous at +1400. Their offense was stagnant, they had already lost a starting quarterback (Antonio Pipkin) to an injury, and his replacement (Vernon Adams Jr.) didn’t look too good in his first start.
But then something unexpected happened. With the help of a great game from his running back, Vernon Adams looked a lot better in his second start and led the team to a win over Hamilton. Then he led them to another victory, this time over Ottawa. When he followed that up by leading the team to a win over Edmonton, people had no choice but to take notice.
Could these guys be legitimate contenders? The offense seems to click under Adams, and he does have a good group of skill position guys. Maybe, if things go their way, they could be contenders this year.
Then Adams gets injured, the team loses two in a row, and expectations begin to drop once again. That is, until Adams returns and leads the Alouettes to an unexpected upset win in overtime against Calgary in Week 10.
Montreal’s odds of winning the Grey Cup had already improved to +1000 at FanDuel. But before heading into Week 11’s game against Toronto, they dropped a little more to +850.
There are still five teams in front of them (Calgary and Edmonton at +340; Hamilton, Saskatchewan, and Winnipeg at +500). But they are not too far off from the rest of the bunch— and they’ve beaten Calgary, Hamilton, and Edmonton. So, they know that they are capable of running with the big dogs of the CFL.
But can they beat them when it matters most and win the Grey Cup?
Right now, the answer to that question has to be—maybe.
They have played against the best defenses in the CFL and done well. So, whether they are going to be able to score points is not an issue. But there is no telling if they are going to be able to stop anyone when the game is on the line.
To be fair, they are decent against the run (94.8 yards/game allowed; fourth-best in CFL). But they have the worst pass defense (313. Yards per game allowed).
So—should you bet on them or ignore them?
Before their odds get any shorter, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to skip a few lattes on the way to work and place a small wager. However, without some help in the secondary, they are not going to win the Grey Cup.