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Tennessee-Purdue opening line: Vols favored over Boilermakers

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NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee is headed to Nashville, set to make their 54th appearance in a bowl game. The Volunteers will once again play in the Music City Bowl, this time facing the Purdue Boilermakers.

Josh Heupel’s high-flying offense has transformed Tennessee in year one, pushing the Vols to a 7-5 mark. He’ll now look to cap off that impressive first season with a win over the 8-4 Boilermakers. Jeff Brohm’s team is no slouch, putting up a couple of impressive top five wins over Michigan State and Iowa.

Vegas is still siding with the Vols here, though.

Tennessee has opened as a three point favorite over Purdue, per DraftKings Sportsbook. The oddsmakers also expect a decent amount of points, setting the total at 61.

Tennessee has won four straight bowl games, with their last bowl loss coming in this game against North Carolina back in 2010. The Volunteers have beaten a Big Ten team in each of those last four victories. This will be Purdue’s first bowl appearance since 2018, where they were beaten 63-14 in Nashville by Auburn.

“We are excited about finishing this first season in our home state in the TransPerfect Music City Bowl,” Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to put the finishing touches on the positive momentum we have created over our first 11 months. I am especially thrilled for our seniors, who get one more chance to compete. Purdue is an outstanding and well-coached team. I look forward to seeing all of Vol Nation in Nashville, and I know our team has appreciated your support the entire season.”

“Playing an SEC team like Tennessee that’s had a really good year,” Purdue head coach Jeff Brohm said. “They play with a high tempo, spread you out, try to score points, run as many plays as they can. It’ll be a unique challenge for us, something we really don’t see a whole lot in the Big Ten, so we’re going to have to work hard to prepare and make sure that we’re schooled up as much as we can. You always want to try to finish with a win, so we want to have our guys enjoy the experience, but work extremely hard and get prepared to play a really good opponent. We’re fired up to do that.”

A situation to watch here on the Purdue side — two big time NFL prospects have already declared for the Draft, and their status for this one is unclear. Stud receiver David Bell and potential first round pick George Karlaftis now will have to decide if playing in the bowl game will be worth it, as each turn their attention to the pros.

Tennessee’s top cornerback, Alontae Taylor, has already decided to sit out.

This game is set for December 30th at 3 p.m. ET. ESPN will carry the action.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See DraftKings.com/sportsbook for details.