If you take the past two seasons into account, the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award shouldn’t be all that hard to predict. Los Angeles Rams DT Aaron Donald has won the award in each of the past two seasons. Taking into account that a defensive lineman has won the past five consecutive awards, it appears one might lean toward Donald or another pass-rushing type once again. Offshore sportsbooks and your favorite online sportsbook are offering up this very interesting NFL prop bet. Let’s take a look at the candidates to watch.

If you are taking the easy route and betting the favorite, then your guy is Donald. America's Bookie gives Donald +200 odds to capture the award for a third straight season. He has won the last two and was the NFL’s Rookie of the Year in 2014. He totaled an amazing 20.5 sacks last season, which is a big number for an edge pass rusher. Donald is not an edge rusher. He plays inside at defensive tackle making his achievements last year even more impressive. In a talented Rams defense, if Donald puts up those numbers again a third straight DPOY is certainly possible.

Teams From the NFC to Make it to the Playoffs | Odds and Prediction

Like Donald, Mack is a favorite to win this year’s award after having done so in 2016. His numbers in 2018 were actually better than his award-winning season. Mack totaled 12.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, 4 pass breakups, and an interception which he returned for a touchdown. America's Bookie gives Mack +350 odds to win in 2019.

The Denver linebacker continues to put up outstanding numbers. Last year, the five-year veteran had 14.5 sacks along with four forced fumbles and an interception. The former Texas A&M star has had only one season in which he had less than 11 sacks. That was in 2013 when he only played in nine games. With a new defensive-minded head coach in Vic Fangio, Miller could flourish.

Watt appeared to be done after missing most of the 2016 and 2017 seasons with injuries. He responded in 2018 with another Pro Bowl performance. Watt had 16 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and four pass breakups. The Houston DE has three Defensive Player of the Year awards already and if he stays healthy do not count him out at +900.

The Chargers DE was the NFL Rookie of the Year in 2016 after recording 10.5 sacks in 10 games. He followed that up with 12.5 more in 2017. Last season, Bosa missed 10 weeks of the season while recovering from a foot injury. He started the final six games and totaled 5.5 sacks for the season. If that kind of performance carries over into 2019, Bosa might find himself a winner. He is more of a longshot at +1300 but could have the kind of stats worthy of a DPOY.

Teams From the AFC to Make it to the Playoffs | Odds and Prediction

If you’re looking for a true longshot bet, consider New Orleans DE Cameron Jordan or Chargers safety Derwin James. Jordan has 25 sacks over the past two seasons and is one of the reasons why the Saints defense has improved over the past few years. New Orleans will surely contend for another NFC title and, with the right numbers, Jordan could contend for the NFL DPOY which makes him an attractive bet at +2800.

The real longshot is James, who lined up at every single position in the Chargers’ secondary last season. He is used as a blitzer and is the team’s leading tackler. He racked up 105 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 13 pass breakups, and three interceptions last year. A defensive back has not won the DPOY since Troy Polamalu, but at +3000 James could be a huge payoff.

About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.

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