NFL Picks: Cardinals vs Buccaneers in Week 4

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 6:12 PM GMT

For one of these teams, something good will come out of this contest, with two clubs in need of a sharp performance after ugly losses.

The NFL Regular Season is in full swing! Check out our NFL Week 4 Betting Odds Report!

This is one of many challenging tests for NFL handicappers this week trying to find an edge.

Carson Palmer is an Average Quarterback (not a breaking storyline)

Arizona fans were thrilled to have Palmer join their franchise after two years of subzero quarterback play in the desert. The former Heisman winner and Cincinnati Bengals signal caller knows how to run an NFL offense and still has enough in the arm to push the ball down the field.

Palmer played well the first two games and was spot on in the first drive of the game in leading the Cardinals to a touchdown at New Orleans.

After this, the Saints changed tactics and began attacking Palmer with blitzes against a suspect Cards offensive line. Palmer, who is slightly more elusive than a parked car, was rendered ineffective with New Orleans players in his face and no lanes to throw downfield.

Palmer is better than what Arizona had previously, but he’s no savior if one studies NFL odds.

Josh Freeman’s Fall Has Been Precipitous

When Josh Freeman was chosen in the first round of the 2009 draft by Tampa Bay, it raised eyebrows. But in just his second year, Freeman directed the Buccaneers to a 10-6 season and the former Kansas State product and his team was going to be the young guns of the NFL.

Flash forward to present day and in a league with 32 teams, Freeman’s quarterback rating is 33rd. He’s completing less than 50 percent of his pass attempts (45.7%) and there are numerous internet stories talking about the still young quarterback and his hard-nosed coach Greg Schiano not seeing eye-to-eye on many football-related subjects.

On Wednesday, Schiano announced Freeman was being benched in favor of rookie Mike Glennon. 

NFL Betting Odds and Matchup Numbers

Tampa Bay was released by sportsbooks as a 2.5-point home favorite and though these teams are in the same conference, this will be just the fourth meeting since the turn of the century. In the last two decades, the Bucs are 3-0 with two covers against the Cards at home.

The total has been hanging around 41 points and for those making NFL picks; this figure does not appear to offer sports betting value either way.

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Tampa Bay wins and covers by…

Forgetting about their 0-3 record and supposed internal strife and just play football.

Consider, if Tampa Bay does not commit a stupid last-second penalty on the Jets' Geno Smith and prevents the Saints from a game winning field goal, they are 2-1, with winning the proven deodorant.

Glennon is not very mobile and must use playmakers like Vincent Jackson for the offense to have success. The Bucs offensive line has to earn no worse than a stalemate with Arizona in the trenches and if they do, the Cardinals are breaking in new linebackers due to injury to be taken advantage of. 

The Buccaneers defense has to replicate what New Orleans did to bottle up the Arizona offense.

Arizona covers and possibly wins by…

Being more effective on third down. The Cardinals are six for 24 on this crucial down the past two games, which stymie scoring chances and puts the defense right back out on the field. Coach Bruce Arians might be giving the defense too much credit since Larry Fitzgerald has only been targeted once in each game on third down.

The defensive line has to play a fantastic game to cover up for the loss of linebackers at the second level. This will be extremely important on early downs to force Freeman into third and long situations.

Final Outcome

Though Tampa Bay is 1-8 SU and ATS dating back to last season, they have the right opponent to play at home and earn their first win of the season 20-16.

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NFL Pick: Take Tampa Bay on the spread, -2 at William Hill

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