Week 1 expert picks against spread

NFL picks Week 1: Latest odds, predictions against the spread for all games

The 2019 NFL season is finally here, and the action begins Thursday night with the Chicago Bears hosting the Green Bay Packers for another chapter in the league’s most historic rivalry.

The return of pro football means it’s Christmas in September for sports bettors. Football is the most popular sport in the betting world, and everyone has a clean slate entering Week 1.

There was a ton of player movement in the offseason, with multiple superstars changing teams and shifting the balance of power in both conferences as a result. This makes it difficult to accurately handicap teams going into the new season, but that also means there’s value to be found because some of these spreads could be way off in hindsight.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the latest NFL odds (via the Westgate SuperBook) and make picks against the spread for every Week 1 matchup. Each pick is italicized.

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Thursday, Sept. 5
Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears (-3)

Sunday, Sept. 8
Atlanta Falcons at Minnesota Vikings (-4)
Washington Redskins at Philadelphia Eagles (-10)
Buffalo Bills at New York Jets (-3)
Baltimore Ravens (-6.5) at Miami Dolphins
San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (pick ’em)
Kansas City Chiefs (-3) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Tennessee Titans at Cleveland Browns (-5)
Los Angeles Rams (-2.5) at Carolina Panthers
Detroit Lions (-3) at Arizona Cardinals
Cincinnati Bengals at Seattle Seahawks (-9.5)
Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers (-6.5)
New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys (-7)
Pittsburgh Steelers at New England Patriots (-5.5)

Monday, Sept. 9
Houston Texans at New Orleans Saints (-7)
Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders (pick ’em)

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How Logan Ryan ‘finessed’ the Patriots ahead of the 2013 NFL Draft

How Logan Ryan ‘finessed’ the Patriots ahead of the 2013 NFL Draft

The New England Patriots were big fans of the Rutgers football program during the 2013 NFL Draft. The team had just seven picks yet spent three of those picks on players that went to Rutgers.

Two of those players were defensive backs, Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon. The duo turned into key cogs on the Patriots Super Bowl teams of the mid-late 2010s and found ways to impact the game with their ball skills.

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That said, when preparing for the 2013 NFL Draft, they had a little bit of an advantage over the competition. As Ryan detailed on a recent episode of Devin and Jason McCourty’s “Double Coverage” Podcast, Ryan used his connections to the NFL defensive backs to “finesse” the Patriots a bit.

We finessed the Patriots because I called Dev (Devin McCourty) after I saw his Pro Day, me and Du (Duron Harmon) were doing the Pro Day workout in the weight room like two a days. You know me, I’m a worker. So after we would lift in the summer, at six or seven at night, we’d go back to the weight room and do the Pro Day workout all year. So, we were doing them drills all year.

The preparation would pay off for Ryan and Harmon. The Patriots ultimately held a private pre-draft workout with the draft-eligible Rutgers players. And Ryan was able to get the inside scoop from McCourty about what the workouts would entail so he knew how to prepare for them.

I knew the Patriots warm-up drills. So, me and Du were practicing these drills all week, and so when Bill [Belichick] comes, I’m like shirt off, eight-pack, catching the ball one-handed, sprinting back, I’m in great shape. I know all the drills. Like, ‘Oh yeah, yeah, I know that drill.’ ‘You ever do it before.’ ‘No, I’ve never did it.’ Do the drill with my eyes closed.

I was just working. And straight up, Dev would tell me, ‘Oh Dev, what’s it like? What’s this? What’s that? What do they like to see?’ And me and Du both get drafted in the third round, we both go up there, and the rest is history. But we were working those drills for a year and it paid off.

While the finessing paid off for Ryan and Harmon, it did work for the Patriots as well.

Ryan was a key versatile player on the team’s defense and he played in every game over the course of his four years with the Patriots. He intercepted 13 passes and held his own on the back end. He was key during the Patriots’ Super Bowl victory over the Atlanta Falcons and actually tied for the team lead in tackles with six.

As for Harmon, he spent seven years with the Patriots serving as a key backup safety and logged 17 interceptions for the squad. He was traded to the Detroit Lions this offseason in exchange for a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. The Patriots ended up trading that selection to move up and draft tight end Devin Asiasi.

Needless to say, neither side would trade those selections based on how things turned out. Ryan and Harmon may not be with the team now, but they’ve each had very productive NFL careers and did a lot to help the Patriots win a few Super Bowls this decade.

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