Canada has an interesting setup with sports, some of which are entirely domestic leagues, others shared with the US, and some international in nature (such as the Canadian Open tennis tournament and Canadian Grand Prix in F1). From ancient trophies that go back to the 19th century to the most advanced motorsport in the world, there's a lot to enjoy. Here are some of the finest Canadian sporting events you can bet on today.
While the MLB (Major League Baseball) consists mostly of teams from the US (29 of 30 teams) there is one from Canada: the Toronto Blue Jays of the American League East division. The World Series, the culmination of a baseball season, is typically hosted in the US, as you might expect, bit in 1992 and 1993 it was held in Canada, with spectacular results.
Home advantage is a well-known phenomenon in sports, from regular games through to outstanding tournament triumphs (such as England winning the 1966 World Cup). The best of seven series was first played outside the United States in 1992, but nobody could have foreseen how the home advantage would end up making it one of the best Canadian sporting events to bet on, for a patriotic baseball fan.
The Toronto Blue Jays were the American League winners and faced up against the National League (NL) champions: the Atlanta Braves. Acquiring Jack Morris and Dave Winfield worked wonders for the Blue Jays, who became the first non-American team to both appear in and win a World Series (triumphing 4-2).
But more was to come, because the World Series was also hosted in Canada in 1993. The Blue Jays had dominated the American League once again, and this time went toe-to-toe with the National League winners, the Philadelphia Phillies. And it had the same result, with a 4-2 victory for the Canadian team.
When the World Series returns to Canada remains to be seen, although it's a safe bet the US teams won't be keen on history repeating itself. But with Canada poised to end the ban on parlay betting and allow single event sports betting there will be more no deposit bonus casinos, and great gambling opportunities on the MLB and other sports in the future.
The sharp eyed amongst you will have noticed that the title of this section has been pluralised, and that's because we're going to look at a few races in particular. Formula 1 is an interesting sport in that it has some cracking circuits full of excitement (Interlagos, for example) and others that are tedious processions (yes, Monaco, I'm looking at you). Happily for Canadian race fans, the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve (located on Notre Dame Island) is an excellent track that has thrown up some of the greatest races of modern times, including some fantastic betting opportunities.
The popularity of the circuit was epitomised in 2005 when the Canadian Grand Prix was the most watched race of the entire Formula 1 season. Not only that, it was the third most watched sporting event in the entire world, with only the Super Bowl and the Champions League final getting more attention from viewers across the globe - and this even includes those playing at online casinos in Ontario.
So, why is the circuit so good for racing? High speeds and the infamous final corner at the Wall of Champions (so called because of the numerous world champions that have been caught out and smashed into it), the hairpin providing overtaking chances under braking, and large straights offering the chance to get past through slipstreaming (and, more recently, DRS) are major factors. So too is the potential for rain, which was a key ingredient in the 2011 race, arguably the single best event in Formula 1 history.
It rained in 2011. It rained a lot, prompting an interval of more than two hours and pushing the race itself to a total time (racing plus interval) in excess of four hours, which makes it the longest race the sport has ever seen. It was also a race packed with incident. Hamilton had an uncharacteristically poor time, and he and team mate Button collided in the soaking wet conditions, prompting Hamilton's retirement. Button, meanwhile, had six visits to the pits, one of which was a drive-through penalty. About 40 laps in, Button was running 21st of 21 cars on the circuit. And then, in slowly drying conditions, Button started carving his way through the field, until he was closing in on leader Vettel before taking a famous victory on the last lap.
But it's not only when it's raining that the race is one of the best Canadian sporting events to bet on, as well as to watch. In 2007, Lewis Hamilton's epic victory made Richard Hopkins a cool £40,000. How? Hopkins' son had raced against Hamilton in karts and had made long odds bets on the driver to achieve great things. In 2007, Hamilton made his debut in the sport, and took his first (of a record-breaking number) win in Canada during a race that saw the safety car appear on four occasions.
Most people know that Wimbledon is the oldest tennis tournament in the world, but number two on the history list is the Canadian Open. This hard court competition is a Masters tournament on the male side, and a Premier 5 level tournament for the ladies, and alternates between Montreal and Toronto. Because of its high status on the tennis calendar this means the Canadian Open sees top players vying to win every single year, and makes the competition highly competitive both on the court and with bettors trying to outdo bookies.
