The NBA Defensive Player of the Year award first went out to Hall of Famer Sidney Moncrief following the 1982-83 season. Since then, the award has been given each year to the player determined to be the best defensive contributor during the regular season. Like most awards of its kind, sportswriters and broadcasters vote in its winner.
As we near the All-Star break of the 2021 season, the odds leaderboard is sprinkled with familiar faces. Will last year’s winner, Giannis Antetokounmpo (+1200), put together a strong finish to win again? Or will a longshot turn it on over the back half of the season?
Let’s take a closer look.
Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Once a back-to-back winner of the award, center Rudy Gobert enters the week as the odds-on favorite to become just the fourth three-time winner. Currently second in the league in rebounds per game (13.5), Gobert leads a Jazz team that has won 80% of their games while covering at a 73% clip.
His 2.7 blocks per game put him on pace for his best season in that category to date, and second on the league to only Myles Turner. Gobert is consistently in the top 10 for defensive rating.
While Gobert may just run away with it, I do have my eye on another player whose team is at the top of the standings. At 6-foot-11, Ben Simmons’ massive wingspan is finally being utilized as it should be at the point. That creates a nightmare matchup for his opponents.
Coming off a season where he was named NBA All-Defensive First Team, Simmons has continued to show improvement on that side of his game. To this point in the season, Simmons ranks sixth in steals per game (1.6), and his .8 blocks per game ranks him first amongst point guards.
If Simmons can stay healthy — and the 76ers can continue to play in meaningful games down the stretch — there is certainly some value there at nearly 9-to-1 odds.
Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our How To Bet and Sports Betting Strategy and Advice pages are for you. You can get started with our Sports Betting 101 Section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced sports betting strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.