Va. Tech struggling against the spread 

October, 12, 2011

Another week, another top-10 BALLS ranking for Virginia Tech and another ATS loss. Consistently one of the biggest favorites (an average of 15.2 points) each week -- as the table below with data provided by Sal Selvaggio of shows -- the Hokies haven't rewarded their backers with favorable results. They are the only top-10 BALLS team without an ATS win -- and they've failed to cover by an average of 9.4 points.

"They are being lined like a top-10 team by the bookmakers but they are not that good," Selvaggio said. "The defense from a total yards and yards per play perspective is top 10 but their offense just hasn't been moving the ball up until last week."

Playing an undervalued team like Wake Forest (4-1 ATS, 7.75 average margin of cover) won't help. Va. Tech, currently a 7-point favorite, crushed Wake 52-21 (35-9 in first downs) last year so there's every reason to expect Wake to have targeted this game for some time.

Another possible revenge game this week featuring a top-10 BALLS team is between Oklahoma State (4-1 ATS, 5.7 margin of cover) and Texas (3-2 ATS, 1.4 margin of cover). Ok. State, a 7.5-point favorite, went into Austin last year and humiliated the Longhorns, taking a 33-3 lead en route to a 33-16 final. For the second straight year, the teams will meet in Austin.

Texas has responded well in recent years following losses to Oklahoma. Last year, the Longhorns beat then No. 5 Nebraska -- by far their best result of the year -- a week after losing to the Sooners. In 2007, following a loss to Oklahoma, Texas beat Iowa State 56-3.

Without further ado, here is this week's BALLS index:

Jeff Gold

ESPN Contributor