NBA Postseason Betting: Balance Your Book Against the Zig-Zag Theory

The 2016 NBA playoffs are underway and online bookies are looking at a variety of theories, strategies and analysis that will help them grab a bigger piece of the profit pie.

One of those strategies is known as the “Zig-Zag Theory”.

In simple terms, the “Zig-Zag Theory” is a betting strategy in which the gambler bets on the team coming off a playoff loss.

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The Zig-Zag Theory
A great example of the Zig-Zag theory for instance is if Oklahoma City Thunder beat the Dallas Mavericks in Game 1 of their series, the Zig-Zag theory would say that we bet on Dallas to win Game 2.

The reason for this is that teams come out with a more definitive sense of urgency in Game 2 in order to stave off elimination.

I believe it’s safe to say that the premise of this theory makes sense given the fact that playoff series are short and teams can’t afford to fall too far behind and expect to come back and win the series.

It’s also fair to say that many bettors are well aware of this theory and will use it to their advantage where it makes the most sense.

That means bookies need to keep an eye on players in their books using this tactic and limit the number of bets they take to avoid giving huge pay outs and unbalancing their book.

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Does the Zig-Zag Theory Work?
But how often does the Zig-Zag or Up-Down strategy work?

Statistics for the NBA from 1991 to 2000 shows that the theory has a winning percentage of 55.5% against the spread, but since 2001 has dropped to 51.6%, down by 3.9%.

Given those numbers, this is clearly not a surefire strategy.

Online bookies should also know that the NBA playoffs create matchups that are less advantageous to close series and more prone to sweeps.

Not ideal for Zig-Zaggers.

And although the percentages stated above are small, they can be the difference between profits and pay outs in your book.

So when it comes to handicapping the NBA Postseason this year, it certainly makes sense to consider the “Zig-Zag Theory” and its possible implications.