Richard Agar stepped down from his role as head coach earlier this week and the process to find his replacement is now underway.
Super League's competition sponsors, Betfred, have Ward at 2/1 to be appointed as the club's new head coach. He made over 100 appearances for the Rhinos as a player between 1999 and 2006.
He was part of the Leeds side that won the Super League Grand Final in 2004 and the World Club Challenge in 2005, starting both games under head coach Tony Smith, who is 10/1 to return to Headingley.
Ward also has coaching experience, having guided London Broncos into Super League during the 2018 Championship campaign
Australian Ryan Carr, who was on the coaching staff at Headingley in 2019, is one candidate being considered according to reports in his homeland. He is 7/2 to be appointed.
During his time in England, he was head coach at Featherstone Rovers as he guided them to the 2019 Million Pound Game.
On the search for a new coach, chief executive Gary Hetherington said on Monday that the club had no timescale for a permanent appointment, with Jamie Jones-Buchanan taking interim charge.
He said: “It will be a pretty exhaustive search and there are no red lines, we start with a blank piece of paper.
“We are looking for somebody to come in and take over the current squad of players and create an impact within the club
“It needs a person with special qualities, ability, desire and determination – all the facets you look for.”
Next permanent Leeds Rhinos head coach odds: Danny Ward 2/1, Ryan Carr 7/2, Anthony Seibold 9/2, Shane Flanagan 6/1, Michael Monaghan 6/1, Cameron Ciraldo 10/1, Shaun Wane 10/1, Tony Smith 10/1, Jamie Jones-Buchanan 12/1, Danny McGuire 12/1, Paul Green 12/1, Steve McNamara 12/1, Ian Watson 12/1.