Tennis is a sport of global interest, so it's no surprise that the Open is one of the biggest Canadian sporting events to bet on. The legal online casino markets range from straightforward match winners to tournament betting, set betting for individual matches, handicap and game total markets and more, providing bettors with a wide range of options.
rom a Canadian perspective one of the male tournament's highlights was 1989, when two of the male quarterfinalists were Canadians. But in 2019 Canada had a lot more to celebrate when Bianca Andreescu won her home tournament. And when one looks at the winners list it's a veritable who's who of tennis, from titans of yesteryear such as Björn Borg and John McEnroe to modern day greats Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic on the men's side, with the female champions including Serena Williams, Martina Navratilova, and Chris Evert.
This tournament wasn't Bianca Andreescu's only major victory in 2019, however. She went on to win the US Open, including an epic final match victory over no less a figure than Serena Williams (whom she also beat in Canada). Andreescu became the first Canadian to claim a Grand Slam tournament title, so when she returns to defend her Canadian Open title there are sure to be plenty of viewers, and wagers. (This may make it value to bet against her, as the weight of money placed at sportsbooks can make title bets on someone other than a fancied home favourite decent value).
The ultimate prize of the Canadian Football League (CFL) is the Grey Cup, the championship match and trophy that goes to the victor. It's also one of biggest moments in both the Canadian annual TV calendar, and one of the top Canadian sporting events to bet on, making it a favourite of sportsbooks and spectators alike.
Just as the Stanley Cup is named after Governor General Lord Stanley of Preston, the Grey cup is named after Earl Grey, who, rather ironically, originally intended it to be a hockey trophy.
The variety of winners is one of the best things about the Grey Cup, with no team winning consecutive victories since 2009 and 2010 when the Montreal Alouettes achieved two on the bounce. This opens the way to promising early bets on title contenders, which may come good or have scope to be successfully hedged later on.
It's also wise to keep an eye on the weather, as the Grey Cup has seen more than its share of inclement weather playing a role on the outcome. There was heavy snowfall in 2017, fog in 1962 that led to the conclusion being postponed, and the so-called Ice Bowl of 1977 occurred when the artificial turf froze over.
Betting opportunities are abundant for this sporting and televisual highlight in the Canadian year, with basic markets like predicting the winner complemented with under/over markets, MVP predictions, and similar specials. At the time of writing, betting may occur through provincial lotteries that require three games to be bet on at a single time but the probable legalising of single events sports betting in the country during 2021 (hopefully from Spring onwards) is going to make betting on the CFL and Grey Cup better than ever.
Ice hockey is one of Canada's national sports, and there are seven Canadian teams that form part of the National Hockey League (NHL), the rest being from the US. As you might expect, this makes the Stanley Cup, the championship trophy of the NHL, one of the single biggest Canadian sporting events to bet on. Fast-paced and high impact, ice hockey is not for the faint of heart, whether on the ice or watching.
It's high popularity has helped drive interest and sportsbooks have been quick to develop a broad range of betting markets for those into both wagers and hockey. From basic win/loss options through to handicap and precise scoreline markets, plus period betting, there's a great range of options for bettors to consider when deciding where to place their money when predicting outcomes.
And no hockey result matters more than the winner of the Stanley Cup, the oldest sports trophy in North America, with a heritage dating back all the way to the 19th century.
The best way to make money betting, though this is easier said than done, is to disagree with as many people as possible while still being right. Because if no-one thinks your pick will win, the odds will be very, very long, and any payout correspondingly great.
One perfect example of how backing the underdog can pay out big time happened in the 2019 Stanley Cup. The odds on the St. Louis Blues claiming their first ever win were on the long side - quite the opposite of when playing with free spins. So long, in fact, that a $400 bet yielded a $100,000 payout (before taxes), which was exactly what happened to one devoted, and lucky fan, as reported by sports betting publication The Action Network.
Scott Berry was the Blues fan who put his money where his heart was, and ended up making a fortune. Because St. Louis Blues were propping up the table at the time of his bet in January, Berry got cracking odds of 250/1. Despite the chance to sell his bet and cash out early for guaranteed (but smaller) profits, Berry held his nerve and was duly rewarded with a Stanley Cup victory he'll never forget.
As the above major events make plain, there are plenty of great events and sports to bet on in Canada, from the most-watched and most epic races Formula 1 has ever seen, to dramatic victories in tennis and baseball. There's a rich sporting heritage in Canada, dating back to noble governors-general lending their name to numerous trophies. The present-day is bright, with Andreescu's Canadian Open triumph paving the way to a first Canadian Grand Slam. And the highly likely loosening of restrictions on betting will make all of this even better than it is already, if the legislation passes.