Bookmakers including William Hill have suspended betting on the 41-year-old Rangers boss, who has reportedly made up his mind to move back south of the border.
Gerrard, who has a contract at Ibrox until 2024, had been immediately installed as favourite after Villa announced the departure of Smith at the weekend.
Gerrard earned praise for steering Rangers to their first Scottish title in a decade last season, after replacing Graeme Murty in charge in 2018.
And the challenge of resurrecting the top-flight fortunes of Villa – who currently sit 16th in the table on the back of five straight losses – appears to be too good an opportunity to turn down.
Gerrard has once again been left frustrated by Rangers’ lack of progress in Europe after they crashed out of the Champions League qualifying rounds to Malmo in August.
Former Villa defender Richard Dunne believes despite his relative inexperience, Gerrard would be a strong appointment by the club.
Dunne told Sky Sports News: “I think it’s very exciting. He’s a young manager and not been in the game very long but what he’s done at Rangers has been exceptional.
“The way that he holds himself in terms of his professionalism has been brilliant and he’s led that club really well since being there.
“He’s won the league and has that experience of European football so I think for Villa fans it would be an exciting appointment.”
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