Weeks ago, Purdue of the Big Ten was favored on the NCAAF odds in the Music City Bowl vs. Tennessee of the SEC, but the Boilermakers have lost a few star players to opt-outs so the Vols are now favored for Thursday’s matchup from Nashville.
How to Bet Tennessee vs. Purdue NCAA Football Odds & TV Info
- When: Thursday, 3 PM ET
- Where: Nissan Stadium, Nashville
- TV: ESPN
- Stream: ESPN app
- Radio: Tunein.com
- Opening NCAAF Lines: Tennessee -6 (total 64)
The only meeting between these schools occurred in the 1979 Bluebonnet Bowl on Dec. 21, 1979 in Johnny Majors’ third season. The Boilermakers won the contest 27-22 in Houston. Purdue is one of 48 schools UT has faced only once.
Why Bet on Tennessee?
Tennessee’s offense has enjoyed a remarkable turnaround in its first season under Josh Heupel. The Vols are ranked in the top 25 nationally offensively in seven different categories: scoring offense (38.8 – 9th), total offense (459.0 – 16th), rushing offense (212.0 – 19th), yards per play (6.50 – 20th), passing efficiency (165.37 – 7th), third down offense (46.20% – 11th) and first down offense (23.8 – 19th). UT’s 38.8 points per game ranks second in modern program history, trailing only the 1993 team (42.8). The Vols put up at least 45 points in six games this season, tying for the most 45-point games in a season in program history (1993).
UT leads the nation in offensive plays per minute at 2.94. Ole Miss is second at 2.87. By comparison, the Vols averaged 2.36 a year ago, which was 58th in the FBS. UT averages 1.61 points per minute, which also leads the FBS. From 2018-20, Heupel’s UCF teams averaged a nation-high 3.04 plays per minute.
Since being named the starting QB, Hendon Hooker has thrown 24 TD passes to only two interceptions in the last nine games. During that span, he has accounted for 2,866 yards of total offense and 29 touchdowns and completed 68.6 percent of his passes (164-239).
Hooker has accounted for multiple touchdowns in 10 of his last 11 games entering the bowl game. He has been responsible for 31 touchdowns this season – 26 pass and five rush. He is one of only six FBS players this season with at least 25 passing touchdowns and five rushing touchdowns. Hooker’s 182.16 quarterback rating in 2021 ranks third in the FBS and first in the SEC. That figure is on pace to be the best in school history.
Tennessee is going bowling for the 54th time in program history. That ranks fifth all-time behind Alabama, Georgia, Texas and Oklahoma. The Vols are 29-24 in bowl games, and those 29 victories rank seventh nationally. UT is making its third Music City Bowl appearance. The Vols topped No. 24 Nebraska, 38-24, in the 2016 game. UT dropped a 30-27 double overtime contest to North Carolina in the 2010 Music City Bowl.
Why Bet on Purdue?
Purdue has won eight games for the first time since 2007 and has eight regular-season victories for the first time since 2006. Two of those victories were over previously unbeaten No. 2 Iowa (Oct. 16) and No. 3 Michigan State (Nov. 6), giving the Boilermakers two wins over Top 5 teams for the first time since 1960.
The most accurate passer, currently, in the Big Ten Conference is Purdue signal caller Aidan O’Connell. The fifth-year senior QB is completing 73.5 percent of his throws (289-393), while averaging 26.3 completions per game. His completion percentage ranks third nationally, while his completions per game sit fifth among quarterbacks. Despite splitting time at points of the season, O’Connell has thrown for 3,177 yards (17th nationally) and 23 touchdowns (25th nationally).
The Boilers have been hit hard by opt-outs. The first to decide was All-American receiver David Bell after catching 93 passes for 1,286 yards and six touchdowns as a junior. He will depart Purdue with 232 career receptions and 21 touchdowns receiving in just 29 total games. Star linebacker George Karlaftis, who also earned first team All-Big Ten honors this season like Bell, registered 39 total tackles, 10 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks this season and decided not to play.
The news got worse in that junior receiver Milton Wright and fifth-year senior cornerback Dedrick Mackey didn’t make the trip due to academics and that super senior offensive tackle Greg Long is doubtful to play. Wright ranks No. 2 on the team with 51 receptions for 679 yards to go along with a team-high seven TD catches. Mackey started all 12 games this season and has 35 tackles, three interceptions. If Long can’t play, expect sophomore Cam Craig to start at left tackle.
The bowl bid marks the 20th bowl game in Purdue history, including the third in five seasons under head coach Jeff Brohm. Purdue has an all-time record of 10-9 in bowl games. The Boilermakers are making their second appearance in the Music City Bowl, having played in the 2018 version against Auburn and getting crushed 63-14.
- Volunteers are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. Big Ten.
- Volunteers are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 neutral site games as a favorite.
- Volunteers are 3-10 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
- Boilermakers are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 games as an underdog.
- Boilermakers are 7-3 ATS vs. a team with a winning record.
Expert Prediction: Tennessee 33, Purdue 27
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