On Thursday, the Green Bay Packers announced that Aaron Rodgers would be manning the starting quarterback position for Sunday's de facto NFC North title game against the Chicago Bears. Packers fans rejoiced across the world, while the team itself certainly will be pleased to have its best player on the field.
However, one other group of people had to scramble to adjust to the news: the people in charge of the sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
According to the online sports book Bovada, the bookmakers had to set up two different lines for Sunday's game to account for both situations - whether Rodgers would or would not play. Rodgers is apparently worth a seven-point swing: the Bears were to be 4-point favorites if Rodgers were to sit, but with him playing the Packers were tabbed as three-point favorites instead.
Rodgers' return also factors into several other sets of odds that the bookmakers are taking bets on for the rest of the Packers' season, as you can see below:
|Category||Before Rodgers' Return||After Rodgers' Return|
|Packers-Bears game||Bears -4||Bears +3|
|Packers win NFC Championship||16:1||9:1|
|Packers win Super Bowl||28:1||16:1|
That's right, Vegas decided that with Rodgers returning this week, the Packers' chances of going to the Super Bowl and winning it both are about double what they would be with Matt Flynn under center for this game. Certainly, the fact that Sunday's game is a play-in game for the playoffs is the biggest factor, but it's not hard to imagine why Vegas would want to hedge their bets with one of the best quarterbacks in the league back on the field.
(As always, odds are given for recreational purposes only.)