ESPN's NFL gambling expert is on fire again -- here are his picks for Week 9

Sal Iacono is a writer for “Jimmy Kimmel Live” and better known among sports fans as “Cousin Sal” on Bill Simmons’ podcasts. He’s also making a name for himself as ESPN’s NFL gambling expert.

Iacono didn’t lose a pick on his weekly “SportsCenter” segment with Neil Everett during the final six weeks of the 2014 regular season and went 19-2-3 over the last eight weeks.

After a pretty good start to the 2015 season, he has suddenly caught fire again. Cuz is 13-5 over the last five weeks, including 6-0 in the last two weeks. He is also 6-2 this season on his “Best Bet.”

So let’s take a look at who Cousin Sal likes this week along with his thoughts on each pick. As usual, assume plenty of goofiness and sarcasm that is difficult to transcribe:

Pick 1:

  • Tennessee Titans +9 (@ New Orleans Saints) — “I know people are going to think I am crazy, because 80% of the people betting this game are backing the Saints and that is always a red flag for me. The Saints are 0-4 against the spread in their last four against teams with a losing record.”

Pick 2:

His second pick is his 2-team teaser — must pick both games correctly, but you get a more favourable point-spread in each game. Cousin Sal was 7-1-1 on teasers over the final nine weeks of the 2014 season.

  • Atlanta Falcons -1 (@ San Francisco 49ers) and New England Patriots -8 (vs. Washington Redskins) — “I hate to pick on the 49ers, but when there’s money to be made, we have to pick a little. Blaine Gabbert is starting at quarterback, his first start since 2014. That’s like four iPhones ago. That’s a long time. He’s not going to be able to get the job done. They can’t run the ball, Atlanta minus-1. Second game, New England, minus-14. We cut that down to minus-8 [with the teaser] over Washington. I know, Neil, you’ve got that look in your eye. ‘What? We’re giving Kirk Cousins two weeks to prepare for this game. Look out!’ Don’t worry about it. We’re taking New England. Easy double-digit victory.”

Pick 3:

This is Sal’s “Best Bet.” He was 12-3-1 with this pick in 2014 and 6-2 this season:

  • Pittsburgh Steelers -4.5 (vs Oakland Raiders) — “I know everybody loves this Oakland offence, the 3-headed monster, [Derek] Carr, [Latavius] Murray, [Amari] Cooper. But, it is a different story when they play on the east coast. Neil, like when you have to go to the east coast to see the in-laws, you don’t want to be bothered, you are not the same, you can’t get it done. It’s the same thing with the Raiders. Big Ben [Roethlisberger], Antonio Brown, they are going to light up that 26th-ranked Raiders defence.”

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