Do odds add up?

JONATHAN HUNTINGTON -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 11:19 AM ET

After overhauling their roster in the offseason, the Edmonton Eskimos are still getting very little respect from the odds-makers.

To no surprise, the club is the biggest longshot to win the West Division - according to pinnaclesports.com, a popular online gambling website.

Edmonton is listed at +536 odds on the money line, meaning if someone wagers $100 on the Eskimos and the club finishes first in the West Division at the end of the year, the payout is $536.

In comparison, the B.C. Lions are the favourites to win the West at +121 (a $100 winning wager would turn into $121).

Of course, all wagers on the outcome of the West Division are cutoff tomorrow, just in advance of the opening game of the CFL regular-season.

Nobody inside the Esks' locker-room is surprised by the longshot status - given the dismal 5-12-1 2007 regular season and missing the playoffs for two straight years.

But the odds-makers are definitely providing some motivation as the Esks prepare to start the regular-season on Saturday in Regina (5:30 p.m., TSN, CHED).

"That is all it is," said Goss on the topic of motivation.

"I love being the underdog.

"I hate being a favourite.

"When I watch other sports games, I love pulling for the underdog team because they don't get respect.

"I love earning respect."

Edmonton linebacker Siddeeq Shabazz just scoffed at the longshot odds.

"For me, that doesn't mean squat," he remarked.

"They haven't seen what our team can do yet - that is silly.

"We have a tough squad. If I was a gambling man, I'd put the money down (on the Eskimos to win the West)."

The PinnacleSports website also lists Edmonton as the third-longest shot to win the Grey Cup.

At +1031 on the money line, Edmonton is in a different world compared to the favourite Lions at +264.

A different sportsbook - sportsbetting.com - has Edmonton as the second-biggest Grey Cup longshot at 9-1 odds, which is $20 to win on a $2 bet.

"The last two years we haven't done too much," said special teams veteran J.R. LaRose.

"But I think we are going to surprise a lot of people. I said this last year, too.

"But there is a desperation (this year), everybody's job is on the line.

"I think when we get rolling it is going to be scary."

The Eskimos enter the regular-season with 13 CFL rookies on the 46-man active roster.

Edmonton also has seven new starters on defence heading into this week compared to last year.

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ODDS NUMBERS

Odds to win the West

- B.C. Lions +121

- Calgary Stampeders +279

- Saskatchewan Roughriders +363

- Edmonton Eskimos +536

-Odds by pinnaclesports.com

(+121 means you are wagering $100 to win $121.)

Odds to win the 2008 Grey Cup

- Toronto Argos 5-2

- B.C. Lions 3-1

- Winnipeg Blue Bombers 9-2

- Calgary Stampeders 9-2

- Saskatchewan Roughriders 6-1

- Edmonton Eskimos 9-1

- Hamilton Tiger-Cats 10-1

- Montreal Alouettes 10-1

-Odds by sportsbetting.com


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