Although the NFL’s Most Valuable Player of the Year award is the real Big Kahuna, there’s no reason to devalue the merit of the all-time greats who’ve won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award. The DPOY award is the most sought-after prize by elite defenders considering that no defensive player has won the league MVP title since Lawrence Taylor in 1985.
Nitrobetting is ready to equip its bettors with the latest news, NFL futures odds, and special features for the duration of the 2022 NFL offseason. This time, let’s take a closer look at a handful of imposing defensive players who are candidates for the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award and their respective odds of winning the coveted prize.
Betting Odds and Expert Picks to Win the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award
2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Favorites
- 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +650
No list of top candidates for the 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year award is complete without Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald atop those lists. After all, the seven-time First-Team All-Pro selection has been named a DPOY three times over in his career already.
At 31 years of age, Donald is nearing the twilight of his professional career. Then again, the 280-pound behemoth has not shown signs of slowing down just yet. He’s had double-digit sacks in each of the last five seasons (12.5 sacks in 2021) and is coming off a new personal best of 84 total tackles last season. Simply put, Donald has been the gold standard when it comes to elite defensemen in the NFL and will remain an annual favorite to win the Defensive Player of the Year award unless proven otherwise.
- 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +650
Another formidable pass rusher over in Cleveland shares the same odds to win the DPOY award as Donald in the form of Myles Garrett. The Browns’ first-overall pick from the 2017 NFL Draft continues to impress with his yearly improvement; so much so that he’s barely beating out reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt (+750) odds-wise as we speak.
Garrett is always in contention for the sacks leader title every year. Last season, the 26-year-old out of Texas A&M set a new career-high of 16 sacks and has his own streak of four straight seasons with over 10 or more sacks going. It’s also possible that he won’t be sharing the spotlight with his fellow teammates, especially with the Browns’ quarterback situation still in quite a funk. If Cleveland makes the playoffs thanks to a strong front seven, one can bet that it’s because of Garrett’s presence on the edge.
2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Dark Horses
- 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +3,300
Not only does Maxx Crosby have two X’s in his name to sound really cool, but he’s also the best defensive player that the Raiders have, hands down. The Eastern Michigan product has yet to replicate his 10-sack rookie season back in 2019, but he’s improved in more aspects of the game beyond his superb pass-rushing ability.
Crosby set new career-highs of 56 total tackles and 36 solo tackles in 2021. He also set a new personal best with seven passes defended to show his improvement in pass coverage as well. In the event that Las Vegas’ defense rises from relatively bad to a top-10 unit, Crosby will certainly be buzzing as the main factor for their success and will be a hot topic for the DPOY race.
- 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +4,000
Another sleeper candidate can be found in the AFC West by way of Chargers safety Derwin James, who is coming off a triumphant return last season after sitting out the entire 2020 campaign due to a serious knee injury. The former first-rounder returned to relevancy indeed as he earned his second First-Team All-Pro nod last season since his breakout rookie season in 2018.
Few backfield defenders can compare to the strength and awareness that James delivers. He even literally equaled his performance from his NFL debut season by finishing with 75 total tackles and 10 interceptions in 2021, which makes him a strong dark hose pick to win the NFL DPOY award this season when all is said and done.
2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Huge Reach
- 2022 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Odds: +10,000
Speaking of sensational safeties, Pittsburgh’s Minkah Fitzpatrick is also often in the conversation of the NFL’s best safeties in general. He was even taken seven spots ahead of the aforementioned James at 11th overall in the 2018 NFL Draft class.
However, after the Steelers traded for him in 2019 and turned the team into a top defensive unit that year almost instantly, the luster has somewhat been lost on Fitzpatrick over the past couple of seasons. Nevertheless, Fitzpatrick played 16 games in each of the last two seasons at that and is coming off a new career-high of 124 solo tackles. Thus, the two-time CFP champion out of ‘Bama still packs a ton of value as a longshot pick to win the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award in 2022.
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*All stated odds are subject to change without prior notice.