Best NFL defensive player bets for the 2022 season
Maxx Crosby anchors an improved Las Vegas Raiders defence and is our pick to win the Defensive Player of the Year. Photo by Rick Scuteri/AP.

The NFL has evolved into an offence-first league, but what separates good from great teams is a ferocious and relentless defence.

Every team needs a game-breaker. A player who can step up and create a turnover or timely sack when things are getting dicey. There are countless prop markets available for defensive players which we'll dive into here.

With the season just around the corner, here are our best NFL defensive player bets for 2022.

Best NFL defensive player bets

Best NFL defensive player betsOddsBet now
Best bet: Micah Parsons over 10 sacks-134Add to betslip
Best bet: Minkah Fitzpatrick over 2.5 INTs-114Add to betslip
Best bet: Cameron Jordan over 9.5 sacks-114Add to betslip
Long shot: Maxx Crosby to win DPOY+3,300Add to betslip
Fade: Von Miller under 10 sacks-114Add to betslip

Odds as of 1:24 p.m. on 08/30/2022.

Best NFL defensive player bets

Micah Parsons over 10 sacks (-134)

It's a rarity to see a rookie's name pop up in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation, but that's precisely what Parsons accomplished last season.

The Cowboys' first-round pick became a household name after a dominant freshman campaign where he recorded 13 sacks in the league's biggest market.

The most impressive part of that run? Parsons was drafted as a linebacker before a Demarcus Lawrence injury saw him shifted to defensive end, a position he hadn't played since high school. He also sat out his junior year at Penn State due to COVID concerns.

So, Parsons came into the NFL after a year off from high-level football, changed positions in Week 2 and recorded the sixth-most sacks in the league. That is truly remarkable.

He's shifting back to a hybrid role, but will still be coming off the edge a lot in 2022. That's likely scared some away from his 10-sack prop line but not us.

Dan Quinn would be foolish not to use Parsons' all-world pass-rushing abilities. Expect him to blow by this mark.

Minkah Fitzpatrick over 2.5 interceptions (-114)

Fitzpatrick is coming off a season where he recorded just two interceptions but we're confident he'll cash this prop in 2022.

The 25-year-old was left off the Pro Bowl roster and NFL Top 100 list after making both in the two seasons prior. It could be easy to assume Fitzpatrick had a down year but that was not the case.

Pittsburgh's run defence was abysmal last season, forcing the star safety to play more downhill football in contrast to his typical ball-hawking defence. Fitzpatrick was often the last line of defence for the Steelers and he rarely let them down.

He led the team with 124 tackles last year, by far the most in his career. That was also the most among all safeties in the NFL.

Pittsburgh has rebuilt its linebacking core with new additions such as Myles Jack and Larry Ogunjobi. We expect them to be much better in the run game which should allow Fitzpatrick to do what he does best — create turnovers.

He had four interceptions in 2020 and five in 2019.

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Cameron Jordan over 9.5 sacks (-114)

Jordan was the lynchpin of a dominant Saints defence last season, and has been a game-wrecker for the better part of a decade.

We think New Orleans will be back in a big way and that will all stem from defensive excellence and Jordan causing havoc. It took the big man six games to register a sack last season, but once he brought down Geno Smith, the floodgates opened.

He finished the season with 12.5 sacks, good for the seventh-most in the NFL. He's eclipsed this mark in four of the last five seasons and has 60.5 sacks over that span, which is tied for the third-most in all of football.

This is a borderline disrespectful line for a player that has been the mark of consistency over the past 10 seasons.

The long shot

Maxx Crosby to win DPOY (+3,300)

There are plenty of candidates to win the DPOY, T.J. Watt, Aaron Donald, and Myles Garrett among them. Those are all solid choices but we believe one name is seriously flying under the radar.

Crosby is coming off a breakout season where he collected his first All-Pro nod (second-team) while registering eight sacks in the process. Those may not seem like DPOY-winning numbers, after all, T.J. Watt had 22.5 sacks last year.

But the sack numbers don't tell the whole story.

Crosby led the NFL in quarterback knockdowns with 19. He also led the league with 101 QB pressures, according to PFF, and had a pass rush win rate of 22% (10th-best among EDGE rushers).

We don't think he'll quite get to Watt's ludicrous 22.5 sack total, but don't think the Steelers' EDGE will replicate those numbers either.

What we do believe is that Crosby will obliterate his sack prop of over 10.0 (-114) and be among the league's best in that category. He got to the quarterback at an elite rate last year and is due for a massive uptick in tangible results.

In terms of run-stopping, he was one of the best. Crosby only missed 5.1% of tackles and was third in DB/OLB run stop win rate at 31%, per ESPN.

Keep in mind Crosby is just 25 years old and is entering his fourth season of NFL football. The Raiders EDGE will also be playing opposite Chandler Jones which should afford him fewer double teams.

Best NFL defensive player bet to fade

Von Miller under 10 sacks (-114)

Miller is a first-ballot Hall of Famer and one of the best EDGE players of all time. This isn't a knock on him as a player but is more to do with what we think is an inflated line.

The 33-year-old is in the back half of his career and hasn't reached double-digit sacks since 2019. He did pick up five sacks in eight games with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021, but had the luxury of playing alongside Aaron Donald. The Rams superstar drew more double-teams than just about anyone last season.

Miller will be the centre of attention in Buffalo — expect more offences to scheme around him. We also believe the Bills are going to be a wagon, which means Miller won't need to play the vast majority of snaps in every game. Expect Sean McDermott to monitor the veteran's usage closely and give him rest when needed.

After all, a Super Bowl is the goal in Buffalo. Burning out Miller in the regular season won't help the Bills achieve that.

NorthStar Bets editorial Insiders have no influence, direct or otherwise, over the setting of odds advertised on our platforms.