2021 NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds and best bets: Young in chasing pack behind favorites Donald and Garrett

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Ricky Dimon

NFL

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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports--just about any and all you can think of!--and coaching tennis in Atlanta, Ga. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me.

The 2021 NFL season, which will hopefully be a lot more normal than the 2020 installment, is just about here. This offseason has been a wild one, with Julio Jones being dealt from Atlanta to Tennessee, Detroit and the Rams swapping quarterbacks (Matthew Stafford for Jared Goff), a whole host of draft-related trades, Aaron Rodgers demanding out of Green Bay and then returning, and most recently Cam Newton getting released by New England.

If you’re looking for more in-depth analysis and futures picks ahead of the 2021 NFL season, be sure to check out our predictions for who wins Super Bowl 56, as well as our assessment of which three teams will improve dramatically and which teams will regress. As for individuals, we have also taken a look at the main player markets—including MVP and Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Now we will continue with a Defensive Player of the Year discussion. Let’s take a look at the odds and discuss some best bets.

NFL Defensive Player of the Year odds

It is no surprise to see Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald a considerable favorite at +500. After all, he has won this award in 3 of the last 4 seasons. In one of those seasons, he recorded 20.5 sacks, but in the other 2 he did not finish with more than 13.5 sacks. Donald does not have to go completely off statistically in order to be voted DPOY because it’s obvious that he can impact the game even on plays for which he does not get credit for a sack or a tackle for loss. No matter what (barring injury), he is sure to be in the mix for this honor.

Donald is followed on the favorites list by Browns defensive end Myles Garrett, Steelers outside linebacker T.J. Watt, 49ers defensive end Nick Bosa, Washington defensive end Chase Young, and Chargers outside linebacker Joey Bosa.

With that, let’s delve into some of the best betting options.

Defensive Player of the Year best bet: Chase Young (+1600)

Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas (82) congratulates defensive end Chase Young (99) on a defensive stop against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the second quarter at Heinz Field.

Young made a relatively modest 7.5 sacks in 2020, which is why you can get him at +1600 to win Defensive Player of the Year. Even though he has come down from +2000 a little more than a month ago, those are odds I am not prepared to pass up. The former Ohio State standout has one NFL season under his belt and should get exponentially better in 2021.

Playing on overall stellar defensive unit that the Football Team boasts, Young won’t get double-teamed as frequently as Donald and some of the other names listed above. For multiple reasons, you have to think Young’s sack numbers are going to skyrocket. It should also be noted that the 2020 No. 2 overall pick produced 12.5 tackles for loss, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 fumble recoveries as a rookie.

Best Defensive Player of the Year longshot bet: Jalen Ramsey (+4000)

Not too much unlike Young on TWFT, Ramsey has plenty of help on the Rams’ defense. Donald and company consistently put pressure on opposing quarterbacks, which obviously helps Ramsey and the rest of the secondary force turnovers.

The 26-year-old has not posted any interception numbers to speak of since his first three NFL seasons with the Jaguars, but that is due in part to injuries and also to the fact that interception statistics can be flukes. It’s not Ramsey’s fault that QBs avoid throwing in his direction. Like Donald, the FSU product always passes the eye test. With a slight uptick in numbers, DPOY contention would not be out of the question.

Ramsey was +3800 when he piqued our interest more than a month ago and now you can get him at +4000. Why not take a shot?

Pickswise is the home of free Expert NFL picks and NFL odds. Be sure to check out all of our season previews and NFL futures bets leading up to the 2021 NFL season.

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