Music City Bowl 2021: Odds, Daily Fantasy Tips for Tennessee vs. Purdue

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 29, 2021

Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) looks for a receiver during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Vanderbilt Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Knoxville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)
Wade Payne/Associated Press

The Tennessee Volunteers are in a great position to finish off Josh Heupel's first season as head coach with a victory in the Music City Bowl. 

Tennessee is going up against a Purdue Boilermakers squad that will be without its best player on both sides of the ball.

Purdue wide receiver David Bell and defensive end George Karlaftis opted out of Thursday's contest in Nashville to focus on the 2022 NFL draft. 

Tennessee has more of its playmakers available for the SEC-versus-Big Ten clash, and that should allow Hendon Hooker to finish off his fantastic season in style in the Vols' passing game. 


Music City Bowl Info

Date: Thursday, December 30

Start Time: 3 p.m. ET 


Live Stream: ESPN.com and ESPN app


Game Odds

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Spread: Tennessee (-6) 

Over/Under: 65.5

Money Line: Tennessee (-220; bet $220 to win $100); Purdue (+180; bet $100 to win $180) 


Daily Fantasy Tips

Rely on Hendon Hooker, Tennessee Pass Game

Hendon Hooker was a revelation inside the Tennessee offense this season. 

The transfer from Virginia Tech threw for 2,567 yards, 26 touchdowns and was picked off just three times. 

Hooker developed great chemistry with Cedric Tillman and Velus Jones Jr., who both had over 50 receptions and combined for 15 touchdown catches. 

Hooker, Tillman and Jones could form the best daily fantasy football lineup stack across Thursday's four-game slate. 

The Vols quarterback should have plenty of time to work in the pocket with George Karlaftis not coming off the edge for Purdue. Karlaftis had 36 tackles, 4.5 sacks and affected countless other plays during the regular season. 

If Hooker takes advantage of that absence, the Vols could cruise to a victory in one of their highest-scoring games of the season. 

Tennessee posted at least 45 points in its last six victories, and it averages 459 yards per game. We could see the Vols post similar totals if Purdue is unable to replace Karlaftis' impact on the pass rush and can't make up for David Bell's absence in the passing game. 


Take a Risk on Purdue's Active Wide Receivers

Purdue loves to throw the ball as much as Tennessee. 

The Boilermakers have one of the most drastic run/pass splits in the FBS. They average 340.5 passing yards and 83.5 rushing yards per contest. 

Even without Bell, the Big Ten squad should air it out through quarterback Aidan O'Connell, who produced 3,178 passing yards in the regular season.

Milton Wright, Jackson Anthrop and Payne Durham will be O'Connell's top targets in the Music City Bowl.

Wright was second to Bell in receptions and receiving yards, and he had one more touchdown grab than the 2022 NFL draft prospect. 

Anthrop and Durham should receive a higher number of targets with Wright thrust into the No. 1 wideout role for Thursday. 

All three players are worth a look in DFS contests, as well as O'Connell, because of how often Purdue throws the ball. He attempted at least 30 passes in the last eight games, and he threw for three or more scores in the last four contests. 

If anything, O'Connell and the active Purdue wide receivers will try to keep up with Tennessee's high-scoring bunch in a game with potential to have a ton of offensive fireworks. 


If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (IL).

Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (NJ/WV/PA), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), 1-800-522-4700 (CO), 1-800-BETS OFF (IA), or call or text the TN REDLINE: 800-889-9789 (TN).

21+. NJ/PA/WV/IN/IA/CO/IL/TN only. In partnership with Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Eligibility restrictions apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details