As oddsmakers scrambled to maintain pace with March Madness and college basketball’s championship week, the NFL delivered three significant developments Tuesday that further complicated the betting board.
The day began with a report that back-to-back MVP Aaron Rodgers had agreed to return to the Green Bay Packers, which naturally shifted the futures market. Just a couple hours later, Russell Wilson was traded to the Denver Broncos in a blockbuster move.
Denver’s Super Bowl odds shifted from 22-1 to 12-1 at Caesars Sportsbook, while Green Bay’s lowered from 15-1 to 10-1. Additionally, given the new competition in the AFC West, the Buffalo Bills (+750) leapfrogged the Kansas City Chiefs (+850) as the Super Bowl favorite.
Caesars Sportsbook promptly took a $10,000 wager on Green Bay, then it lowered the odds to 10-1. That wager makes sense, and I would also advocate it at the current price. The NFC offers a much easier path to the Super Bowl, and I see no reason why Green Bay cannot clinch the top seed for a third straight season. The defending champion Los Angeles Rams (12-1) figure to offer resistance, but I anticipate the season beginning with the Packers having single-digit title odds. Thus, 10-1 feels like a good price.
Another interesting development was in the MVP odds for Russell Wilson lowering from 30-1 to 15-1. The logic makes sense, as he joins a team with solid offensive players and a stout defense that is likely to compete for a division crown. However, the award has gone to a QB from a top seed in 10 of the past 14 seasons.
Given the competition in AFC West, will the Broncos win enough games to top Josh Allen and the Bills? Or can Wilson, Patrick Mahomes (+700), Justin Herbert (13-1) or even Derek Carr (40-1) win over voters by merely prevailing in that brutal division?
If that wasn’t enough, oddsmakers had to track the uncertain and unpredictable NFL draft betting menu, which actually saw the day’s largest odds shift. In a move that would normally fly under the radar on a day with quarterbacks making news, the Jacksonville Jaguars placed the franchise tag on left tackle Cam Robinson. The Jags hold the top overall pick in next month’s draft, which does not feature a presumptive no-brainer prospect.
That move led to the odds of Michigan edge rusher Aidan Hutchinson being the top pick drastically shifting from +650 to -250. the next two favorites, Evan Neal (+450) and Ikem Ekwonu (+500), are both projected left tackles. The thought process is that Jacksonville’s move to secure Robinson increases the likelihood that the Jaguars opt for an elite pass-rusher, like Hutchinson. Personally, the price of -250 is mysteriously high and just furthers what we already know. Oddsmakers lack a firm handle on booking drafts. They can’t lean on power ratings like they do with games, and they do not follow the mocks and reporting as closely as many sophisticated bettors.
Hutchinson’s odds will likely trend towards even money, and Jacksonville can still draft an offensive lineman to protect franchise QB Trevor Lawrence or even choose another defensive player besides Hutchinson, like Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux (10-1).