The Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year award is an annual award given to the best defensive player in the National Football League. The winner is decided by a panel of 50 AP Sportswriters who cover the NFL games and the award is given out at the NFL Honors show which takes place one day before the Super Bowl.
As of last season, a total of 19 linebackers have won this award while a total fo 13 defensive ends have been bestowed such honor. Nine defensive tackles, six cornerbacks, and five safeties have also received the AP DPOY trophy.
Lawrence Taylor and J.J. Watt are the only players in NFL history to win the award three times. Joe Greene, Mike Singletary, Bruce Smith, Reggie White, Ray Lewis, and Aaron Donald are two-time winners of this award. Among the names mentioned, Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt are included in the latest odds board.
Donald Is Favorite Again
Aaron Donald opens as the betting favorite as NFL Defensive Player of the Year for a third straight season. He was the 2017 and 2018 winner of this award and last year, he lost out to the New England Patriots’ Stephone Gilmore who is sixth in the current odds board.
To say that Donald is a terror on defense may be an understatement. He’s like a man among boys when it comes to that end of the football field. Last season, Donald “only” 12.5 and two forced fumbles. Those were similar numbers to 2017 when he won his first DPOY award. In the last three seasons, Donald has a total of 43.5 sacks and 11 force fumbles.
Gilmore led the league with six interceptions last season so that’s probably why he beat Aaron Donald for the award in 2019. The Rams also struggled as a team on defense and perhaps that hurt Donald’s chances in the voting. Whatever the reason, Donald was still a legit contender for that award this season despite having a “down year”.
At +700 his value is hard to ignore especially since he opened at +200 last season. I think he will be in the thick of the fight for this award next season. Injury isn’t a concern with Donald ( fingers crossed here) as he hasn’t missed a single game yet in his entire NFL career due to injury. At 29, he is still very much in his prime and is 100% healthy.
Here are the odds to win the 2020 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. These odds were taken from the online sportsbook BetOnline as of 04/06/2020:
Two Sets of Brothers
There are two sets of brothers in the odds board for this prop bet. The first is Nick and Joey Bosa and then the other is TJ and JJ Watt. The Bosa brothers are Pass Rushers who plays for the San Francisco 49ers and Los Angeles Chargers, respectively. Meanwhile, the Watt brothers play for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Texans, respectively.
Among the four, it’s Nick Bosa who is ranked highest in the odds board at +900. The 22-year old from Ohio State was the second overall pick of the 2019 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers and he was named as the 2019 Rookie Defensive Player of the Year after
47 tackles, nine sacks, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries, two pass deflections, and one interception.
Joey Bosa was the third overall pick in 2016 by the Chargers and he was the 2016 NFL Rookie Defensive Player of the Year. Last season, Joey had 67 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and one forced fumble.
T.J. Watt is third in the current odds board at +1100. T.J. led the Steelers in sacks in each of the last three seasons and he had 14.5 sacks last season. T.J. has been named to the Pro Ball team in each of the last seasons but has lived under the shadow of his more prominent brother J.J. who has won this DPOY award three times in his five NFL seasons.
J.J. suffered a season-ending pectoral injury last season but returned to play in the Texans’ Wildcard playoff game against the Buffalo Bills.
The idea that the sacks determine the Defensive Player of the Year winner is false. Only two out of the last seven NFL sacks leader has been named as the winner of this award. Shaquil Barrett led the league in 2019 while Chandler Jones did so in 2017. Vic Beasley and Justin Houston also led the league in sacks in 2016 and 2014 but neither of them won the award.
Gilmore proved last season that the voters will consider players in the secondary. But in the last 10 seasons, five of the winners were interior linebackers. In three out of the last five years, the award has been given to a Defensive Tackle.
JJ Watt and Aaron Donald have combined to win this award in four out of the last six season and five out of the last eight. After he recorded a sack in the Wildcard round, I think JJ Watt was healthy. But between him, and a player who never missed a game due to injury before, the pick here is Aaron Donald.
I like the betting value on Donald right now and unless he gets injured ( cross my fingers again ), I think he’s going to win his third DPOY award in the last four seasons.
Prediction: Aaron Donald