Aaron Rodgers's injury hurt the Packers greatly last year as they missed the postseason for the first time since he took over as starting QB in 2008. But are the Pack a smart bet this year to make the playoffs?
The absence of Aaron Rodgers hurt the Green Bay Packers greatly last year as they missed the postseason for the first time since he took over as their starting quarterback in 2008.
The return of the two-time NFL MVP Rodgers from a fractured collarbone has Green Bay fans and bettors giddy with excitement though, as the team is currently listed at -170 (bet $170 to win $100) on the odds to make the NFL playoffs this season at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Rodgers should be happy as well after agreeing to a record four-year contract extension worth $134 million.
That appears to be a great bet right now regardless of whether or not the Packers ultimately win the NFC North, where the Minnesota Vikings are the defending champions. The Vikings have a much heftier price to make the playoffs at -260 after paying free agent quarterback Kirk Cousins a fully guaranteed three-year deal worth $84 million. The two divisional matchups between Green Bay and Minnesota should be epic this season, but the former looks to be a much better bet right now at a lower price.
The NFC overall is a lot more competitive than the AFC, making it difficult to predict which teams will make the postseason field. The New Orleans Saints might be the best bet besides the Packers at -130 with quarterback Drew Brees expected to break the career passing yardage mark in 2018.
Brees and the Saints play in a tough division, but the Atlanta Falcons (+115) and Carolina Panthers (+130) are both underdogs to qualify for the playoffs. The short price makes New Orleans very attractive, especially if the team can overcome the loss of suspended running back Mark Ingram early in the year.
Like the Vikings, the Los Angeles Rams also seem to be overhyped as -180 favorites to make the postseason—and +1000 on the Super Bowl 53 odds. While the Rams have a talented roster, it could be hard for them to duplicate last year's regular season success when running back Todd Gurley (Offensive Player of the Year), defensive tackle Aaron Donald (Defensive Player of the Year) and head coach Sean McVay (Coach of the Year) all won awards.
If Gurley or quarterback Jared Goff were to get hurt, the Rams may not make the postseason. Taking the +150 wager on the "No" could be a good bet if you believe in another NFC West team to take the division.