Tennessee vs. Purdue Odds & Picks: Betting Value for Music City Bowl Over/Under

Tennessee vs. Purdue Odds & Picks: Betting Value for Music City Bowl Over/Under article feature image

Bryan Lynn and Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) and Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Jack Plummer (13).

  • Tennessee and Purdue meet in Nashville on Thursday afternoon for the Music City Bowl
  • Odds have been moving quick, and Tennessee now sits as a -7.5 favorite, while the over/under sits at 65.5.
  • BJ Cunningham breaks down this college football bowl game below and shares his top betting pick.

Tennessee vs. Purdue Odds

Thursday, Dec. 30
3 p.m. ET
Tennessee Odds
-110o / -110u
Purdue Odds
-110o / -110u
Odds updated Thursday as of 12:35 p.m. ET and via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute college football odds here.

Music City Bowl
Thursday, Dec. 30 · Nashville, TN

Tennessee and Purdue meet in Nashville on Thursday looking to finish their seasons strong in the Music City Bowl.

Tennessee had a much improved season under first-year head coach Josh Heupel, going 7-5, but could not beat anybody ranked ahead of it outside of a road win over Kentucky.

The Volunteers play the fastest tempo in the country, so this game could turn into a shootout very quickly.

Purdue had an amazing season, beating two top-five teams and becoming bowl eligible for just the third time in the last nine years.

Jeff Brohm has built Purdue into a solid Big Ten team, but it will be without two of its best players in George Karlaftis and David Bell, who have already declared for the NFL Draft. However, quarterback Aidan O'Connell has already said he's returning to West Lafayette next season, so he will be playing in the bowl game.

Tennessee Volunteers

Volunteers Offense

Heupel completely changed the Tennessee offense this season, as the Volunteers played at an extremely fast pace of 2.94 plays per minute, which led college football.

Tennessee played with a rush-heavy style, keeping the ball on the ground for 57.8% of its plays. And how could you blame it when it carried the ball for 5.0 yards per carry and ranked sixth in Rushing Success Rate?

The Vols should be able to establish a ground game against a Purdue rush defense that ranked 37th in Rushing Success Rate Allowed and will be without its best defensive lineman in Karlaftis.

Hendon Hooker was a very efficient passer for Tennessee this season, averaging 9.8 yards per attempt with a PFF passing grade over 90 on throws 10+ yards in the air, which is huge against a Purdue secondary that ranked 105th in passing explosiveness allowed this season.

3rd TD strike of the afternoon for Hooker.

📺 @SECNetwork
📲 https://t.co/8zAI5yk1cMpic.twitter.com/afdalhW6Z9

— Tennessee Football (@Vol_Football) October 2, 2021

Volunteers Defense

Tennessee was fairly average all season long defensively, ranking 51st in Success Rate and allowing 5.2 yards per play.

Tennessee has been decent at stopping the run, ranking 53rd in Rushing Success Rate Allowed, but it likely won't be tested going up against one of the worst rushing attacks in the country.

The biggest worry for Tennessee defensively is its ability to get to the quarterback, as PFF has it graded at 116th in terms of a pass rush grade. That's a problem against O'Connell, who is outstanding when throwing from a clean pocket.

The Tennessee secondary will have its hands full against Purdue. It was very average all season, ranking outside the top 60 in Passing Success Rate Allowed, EPA/Pass allowed, and coverage, per PFF.

Tennessee also finished 105th in Finishing Drives, so I have a hard time seeing how it's going to slow down Purdue.

Purdue Boilermakers

Boilermakers Offense

Purdue is one of the most pass-heavy offenses in the country, throwing the ball 61.2% of the time.

One of the main reasons for that is it couldn't run the ball to save its life this season, ranking in the bottom-five in pretty much every metric. So, Brohm essentially abandoned the run and started throwing the ball 50+ times a game with Aiden O'Connell.

O'Connell has been really solid this season with that high volume, averaging 8.1 yards per attempt and putting up a 90.5 PFF passing grade with a whopping 30 big-time throws compared to only 13 turnover-worthy plays.

Aidan O’Connell to Broc Thompson getting to 49 total points in the 2Q@BoilerFootball | #BoilerUppic.twitter.com/AHlXn7DQe0

— Collin Wilson (@_Collin1) November 13, 2021

He will be without star wide receiver Bell, who has declared for the NFL Draft, but he shouldn't have much trouble throwing against a Tennessee secondary that allowed 7.1 yards per pass attempt, ranked 62nd in Passing Success Rate Allowed, and 67th in PFF coverage.

The biggest thing for O'Connell is having a clean pocket. When he's not under pressure, he has a 92.2 PFF passing grade with an 80.8% adjusted completion percentage.

So, with Tennessee's pass rush being one of the worst in the Power Five, he should be able to throw the ball all over the yard on Thursday.

Boilermakers Defense

The Purdue defense has been good all season, ranking 28th in Success Rate Allowed and 20th in EPA/Play allowed.

However, losing its best pass rusher in Karlaftis is massive for the Boilermakers. Karlaftis is the main reason why Purdue ranked 20th in Havoc and the secondary was so good, considering he had 54 pressures on the season.

That accounted for close to 35% of Purdue's pressures, so with a mobile quarterback like Hooker on the other side of the ball, it's going to be hard for Purdue to keep him inside the pocket.

Studying Purdue edge rusher George Karlaftis. Easy to make Ryan Kerrigan comparison. Natural feel as a rusher, excellent hands & effort. pic.twitter.com/Pfw6847F1w

— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) November 8, 2021

The one thing Purdue struggled with — and it was very evident against Ohio State — is limiting explosive plays.

The Boilermakers ranked 69th in big plays allowed and 105th in passing explosiveness allowed. So, trying to slow down Tennessee's explosive offense that is 31st in big plays and 34th in passing explosiveness is going to be a challenge.

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Tennessee vs. Purdue Matchup Analysis

Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how Tennessee and Purdue match up statistically:

Tennessee Offense vs. Purdue Defense
Rush Success2037
Line Yards1738
Pass Success3621
Pass Blocking**10955
Big Play3169
Finishing Drives3135
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Purdue Offense vs. Tennessee Defense
Rush Success12853
Line Yards10589
Pass Success962
Pass Blocking**40116
Big Play2757
Finishing Drives57105
** Pass Blocking (Off.) vs. Pass Rush (Def.)

Pace of Play / Other
PFF Tackling8632
Middle 86656
SP+ Special Teams9118
Plays per Minute160
Rush Rate60.6% (24)40.5% (125)

Data via College Football Data, FootballOutsiders, SP+, PFF and SportSource Analytics.

Tennessee vs. Purdue Betting Pick

With great matchups for both offenses, combined with Tennessee pushing this game at a fast pace, this game should turn into a shootout in Nashville.

I have 71.4 points projected for this game, so I'll back over 65 points.

Pick: Over 65

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