The Montreal Alouettes have been to three straight Grey Cup games, winning the last two. Even after some roster turnover they're the favorites on the Grey Cup futures to deliver a three-peat heading into the new CFL season.
At the latest Grey Cup futures have the Alouettes listed as an 11/4 favorite. The biggest change for Montreal during the offseason was in the backfield, where Avon Cobourne left via free agency to sign in Hamilton. Montreal didn't waste time finding potential replacements though, grabbing former NFL running back Ahman Green and Yvenson Benard. Neither is a great option alone for Montreal, but they could fill Cobourne's shoes as a solid tandem. Montreal still has reliable veteran QB Anthony Calvillo, which will go a long way toward keeping them a contender in what is still a quarterback's league.
Last year's Grey Cup runner-up for the second year in a row were the Saskatchewan Roughriders. They don't follow the Alouettes on the futures list at though. Next in line are the Calgary Stampeders at 5/2, followed by the Roughriders at 11/2.
The Stampeders were the last team not named the Alouettes to win the Grey Cup, and they still have the offensive firepower to make a run at another title. Led offensively by QB Henry Burris the Stamps have a strong receiving corps headed by speedy Ken-Yon Rambo and Nik Lewis, and they also have Joffrey Reynolds out of the backfield.
The Roughriders came up just short again last year and enter the season without one of their biggest weapons. Darian Durant led all quarterbacks in passing last season, but he's lost his top receiver, Andy Fantuz, to the NFL. Saskatchewan still has talented receivers Chris Getzlaf and Weston Dressler, and running back Wes Cates rushed for over 1,000 yards last season, but replacing Fantz's production will be difficult.
The dark horse Grey Cup contenders this season are the B.C. Lions and Hamilton Tiger-Cats, both at 6/1 at . The Lions have some talent in the form of QB Jarious Jackson and receivers Geroy Simon and Paris Jackson, but their defense lost a step last season and finished in the middle of the pack after being among the best in the league in previous seasons.
Hamilton qualified for the playoffs again last season, but failed to get over the .500 mark at 9-9. They added Cobourne to their backfield and, along with DeAndra Cobb, he should give the Tiger-Cats a strong running game. Kevin Glenn is a veteran presence at QB, but his receiving options remain limited behind veteran Arland Bruce.
Odds to win the 99th Grey Cup from as of April 10, 2011:
B.C. Lions 6/1
Calgary Stampeders 5/2
Edmonton Eskimos 7/1
Hamilton Tiger-Cats 6/1
Montreal Alouettes 11/4
Saskatchewan Roughriders 11/2
Toronto Argonauts 9/1
Winnipeg Blue Bombers 11/1