How Much Aaron Rodgers COVID-19 Absence Moved Packers Lines

Written By Brett Gibbons on November 3, 2021
Aaron Rodgers

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers will miss Sunday’s matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs after testing positive for COVID-19, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported Wednesday morning. This came as a bombshell that sent sportsbooks and bettors into a spiral, attempting to properly adjust for the Aaron Rodgers COVID-19 news.

Immediately following the news, major sportsbooks pulled odds on Packers-Chiefs, which is scheduled for Sunday’s afternoon window at Arrowhead Stadium. Of course, Rodgers pulls more weight than most any other player in the NFL– perhaps more than all of them.

Shortly after, the lines were reposted, but with significantly different odds.

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Packers-Chiefs odds on the move

Just before Peliserro announced the news on Twitter, the game was a pick ’em (PK) or Green Bay was favored by one point depending on the sportsbook. Rodgers is eighth on the season in expected points added per play (EPA) while the Chiefs are 29th in EPA on opposing dropbacks. The simple math tells you this would be a home run matchup for Rodgers and the Packers offense.

Sophomore Jordan Love is the only listed backup on the team’s depth chart. He’s expected to make his first career start in Week 9. Love’s played no meaningful snaps in the NFL and has attempted more than one pass just once. That instance came in Week 1 while the Packers were being blown out by the Saints, where he attempted seven passes and was sacked once.

It didn’t take long for books to re-post game odds. FanDuel Sportsbook listed the Chiefs as 8.5-point favorites, which dove to KC -7.5 not long after. DraftKings Sportsbook posted the odds as Chiefs -8. Currently, the Chiefs are home favorites.

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Bookmakers weigh in

Jeffrey Benson, Sportsbooks Operations Manager at Circa Sports told TheLines:

“We were at PK when the news broke and our models felt 6.5 [points] was the right number. The market told us otherwise and we went to 8.5 before settling at 7.5. Similar to the Dallas [Cowboys]-[Minnesota] Vikings game, the drop off from the starter to the backup is huge.”

Movement like this could be seen at most of the major US sportsbooks, including the aforementioned FanDuel, where the spread dropped by a point in minutes.

Packers at Chiefs odds

Since 2008 when Rodgers assumed the starting role, the Packers are 17-20-1 (0.447) in games without him. While Kansas City (4-4) is reeling and the offense is struggling, Green Bay is still without All-Pro corner Jaire Alexander, who is struggling with a longterm injury.

For the rest of the week, bettors should be aware of the movement regarding this line. Jordan Love is an unknown in real NFL action, so watch where sharp money falls in the coming days.

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Brett Gibbons

Brett is an avid sports traveler and former Division-I football recruiter for Bowling Green and Texas State. He’s a graduate of BGSU and works as an auditor for Google content curation products. He’s also contributed to Sports Illustrated and Fansided during his young writing career.

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