NBA Defensive Player of the Year odds are now available to bet on and will fluctuate throughout the 2022-23 season based on performance and injuries. The DPOY award will be given to the best defensive player in the NBA this season, and the competition is steep! This award is a combination of objectivity and subjectivity as statistics are involved, but it still has hints of being an opinion-based award as well. Look no further back than last season when Marcus Smart won the DPOY award despite not ranking well in most of the advanced metrics that experts use today.
Still, all NBA awards have a level of subjectivity: some years, the voters seem to get it right, while other years, they may not. However, we will analyze a few of my favorite candidates to see which players have better chances than others to win the coveted NBA Defensive Player of the Year award! For example, we will discuss Rudy Gobert, the heavy favorite, and Robert Williams III, specifically to detail the criteria needed to become a DPOY award winner.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds 2022-23
Below is a table with all of the NBA Defensive Player of the Year odds available for the 2022-23 season. Last season, Marcus Smart took home the award after helping the Celtics become the best defensive team in the NBA. The narrative for Smart was overwhelming after another slow start to the year from Boston. Something changed midseason, and Smart sparked that change for Boston and, consequently, helped it get to the NBA Finals. See which players are preseason favorites to win the award this season.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: Changes Explained
NBA Defensive Player of the Year odds are based on the odds that a sportsbook gives a particular player to win that specific award. These odds are constantly changing because of catalysts to a player or team. This can include a coaching change, team shakeup, injury, and more. For example, you can bet on Rudy Gobert, who has won the DPOY award three of the past five years, at +650 odds, because he could always get injured, or something else crazy could happen in the coming months. Those are several reasons why this is a very speculative bet that you should approach as more of a “fun” bet than a bet you are expecting to win.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: Futures Bettors
As is the case for all NBA award futures bets, they are speculative. Therefore, they usually have more favorable odds for bettors in the early stages (i.e., preseason or very beginning of the regular season.) The best NBA awards bettors have skill in spotting players’ talent and projecting what players and teams will be successful in any given year. Instinct, and a bit of luck, are also huge aspects required to be successful in an NBA award futures bet like the DPOY award. If you choose to bet on specific NBA awards, especially before or early in the season, try to enjoy it! They are challenging to get right!
NBA Defensive Player of the Year Odds: Favorite Bets
NBA Defensive Player of the Year: Favorite Rudy Gobert
Despite an up-and-down season for the Utah Jazz, Rudy Gobert still managed to be far and away the best defensive player on the planet. Gobert often fails to receive the praise he should because his offensive skillset is so marginal for an NBA starting center. Unfortunately, that deficiency can overshadow his incredible defensive combination of size, length, timing, and IQ in the eyes of some basketball fans. However, his offense is not what we are concerned with here.
In the 2021-22 season, Gobert matched his previous year’s defensive Real Plus-Minus (ESPN) with a DRPM of 8.0. The next closest player by this metric was Clint Capela, with an impressive 7.66, ranking third all-time, dating back to the late-70s. The once-dominant gap between Gobert and the next-best defensive player has shrunk a bit by this metric, but it is still clear he’s the best defender in the league.
Gobert also finished last season with a 6.8 defensive RAPTOR metric (FiveThirtyEight), which was 0.7 higher than the next closest player and 2.0 higher than Draymond Green, who ranked third. Regardless of the size of the gap between Gobert and everyone else, there’s still a gap; that will always be impressive.
Gobert’s odds are still this long, despite winning the award in three of the past five years, because of the apparent inconsistency and bias with this award. For instance, Marcus Smart winning the DPOY award last season was primarily based on the surprising and unexpected turnaround that the Boston Celtics had mid-season when they became the best defensive team in the league.
Smart was at the helm of that; thus, the narrative of “best defender on the best defensive team” took over. Gobert is the clear favorite, and for a good reason, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket: we saw what could happen when doing that last year. Regardless, check out bball-index’s graph below detailing Gobert’s obvious dominance.
NBA Defensive Player of the Year: Underdog Robert Williams III
Health is imperative when it comes to regular season awards, and Williams has struggled with health at times throughout his career. Still, Williams’s defensive upside is well worth a flier with odds roughly around +900, depending on the sportsbook.
Last season, Williams finished 11th in NBA’s Real Defensive Plus-Minus (RDPM) and 14th in FiveThirtyEight’s Defensive Raptor metric. Additionally, Williams finished second in the NBA in blocks per game, despite only playing less than 30 minutes per game.
Another consideration regarding Williams’ impact on that end of the floor is how talented the Celtics are on defense; even when Williams is out of the game, Boston still has Al Horford, Marcus Smart, Jayson Tatum, Payton Pritchard, and others who can play solid defense.
For this reason, Williams’ advanced metrics may not be quite as appealing as someone like Rudy Gobert. However, his impact is evident when he blocks a corner three despite taking off from inside the paint. If the Celtics have another defensive season like they did last year and Robert Williams can stay healthy, make strides, and put up big defensive numbers, he certainly has a shot as being the second-straight C’s player to take home the award.
Rudy Gobert is the obvious favorite to win his fourth DPOY award this season. The NBA Defensive Player of the Year odds will likely favor him for most of the season unless there is a significant injury. Still, a change in scenery, coaching, and playing style could cause enough disruption, at least at the beginning of the season, to give other guys across the league a chance to close the gap.
However, Minnesota was a middle-of-the-road defensive team last season, so it is possible that the addition of Gobert could make it elite on that end. If that happens, and the Timberwolves have great regular-season success, the narrative could again favor Gobert.