Why Longshot Jalen Ramsey is a Smart Bet for Defensive Player of the Year

A good offense can win some games, but a great defense is what an NFL team needs to win championships.

Every savvy bettor knows this is true.

Think about it. Even a team with an unproven quarterback under center has a fighting chance every week if the defense steps up. An elite D will turn interceptions into pick sixes, force fumbles, and pressure the quarterback.

This is where having strong defensive players on the roster is important. Outstanding defensive athletes can be difference-makers even when the offense falls short of glory. Just ask anyone who plays fantasy football.

And because we recognize how important these players are to a team’s overall success, we’re looking at a few good options from California teams who we think are great bets for NFL Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY).

Let’s dive into it.

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Nick Bosa — San Francisco 49ers

At DraftKings, Nick Bosa’s DPOY futures are third-best at +1000. And DraftKings oddsmakers aren’t the only ones who regard Bosa as a defensive force. Former Seahawks and 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman predicted that the edge rusher will walk away with the award.

But what makes Bosa so special?

Well, in four seasons with San Francisco, Bosa has racked up 83 solo tackles, has assisted on 27.5 sacks, and has a Defensive Rookie of the Year award to his name. He has already recorded three sacks in the first two weeks of the NFL season. But we’d expect nothing less from a No. 2 overall draft pick.

The younger Bosa brother (his brother Joey plays for the Chargers) is uniquely positioned to make an impact on San Francisco’s season. And this is because the Niners have Jimmy Garoppolo at quarterback for the foreseeable future, with Trey Lance out for the season with a broken ankle.

Garoppolo has earned the reputation of being a game manager. Because his style of play is more meek than it is flash, don’t expect for him to be the sole reason San Francisco wins games.

That’s where Boda comes into play.

Bosa is coming off a season where he had 15.5 sacks and 21 tackles for loss. And this was in a comeback year after missing all of 2020 with a torn ACL. As long as Garoppolo keeps “managing” the offense responsibly, Bosa’s impact on defense will be the complement the squad needs to keep opposing offenses in check. If the younger Bosa brother’s 2022 season is anything like last year, we think Bosa at +1000 could pocket you some cash.

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Joey Bosa — Los Angeles Chargers

What’s better than one Bosa? Two, of course. And like little brother Nick, Joey is also near the top of DraftKing’s DPOY oddsboard.

At +2000, Bosa has the fifth-best odds to take home DPOY honors. But is this Chargers’ linebacker worth a sprinkle?

Absolutely.

With his current odds, a $10 bet on Bosa to win Defensive Player of the Year would pocket you $210 total. That alone is enough reason to throw a few bucks at big brother Bosa. However, one thing we really like about him is his average number of sacks.

In four of his seven seasons, Bosa has recorded at least 10 sacks. And sharp bettors know that, when wagering DPOY futures, sack total is a key number to consider. The players whose sack totals meet or exceed double digits typically are the ones who take home the coveted award.

The 2018 and 2020 seasons were the only years that Bosa’s sacks didn’t tally 10 or more. And those were two seasons that he didn’t suit up for every contest.

So Bosa at +2000 to cause havoc in the AFC West and throughout the league on his way to earning Defensive Player of the Year honors?

We’ll take it.

Jalen Ramsey — Los Angeles Rams

At +5000, Ramsey’s DPOY futures are so far down the oddsboard, you have to scroll and squint just so you don’t miss them.

It’s true.

So how is it that a player who some consider to be one of the NFL’s best cornerbacks has such long odds to win DPOY? Simply put, Ramsey has struggled.

Next Gen Stats reported that in the Rams loss to the Bills in Week 1 of the 2022 season, as the nearest defender to a target, Ramsey allowed a perfect passer rating.

A poor performance like that will certainly lengthen your futures.

However, Ramsey rebounded in the Rams’ win over the Falcons. It was his fourth-quarter interception that helped clinch the 31-27 victory for LA over Atlanta. And we think his Week 2 performance is the beginning of Ramsey getting back on track.

Facing lower-ranked offenses like Carolina, New Orleans, and Seattle will give Ramsey prime opportunities to rack up some interceptions and show bettors and fans that he’s still a Pro Bowl-caliber corner.

So while you’re browsing the market for DPOY futures, definitely throw Ramsey in your cart.

Who’s the Best Bet?

It’s clear that Nick Bosa, Joey Bosa, and Jalen Ramsey are all worthy of at least a few bucks in the DPOY race. And while Nick’s short odds are the safest bet, we like Ramsey’s longer ones.

The season is a marathon, and Ramsey will continue improving as the year progresses. Furthermore, he has proven throughout his seven years in the league that he’s the kind of defender who changes a team’s complexion for the better.

You don’t want to miss out on his DPOY futures at this price. Once he gets back to his best form, Ramsey’s Defensive Player of the Year odds won’t be this long again.

About the Author

Erica Davis

Erica Davis is a writer with California Casinos. She graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in Journalism and in Political Science. After cheering as an NFL cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons, Erica moved to Los Angeles, where she became the host of Kevin Pollak's This Week In Football digital show. Since then, she has appeared as an on-air host sports commentator for CNN, HLN and TEGNA's Daily Blast Live. Erica is a die-hard Georgia Dawg and a hopelessly devoted Clippers fan.