The Green Bay Packers' had a wrench thrown into their 2015 season when go-to wide receiver Jordy Nelson suffered an ACL tear early in the first quarter of the second preseason game of the year. Nelson, who has been quarterback Aaron Rodgers' favorite and most efficient target, is expect to miss the entire season, and the fallout from the injury caused the oddsmakers to bump the Packers from their position as favorites to win the Super Bowl.
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The city of Wisconsin hasn't begun to panic just yet, because Green Bay still employs the best quarterback in the league. The injury, however, could derail the team's Super Bowl hopes and at minimum cause Mike McCarthy's offense struggle throughout the year. Let's take a closer look at the Nelson injury, the changing futures odds and figure out how it will impact the team heading into the season.
Before injury: co favorites with Seattle in the +450 range
After injury: +650 range
The futures odds are always shifting, but according to the Covers, Green Bay's Super Bowl futures lines immediately felt the impact of the Nelson injury by falling from the +450 range at most Las Vegas sportsbooks to the +650 range. The offshore books, however, have not reacted to the news just yet as the Packers remain co favorites at most sportsbooks, and Bovada currently has the team favored at +500 to Seattle's +600.
Week 1 lines
Before injury: -7 at Chicago
After injury: -6.5 at Chicago
The one place where Green Bay universally felt the impact was during its Week 1 line, where the number fell by a half point at most sportsbooks. The Packers were sitting on a seven-point spread, which has now turned into a 6.5-point spread and a key-number friendly line. Bovada opened the line at -6.5 to begin with and kept it the same. Most NFL experts are torn as to what the injury will mean to the team. However, even if Nelson's absences plays a huge role throughout the season, it might not matter during Week 1 against the Chicago. Green Bay has covered seven of the last eight matchups against the Bears and beat them by an average of 31 points last season.
Projections : Nelson was a huge part of Green Bay's offense-he made 98 catches, racked up 1,519 yards with 13 touchdowns last season-but the injury is more of a "public" story than a betting one. Rodgers' still has multiple receivers to target, and Nelson's absence will allow another one of his go-to guys in Randall Cobb, who produced similar numbers as Nelson, to step up during the season.
Rodgers is considered the best quarterback in the NFL according to most experts, and if that assessment is true, he should still be able to carry an offense without needing all of his weapons. Betting-wise, the injury shouldn't push people away from taking the Packers' Super Bowl odds. In fact, a higher number might be more enticing. Is the Nelson injury really such a big deal to make +500 or +600 odds on Green Bay have less value than the old line at +450? Let's face it, the NFL is a quarterback's league, and a great one can still do wonders without much talent to work with. If you were on the Green Bay bandwagon last week, the injury to Nelson should not change things. The Packers have other receivers, and the new futures odds still have value.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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