Trying to decipher what Green Bay Packers star quarterback Aaron Rodgers will do next is a waste of energy, but American sportsbooks have to give it the ol’ college try.
Rodgers’ frustration with the Packers began to intensify when the team drafted Utah State quarterback Jordan Love in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. And despite back-to-back 13-3 seasons in Green Bay and two straight trips to the NFC Championship Game, Rodgers is still pretty fed up.
A report broke late Friday night about Las Vegas bookmakers bracing for Rodgers’ potential retirement. The Westgate SuperBook closed its NFC North betting markets and also took the Packers’ season win total and playoff odds off the board. Other sportsbooks like BetMGM, DraftKings, PointsBet and William Hill followed suit.
SuperBook executive vice president of race and sports Jay Kornegay told Jim Barnes of the Las Vegas Review-Journal he was informed by a reliable source that Rodgers plans to retire. Kornegay explained that tips like these aren’t 100 percent accurate, but his trading team decided to play it safe.
“Because of the credibility of the source, we reacted accordingly,” Kornegay told the newspaper. “I would not take it with a grain of salt, more like a chunk of salt.”
The last thing a sportsbook wants to do in this situation is take an avalanche of money on the Packers win total “Under” or on teams like the Minnesota Vikings or Chicago Bears to win the division. Rumors tend to travel fast and bettors with enough money to make a dent act fast to get ahead of an official announcement.
So if a sportsbook feels vulnerable, they can take a bet or an entire market off the board.
NESN also caught wind of these Rodgers rumors late Friday morning and the following was discussed on Friday’s episode of the “Chicken Dinner” podcast:
“If the result is that Aaron Rodgers is gone (from Green Bay), what happens to the market? Well, Green Bay goes from -130 to … I don’t even know. You could even put them under Chicago if you really wanted to. Minnesota is +250 and that number gets cut down by a dollar or even a dollar and a quarter. I think Minnesota +125 or +135 makes sense if Rodgers is gone.”
Some sportsbooks still have their NFC North markets down, while others recalibrated their numbers over the weekend and are back to taking bets. Minnesota is the new divisional favorite at multiple shops with prices ranging from +125 to +150. Green Bay’s odds ballooned to a range of +140 to +190.
Consensus NFC North markets before Aaron Rodgers report
Packers -130 ($130 wins $100)
Circa Sports NFC North market after Aaron Rodgers report
Vikings +125 ($100 wins $125)
It’s amazing how much the NFC North market has shifted without anything tangible actually happening. Rodgers is a Packer until further notice and he’s under contract until 2023. But it’s clear that the people taking bets believe the smoke about retirement or a potential forced trade out of the Frozen Tundra.
For those looking to bet Minnesota at this very moment, the best price from Friday (+250) is long gone. That $100 that won you $250 only wins you $125 or $150 right now.
A professional bettor I spoke to Monday morning actually believes there’s relative betting value on Green Bay at +190 due to the possibility of Rodgers and receiver Davante Adams sticking it out for one more season.
Everybody is guessing at this point.
Not many people outside Aaron Rodgers’ close circle know what the future Hall of Famer is going to do. Rodgers might not even know himself. We’ll definitely learn more about his future in the next couple days as the Packers start reporting to training camp.
But even in a time of uncertainty, it’s clear that rumors and money can steal the show.