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Watt the Favorite for 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year

SBD Staff Writer

by SBD Staff Writer in NFL Football

Jul 19, 2018 · 6:00 AM PDT

JJ Watt of the Houston Texans taking pictures with fans
JJ Watt's last two seasons have been cut short due to injury. But he still opens as the favorite for 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Photo by U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Alexander Martinez [Public Domain]
  • Who holds the best odds of winning 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year?
  • Will the title once again be won by a pass-rushing beast?
  • Must the DPOY send his team to the playoffs?

Theeeeeey’re back! (Almost …)

After an eventful offseason (to say the least), the majority of NFL teams will see their veterans report to training camp in just seven days. Rookies across the league will report a couple of days earlier.

Online sports betting sites have already taken the time to offer odds to win Super Bowl 53, the 2018 NFL MVP, and both Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year awards. But just recently, we got our first glance at odds to win 2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year, courtesy Bookmaker.

2018 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds

Top Contenders

Player Name Pos Team Odds to win DPOY at Bookmaker
JJ Watt DL Houston Texans +600
Aaron Donald DL LA Rams +650
Joey Bosa EDGE LA Chargers +650
Khalil Mack EDGE Oakland Raiders +650
Von Miller EDGE Denver Broncos +1000
Jalen Ramsey CB Jacksonville Jaguars +1800
Luke Kuechly ILB Carolina Panthers +1800
Cameron Jordan DE New Orleans Saints +2300
Demarcus Lawrence DE Dallas Cowboys +2500
Chandler Jones EDGE Arizona Cardinals +3000
Calais Campbell DL Jacksonville Jaguars +3000
Myles Garrett EDGE Cleveland Browns +3000

In case y’all forgot what JJ “Swatt” can do when he’s healthy…

The formula seems to be: finish in the top percentile of sacks or interceptions, pad those numbers by contributing in other ways (tackles, forced fumbles, touchdowns) and propel your team to the playoffs.

These expectations make it harder for inside linebackers to win the award. Stat lines would have to be around 130+ tackles, at least eight forced turnovers, and a score while earning a post-season birth.

Elite cornerback Jalen Ramsey could be hard-pressed to win DPOY for the same unfortunate reasons as prototypical linebackers: the turnovers are harder to come by. In fact, it could be even more difficult for a cornerback, as their reputation grows and quarterbacks avoid throwing their way.

Other DPOY Candidates

Player Name Pos Team Odds to win DPOY at Bookmaker
Landon Collins S New York Giants +3300
Bobby Wagner ILB Seattle Seahawks +3300
Fletcher Cox DT Philadelphia Eagles +3500
Harrison Smith S Minnesota Vikings +4000
Myles Jack LB Jacksonville Jaguars +4000
Earl Thomas S Seattle Seahawks +4500
Tyrann Mathieu CB Houston Texans +4500
Xavier Rhodes CB Minnesota Vikings +5000
Brandon Graham DE Philadelphia Eagles +5000
Bradley Chubb EDGE Denver Broncos +5800
Jadaveon Clowney DE Houston Texans +6500
Deion Jones LB Atlanta Falcons +6500
CJ Mosley ILB Baltimore Ravens +6500
FIELD +1800

A History of the DPOY Award

Aaron Donald took home the honors last season, outplaying offensive-lineman the same way he outplayed his contract (more on that below).

Year NFL Defensive Player of the Year Pos
2017 Aaron Donald DL
2016 Khalil Mack EDGE
2015 JJ Watt (3) DL
2014 JJ Watt (2) DL
2013 Luke Kuechly ILB

Watt’s 2012 and 2015 campaigns saw him lead the league in sacks, but those are the only two seasons in the last decade where the sack-king was also crowned Defensive Player of the Year.

Elite ball-hawking can give you a shot at the title, as proven by defensive back legends Charles Woodson (2009 DPOY) and Troy Polamalu (2010 DPOY).  Woodson tied for the league-lead with nine interceptions in 2009, and Polamalu’s seven were just one behind the leader in 2010.

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