Football picksJune 6, 2021

Green Bay Packers odds hinge on Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers is making headlines this offseason, demanding a trade out of Titletown. The Green Bay Packers odds and hopes of competing in 2021 hinge on the front office’s ability to persuade their superstar to ride out his contract. Get the latest Packers’ odds, trends and betting news as the drama unfolds.

Green Bay Packers odds and Aaron Rodgers news

Rodgers had a phenomenal season in 2020, passing for 4,299 yards and setting a career-high in touchdowns (48)

Rodgers’ Trade Demands

Despite the turbulent trade rumors that have dominated airwaves since April, Packers QB Aaron Rodgers appears to be having a great offseason. Rodgers stole the show on NFL Draft weekend by demanding a trade from the only team he’s ever played for. He was hobnobbing with the stars at the Kentucky Derby in May, vacationing in Hawaii, and guest hosting Jeopardy. Rodgers said that being engaged to Shailene Woodley is the best thing that’s happened to him in the past year and yes, his NFC Conference Championship game vs. Tom Brady is included on that list.

In a statement, Gutekunst said, “Aaron has been a vital part of our success and we look forward to competing for another championship with him leading our team.”

It’s as if Rodgers doesn’t care if he never plays another game in Green Bay. The Packers front office, meanwhile, is showing off its best poker face. GM Brian Gutekunst gives no indication of trading the superstar, unless it gets to a point where a full on holdout is imminent.

The Backup Plan

Green Bay signed Blake Bortles and Kurt Benkert to fill out its QB depth chart. Bortles spent five years in Jacksonville and one with the Rams. His career record as a starter is 24-49 SU and a surprising 35-37-1 ATS. That’s because unlike Rodgers, Bortles is used to getting points from the bookmaker, and lots of them. Benkert was in Atlanta for 2018 and `20 but has never seen the field.

Jordan Love, last year’s first round draft pick, didn’t take a snap in his rookie season behind Rodgers, but he learned from one of the greats and the two apparently had a solid bond. Rodgers holding out would be a costly endeavor, as in $50,000 per day of training camp missed, and that’s on top of all the bonus money he’s shrugged off by skipping OTAs. But you have to think that no Rodgers would mean a ton of first-team snaps for Love. Anyone that has seen Bortles start can realize the upside potential of starting Love instead of Bortles in Week 1.

Rodgers is in the elite class with QBs like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Philip Rivers, and all three were able to make big-time moves in the twilight of their careers. The big difference of course is that all three of those veterans were free agents at the time. For futures bettors, every consideration has to include two scenarios: One with a disgruntled superstar under center and another that makes juggling with chainsaws seem like a fun new hobby.

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Green Bay Packers Odds

I’m tracking NFL offseason betting odds for you throughout the summer. Every time a new team preview is added or the futures market takes a significant swing, I’ll post on social media and you can stay up to date as we countdown to kickoff. For preseason power rankings and Super Bowl odds, visit my NFL Team Previews HQ!

Updated NFL Season Win Total Odds: 11 UN -125
2021 NFL Season Win Total Odds (pre-draft): 10.5 OV -145
2020 Record: 13-3
Average Wins 2018-20: 10.7
Odds to win the Division: -125 (1st)

In March, Green Bay Packers odds to win the division were listed at -250. The Vikings were +450 at the time, and Chicago was paying back at 5-to-1.

– Green Bay was 5-1 vs. the division last year and Minnesota went 4-2.

The dark cloud that’s moved in over Wisconsin has halved the Packers’ line and sent Minnesota down to +229. Books still show the Bears at +384, but if anyone is considering a dog play in the NFC North, they better move quick or the betting value will be gone.

Green Bay Packers Trends

– The Packers are 27-10 OVER (73%) against the NFC South since 2005.

Green Bay faced the South as part of its normal rotation last season, going 1-3 O/U before hosting the Bucs in January (OVER). Their one regular season OVER against the South was Week 3 in New Orleans and the Packers open this season against the Saints.

– Green Bay is 48-29 OVER (62%) on the road the past 10 seasons. That includes a record of 5 OVERS and 1 UNDER in Week 1 road games.

– Green Bay is 6-23 ATS (21%) at home vs. disciplined teams that average fewer than 60 penalty yards, as long as the Packers aren’t favored by more than -4 points.

The Pack have long gotten by at home with help from the officials, babying Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers with marginal DPI calls that kept the two superstars on the field. When a more disciplined team visits, however, and one that commands a respectable ATS line, the Packers have been a major play AGAINST team since 2004.

Coach’s Corner

HC Matt LaFleur is 28-8 SU and 22-14 ATS (61%) since taking over in 2019. Only three coaches, John Harbaugh (.647), Sean Payton (.629) and Brian Flores (.625) have a better win percentage against the spread in that time.

– The first five weeks of the season, LaFleur is 8-1 SU/ATS with seven of eight wins by a margin of seven points or greater.

Green Bay’s 2020 defense ranked just above average in points allowed (23.2), yards per play (5.5), third downs (40.6%) and red zone scoring (59.7%), but it wasn’t enough to keep Mike Pettine around. He was at the end of his contract and let go following the loss to Tampa Bay. LaFleur publicly criticized his team’s coaching decisions on the whole vs. the Bucs, drawing attention at one point to the type of coverage called against a play that went for a 39-yard score. Pettine found work in Chicago as a senior assistant.

The Packers are one of 14 teams to hire a new defensive coordinator this year, with Joe Barry taking over. He joins O-Co Nathaniel Hackett and newbie special teams coordinator Maurice Drayton.

Packers Bottom Line

Green Bay opens with the Saints, Lions, Niners and Steelers. It’s easy to picture this team at 3-1 or 2-2 with Rodgers in the lineup. Without him, the Green Bay Packers odds will change dramatically, as will their probability of competing for the division this season.

In the second quarter, Green Bay gets quality matchups vs. Cinci, Chicago, Washington and Arizona, but three of four are on the road. All four of those teams made notable offseason improvements, too. Kansas City is next, followed by the Seahawks, Vikings and Rams.

The Packers have a bye in Week 13. Will the final stretch be tuneup games for Love to take over in 2022? At this point, your guess is as good as mine. Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Amari Rodgers and last year’s red zone target-leader Davante Adams, share the same sentiment as Lambeau’s loyal cheeseheads. Don’t you just love the quiet, NFL offseason?