Previewing the VRBO Citrus Bowl: LSU vs. Purdue
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This is the preview for the VRBO Citrus Bowl:
Date: Monday, January 2, 1:00 p.m. ET
Camping World Stadium (Orlando, FL)
Betting splits: 80% of handle, 57% of bets on LSU -15
Jeff Brohm’s decision to leave Purdue for Louisville in early December left the Boilermakers without their head coach and opened the floodgates for players to opt out and transfer. The Purdue team that takes the field in Orlando will be missing sixth-year senior quarterback Aidan O’Connell, leading wide receiver Charlie Jones, top tight end Payne Durham, star linebacker Jalen Graham, starting cornerback Cory Trice and about five more starters. Brian Brohm, set to rejoin his brother and become the Cardinals’ offensive coordinator, will be the Boilermakers’ interim coach. Drew Brees has returned to be an assistant coach for the bowl, and he’s mentoring quarterback Austin Burton, a former UCLA transfer who’s making his second start of the season. While this is a far cry from the Purdue team that trailed Michigan 14-13 at halftime and eventually lost the Big Ten title game 43-22, it is a team that will be motivated to face LSU as young players step up and try to show something to new coach Ryan Walters.
After losing their last two games, including the SEC championship to Georgia, the Tigers’ motivation is a mystery. LSU will miss starting defensive linemen BJ Ojulari, Ali Gaye and Jaquelin Roy, who have opted out to prepare for the NFL. Still, coach Brian Kelly has the far better defense, superior depth on the roster, and his starting quarterback. Jayden Daniels recently announced his plans to return next season and play in the bowl. Daniels, who has passed for 2,774 yards and 16 touchdowns and rushed for 818 yards and 11 touchdowns, should be the most dynamic player on the field and make the difference.
DraftKings opened LSU -6.5 prior to Jeff Brohm’s exit from West Lafayette and the number steadily climbed to 15 as it became obvious Purdue would be working with a skeleton crew. The Boilermakers will play hard for Brian Brohm and Brees, but they will struggle to score without O’Connell (3,490 passing yards, 22 touchdowns) and Jones (110 receptions, 1,361 yards, 12 touchdowns). Purdue’s top two NFL prospects sat out last year in a 48-45 win over Tennessee in the Music City Bowl, but this is a taller task. Under the total of 56.5 could be the best bet.
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