NFL Futures Betting: Best bets for Defensive Player of the Year
This season's best bets for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award include two dominant pass rushers and a defensive back who is a tempting longshot bet.
With the NFL season lasting just 17 games, every week is crucial for teams and players alike. For that reason, consistency in this league is held in such high regard.
This is especially true on the defensive side of the ball and, along with it, the Defensive Player of the Year award. Players from different positions continue to win the award, making this among the most interesting NFL futures to research and bet on.
With that being said, here are the three best NFL betting picks to win the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Aaron Donald (DL, Los Angeles Rams)
Only the best of the best have won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award multiple times.
In the case of Los Angeles Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald, not only is he the reigning winner, but he has also taken home this award in three of the past four seasons.
It’s easy to see why. Last season, Donald totaled 13.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, 14 tackles for loss and 28 quarterback hits.
The Rams are expected to be improved this season due to the quarterback change to Matthew Stafford. If this is true, LA will be playing with a lead more often, meaning more passing down snaps for Donald.
This will undoubtedly lead to another impressive sack total, giving him a great opportunity to take the award home yet again.
T.J. Watt (OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers)
After losing to Donald last season by a 27-20 vote, T.J. Watt is in an interesting situation this season. At the time of writing, Watt is still awaiting his new contract, which will likely make him the highest-paid player on the defensive side of the ball in the NFL.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are not an organization that likes to negotiate contracts during the season, so Watt will either be playing on his new contract and motivated to prove he is worth a historic amount of money, or he will be playing with the mindset of earning said contract.
Either way, he is expected to be very motivated.
Watt has improved every season in the NFL, increasing his sack total every year, and leading the entire NFL in this category last season with 15. He also totaled 41 quarterback hits and a league-high 23 tackles for loss.
If Donald doesn’t improve upon his results from last year, Watt has a great chance to beat him to this award this season.
Xavien Howard (CB, Miami Dolphins)
Xavien Howard was the only player other than Donald and Watt to receive votes last season, and he may be in an even better position this year.
While he does play in a division with MVP candidate Josh Allen, the Miami cornerback will also face two rookie quarterbacks in the AFC East in Zach Wilson and Mac Jones. Expect him to capitalize on their inexperience.
On top of that, if quarterback Tua Tagovailoa takes steps forward like the Dolphins believe he can, then Miami should be playing with a lead more often this season, which means opposing teams will give Howard more passing snaps.
Last season, Howard led the league with 10 interceptions. This might seem like an outlier had he not also led the league in picks in 2018.
Playing on a solid defense in a youthful division, Howard is the longshot pick to make.