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 14-4 over the last six weeks, including 3-0 a week ago. He is also 9-3 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.
- Atlanta Falcons +1.5 (at Tampa Bay Buccaneers): “I know the Falcons have been bad. They have been miserable. I picked against them last week. But I think they get back on track this week. Devonta Freeman comes back. Atlanta, 4-0 against the spread as an underdog. I like them. They will suck again next week, but this week they win. Take them, plus 1.5 over Tampa.”
His second pick is his two-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.
- Cincinnati Bengals -3.5 (at Cleveland Browns) and New England Patriots -3.5 (vs Philadelphia Eagles): “There is no way Cleveland rebounds after that fiasco on Monday night. You have Cincinnati’s 7th-ranked defence against Austin Davis? It’s not good. They have the first-round bye in mind. Cleveland wants the first pick overall in 2016. We’ll take Cincy, minus-3.5 over Cleveland. Second game, New England over Philly. The only number you need to know is 45. Two straight opponents have hung 45 points on that Eagles defence. Chip Kelly is not doing his defence any favours with the hurry-up offence, and Bill Belichick is salivating all over his hoodie with this game. New England hasn’t lost consecutive games in over three years. It doesn’t happen this week. Take the minus-3.5.”
This is Sal’s “Best Bet.” He was 12-3-1 with this pick in 2014 and has been 9-3 this season:
- New Orleans Saints +& (vs. Carolina Panthers): “I think the Panthers come down to Earth here, Neil. New Orleans plays to the level of the competition. They are 4-0-1 in their last five against teams with a winning record. I just think Sean Payton is out for his job audition for 2016. This is the Saints’ Super Bowl. They keep it close. Take them, plus-7 over the Panthers!”
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