Calling all bettors! At his most recent darkness retreat, Aaron Rodgers might have listened to Simon & Garfunkel, Catrabbits, or something in between. Or, he might have pondered his future with the Green Bay Packers in complete silence, meditating on 15 seasons leading one of the NFL’s most storied organizations.
How dramatically will his future with the Packers impact the franchise’s Super Bowl 58 hopes? And by extension, how aggressively will Green Bay engage in free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft? The following betting odds are based on DraftKings Sportsbook.
Green Bay Packers Super Bowl 58 Odds and Futures
Last February’s early odds for Super Bowl 57 offered clues on what sportsbooks were thinking and how that wove into the thinking of the broader betting market.
For example, the Kansas City Chiefs were the top favorite (+650 odds) of winning this year’s Super Bowl, while the Buffalo Bills were No. 2. Not too shabby as far as year-long predictions go.
But the Los Angeles Rams and Packers were Nos. 3 and 4, respectively — though, in fairness, Davante Adams’ status in Green Bay remained unclear at that point. The Tennessee Titans (No. 9) and Denver Broncos (No. 10) clearly underwhelmed. The Eagles weren’t even in the top third.
And how did Green Bay’s odds change by early September? They were still No. 4. The market assumed Adams’ departure could be overcome.
So let’s examine the Packers’ 2022 campaign and how bettors should respond ahead of next season.
Aaron Rodgers, Aaron Jones, and Other 2022 Season Takeaways
Adams leaving for Las Vegas was a crushing loss, even if oddsmakers generally disagreed. Rodgers was accustomed to having a go-to receiver — a true No. 1 who could help take over, secure a needed first down to sustain a drive, or draw a double-team to help free up a teammate.
Before Adams, there was Jordy Nelson. Before Nelson, Randall Cobb took a turn. Before Cobb, it was Greg Jennings and a fading Donald Driver.
We can point to many reasons for Green Bay’s disappointing 2022 campaign. I would argue that two main reasons include a post-prime 39-year-old Rodgers trying to gel with a hodgepodge of often injured receivers, as well as middling talent not ready to be thrust into primary roles.
After using both first-round draft picks to improve their defense (nothing wrong with that), the Packers invested two of their next three picks on WRs Christian Watson and Romeo Doubs. Both guys are long-term prospects. What I mean is, they were not “win-now” acquisitions. If the Packers wanted to make another Super Bowl push, they needed to find an alpha receiver.
Instead, they had a bunch of betas and perhaps one or two future (i.e. rookie) alphas. It didn’t help that Watson and Doubs struggled to stay healthy.
Perhaps this strategy would have worked — at least, lifted them to the postseason, where anything could have happened — if they’d committed more to Aaron Jones. I credit this organization for not overworking their No. 1 RB all these years. That he played some of his best football at age 28 speaks volumes about his preparedness and durability, as well as the Packers’ commitment to keeping him around 200-225 carries per year.
Except it came at a short-term cost. The seemingly “win-now” Packers handed Jones 12.5 carries per game vs. 10.9 for AJ Dillon. Longtime readers know I took a contrarian view on Dillon two summers ago, and then midway through the 2021 season, insisting he deserved more reps than a normal backup.
But he has a different running style than Jones, isn’t as dynamic in the passing game, and has averaged fewer yards per carry than Jones in all three seasons they’ve played together. In eight victories last season, Jones averaged 5.91 yards per carry compared to 3.90 for Dillon.
It’s a shocking difference and at least a partial indication that when Jones ran well, they generally won. Dillon can’t single-handedly take over games like Jones can.
Whatever happens with Rodgers, this is not a team on the rise. But they are a team that can compete with a continually improved defense and a strong running game. If they commit to it. Because barring a return of Rodgers and the addition of an alpha receiver, the Packers’ recent 8-9 season might be a lofty goal in 2023 in an increasingly competitive NFC North.
2023 Offseason Moves
The Packers currently are tied with the Rams and Browns for the 14th-best Super Bowl odds (+3500).
If Rodgers leaves and Green Bay can’t find a sure-fire top-14 replacement, I would expect their odds to plummet to around +7000 to +8000. If Rodgers returns and they add a big-time wideout, then we could see them push for +1800 to +2200 odds.
NFL Free Agency
In the coming weeks, we’ll update this section with breaking news on key Packers arrivals and departures through free agency and trades, how it impacts their Super Bowl odds, and how it might inform our decision to bet on them to win it all.
In early May, we’ll update this section on key Packers draft picks and UDFA signings, with an eye toward any instant-impact players who could help catapult them into serious Super Bowl consideration.