clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Tennessee remains four touchdown favorites over Virginia

Game week has arrived.

Tennessee v Vanderbilt Photo by Carly Mackler/Getty Images

Game week has arrived. The Tennessee Volunteers will make the trip to the mid-state this weekend, set to open their 2023 campaign with a matchup against the Virginia Cavaliers.

Josh Heupel enters year three coming off an 11-2 season and an Orange Bowl win. However, Tennessee is going to have to prove they can win without Hendon Hooker, who has since moved on to the NFL. It’s the Joe Milton show in 2023, and the oddsmakers have full faith that he will pick up where Hooker left off.

Tennessee is a massive 28 point favorite against Virginia, per DraftKings Sportsbook. This number opened somewhere around 25 points several weeks back, and has grown since. The total is set for 57.5 points.

Virginia is coming off of a three-win season in year one under Tony Elliott. Elliott, who was in the mix for the Tennessee job when Danny White hired Josh Heupel, came over from Clemson after serving as the offensive coordinator. Richmond, Old Dominion and Georgia Tech were the Cavaliers’ only victories in 2022, which ended up being cut short after the deadly shootings on the Virginia campus last year.

Tennessee and Virginia did have a common opponent last year. The Volunteers came away with an overtime win against Pittsburgh, while Virginia lost their final game of the season to the Panthers, 37-7.

Elliott will be breaking in a new quarterback after Brennan Armstrong hit the portal and landed at NC State. Monmouth transfer Tony Muskett will get the call, coming off of a 1,997 yard season a year ago at the FCS level. Musket tossed 17 touchdowns and eight picks, adding over 200 yards on the ground.

“Really good player, he played really well for (Monmouth),” Tennessee defensive coordinator Tim Banks said. “Showed some athleticism, really good touch on the deep balls. I can see why those guys went and got him, and I can see why those guys named him the starter.

“We respect everybody that we face, and he has our attention. We know we are going to have to be at our best to be able to have a good game against him.”

Musket has a tough task ahead — keeping up with Tennessee’s warp speed offense. We know Tennessee is going to put up points, but Vegas isn’t giving them much of a shot to keep it close.

Tennessee and Virginia are set for a noon ET kick in Nashville on Saturday. ABC will have the coverage.

Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See for details.