Bama, Wisconsin top BALLS Index 

September, 28, 2011

They've played the likes of Northern Illinois and Wyoming. Football powers? Hardly. A paved road to the top the BALLS Index? Absolutely. Well done, Wisconsin. Congratulations, Nebraska. Using data provided by Sal Selvaggio at, the table below shows which teams have been the biggest favorites on average this season.

Let the Big Ten season begin, and the cupcake tune-ups end as these two programs meet for the first time since 1974. Twenty-point plus lines are done, with Wisconsin currently laying 9 points.

While Wisconsin and Nebraska have each consistently been massive favorites, they've treated their backers far differently. Wisconsin has covered in three of its four games, coming up short only in its season opener when it was a 35-point favorite and beat UNLV by 34 -- a tough break for bettors.

Nebraska, meanwhile, has covered just once this year, finally giving its backers some joy last week when it won by 24 points over Wyoming as a 21-point favorite.

The shift to conference play is naturally going to reduce teams' BALLS numbers. In games between two power conference teams this week, only LSU (the No. 1 team in the AP, but 53rd in BALLS, thanks to games against Oregon, Mississippi State and West Virginia) is a 30-plus point favorite this week as it hosts Kentucky.

Jeff Gold

ESPN Contributor