2019 Virginia Cavaliers College Football Odds and Expert Betting Picks
2018 Record: 8-5
2019 Las Vegas Season Win Total: 7.5*
2019 Season Win Total Picks NCAA Football: 'Over'
"Rebuilding" is the very clear theme of this year in the ACC. No fewer than seven teams are in the first or second year of major overhauls, including new coaches, new schemes and a whole bunch of new players.
That level of turnover and uncertainty has created an opportunity for Virginia, which is in the fourth season of the Bronco Mendenhall regime. This is kind of a put-up-or-shut-up season for the Cavaliers, who have increased their win total each of the past two seasons under Mendenhall.
Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins is the best player on the team and the clear-cut leader. He was the team's leading rusher last season while also completing 64.5 percent of his passes for 25 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Perkins will have to ignite the passing game without one of the top receivers in school history, Olamide Zaccheaus. UVA does have three of its top four receivers back. But Zaccheaus caught more passes (93) than those next three guys combined (88).
Defensively, Virginia has eight starters back from a unit that finished No. 21 in the country in points allowed, No. 20 in yards allowed, and No. 16 in pass defense. Fourth-year staring cornerback Bryce Hall is one of the best in the country. And with almost the entire front seven - and their backups - returning, the Cavaliers should be rock solid in the trenches.
The Cavaliers are rock solid. And if they had the same schedule that N.C. State or Boston College have this season, I think they could threaten 10 wins. Unfortunately, the Cavs aren't that lucky.
UVA will rack up easy home wins against William & Mary, Old Dominion, Liberty and Georgia Tech. They will have to fight for everything else, and a season-opening game at Pittsburgh could go a long way in setting the tone for this season.
If the Cavs can't win at Pitt, that means they will have to find victories at Miami, at Louisville or at North Carolina. They do avoid Clemson, but they host Florida State and have to travel to Notre Dame on Sept. 28.
In fact, Virginia's season win total could end up coming down to a season finale date with Virginia Tech. That game is in Charlottesville. But the Cavaliers haven't beaten their in-state rivals in over 15 years. I think that this is the season they snap the streak, and I think that will get Bronco's boys to eight wins.
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