Tampa Bay is only 6-8 on the year, but that’s still good enough for a slight lead over Carolina for 1st place in the NFC South. Sunday night’s meeting in Glendale for the Bucs at Cardinals betting matchup is a must win for Tampa Bay, but 4-10 Arizona has been officially eliminated from postseason contention.
The Buccaneers are -7.5 favorites in this matchup, mainly because Arizona is down to their third string QB Trace McSorley making his first NFL start. The Cardinals have also lost six of their last seven even when they were healthy, which has 62% of the betting public taking Tampa Bay and giving the points.
Tampa Bay On the Spot
The Buccaneers play a quarterback making his first career start for the second time in the last three weeks. Things didn’t go to well in week 14 when Brock Purdy made his first start and led the 49ers to a 35-7 win with a 16/21/185 yard/2 TD day.
Tampa Bay was supposed to tee off on Purdy, who was the last pick in the most recent draft and last week they got picked apart by a more veteran signal caller with Joe Burrow going 27/39 with 4 TDs to lead the Bengals to a come from behind 34-23 win at Raymond James Stadium. Statistically the Bucs rank 4th in the NFL against the pass (194.5 ypg) but are there some concerns with this defense after the last two weeks?
The Bengals scored 34 straight points last Sunday and while a lot of that is on the defense, Tom Brady and the offense have to take their share of blame as well. Brady threw for 312 yards and 3 TDs, but also had 2 costly INTs, his 4th pick in the last two games.
Cardinals Go For the Upset
Arizona doesn’t have a ton of incentive to win down the stretch, mostly because they are currently in line for a top 5 pick in the 2023 NFL draft. J.J. Watt ($14 million) will head to free agency as will injured offensive linemen Rodney Hudson ($10 million) Justin Pugh ($8.95 million) but that’s a lot of money off the books to rebuild this team in the offseason.
McSorley is also an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season so he could be playing for his NFL life in the Bucs at Cardinals betting matchup. McSorley came in last week against Denver and went 7/15 for 95 yards, but he did throw 2 INTs. Perhaps a week of practicing with the starters will help the third year QB out of Penn State.
Free Bucs at Cardinals Betting Pick
At this point it seems futile to hope that Tampa Bay is going to overachieve and cover the -7.5 points. They haven’t won a game by more than six points since week 2, and six of their eight most recent losses have come as favorites. Take the points in this spot regardless of who is under center for Arizona.
Free Pick: Cardinals +7.5