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Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 6-8 record still strong enough to stay atop the NFC South
Arizona Cards are having a QB injury problem, the job up to backup Trace McSorley
Watch Bucs vs Cardinals live on Sunday, Dec. 25, 2022, at 8:20 PM ET on NBC
POINT SPREAD: Arizona Cardinals +7.5 (-110) at WynnBet
POINTS TOTAL: Over 39.5 (-104) at FanDuel
SPECIAL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-270) at Caesars
The NFL’s Sunday Night Football in Week 16 is an NFC interdivisional battle between the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Arizona Cardinals, these Bucs having lost three of their last four games sitting at two games under .500 yet still mysteriously in charge of the NFC South, and the Cardinals who are down to third-string QB Trace McSorley QB since Kyler Murray (knee) and Colt McCoy (concussion) are still out.
Rumors that Father Time could be catching up to 45-year-old Bucs QB Tom Brady could be exaggerations that the GOAT could counter with a good game facing this Arizona 20th-ranked defense, especially now that Brady has healthy WRs Mike Evans and Chris Godwin to target, plus keep an eye out for rookie TE Cade Otton (37 rec, 357 yds, 2 TD) who can catch the ball.
Here’s where sportsbook research gets confusing – the oddsmakers say that the TB Buccaneers have failed to cover the spread in 11 of their last 12 games and yet the Arizona Cards have lost 11 of their last 12 games at State Farm Stadium, so we like them to turn that around at least close enough to cover at home, though it rarely pays to bet against the GOAT.
This season, Tom Brady’s Bucs offense is ranked 28th in points per game (17.6) and the Cardinals' offense is ranked 18th in scoring averaging 20.9 points per game, that total of 38.5 just under what the oddsmakers are allowing for this bet, whereas these defenses have allowed a combined 47.2 points per game, a sign that things could get out of hand in Glendale in Week 16.
The Arizona Cardinals defense has a chance to help with a win here if they can take advantage of the Bucs' banged-up front line that has next-man-up starters who are also hurt, this year allowing Brady to be sacked 19 times too many for that old a player, and blocking for a rushing attack ranked last in the league, a fine opportunity for Cards DE J.J. Watt to hunt some QBs.
The sportsbooks say that seven of the Cardinals' last eight games have gone over the total points line and we expect that to happen here this late in the season in a perfect weather game in the winter dessert, with injuries to both teams a factor (so check the lists before betting!) including Bucs WR Julio Jones (knee) and Cards CBs Byron Murphy (back) and Marco Wilson (neck) all questionable to play.
For any sports bettors in the mood for a fun Special from Caesars, the bet is to guess which team (if any) scores the first touchdown of the game, with a $270 bet on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to get the job done paying winners $100 plus your initial wager and a $100 bet on the Cardinals to score a TD first wins you $175 plus your original bet.
If you are one of those pessimistic gamblers who think nobody will score a TD in this game, Caesars has you covered, too, with a $100 bet paying out $3,000 to the winners, though the chances of this happening would be rare indeed, this Christmas Day game still important to Tampa Bay since they are clinging by a thread to the NFC South division and need wins.
This is a tough bet for the Cardinals since they will most likely have third backup Trace McSorley under center, a third-year QB (first two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens) who has no win-loss record as of yet, last week against the Broncos struggling while completing just 46.67 percent of his passes with two turnovers and a sack, which is why we like the Bucs for this wager.
What: Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Arizona Cardinals
Where: State Farm Stadium in Glendale, AZ
When: Sunday, December 25, 2022, at 8:20 PM ET
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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