Sunday Night Football Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Arizona Cardinals NFL predictions, picks, odds & spread: Arizona can do more than cover

Arizona Cardinals running back James Conner (6) carries the ball in the second half against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High.

The last game of the day on Christmas is a battle between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Arizona Cardinals. Neither team has been playing their best in the recent weeks as Tom Brady has started to show his age and Kyler Murray is out for the season with a torn ACL. In Week 15, the Bucs blew a 17-point lead to the Bengals while the Cardinals managed to lose to the worst offense in football, the Broncos, led by the backup quarterback. Let’s just say both teams are ready to move on to Week 16.

Here are our predictions and best bets for Sunday’s Buccaneers-Cardinals showdown. 

Don’t miss any of our NFL picks for Week 16! We’re 128-91-5 ATS this season


Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Arizona Cardinals spread, odds & betting lines 

Point Spread: Buccaneers -8, Cardinals +8
Total Points Over/Under: 39.5 points
Money Line Odds: Buccaneers -365, Cardinals +300

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Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Arizona Cardinals expert picks 

We have 2 NFL picks for this week’s clash between the Buccaneers and Cardinals. Let’s take a look.  

Buccaneers vs Cardinals point spread pick: Cardinals +8 (-110)

Sunday Night Football here and the first career start for Trace McSorley as the Arizona Cardinals host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He’s tapping in for an injured Colt McCoy, and while I don’t expect him to be great, I also can’t lay more than a touchdown on the road with this anemic Buccaneers offense. Tampa has been downright pitiful over the past month or two, and they are just 4-8 in their last 12 games. All four of those wins came by six points or fewer, so I don’t care who is playing quarterback for the other team, I don’t see them winning by more than a possession. The last time the Buccaneers faced a quarterback making his first career start was just a couple of weeks ago against the 49ers, and Brock Purdy beat them 35-7.

McSorley was thrown into about as tough of a situation as you could imagine last week on the road against an elite Broncos defense, and he should look a lot sharper here against a banged up Tampa unit and with a full week of practice as the starter. The Bucs have a ton of starters on the shelf on both sides of the ball, but things are particularly brutal on defense right now. Defensive tackle Vita Vea, safety Antoine Winfield Jr and cornerback Jamel Dean all missed practice on Thursday with injuries and seem unlikely to play on Sunday. With Vea sidelined the Cardinal should be able to have some success on the ground with James Conner, which will take a lot off McSorley’s plate.

Be sure to check out our full Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Arizona Cardinals predictions 

Buccaneers vs Cardinals over/under totals pick: Under 40.5 (-110)

This total is pretty low, but for good reason. McSorley’s making the first start of his career in primetime against the Bucs defense that still has some real talent on it. Todd Bowles might be in over his head as head coach he is still a very solid defensive mind, and I’m not expecting that much from the Penn State product here. On the other side, Tampa Bay’s offense has been an absolute train wreck. They can’t even move the ball with any consistency, and they’ve only scored more than 23 points once all season. Tom Brady had three crucial turnovers last week, and he has had absolutely no chemistry with Mike Evans recently. The Bucs have one of the least efficient ground games in the NFL, and the only guy who Brady has any sort of connection with is Chris Godwin. The Cardinals have scored 15 points or fewer in three of their past four games, and I expect Kliff Kingsbury to draw up a run-first game plan here with a rookie quarterback under center.

Be sure to check out all of our expert betting insight, analysis and even more NFL Predictions and Best Bets from the rest of the Week 16 action.

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