A popular NBA betting strategy is the zig-zag theory. The system is simple. When a team loses a playoff game, you then bet on that team to cover the spread in the next contest.


For example, Houston lost Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals to Golden State on Monday. Bettors following the zig-zag theory would then back the Rockets in Game 2 to cover.

Not only is the strategy easy to follow, but it also makes sense. Following a loss, the oddsmakers will shade the line toward the opponent expecting the public to bet the previous game’s winner. A soft line then makes covering the spread more manageable.

One problem, the betting strategy doesn’t work. Using Bet Labs, The Action Network’s Ken Barkley discovered that gamblers following the zig-zag theory have gone 464-460-23 (50%) ATS since 2005, including 49-66-1 (43%) ATS the last two seasons.

The traditional NBA zig-zag theory is dead. But using similar principles, I’ve identified a winning first-half betting system with a play for Wednesday’s Rockets-Warriors Game 2 (9 p.m. ET).

Access Premium Insights

Unlock this article and get unlimited access to all of the data-driven analysis from the sharpest minds in sports betting and daily fantasy sports.

Start Your Free TrialAlready a Sports Action member? Sign in

Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports