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Updated 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds: Watt Still on Top

Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams penetrating the backfield
Can Aaron Donald win back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year awards? Photo by Keith Allison (flickr) [CC License]
  • Who are the top contenders to win the 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award?
  • Can Jalen Ramsey become just the second CB since 1995 to win the honor?
  • How much is Aaron Donald’s holdout affecting his odds?

I know. Saquon Barkley ripped off a 39-yard run the first time he touched the football in the NFL (preseason). But let’s shift away from all the rookies making their debuts this week, as we’ve just received some updated odds for the 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award.

Here’s the top contenders at Bovada. (Follow the link to see all the options.)

2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds

Player Pos Team Odds at Bovada
JJ Watt DL HOU +500
Joey Bosa EDGE LAC +550
Aaron Donald DL LAR +550
Khalil Mack EDGE OAK +550
Von Miller EDGE DEN +900
Jalen Ramsey CB JAX +1400
Luke Kuechly ILB CAR +2200

*More options available at Bovada.

Should JJ Watt be the Favorite?

We all like to remember our favorite athletes in their glory days. For JJ Watt that was from 2012-2015. The former 11th-overall pick recorded 69 sacks in those four seasons, and won three Defensive Player of the Year awards.

But the 29-year-old has been severely hampered by injuries over the last two seasons, only being able to log eight games. And in those eight games, Watt has a total of 1.5 sacks to his name.

So the question is, can one of the most dominant defenders in NFL history overcome the damage that has been done to his body and become the most feared defensive player in the game again?

I’m not ready to bet against it. But I’m also not willing to bet on it with +500 odds.

Is it Worth Betting on Jalen Ramsey or Another Corner?

Entering just his third season in the NFL, Jalen Ramsey deserves every bit of credit he gets as a shutdown corner.

But corners have only won Defensive Player of the Year honors five times since the award was first handed out in 1971, and we have not seen a corner win it since Charles Woodson in 2009.

With more and more advanced stats readily available, it is becoming easier for voters to quantify a corner’s impact on a game beyond interceptions.

However, if we are going to dive into the advanced stats here, Ramsey isn’t the top pick among corners. That honor belongs to Casey Hayward, who currently doesn’t even have odds at Bovada

I’d steer clear of Ramsey and the rest of the corners listed for Defensive Player of the Year.

Can Aaron Donald Defend his Defensive Player of the Year Honors?

A healthy JJ Watt aside, there is no interior defender who can wreck a game the way Aaron Donald can. The former 13th-overall pick averages nearly ten sacks per season, and that number could go up with Ndamukong Suh at his side to occupy blockers.

But I would hold off on putting any money on Donald for now, as he has yet to reach an agreement on a new contract with the Los Angeles Rams.

Reports suggest the two sides may be close, but the +550 odds don’t call for immediate action anyways.

If the Rams can get the 27-year-old in the building during the preseason, come back and see if the +550 is still available. However, there is better value out there.

Where is the Value in Betting 2018 NFL DPOY?

Sacks are an extremely sexy stat in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting, but they’re not everything.

Since 2002, JJ Watt is the only player to lead the league in sacks and win DPOY in the same season – he did it twice (2012 and 2015).

I believe this trend will come to an end this season, as Von Miller is going to rack up enough sacks to force the voters to award him with his first Defensive Player of the Year award.

With the fifth-overall pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, Bradley Chubb, rushing on the opposite edge, and an offense that is (at the very worst) capable of putting a drive together once in a while, Miller is going to explode.

At +900, the 29-year-old provides the best value among all candidates.

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After receiving a bachelor's degree in communications, Matt spent two years with Rogers TV as a host, producer, and play-by-play commentator. He has been with us since 2016 and serves as SBD's editor-in-chief and sports betting expert.