The Virginia Cavaliers will look to recover from a bad season that also saw tragedy affect them and members of their community. We will share our college football odds series by making a Virginia over-under win total prediction for 2023.
Virginia went 3-7, including 1-6 in the ACC. Sadly, the team had more than football to worry about in what should have been a season where they only had to focus on playing a game they all loved. But tragedy struck in November when former walk-on Christopher Jones opened fire on a charter bus that many held the team. Sadly, the shooting took the lives of wide receiver Lavel Davis Jr., Devin Chandler, and linebacker D'Sean Perry. The horrific shooting caused Virginia to cancel the final two games of the season as the grieving process began.
Running back Mike Hollins was one of the survivors. However, Jones shot him in the back, causing him to fall into critical condition. But he thankfully recovered after a long ordeal. Unfortunately, the wounds are still ever present, and the Cavaliers have a lot of healing to do.
The school honored the players who died during graduation. Ultimately, everyone got to share their memories of the players, and tell stories about them while also recounting better times. While they are still hurting, they will step back on the field to prepare to play the 2023 campaign and do everything they can to honor the memories of the players who died.
Before tragedy struck, the Cavaliers went 3-7, with a 1-6 record in the ACC. Additionally, they had lost six of seven games before the shooting. The Cavaliers will continue on with heavy hearts, and play the new season with their brothers with them in spirit.
Here are the College Football Odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
College Football Odds: Over/Under Win Total Odds
Over 3.5 wins: -105
Under 3.5 wins: -115
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Why Virginia Can Win 3.5 Games
There is hope that the Cavaliers can win four games. Ultimately, it lies with the leadership of their coach Tony Elliot, as he returns for his second season. Elliot displayed amazing leadership in 2022 in the wake of utter tragedy and now has the entire players ready to fight for him. Now, he will have the services of a new quarterback.
Tony Muskett is the new man in town. Significantly, it will be his debut in a Power Five Conference. Muskett played three seasons at Monmouth. Furthermore, he threw 51 touchdowns through 23 games. Muskett also threw 1,197 yards, 17 touchdowns, and eight interceptions in 2022. However, it was slightly lower than the 2,651 yards, 25 touchdowns, and six interceptions that he threw in 2021. Muskett turned down an opportunity at Missouri and East Carolina for a chance to return to his home state. Now, the hopes of the Cavaliers depend on how well Muskett plays.
The defense played well enough to win last season. Additionally, they allowed 20-0r-fewer points four times. They also lost three games by six-or-fewer points. Therefore, the defense must step up to give Virginia a chance to improve.
Virginia will win four games if Muskett plays to his potential. Then, the defense must step up.
Why Virginia Can Not Win 3.5 Games
The Cavaliers will no longer have the services of Dontayvion Wicks, who left Virginia for the NFL as the Green Bay Packers drafted him with the 159th pick in the fifth round. Virginia is also still recovering from the deaths of Davis and Chandler. Thus, look for someone else to emerge. But it might take some time.
But the more underlying issue for Virginia is how they handle the tragedy. How will they handle returning to the football field for the first time since November? Will they be able to handle the emotions of playing football after losing three of their own? It is a sad state of affairs and something no team should have to go through. Unfortunately, Virginia will have to find a way to overcome the grief and play football. But it will not be easy, especially with the constant reminders of their fallen teammates.
Virginia will not win four games because there are too many questions on both sides of the ball. Additionally, they might not be emotionally prepared to play yet so soon after such a tragic event.
Final Virginia Over/Under Win Total Prediction & Pick
This can go either way. However, they lost three close games last season. Expect Virginia to honor their fallen teammates and brothers by improving on their 2022 season. Ultimately, they will go out and play football, and never forget their brothers, and do their best to honor them.
Final Virginia Over/Under Win Total Prediction & Pick: Over 3.5 wins: -105