Watt you talkin' bout: T.J. takes big lead in NFL Defensive Player of the Year race

Profile Picture: Andrew Champagne

January 5th, 2022

Up until very recently, the betting odds for the National Football League’s Defensive Player of the Year Award reflected a very competitive race. Pittsburgh’s T.J. Watt and Dallas’s Micah Parsons were deadlocked going into this weekend, but after Watt’s big game played a huge role in a key win over Cleveland, the Steeler is now the prohibitive favorite.

Defensive Player of the Year 2021/2022

Sat, February 12 2022, 10:00 PM

Watt, TJ


Parsons, Micah


Donald, Aaron


Diggs, Trevon


Bosa, Nick


Garrett, Myles


Quinn, Robert


Leonard, Darius


Ramsey, Jalen


Byard, Kevin


The latest odds have Watt as a -400 favorite to win the award. While Parsons is the clear second choice at +400, that’s double the price bettors saw prior to this weekend’s action, which also included a Dallas loss at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals. Just how far ahead of the pack are these two? Consider that third choice, Aaron Donald (+950), is the only other player below +4000 in the current wagering.

Watt has been historically dominant

It’s tough to discredit the season Watt has had in the Steel City. His four-sack performance on Monday night puts him just one behind Michael Strahan’s single-season record of 22.5 quarterback takedowns. While eagle-eyed observers and traditionalists will point out that Watt has an additional regular season game in which he could tie or break the record, it’s still a tremendous performance.

Pittsburgh's poor record could impact Watt's candidacy 

The question is, are you willing to take -400 on a player whose team may not make the playoffs? A Steelers loss to rival Baltimore in the upcoming season finale would knock Pittsburgh out of playoff contention. Baltimore beat Pittsburgh 20-19 earlier this season, and the Ravens will be at home for their second clash on Sunday afternoon. Should the Ravens complete the season sweep and knock Pittsburgh out of the hunt, it could impact Watt’s chances to take down the award.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys have already clinched a playoff spot, and Parsons is a big reason why. The rookie has been all over the field, recording a team-high 13 sacks and showing the awareness of someone far more experienced.

Parsons presents excellent value at longer odds

Watt’s numbers are better, and it’ll be tough to go against him if Pittsburgh winds up being a playoff team despite a 1-3 start and a tie with the lowly Detroit Lions. Still, -400 is a very, very short price, and it’s not like he’s a cinch. If you liked Micah Parsons at +200 a few days ago, you almost have to like him more at +400. If you were waiting for a bigger price, I’d urge you to pounce.