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.
After going 19-2-3 over the final eight weeks of the 2014 season, Sal has caught fire again. Cuz is 11-4 over the last five weeks. He is also 8-3 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. Also, Kenny Mayne subbed in for Neil Everett this week. (via ESPN):
- Minnesota Vikings +1 (at Atlanta Falcons) — “I know [Teddy] Bridgewater got sacked six times last week, but it is not going to be the same story. You know, the Vikings are second in the league defensively, 18 points a game they give up. 4-0 against the spread as an underdog in their last four. We’re taking the Vikings. This is a weak line. Let’s pounce, plus-one.”
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.
- Kansas City Chiefs pick ’em (vs Buffalo Bills) and Pittsburgh Steelers +9.5 (at Seattle Seahawks) — “We are going to adjust two games, six points, starting with the Chiefs. It’s a pick ’em now over the Bills. You know, Kenny, you saw the game Monday night, physical game for the Bills against the Patriots. Now they have to travel on a short week to Kansas City and that place is going to be hoppin’. There is going to be so much red, you are going to think you are at a Chargers home game … Kansas City has given up seven touchdowns, only seven since Week 5. I like them to keep rolling over the banged-up Bills. That’s the first game. The second game of the teaser, Pittsburgh adjusted to plus-9.5 over your Seattle Seahawks. I’m sorry, Kenny. Do you think they still have a homefield advantage? … They don’t. Listen, that was a rhetorical question. It didn’t even matter what you said there … They are 0-3 in their last three games against teams in the top 15 in yards per game. Pittsburgh is in the top five. I’m taking Pittsburgh plus-9.5. Big Ben keeps it close.”
This is Sal’s “Best Bet.” He was 12-3-1 with this pick in 2014 and 8-3 this season:
- Houston Texans -3 (vs New Orleans Saints) — “I’m taking the new and improved Houston Texans, minus-3, over the old and decrepit New Orleans Saints. Thirty-second in the league, Kenny, it’s terrible. You’ve got this DeAndre Hopkins, have you seen him? Doesn’t matter who is covering him. Doesn’t matter who is throwing the ball. He scores. That’s the worst defence in the league. Houston, 8-3 against the spread in their last 11 as a favourite. Watt, 11.5 sacks. This is going to be whitewash. Texans big over the Saints, minus-3.”
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