10 July, 2023
Who will win Defensive Player of the Year in the NFL? Here are 3 early wagers to think about
While defense wins championships, offense wins games. This old saying may not hold true in the Patrick Mahomes era, but it still applies to every team that hopes to unseat the Chiefs.
The Philadelphia Eagles and Cincinnati Bengals, the two teams that came the closest, both had strong defensive units that contributed significantly to their postseason success. The 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, Nick Bosa, led the San Francisco 49ers’ pass rush, which made them a popular Super Bowl pick. The edge rusher for the 49ers won the prize after recording 18.5 sacks for the best scoring defense in the league.
That caliber of elite performance is required to defeat a field that includes superstars like Micah Parsons, T.J. Watt, and Aaron Donald. There are a few key points to keep in mind as you wager on the award this season. Just because Nick Bosa won last year doesn’t mean you should disregard him. Voter fatigue is not a real issue. Between the years of 2012 and 2020, J.J. Watt and Aaron Donald each won three out of four seasons. You should also focus on pass rushers. In the past nine years, only cornerback Stephon Gilmore has not been a pass rusher to win the award (2019), and over the previous two years, all votes have gone to quarterback-rushers. It’s no accident that 14 of the first 15 players listed on BetUS‘s odds board are pass rushers.
I created three wagers with odds ranging from +700 to +4000 so that we could attack the market from various vantage points. Similar to how I did last week, I approached the market for offensive player of the year. To check whether the odds are in line with the degree of risk, it’s a good exercise to help you visualize the value of each grouping. Remember that this is a highly competitive prize only given to the best players at their position. We will therefore begin with the wager with the shortest odds and progress to the long shot.
Best Bet: +700 Myles Garrett
From the day he joined the NFL in 2017, Myles Garrett has been a danger. He has played through some erratic years in Cleveland, but he has been incredibly consistent. In each of the previous five years, the former first overall pick has recorded double-digit sack totals.
He finished the 2017–2018 season with 16 sacks for the second consecutive year, 2.5 fewer than 2022 DPOY Nick Bosa. The issue with Garrett’s argument for the award has always been more about his team’s performance than his own. Last season, the Browns defense underperformed, finishing 25th on Pro Football Focus. Cleveland’s defense doesn’t have to match that of the 2022 49ers for Garrett to have a chance to win, but it must significantly improve.
With the appointment of former Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, I anticipate seeing it. With newly acquired defensive end Za’Darius Smith bookending the other side of the pass rush, Garrett had some significant assistance on the defensive line. If Watson’s attack becomes more coherent in his second season with the team, the Browns defense should also play less. All these factors point to Garrett playing in a much better environment than last season, giving him every opportunity to push into the 18-20 sack range, and earn him strong consideration for the award.
+2000 Haason Reddick
The Philadelphia Eagles were the team who sacked the quarterback the most in 2022. Reddick, who joined the team from the Carolina Panthers, was the ideal addition to a unit that finished first in pass EPA while terrorizing opposing offenses with 70 sacks. Reddick was responsible for 19.5 sacks when combining his regular season (16) and postseason (3.5) tallies, and he was noticeably more comfortable in his new home as the season progressed. Under the new defensive coordinator Sean Desai, I see no reason why he won’t keep moving in the same direction.
The Eagles have both their starting cornerbacks returning, and added Georgia DT Jalen Carter in the draft to replace the loss of Javon Hargrave. Reddick should feast again on the NFC East, which has at least two teams (New York Giants and Washington Commanders) that finished in the bottom seven of the league in sacks allowed per dropback.
Reddick checks all the boxes for the award. He has proven production on a contending team in a major market. Philadelphia has the shortest odds among all NFL teams to win their conference (+260), and only four teams have more prime-time games scheduled than Philly. Reddick should get plenty of opportunities to make his case in the national spotlight. That’s all you can ask for at 25 to 1.
Jaelen Phillips +5000
I was surprised how appealing some of the players were in this range of the odds board. Whether any of these hidden gems will hit as long shots is a more difficult question, but I think the Dolphins’ third-year pass rusher is certainly worth a look.
Phillips made a massive leap in his second year in the league. He ended with the fifth-highest pass rush grade according to PFF, and his pass rush victory % increased from 11.2 to 17.6. Only Myles Garrett, Micah Parsons, Nick Bosa and Haason Reddick graded out better than the Dolphins edge rusher. That’s pretty elite company for your second season in the league.
We could be looking at the perfect storm where everything lines up for a massive breakout under the tutelage of Vic Fangio, one of the league’s most respected defensive coordinators. The Dolphins secondary got a boost with Jalen Ramsey, and Miami has the talent to garner a lot of attention in 2023. I may be a year too soon, but I’d rather take a shot now than be a year too late.
Full List of Odds from BetUS.com
|ROT||2023-2024 NFL DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR||MONEYLINE|
|5017||Patrick Surtain II||+4000|
|5030||Darius Slay Jr.||+10000|
|5052||Antoine Winfield Jr||+15000|