The Defensive Player of the Year award voting was tight last year as T.J. Watt, Aaron Donald, and Micah Parsons were all fantastic candidates. In the end, voters went with Watt as he led the NFL with 22.5 sacks.
Can Watt repeat in 2022 or will Donald get his fourth win? Or will there be a new winner?
To help guide you in our NFL predictions series, here are our Defensive Player of the Year predictions and betting tips.
NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award Odds
All odds are courtesy of BetMGM Sportsbook and are current as of Friday, July 1, 2022 at 9 a.m. ET.
- Myles Garrett, DE, Cleveland Browns (+600)
- T.J. Watt, LB, Pittsburgh Steelers (+650)
- Aaron Donald, DT, Los Angeles Rams (+800)
- Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys (+900)
- Nick Bosa, DE, San Francisco 49ers (+1200)
- Joey Bosa, DE, Los Angeles Chargers (+2000)
- Khalil Mack, LB, Los Angeles Chargers (+2500)
- Chase Young, DE, Washington Commanders (+2500)
- Maxx Crosby, DE, Las Vegas Raiders (+3000)
- Derwin James, S, Los Angeles Chargers (+3000)
- Darius Leonard, LB, Indianapolis Colts (+3000)
Myles Garrett is the favorite to win the award after recording 16 sacks last year. He might be the most dominant edge rusher in the NFL, but he hasn’t quite had the statistical season of a T.J. Watt or Khalil Mack yet.
The favorites to win the award are all pass rushers, with the top non-pass rushers coming in at 30-1 odds (Darius Leonard, Derwin James). That’s not surprising as this is an award that has been won by a pass rusher in six of the last seven seasons.
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NFL Defensive Player of the Year Prediction
Micah Parsons, LB, Dallas Cowboys (+900)
If Micah Parsons wasn’t a rookie last season, he probably would have won the Defensive Player of the Year award. Instead, they gave it to Watt after “paying his dues" for the last several years.
Parsons was one of the most disruptive players in the NFL last season, totaling 13 sacks along with 20 tackles for loss and 30 quarterback hits. He was also a force in coverage and made plays all over the field as a run defender.
If Parsons can replicate the season he had as a rookie, he’s going to take home this award. No player in the NFL had a bigger impact on defense than Parsons and he should be even better in Year 2. It’s somewhat of a shock how low his odds are considering what we witnessed during his rookie campaign.
Best NFL Defensive Player of the Year Sleeper Bets
Maxx Crosby, DE, Las Vegas Raiders (+3000)
Crosby only registered eight sacks last season, but he was one of the best defensive players in the league. He led the NFL in pressures, hurries, and quarterback hits in just his third year in the NFL.
Going into the 2022 season, the Raiders finally got him some help on the opposite side by signing Chandler Jones. That should lead to more one-on-one opportunities, which could turn into more sacks for Crosby.
- Check out our NFL Offensive Player of the Year Predictions
Crosby is going into the prime of his career as he’ll turn 25 in August. Coming off a Pro Bowl campaign, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him take one more leap and become a legitimate DPOY candidate.
Von Miller, LB, Buffalo Bills (+4000)
After winning the Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams, Miller joined the Bills to help get them over the hump. And if he can play anywhere near as well as he did in the playoffs (four sacks, six quarterback hits), he might just do so.
Miller has never won the Defensive Player of the Year Award, but he does have a Super Bowl MVP on his resume. And while he did turn 33 in March, he is still one of the best edge rushers in the league.
It might be too much to ask of Miller at this stage of his career to be a DPOY candidate, but we know he has that type of talent. With Buffalo likely to be leading in a lot of games, he will certainly get the chance to get after the quarterback and rack up a high sack total.
Odafe Oweh, DE, Baltimore Ravens (+8000)
If you are searching for a deep longshot, consider second-year EDGE Odafe Oweh. Coming out of Penn State, Oweh was an elite athlete who was still learning how to rush the passer. But as a rookie, he totaled five sacks and 15 quarterback hits as a rotational pass rusher.
Entering Year 2, Oweh is projected to be a full-time starter and the team’s top pass rusher. With his combination of size and athleticism, it wouldn’t be a shock if this is the year things finally click for him.
Oweh should be on a good defense with a lot of opportunities. If he makes the leap many are expecting from him, he could quickly vault himself into the DPOY conversation.