- Thearon W. Henderson
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 newest 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. As Simmons would say, good job by you!
Well, Cuz is back this season and off to a good start, going 2-1 in three of the last four weeks, but only 1-2 last week. He’s also 4-2 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:
Jacksonville Jaguars +5.5 (vs Buffalo Bills in London) – “NFL head coaches are being beheaded in London like they are Anne Boleyn. [to Neil Everett] Do you know who she was? She was a queen in the 1550s. You also need to know that [Jags coach] Gus Bradley will not be fired. He’s on the hot seat. The Jaguars are 5-2 against the spread in their last seven against the AFC. Bills, 2-7 in their last nine as a favorite. Jags keep this close. Both Allens, [wide receiver] Hurns and [wide receiver] Robinson have big games. Take Jacksonville, plus-5.5.”
His second pick is his 2-team teaser – must pick both games correctly, but you get a more favorable point-spread in each game. Cousin Sal was 7-1-1 on teasers over the final nine weeks of the 2014 season.
New England Patriots -3 (vs. New York Jets) and Arizona Cardinals -1.5 (vs. Baltimore Ravens) – “I’m going to make it real easy. I am taking the best team in each conference to bet on, the Patriots and the Arizona Cardinals. The Pats are minus-9 against the Jets. We can cut that down to minus-3. I like what the Jets have been doing, but the truth is, they are 14th in the league in yards per game. Pats are No. 1 in that category. As far as I can tell, Darelle Revis is not going to cover [Rob] Gronkowski. Take the Patriots, minus-3. They are 17-1 at home. They are going to roll. Second team, Arizona, minus-7.5. Bring that down to 1.5, Monday night versus the Ravens. Baltimore, last in the league versus the pass and Carson Palmer is licking his chops. He loves that after that loss against the Steelers.”
This is Sal’s “Best Bet.” He was 12-3-1 with this pick in 2014 and 4-2 this season:
Oakland Raiders +4.5 (@ San Diego Chargers)– “You look back at the Chargers, Philip Rivers’ team, there is no value taking them at home. They are 1-7 against the spread in their last eight at home. The Raiders played them tough twice last year. They have had two weeks to prepare and San Diego had an emotional loss against Green Bay. I think they fall this week.”