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 is rolling again, going 13-4 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. (You can see the segment here.)
- Cincinnati +3 (vs. Pittsburgh Steelers): “I know everyone is in love with this Pittsburgh passing game. But in order to pass, you first have to establish the run and as of this morning, DeAngelo Williams was in a walking boot. Not a running boot, a walking boot. You know who the Steelers backup running back is? Fitzgerald Toussaint. I’m not letting you bet your hardish-earned money on Fitzgerald Toussaint, whatever his name is. We are taking Cincinnati, plus-3. They are the best in the league. They are allowing 17 points a game defensively. That’s the upset of the week.”
His second pick is his two-team teaser — must pick both games correctly, but you get a more favorable point-spread in each game.
- Green Bay Packers +7 (at Washington Redskins) and Seattle Seahawks Pick’em (at Minnesota Vikings): “I’m going to be honest with you. Normally I am a big, fat liar. I don’t love this game too much, so I think it is best to take the points on the teaser, Green Bay, plus-7. I respect what Washington has done, but Aaron Rodgers, he’s a proven postseason quarterback, 23 touchdowns, 7 interceptions in the playoffs. He’s going to be tough to beat. I think it goes back and forth…In the second game, Seattle, a pick ’em, over Minnesota. Neil, this is the game of the week … Take an Uber to a bar. Try to catch this game somewhere. Seattle, this is a team everybody is afraid of in January, and they’re going to come out swinging. You have Minnesota, you’ve got Teddy Two Gloves, who is going to have to throw four or five good passes downfield. I don’t see him doing it in the bitter, cold weather, even if he is wearing oven mitts. Take Seattle.”
This is Sal’s “Best Bet.” He was 12-3-1 with this pick in 2014 and has been 13-4 this season, including 7-1 over the last eight weeks of the regular season:
- Kansas City Chiefs -3.5 (at Houston Texans): “Two great defenses, I understand, but I don’t see how the Texans are going to move the ball at all against this fierce Chiefs defense. Justin Houston is back and you have Brian Hoyer. He’s going to be down 10-0 early in the second quarter and that’s not where you want to have the Texans on a bet, down 10-0. KC, 4-0 against the spread on the road in their last four as a favorite and I love ’em. Not even Andy Reid’s poor clock management can screw this up. The Chiefs win big over the Texans.”
Here is the full segment: