Early Odds for LSU vs. Purdue Citrus Bowl

The LSU Tigers and the Purdue Boilermakers are set to square off in the Cheez-it Citrus Bowl on Jan. 2, in Orlando, Florida. Although nearly a month away, here is what you need to know about the Tigers’ upcoming matchup:

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Early Citrus Bowl Odds and LSU Keys to Victory

FanDuel is the only sportsbook with a moneyline available for the game at the moment, which is currently LSU -315. However, a few others have already released the spread, and the Tigers are highly favored across the board.

Purdue finished the season fourth in the Big Ten Conference, which is sending two teams to the College Football Playoffs this year. Their key victories came against Illinois and Minnesota, both ranked No. 21 at the time.

The Tigers will enter the matchup having dropped their last two games to Texas A&M and Georgia pretty soundly. However, the Tigers still finished the season ranked No. 16 with victories over Alabama and Mississippi State. Despite LSU being heavy favorites, there are some things it will have to look out for to avoid a major upset.

Contain Devin Mockobee

The Boilermakers’ freshman running back Devin Mockobee compiled 920 yards rushing and nine touchdowns this season on just 182 carries. In both of the Boilermakers’ big victories, he was featured and had more than 100 yards rushing and a touchdown. LSU’s rushing defense is ranked 70th, allowing more than 150 yards on the ground per game. Even if you account for the competition quality of some of the lesser teams ranked higher than LSU defensively, they still don’t compare to the competition the Boilermakers’ have seen this year. The Big Ten Conference has multiple schools near the top of the pack in rushing defense, and the Boilermakers still had success.

Limit Aidan O’Connell

The Boilermakers have their limitations, but QB play isn’t one of them lately. In his last four games, Aidan O’Connell has been electric. He is experienced and may be feeling confident after a solid performance in the Big Ten Championship Game. Settling for field goals ultimately cost them the game, but they outplayed expectations against Michigan. He finished the game throwing for nearly 400 yards in the loss. He also threw for two or more touchdowns in the three games before the Big Ten Championship Game.

Jayden Daniels’ Health

Despite the threats the Boilermakers present, there is a reason LSU are heavy favorites. It is the better team on both sides of the ball and have twice as many players for the Boilermakers to monitor. Most notably the Tigers’ starting QB Jayden Daniels, who impacts the game with his arm and his legs. The concern is whether he’ll be healthy or not.

Daniels re-injured his ankle in the SEC Championship Game, and he is currently listed as questionable for the Citrus Bowl. He has nearly a month to nurse his hobbled ankle, but with ankle injuries, that may not be enough time. If he is still gimpy come game time, his backup Garrett Nussmeier could see significant time.

Nussmeier has hardly seen any playing time that matters. The most time he saw was the entire second half of the SEC Championship Game after Daniels’ injury. How valuable were those minutes? The Tigers were already down 35-10 by the half in a game they were already 17.5-point underdogs. Nussmeier finished with a decent stat line, but considering the circumstances, you may not want to over value his performance.

If Nussmeier must step in again, the Tigers’ offense will lose some versatility due to Nussmeier’s running limitations. This is something to look out for as it could make things a bit more interesting come game time.

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  • Citrus Bowl Info
    Date: Monday, Jan. 2
    Kickoff time: Noon CT
    Channel: ABC

AP Photo/Michael Woods

About the Author

David Fletcher

David Fletcher is a freelance writer for Catena Media. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University and is currently employed full-time in a senior corporate communications role for a top 20 accounting firm. He also has nearly a decade of experience covering high school sports and local news for multiple small daily newspapers, and professional and collegiate sports in the Houston area for a start-up sports reporting organization. He is a big fan of the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets, and, unfortunately, according to him, the Houston Texans. He enjoys bringing his love of sports and writing to the gaming industry to provide insight into quality sports bets.