Sean Pendergast

J.J. Watt Near Top of the Odds Board for 2020 Defensive Player of the Year

Could J.J. Watt reclaim his throne as NFL Defensive Player of the Year?
Could J.J. Watt reclaim his throne as NFL Defensive Player of the Year? Photo by Eric Sauseda
If you're a sports bettor (or bettor of any type), then you probably already know this, but the online sports books out there are finding anything they can on which to provide odds. With no baseball, no basketball, no hockey, no golf... well, all of it puts a serious crimp in the sports gambling business.

So we are seeing odds on everything from awards shows to elections to the weather to TV shows that were recorded MONTHS ago! (Did I place a bunch of prop bets on Season 3 of Ozark? Maybe. Maybe I did.) So I will admit that it's nice to see a few actual sports bets still pop up here and there. One way for these books to at least get some cash in their coffers temporarily is by putting out some futures bets.

We got some good juicy NFL futures bets this week from, juicy because they reveal and remind us of some Texans storylines, for better or worse (WARNING: Lotta "worse" in here, LOTTA "worse"). So, here we go (with my commentary after each bet):

Defensive Player of The Year
Aaron Donald 7/1
Nick Bosa 9/1
J.J Watt 11/1
TJ Watt 11/1
Khalil Mack 12/1
Stephon Gilmore 16/1
Chandler Jones 18/1
Derwin James 20/1
Joey Bosa 20/1
Von Miller 20/1
Demarcus Lawrence 22/1
Danielle Hunter 25/1
Myles Garrett 25/1
Jadeveon Clowney 28/1
Bobby Wagner 33/1
Darius Leonard 33/1
Jalen Ramsey 33/1
Jamal Adams 33/1
Minkah Fitzpatrick 33/1
Shaquil Barrett 33/1
Tre'Davious White 33/1
Tyrann Mathieu 33/1
SP COMMENT: Hey, I love J.J. Watt, maybe more than any Houston athlete that I've covered, but at a glance, it is amazing to still see him near the top of the odds board for the best defensive player in football, considering he's missed 32 of the Texans' last 64 regular season games. Now, that said, at 11/1 I would ponder betting  a sawbuck on Watt. Look, WHEN he's been healthy the last two seasons, he's been dominant. After he went out with the torn pectoral injury in Week 8 last season, he remained among the leaders in QB pressures for several weeks after that, while in street clothes.

In other words, when he plays, he still plays at a high level. If Watt has a vintage Watt season (say, 18 sacks), and the Texans win double digit games again (HUGE IF), 11/1 will look nice. Two other things on this list — first, Jadeveon Clowney at 28/1 while not on a team is pretty funny, and second, Tyrann Mathieu at 33/1 reminds us that the Texans had Watt, Clowney, AND Mathieu on the same defense just a year ago. Let's move on.

Most Passing Yards 20-21 Regular Season
Drew Brees 5/1
Patrick Mahomes 6/1
Aaron Rodgers 8/1
Matt Ryan 8/1
Tom Brady 8/1
Dak Prescott 10/1
Lamar Jackson 10/1
Jared Goff 12/1
Kyler Murray 12/1
Russell Wilson 16/1
Carson Wentz 20/1
Jimmy Garoppolo 25/1
Matthew Stafford 25/1
Philip Rivers 25/1
Baker Mayfield 33/1
Derek Carr 33/1
Deshaun Watson 33/1
SP COMMENT: Ok, first, I LOVE Mahomes at 6/1. His value is depressed because his stats were down last year from his MVP season two years ago, but if he's healthy, 6/1 is just... WOW. That said, is there a case for throwing a little something on Deshaun Watson at 33/1? Well, let me try.

First, while this may not be a better offense without DeAndre Hopkins, the focus on getting some tools O'BRIEN feels are better at receiver would indicate an increased emphasis on the passing game. Also, David Johnson's skillset is as much (if not more) in the receiving game out of the backfield as it is running between the tackles. Finally, with a subpar defense, I would expect the Texans to be playing in several shootouts this season, so that would seem to lean toward the passing game, as well. Again, I'm not trying to paint a picture where it's a lock, but I'd throw a 20-spot on 33/1 for Deshaun, for sure.

Most Receiving Yards 20-21 Regular Season
Michael Thomas 6/1
Julio Jones 8/1
DeAndre Hopkins 9/1
Chris Godwin 10/1
Mike Evans 10/1
Odell Beckham Jr 12/1
Tyreek Hill 12/1
Davante Adams 14/1
Adam Thielen 16/1
Amari Cooper 16/1
DeVante Parker 16/1
DK Metcalf 16/1
Keenan Allen 18/1
Kenny Golladay 18/1
TY Hilton 18/1
JuJu Smith-Schuster 20/1
Stefon Diggs 20/1
Cooper Kupp 25/1
George Kittle 25/1
Travis Kelce 25/1
Will Fuller 25/1

SP COMMENT: Not much to say here, other than it still hurts to see DeAndre Hopkins ballyhooed as one of the top receivers in football while wearing a different uniform. Notice Will Fuller getting some love at 25/1, but you're betting more on health than anything there... so in other words, if you like lighting money on fire, then go ahead and place your Fuller wager.

Most Rushing Yards 20-21 Regular Season
Derrick Henry 6/1
Christian McCaffrey 7/1
Nick Chubb 8/1
Dalvin Cook 10/1
Ezekiel Elliott 10/1
Saquon Barkley 14/1
Chris Carson 16/1
Joe Mixon 16/1
Josh Jacobs 16/1
Leonard Fournette 16/1
Alvin Kamara 18/1
Austin Ekeler 18/1
Kenyan Drake 18/1
Mark Ingram 18/1
Melvin Gordon 18/1
Raheem Mostert 18/1
James Connor 20/1
Marlon Mack 20/1
Phillip Lindsay 22/1
Todd Gurley 22/1
Aaron Jones 25/1
Devin Singletary 25/1
Lamar Jackson 25/1
LeVeon Bell 25/1
Miles Sanders 25/1
Damien Williams 28/1
Jordan Howard 28/1
Latavius Murray 28/1
Sony Michel 28/1
Adrian Peterson 33/1
David Johnson 33/1
Kerryon Johnson 33/1 
SP COMMENT: There are 29 players on this odds board with shorter odds than the player that Bill O'Brien called "an excellent three down back," while volunteering to pay his entire top-five-in-the-league guaranteed salary for 2020. Also, that player lost his job to Kenyan Drake halfway through last season, and was third string on the Cardinals at the time of the trade. OK, now I will chug a flask of whiskey. Oh also, there are only six backs on this list (of 32 total) that have been in the league longer than four seasons (not a good thing for running backs to be older, just to be clear) — and yes, David Johnson is one of them. Thanks for asking.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast