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NCAAF

Dec 29, 2021

Music CIty Bowl Picks, Predictions and Odds: Tennessee vs. Purdue

Dec. 30, 2021
Dan Dobish
VI Betting Expert
VegasInsider.com

The Tennessee Volunteers (7-5) of the SEC and the Purdue Boilermakers (8-4) meet in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl on Thursday in Nashville. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m., and the game can be viewed on ESPN.

Score Prediction

Tennessee 35, Purdue 31

Best Bets

Purdue +6 (-110) at BetMGM

Over 64.5 (-110) at BetMGM

Music City Bowl Predictions

It's been an ugly bowl season for the SEC, as the vaunted conference enters this Nashville bowl game with an 0-4 SU/1-3 ATS mark so far through four postseason contests. Missouri was the only team to cover for the conference, losing by a narrow margin against Army in the Armed Forces Bowl. So Tennessee is carrying the flag for the conference, at least in this mid-tier game, trying to get a little respect while playing in its home state. Of course, that didn't really work out for Auburn in the Birmingham Bowl on Tuesday.

The Vols offense has been on point, winning consecutive games to close out the regular season while putting up a total of 105 points in the two outings. The defense was a lot better, too, yielding just 17.5 PPG in the win streak after allowing 41 or more points in three straight games from Oct. 23-Nov. 13 against bowl teams Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia. Of course, two of those teams are in the College Football Playoff, but still, it was an ugly defensive showing nonetheless.

The Boilermakers were a sneaky team this season, quietly racking up eight victories. The most impressive win might have been a 44-7 shellacking of rival Indiana to snag the Old Oaken Bucket back. Purdue won its final two games, and four of the final five, going for 28 or more points in each of the outings. As such, this one looks like it could potentially be a high-scoring affair.

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Music City Bowl Betting Odds

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Music City Bowl Betting Resources

  • Matchup: SEC vs. Big 10
  • Date: Thursday, December 30, 2021
  • Venue: Nissan Stadium
  • Location: Nashville, Tennessee
  • TV-Time: ESPN, 3:00 p.m. ET

Tennessee Volunteers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 7-5
  • ATS: 5-7
  • O/U: 9-3

The Volunteers wrapped up the 2019 season with a 23-22 victory over Indiana in the Gator Bowl on Jan. 2, 2020. That bought Jeremy Pruitt another season, but he couldn't produce and was jettisoned. In stepped Josh Heupel, and he has led Tennessee to a bowl in his first season. While Tennessee has been hitting bowl games sporadically, capping off the 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2019 seasons with bowls, they won each of those games. That includes three victories over the Big Ten. These two teams actually met in the postseason once before, as Purdue posted a 27-22 victory on Dec. 31, 1979 in the Bluebonnet Bowl in the Houston Astrodome.

Tennessee enters with a 4-1 ATS mark across the past five games as a favorite, while going 4-1 ATS in the past five meetings against the Big Ten. The Vols are also 6-2 ATS in the past eight neutral-site games as a favorite. However, Tennessee is also a dismal 3-10 ATS in the past 13 games against winning teams.

In terms of the total, the OVER is 5-0 in the past five games overall, while going 5-0 ATS in the past five as a favorite, too. The OVER is also 5-1 across the past six bowl appearances, while going 9-2 in the past 11 neutral-site contests. The OVER is 4-1 in the past five against teams with a winning overall record, too.

Purdue Boilermakers Betting Analysis

Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under (O/U)

  • SU: 8-4
  • ATS: 7-5
  • O/U: 4-8

Purdue makes its first trip to the postseason since an appearance in this very same game. The Boilermakers hope this Music City Bowl goes a little better than that appearance, a 63-14 loss against Auburn. The Boilermakers have lost three straight bowl games against SEC teams dating back to that Bluebonnet Bowl win over Tennessee in 1979. A win in 1980 over Missouri in the Liberty Bowl doesn't count, as the Tigers weren't in the SEC yet.

