LSU vs. Purdue Citrus Bowl Best Bets: Short-Handed Boilers Getting Too Many Points

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Aidan O'Connell #16 of the Purdue Boilermakers throws the ball during the second half in the Big Ten Championship against the Michigan Wolverines at Lucas Oil Stadium on December 03, 2022 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Justin Casterline/Getty Images/AFP

NCAAF pick: Purdue +14.5 (-110) at Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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The last day of college football’s bowl games this season is Monday—the national title game technically isn’t a bowl—and there are a pair of Power 5 conference runners-up in the Citrus Bowl from Orlando as No. 17 LSU faces Purdue. Which side of the 15-point spread has the value at BMR’s top-rated books?

Sunshine State residents interested in betting on the Citrus Bowl can do so at one of these Florida betting sites.

LSU Tigers vs. Purdue Boilermakers 

Monday, January 2, 2022 – 01:00 PM EST at Camping World Stadium

This is the second bowl game that Camping World Stadium in Orlando hosts as Oklahoma and No. 13 Florida State face off there in the Cheez-It Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 29. This is technically called the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl. ABC has the telecast between SEC runner-up LSU, ranked 17th nationally, and Big Ten runner-up Purdue, which is unranked. 

The seventh-oldest collegiate bowl game in the country, the Citrus Bowl began as the Tangerine Bowl in 1947. Since 1993, this has teams from the Big Ten and SEC. It’s the first-ever meeting between LSU and Purdue but the sixth Citrus Bowl for the Tigers, who are 2-3 in the game. Purdue has played in it once previously and lost on New Year’s Day 1994 to Georgia. 

LSU didn’t play a Big Ten team this year and Purdue didn’t face an SEC club.  

First LSU Bowl For Kelly 

In Brian Kelly’s first season at LSU (9-4), the Tigers surprised everyone by winning the SEC West thanks to a 32-31 OT home upset of Alabama on Nov. 5. Kelly’s club didn’t end the season well, though, getting upset 38-23 at a bad Texas A&M side and losing 50-30 to No. 1 Georgia in the conference title game. LSU wasn’t the second-best team in the SEC. Alabama was with Tennessee No. 3. 

Kelly already got some good news for next season in that starting QB Jayden Daniels, a transfer from Arizona State, will return. Daniels has 2,774 passing yards with 16 touchdowns and three interceptions this season while leading LSU in carries (180), rushing yards (818), and rushing touchdowns (11). Daniels is one of only two FBS QBs to have 800+ rushing yards and 2,000+ passing yards this year. 

His 3,592 yards of total offense rank No. 2 in LSU history behind only Heisman winner Joe Burrow in 2019 (6,093 yards). Daniels tweaked an ankle in the SEC title game but is fully expected to play. Star wideout Kayshon Boutte will return to LSU in 2023 as well and also will play. 

More LSU Stars

Three LSU defenders—BJ Ojulari, Harold Perkins, and Mekhi Wingo—were selected to the AP All-SEC team. Ojulari and Perkins were both named to the first team, while Mingo was a second-team selection.

Perkins, a true freshman linebacker, led the Tigers in both sacks (6.5) and tackles for loss (11.5). He finished third on the team in tackles with 69. He tied for team-high honors with 13 quarterback hurries and became only the third true freshman in LSU history to be named first-team AP All-SEC. 

The junior defensive end Ojulari had 58 tackles, including 8.5 for losses, 5.5 sacks and 13 quarterback hurries. However, he has opted out of this game. Wingo, in his first year at LSU after transferring from Missouri, established himself as one of the nation’s top run-stoppers as he had 44 tackles, 4.0 tackles for loss, and a pair of sacks. He broke up four passes, had four QB hurries, and created three turnovers. 

LSU is averaging 32.3 points and 442.7 total yards per game (181.1 rushing, 261.6 passing). Defensively, the Tigers are allowing 23.7 points and 361.5 ypg.  

Kelly is 6-0 all-time against Purdue with all six victories coming as head coach at Notre Dame. LSU will be making its 54th bowl game appearance overall and is 28-24-1 in the previous 53. The Tigers are 1-4 ATS in their past five bowls on the NCAAF odds

Boilers Down Starting QB 

Purdue (8-5) won the awful Big Ten West Division but was routed as expected in the conference title game 43-22 by No. 2 Michigan. The Boilermakers probably are no better than the fifth-best team in the Big Ten, and they move forward without head coach Jeff Brohm, who left to take over at his alma mater Louisville. Defensive coordinator Ron English followed Brohm to Louisville and won't coach in this game, either.  

Jeff Brohm’s younger brother Brian will be the interim head coach for the bowl game before going to join his brother at Louisville—Illinois defensive coordinator Ryan Walters then takes over the full-time Purdue job—and Mark Hagen, one of three co-defensive coordinators, will call the defense.  

Former Purdue and NFL legendary QB Drew Brees returned to campus to help with game planning and will serve as an assistant for the bowl. Before embarking on a Hall of Fame 20-year NFL career with the Chargers and Saints, Brees left West Lafayette after the 2000 season as one of the most decorated quarterbacks in program and Big Ten history. 

Undermanned Boilers

The Boilers are going to be very short-handed as starting quarterback Aidan O’Connell, No. 1 receiver Charlie Jones, tight end Payne Durham and top cornerback Cory Trice opted out to prepare for the NFL Draft.

O’Connell threw for 3,490 yards and 22 TDs this season. Jones caught 110 passes for 1,361 yards and 12 TDs and was named second-team All-American, and Durham 56 for 560 yards and eight TDs. Trice had 34 tackles and 10 passes defended.  

Senior Austin Burton will start for O’Connell. The former UCLA transfer did start on Sept. 24 vs. Florida Atlantic when O’Connell was out and looked pretty good in completing 21 of 29 for 166 yards, three TDs, and a pick.

That was Burton’s first start since 2019 with UCLA and was on short notice. At least he had a month to prepare for this one. Unlike O'Connell, Burton also poses a running threat. "I'm definitely more comfortable than the last start, getting time to prepare and get into it," Burton said. "(To) kind of be able to game plan everything, definitely a more comfortable feeling." 

Purdue has an all-time bowl record of 11-9 and is looking for its first back-to-back nine-win seasons since 1997-98.  

The Picks

I will be absolutely shocked if the Boilers win this game but underdogs have generally fared quite well in bowls, and I’m not sure how seriously LSU will take this game or the opponent. This spread is just too big. Purdue is 5-2 ATS in its past seven vs. teams with a winning record. Expect a score of something like 33-20 so for your NCAAF picks take the under in the total. 

NCAAF pick: Purdue +14.5 (-110) at Bovada 

NCAAF Pick: Under 56 (-109) at GTbets 

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Under 56 (-109)
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