Who do Bettors Favor?
At this early stage of the season, there isn’t much activity on the CPL at the best online sportsbooks However, we can expect Forge to be the favorite to reclaim their crown in the coming season, while Pacific will most likely be a close second in the betting markets. Cavalry, who ended ahead of the eventual champions Pacific in last year's table, is also sure to garner some support from bettors.
What Happened Last Season?
Forge, the CPL champions in 2019 and 2020, finished first in the regular season in 2021, despite losing their final two games. They breezed to the final, defeating York United in the semi-final, but lost out to Pacific, who finished five points behind them in the league. Given that Pacific had lost six of their previous nine regular-season games, their victory was all the more impressive.
Valour and HFX ended up outside the top four, a point behind York United, while Edmonton just escaped placing last in the table courtesy of a final day win over Forge, relegating Atletico Ottowa to the CPL basement.
Betting on the CPL Favorites
Pacific's championship-winning season was based on a high-octane attacking style of play. They outscored their biggest rivals, Forge, by eight goals, thanks primarily to the efforts of Terran Campbell and Alejandro Diaz.
Coach Pa-Modou Kah was voted CPL Coach of the Year in 2021, however, his departure to join the MLS Next Pro team North Texas SC was a disappointment. Pacific will be managed by former assistant James Merriman this season, but considering his lack of experience as a head coach, there must be some reservations regarding the team's ability to retain its title.
The departure of highly-rated playmaker Alessandro Hojabrpour, the Best Under 21 Canadian Player of the Year in 2021, is another issue for Pacific. Pacific is obviously weaker as a result of his departure, but the loss is exacerbated by the fact that he has joined CPL rivals Forge.
The two-time champions will be the leading challengers in the CPL once again. Bobby Smyrniotis and his squad won the first two championships and have finished first in the standings for the past two seasons. The Hammers were ranked first last season after winning 16 of their 28 regular-season games. Despite the fact that the second-place Cavalry had the same number of points as Smyrniotis' men, Smyrniotis' men won because of their superior goal difference. In addition, the Ontarians had the greatest defensive record in the league and were the second-highest scorers. This indicates that they have a solid base on which to develop a new title challenge.
This season, bettors will most likely go in heavily on Forge and Pacific, but if you're searching for an alternative, Cavalry could be the answer. Despite the fact that they have yet to win the championship, they have three top-three finishes in a row, including one first-place finish.
They also boast one of the league's best players in Joe Mason. The former Ireland U21 international scored seven goals in his maiden season in the CPL after nearly 200 games in the English Championship. Ben Fisk and Marco Carducci would also be worthy of a place in any of the CPL squads. If all of the Cavs' major players stay consistent throughout the season, they could win their first CPL title in 2022.
Betting on the CPL Underdogs
Finding a potential shock among the CPL's underdogs is difficult since the top three teams are likely to dominate the league table once again. York United, who are further down the list, are the most likely to surprise. The Nine Stripes have finished in the top four in each of the CPL's three seasons so far, and their consistency suggests they aren't far off from being contenders.
Unfortunately for fans of the Toronto-based team, last year was their team's poorest season to date. They finished with the CPL's third-worst defensive record, and also tied too many games, which suggests that they are regressing rather than improving.
Valour and HFX were both one point short of the top four last season and have the potential to improve even more this year. When Phillip Dos Santos took over at Valour halfway through last season, he seemed to bring about some progress, and Stephen Hart's HFX team will be hoping for another good season from 2021 Player of the Year Joao Morelli. Both clubs could be intriguing outside bets, but cautious bettors should wait to see how they start the season before making a decision on their chances.
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