The Boilermakers enter 4-1 ATS in the past five games overall, while going 7-3 ATS in the past 10 games against teams with a winning overall record. They're also 20-8 ATS in the past 28 games as an underdog, while going 4-1 ATS in the past five neutral-site appearances. However, they're just 2-6 ATS across the past eight bowl appearances.

The OVER has connected in five consecutive bowl games for Purdue, while going 4-0 in the past four bowls as an underdog. The OVER is also 4-1 in the past five appearances against SECd teams. However, the UNDER has hit in nine of the past 13 games overall, while going 4-0 in the past four non-conference tilts.

Inside the Stats - Tennessee Volunteers

  • Record: 7-5
  • VI Ranking: 31
  • Points Scored: 466
  • Points Allowed: 330
  • PS/G: 38.8
  • PA/G: 27.5

Inside the Stats - Purdue Boilermakers

  • Record: 8-4
  • VI Ranking: 27
  • Points Scored: 330
  • Points Allowed: 246
  • PS/G: 27.5
  • PA/G: 20.5

Key Players to Watch

  • TENN: Hendon Hooker - QB (180/261, 2,567 yards, 31 total TDs, 3 INT)
  • TENN: Cedric Tillman - WR (57 catches, 931 yards, 9 TD)
  • PUR: Aidan O'Connell - QB (289/393, 3,178 yards, 23 TD, 8 INT)
  • PUR: Milton Wright - WR (57 catches, 732 yards, 7 TD)

Music City Bowl Betting Conclusion

The Volunteers have registered four consecutive bowl victories, with their last postseason setback coming in this very same Music City Bowl on Dec. 30, 2010, a 30-27 loss against North Carolina. This will be Tennessee's third-ever trip to its state capital for a bowl game, winning last time on Dec. 30, 2016 against Nebraska, 38-24.

Tennessee was able to roll up some pretty impressive point totals in the final two games, and they were able to score 45 or more points on six occasions this season, while scoring 34 or more points eight times. They'll be able to move the ball on Purdue, a team which allowed 148.3 rushing yards per game. Both of these teams are pass-happy, too, and Tennessee is going to allow quite a bit of yardage through the air, however, Purdue's production will likely take a hit with Bell already gone. Tennessee allowed 251.4 passing yards per game, ranking 103rd in the nation. Purdue might have been able to eke out a victory if Bell were in the lineup despite being behind enemy lines in the Volunteer State. Still, expect plenty of points here, too, as WRs Jackson Anthrop and Milton Wright should be able to pick up some of the slack.

Tennessee QB Hendon Hooker didn't make a lot of mistakes this season, and he'll be very pleased that DE George Karlaftis is headed for the 2022 NFL Draft, electing to opt out of this game. The only real loss for the Vols is RB TiYon Evans, who left for Louisville via the transfer portal. He was good for 521 rushing yards and six touchdowns with a team-best 6.4 rushing yards per attempt.

Music City Bowl Betting Trends

  • Tennessee is 4-1 ATS in the past five games as a favorite.
  • Tennessee is 4-1 ATS in the past five games vs. Big Ten.
  • Tennessee is 3-10 ATS in the past 13 games against winning teams.
  • Purdue is 4-1 ATS in the past five games overall.
  • Purdue is 7-3 ATS in the past 10 games against winning teams.
  • Purdue is 2-6 ATS in the past eight bowl games.
  • Purdue is 20-8 ATS in the past 28 games as an underdog.
  • The OVER is 5-0 in the past five games overall for Tennessee.
  • The OVER is 5-1 in the past six bowl games for Tennessee.
  • The OVER is 4-1 in the past five games against winning teams for Tennessee.
  • The OVER is 9-2 in the past 11 neutral-site games for Tennessee.
  • The UNDER is 9-4 in the past 13 games overall for Purdue.
  • The OVER is 5-0 in the past five bowl games for Purdue.
  • The OVER is 4-1 in the past five games vs. SEC for Purdue.


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