NBA Zig-Zag Theory: a winning NBA betting strategy

  • Written by David Bet
NBA Zig-Zag Theory: a winning NBA betting strategy
The Zig-Zag Theory is a simple betting strategy applicable on the NBA playoffs. This system supposes that with looming elimination, teams are more likely to ramp up their effort after a loss and win their following game. Let's see how accurate and profitable is the Zig-Zag NBA betting theory.

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The Zig-Zag Theory applies to NBA playoff series that follow the 2-2-1-1-1 format (which includes all NBA series except for the Finals which are 2-3-2).

The NBA Zig-Zag Theory was created by well-known sports bettor Tony Salinas 35 years ago and the premise behind the system is to back the team that lost the last game in a NBA playoff series as, theorically, each match  in the series is affected by the result of the match that preceded it.

Over the last three years, the Zig-Zag theory turned a profit in the NBA Finals, for both ATS (at the spread, e.g. handicap betting) and on the money line (e.g. home/away). That’s especially true for home teams off a Game One home loss as they are 50-33-1 ATS (60.2%) in the last 5 years. 


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Let's give more stats...

  • Road teams that lose Game 1 win Game 2 only 31.5% of the time.
  • If the road team wins Game 1, the home team is a very strong bet to bounce back, as historically home teams have won 76% of the time in that circumstance.
  • When the higher-seeded team leads the series 2-0 and must go on the road, this is a great spot to bet the lower-seeded team that is now playing at home as these team gave a nearly 65% win percentage in the money line market and 68% in the ATS market.

  • Overall: 745-661-36 (52.9%)
  • Game 2: 186-147-13 (55.8%)
  • Game 3: 188-151-6 (55.4%)
  • Game 4: 153-155-7 (49.6%)
  • Game 5: 117-118-6 (49.7%)
  • Game 6: 72-67-2 (51.7%)
  • Game 7: 29-23-2 (55.7%)

As you can see, the strength of NBA Zig-Zag theory appears to be in Game Two where it achieve a near 56% ATS winning percentage.

  • Round 1: 351-315-20 (52.7%)
  • Round 2: 227-195-7 (53.7%)
  • Round 3: 167-151-9 (52.5%)
  • Round 4: 56-48-3 (53.8%)

As you can see, there is no much difference in terms of winning percentage when we look at the play-off rounds. The strategy is almost equally profitable in all the different rounds.

Variations of the Zigzag theory have been used successfully for betting on the NFL and NHL playoffs.


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