Upcoming Match-ups

Tennessee vs Purdue Music City Bowl Odds, Spread and Picks

Eric Rosales

by Eric Rosales in College Football

Dec 29, 2021 · 9:00 AM PST

Hendon Hooker lifted in the air by teammates in celebration
Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) is lifted in celebration after scoring a touchdown against South Carolina during an NCAA football game on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/John Amis)
  • Tennessee battles Purdue in the Music City Bowl Dec 30
  • The Volunteers are 8th in scoring, while the Boilermakers boast the 8th-best passing offense
  • Read below for odds, analysis and a betting prediction

Expect the scoreboard lights at Nissan Stadium to get a workout when the Tennessee Volunteers and Purdue Boilermakers clash in the Music City Bowl on Dec. 30.

The Volunteers boast the 8th-best scoring offense in the nation and one of the best dual-threat QBs in college football in Hendon Hooker.

The Boilermakers have a pair of wins vs top-5 teams on their resume and standout pivot Aidan O’Connell, who leads the eighth-best passing attack in the country.

It all gets underway Thursday from Nashville, with a 3pm ET kickoff. The Vols are a 6-point favorite.

Music City Bowl Odds

Team Spread Moneyline Total
Tennessee Volunteers -6 (-110) -220 O 65.5 (-105)
Purdue Boilermakers +6 (-110) +108 U 65.5 (-115)

Odds as of December 28 at DraftKings 

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Volunteers’ Outlook

Tennessee made the move to Hooker after Week 1 and their offense has soared, churning out 459 yards per game on offense, which ranks 15th in the nation, while pouring in 39 points per game.

Hooker is the catalyst, throwing for 2,567 yards and 26 touchdowns against three interceptions. His passer rating was tops in the SEC, and he ranked third in passing yards per attempt across college football at 9.8.

His top target as of late is Cedric Tillman, who’s caught a TD pass in six straight contests, while entering this game with a season-best three straight 100+ yard receiving outings. It’s punctuated by a 10-catch, 200-yard performance in a 41-17 loss to top-ranked Georgia.

While the passing game gets lots of shine, Tennessee’s run game could be the difference maker. The Vols are 20th in the nation in rushing, racking up 212 yards per game on a healthy 4.95 yards per carry.

Despite the loss of Tiyon Evans to the transfer portal, there is plenty of talent for totes, including Jabari Small and Jaylen Wright. Hooker also has rushed for 561 yards and five scores on the year.

Boilermakers’ Outlook

A pair of wins over Iowa and Michigan State — top 5 teams at the time — has earned Purdue the name of Spoilermakers, and a win Thursday would put a capper on a nice season.

O’Connell airs it out with the best of them, leading an offense that pumps out 340.2 yards passing per game while posting 27.5 points per contest. He finished the year with 3,178 yards passing, 23 TDs and eight INTs.

He enters the Music City Bowl playing his best football, completing just under 77% of his passes for 1,860 yards and 16 touchdowns without an interception, as the Boilers ripped off four wins in their final five games.

That includes a 536-yard passing performance against the Spartans, and a 423-yard passing afternoon against Northwestern.

A big part of that passing offense, however, won’t be available, as receiver David Bell has declared for the upcoming NFL Draft and has opted out. He led Purdue with 93 catches for 1,286 yards and six majors on the season.

Milton Wright, who had 732 yards receiving and a team-leading seven TD grabs, won’t be available (academic).

Tennessee vs Purdue Pick

Even without big pieces of their passing game, Purdue should be able to move the ball against Tennessee, who surrender 251.4 passing yards per game. The Vols will also be down their best DB in Alontae Taylor, who is recovering from a foot injury and preparing for the NFL draft.

On the other end, Purdue’s impressive defense will be put to the test. They’re surrendering just 194.6 pass yards per game, and have as many interceptions as passing TD’s allowed in the regular season, with 13.

However, the Boilermakers will be down key defensive pieces, including pass rusher George Karlaftis, who’s preparing for the NFL Draft, and corner Dedrick Mackey (academic). Tennessee surrendered an SEC-worst 42 sacks this season.

In FBS play the Vols are 6-0 this year when averaging 5.0 yards or more per rush, and 0-5 when they don’t. Purdue gave up 4.2 yards per carry during the regular season.

Tennessee’s high-powered offense should take advantage of a Purdue team shorthanded in key positions. Take them to cover, and if you’re looking for extra action, both teams will likely exceed that total with some to spare.

Pick:  Tennessee -6 (-110)

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