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Music City Bowl expert predictions, odds, betting trends for Tennessee vs. Purdue

It would appear that Josh Heupel has a quarterback to build around, at least for one more season. The Volunteers finished the regular season 7-5 during Heupel’s first year in Knoxville and did so behind a potent offense that averaged 39 points and 459 yards per game. At the center of everything was Hendon Hooker, who passed for 2,567 yards along with a career-best 26 touchdowns to just three interceptions. Hooker took over for Joe Milton early in the year, never looked back, and is returning to UT next year. The Vols will be without TiYon Evans in this game after he entered the transfer portal, but oddsmakers still have Tennessee favored in a pseudo-home game.

Just don’t count Purdue out here. At 8-4, the Boilermakers have matched their most wins in a season over the past 14 years. Purdue has the No. 8 passing attack in college football at 340.4 yards per game. Balancing that with a top-30 defense made Jeff Brohm’s team a difficult out in most weeks. And with wins in four of the past five weeks, the Boilermakers had some momentum before a long pause. In that time, George Karlaftis (five sacks, 11.5 TFL) and leading receiver David Bell (93 catches, 1,286 yards, six touchdowns) both opted out. Those are big blows to both sides of the ball, but we’ll still see plenty of Aidan O’Connell against a Tennessee defense that’s struggled to defend the pass.

This game is on Thursday, Dec. 30, with a 3 p.m. ET kickoff time on ESPN. Odds, Over/Under, Moneyline

Odds updated at 12 p.m. ET on Dec. 25. Click here for live odds. Betting Trends

Tennessee is 6-0 as favorites in its last 6 games

The Over is 5-0 in the last 5 Tennessee games

Purdue is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games

Purdue is 11-4 ATS as underdogs in its last 15 games

Click here to learn more about The Athletic’s FREE betting contest with BetPrep. Tennessee-Purdue storylines

Rexrode: Tennessee’s recruiting was the first, and last, thing we had to question about Josh Heupel Expert picks (straight up)

(Photo of Hendon Hooker: Kevin Langley / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images; The Athletic may receive an affiliate commission if you open an account with BetMGM through links contained in the above article.)

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