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NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds are up for the 2021-22 season. This has been an award dominated by Aaron Donald as of late, winning three of the last four years. We have seen a lot of dominance, as J.J. Watt won three in four years back from 2012-2015. His brother, T.J. Watt, has been in the mix for the last few years and has been one of the more productive names. However, Donald continues to be the best defensive player in the league. The Bosa Brothers are in the mix, but health continues to be against them. Donald is the frontrunner, but there are quite a few names with great values.
NFL Defensive Player Of The Year Odds 2021-22
Aaron Donald The Man To Beat
As mentioned above, Aaron Donald continues to be the man to beat. He could have easily had four DPOY awards in a row, but Stephon Gilmore snuck in and won in 2019. Donald had pretty similar numbers in both 2020 and 2019, but maybe some voter fatigue came into play.
Donald has double-digit sacks in four straight years and five of the last six years. He has not finished a season below eight sacks. With 131 TFL in his career and also 19 FF, Donald makes such an impact in the middle, even with offenses knowing he is the man to block. He opens up so much for others, and even when his boxscore stats are not showing up, there is more to the story.
He is +400 early on, and that isn’t a bad value for someone who is such a frontrunner. Donald is in a tough division against good offenses, and we know he is a key cog in the Rams machine. However, there are a few names that could knock off Donald.
Myles Garrett is one of the top pass-rushers in the game, sitting with 42.5 sacks in 52 career games. Cleveland’s defense is going to take a step forward in 2021 with an improved secondary and front seven. Garrett needs to take another step forward in sacks, where if he can surpass the 15 mark and add in the turnover numbers, he is going to be a real contender for the award. At +600, we could see his odds increase as we get into the season if he gets off to a hot start.
Staring in the AFC North, TJ Watt has been knocking on the door for this award. He is +700 and has been one of the more impactful EDGE players in the league over the last few seasons. Watt is coming off a 15-sack season and had two forced fumbles and an interception. Watt has 49.5 sacks in four seasons and 59 TFL. Watt is in the prime of his career and certainly a player to watch for the award.
The talent and production are there for both Joey and Nick Bosa to win this award, but health generally keeps them from being in contention. Joey Bosa has played just two full seasons in his five-year career but has 47.5 sacks in 63 games. Nick had nine sacks, one interception, one forced fumble, and two fumble recoveries in his rookie season. He essentially missed all of the 2020 season and but made a full recovery and is ready to go for the 2021 season. Health is really key for both of them to win this award.
Chase Young was a force in his rookie season. He had 7.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, three recoveries, and a touchdown. He had 10 TFL and 44 tackles overall. Young was taken second overall and showed his immediate upside on a very good defense. This defense got better over the offseason, and he is taking on some mediocre offensive lines within the division.
Young is going to put up big numbers this season. I believe he is a future DPOY, even if it isn’t this year. At +1600, he is worth an offseason bet as someone who could easily insert himself this year as one of the best EDGE players in the league.
An injury cut Derwin James’ season short in 2019, and he missed 2020 as well. He hasn’t played since Week 5 in 2019, which is a concern. However, James is an immense talent with a ton of upside flying around in the safety role. He was an All-Pro in his rookie season, where he had 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, and three interceptions. James is a very intriguing long-shot bet at +2500.