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NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds: Parsons the Early Favorite

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons is the favorite in NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds.

NFL rookies drafted in the first couple of rounds are expected to make an immediate impact. The players drafted in the early first round are often expected to be stars.

When it comes to NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds, the player who often wins the award is one of those highly drafted stars. Last season, Washington edge rusher Chase Young took home the hardware after being drafted third overall as one of the best prospects at his position in recent memory. Young went on to be selected to the Pro Bowl.

But this year, there was no Chase Young at the top of the draft. The 2021 NFL Draft skewed far more to the offense as only six of the top 20 picks were on defense, including none in the top seven.

Former Penn State linebacker Micah Parsons was the third defensive player taken in the draft and the best American football betting sites have him as a +450 favorite to win this award. 

If you’re new to betting on football, check out our How To Bet NFL page to get up to speed or keep track of the latest Super Bowl odds.

In the meantime, check out the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds with analysis below on the best bets.

Odds to Win 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year

2021 NFL DROY odds
Micah Parsons (DAL)+450
Jamin Davis (WFT)+500
Jaelan Phillips (MIA)+700
Kwity Paye (IND)+900
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah (CLE)+950
Patrick Surtain II (DEN)+1000
Jaycee Horn (CAR)+1500
Zaven Collins (ARI)+1500
Azeez Ojulari (NYG)+1800
Caleb Farley (TEN)+1800
Gregory Rousseau (BUF)+2000
Jayson Oweh (BAL)+2000
Trevon Moehrig-Woodard (LV)+2500
Greg Newsome II (CLE)+2800
Asante Samuel Jr. (LAC)+3000
Eric Stokes (GB)+3300
Joe Tryon (TB)+3300
Nick Bolton (KC)+3300
Christian Barmore (NE)+4000
Baron Browning (DEN)+5000
Jevon Holland (MIA)+5000
Ronnie Perkins (NE)+5000

Odds as of August 11 at Bovada

NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Betting Strategy

Twenty-eight of the last 31 winners of this award were drafted in the first round. So it’s pretty likely that our winner will be one of the 13 defensive players drafted in the first this year. 

The voting has also tended to skew toward a couple of positions as five of the last six winners of the award were either edge rushers or cornerbacks. High sack numbers and dominant/flashy play from a corner seems to catch voters’ attention. 

Off-ball linebackers dominated the award in the mid-2000s, but only Luke Kuechly (’12) and Darius Leonard (’19) have won the award as standup, inside linebackers since 2010.

The Favorites

Given the recent history, it is interesting that the top two players in NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year odds on this list are Micah Parsons and Jamin Davis, two off-ball linebackers.

However, there are reasons why both make sense. Without a Chase Young-type top edge rusher drafted at the top of the first round this year, the list of rookie edge rushers is deep, but it’s anyone’s guess who might be the best. Meanwhile, Parsons and Davis project as potential Day 1 starters on high-profile teams. 

Parsons does have a crowded linebacker room in Dallas that could limit some of his playing time, but Davis is set up in a great position playing behind one of the best defensive lines in the league that could keep him free to fly around and make plays.

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The Cornerbacks

Standout cornerbacks do well in Defensive Rookie of the Year awards and there are several candidates this season to be this year’s Marshon Lattimore (’17 winner) or Marcus Peters (’15 winner). 

Patrick Surtain II (+1000) was one of the best all-around prospects in the draft and could be a star in Denver’s high-end defense. However, playing time could be a challenge this season for Surtain as Denver already boasts three other solid or better corners. Surtain could be the fourth-stringer to start the year.

Jaycee Horn (+1500) will be an unquestioned Day 1 starter for the Panthers, but the defense around him could be such a mess this year that his play could go unnoticed. Or worse, he could be left exposed to defend other teams’ top receivers with little help from teammates. 

Still, the value on both Surtain and Horn is there.

Other Best Bets

Kwity Paye (+900)

If we believe an edge rusher has the best chance to win this award, it’s worth throwing down some money on a couple of the top guys at that position.

On a Colts team with an already solid defense in place, Paye enters his rookie campaign in one of the better spots to succeed among the rookie edge rushers. There are other players with more attractive odds than his +900, but several of those players project as backups or play on bad defenses.

Jaelan Phillips (+700)

Like Paye, Phillips landed on a team with a good defense in place. The difference between Paye and Phillips, however, is the reasons they fell outside the top 15 on draft day to begin with. Paye had questions about his ability to produce as an edge rusher after recording only two sacks as a senior in college.

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Talent was never in question for Phillips, who might have been that unquestioned, top-10 pick missing from this draft if not for injury concerns. If Phillips is healthy, he could be the odds-on favorite in Defensive Rookie of the Year odds by midseason. We just don’t love the value at +700.

Joe Tryon +3300

Though he was only picked a few slots after Paye and Phillips, Joe Tryon has far worse odds to win this award because of the situation he landed in. 

Tryon will not begin his rookie season as a starter as the Buccaneers sport a formidable duo of Jason Pierre-Paul and Shaq Barrett at edge. 

However, Pierre-Paul is now 32 and all reports from camp indicate that Tryon is dominating Tampa offensive linemen on a regular basis. 

Tryon meets the criteria of a first-round pick and an edge rusher, but he will probably need an injury to a starter to win the award. At +3300, it could be worth throwing a couple bucks down.  

Check out our NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Odds to find out which rookie is favored to make the biggest impact on the other side of the field.

How to Read Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds

At any football sportsbook, you’ll see odds for a prop bet listed like this:

Micah Parsons +200

Patrick Surtain +500

Joe Tryon +1600

If you were to bet $100 on Parsons at +200, you’d get a payout of $300 – your original money is returned along with your winnings of $200. Conversely, that same $100 on Tryon would get you a higher payout of $1,700 – you get your $100 back plus your prize of $1,600. To see how much you’d win based on the odds and bet amount, check out our Odds Calculator.

What is a Prop Bet on NFL Rookies?

A prop is a bet on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain team or individual milestones that don’t necessarily correlate to the outcome of a specific game. In this case, you’re betting on a player’s chances of winning a defensive award.

When the betting lines are created, they are subject to change as the season progresses and more games are played. A player with decent odds in September could see himself as a contender in November as he proves himself on the field. We suggest taking odds you like as soon as you see them. The longer you wait, the less value you’ll get on your bet.