- The Denver Broncos and Von Miller struggled in Week 1
- Despite this, Von Miller’s Defensive Player of the Year Awards odds have improved
- The Rams’ Aaron Donald remains the favorite to win the award
Numbers do not lie.
Few, if any, numbers the Denver Broncos and the athletes which make up the 2019 edition compiled in Monday night’s 24-16 loss to the Antonio Brown-less Oakland Raiders could be described as flattering.
Collectively, the Broncos gained fewer yards (357 to 344), threw for fewer yards (259 to 249), and ran for fewer yards (98 to 95). They gained fewer yards per play (6.6 to 6.0), did not convert on third down (71-percent against 46-percent), and lost the time of possession battle as well (32:45 compared to 27:15).
As a result, the individual numbers were not stellar. Especially for pass rusher-extraordinaire Von Miller. Starting his ninth year—all with Denver, the Texas A&M product was limited to four tackles and one assisted tackle.
2019 NFL DPOY Odds
|Player||Odds at Bovada|
|Leighton Vander Esch||+2500|
*Odds taken September 12, 2019. For more options click the link in the table
These aren’t the numbers expected from one of the league’s most disruptive outside linebackers, one who has Bradley Chubb line up as the Broncos’ other outside linebacker, and a defensive mastermind in Vic Fangio as head coach.
So if you add one suboptimal game and discount the presence of Chubb and Fangio, does one think that oddsmakers are devaluing Miller’s chances at winning the NFL Defensive Player of the Year?
Nope. His NFL DPOY odds have improved.
Prior to the season opener, Miller was +1800 to win his first NFL DPOY award. His odds have skyrocketed to +800, behind only Los Angeles Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald (+200) and Chicago Bears’ outside linebacker Khalil Mack (+450). Following Miller are Houston Texans’ defensive end JJ Watt (+1000), Cleveland Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett (+1000), and Dallas Cowboys’ defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence (+1800).
So, then, the question becomes, is he worth your wager?
Is Miller the Best Value Bet to Win NFL DPOY?
And the answer is an unequivocal maybe.
Entering Sunday’s home opener against Mack and the Chicago Bears—where Fangio had served as defensive coordinator from 2015 through 2018, Miller had recorded 98 sacks and 455 tackles in 121 NFL games. During that window, he tallied 196 quarterback hits, 125 tackles for loss, and scored two touchdowns; one on a fumble recovery and the other on an interception return.
Miller recorded double-digit sacks in seven of his eight seasons, with his five-sack campaign in 2013 being the outlier although he was limited to nine games that year.
Fangio certainly believes in Miller as he said the linebacker “can play even better” during his introductory press conference. He subsequently made a statement in April that “the sky is the limit” when told No. 58 had set 20 sacks as a goal for the 2019 season. Miller’s single-season high for sacks is 18.5 set in 2012.
Miller’s single-season high for sacks is 18.5 set in 2012.
All of which should make opposing offensive coordinators and their star skill position players experience sleep-deprived nights in the week and weeks prior to games against the Broncos.
But the question that must be asked, and will not be answered until the end of the season, is whether Miller’s candidacy will be affected by the quality of his team. The AFC West boasts a legitimate Super Bowl contender in the Kansas City Chiefs, a 2018 playoff squad in the San Diego Chargers, a Raiders team that is in the midst of a baffling rebuild, as well as the Broncos.
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) August 20, 2019
Therefore it is not out of the realm of possibility that Miller could author a dominant season for a team that does not qualify for the playoffs, and loses the vote for NFL DPOY to a player such as Lawrence, a significant defensive player on a heavily featured team.
Proceed with caution.
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