The Zig-Zag Theory is one of the most popular playoff betting strategies among sharp bettors, especially when it comes to wagering on the NBA postseason, but the NHL is not exempt from the idea. The premise behind the Zig-Zag Theory is that in a best-of-seven playoff series, the team coming off a loss is more likely to win the next game regardless of the other variables in play.
Handicap Series From Game to Game
Each game of a playoff series is obviously affected by the one that immediately precedes it, with momentum the most important factor to handicap. No team wants to go down 2-0 or 3-1 in a best-of-seven series, stacking the odds against advancing to the next round.
The Zig-Zag Theory applies mainly to a competitive matchup between two fairly even teams, a series that should go six or seven games. Keep in mind, a dominant No. 1 seed coming off a big win in Game 1 over a lowly No. 8 seed is still unlikely to lose at home in Game 2, regardless of what the Zig-Zag Theory says.
Do Not Follow Zig-Zag Theory Blindly
In hockey, where home ice does not matter nearly as much as home court in basketball, you will see the Zig-Zag Theory proven more regularly with the Game 1 loser bouncing back to win Game 2 despite playing on the road.
Be cautious as a bettor, though, because no handicapping strategy is flawless and unbeatable. The Zig-Zag Theory is not something that should be followed blindly. If a team has a hot goaltender, it would be unwise to bet against him and his team, even if the Zig-Zag Theory has you pointing in the other direction. At the same time, injuries can also take their toll on a team and prevent them from rebounding after a tough loss.
Bet Each Playoff Series Carefully
The best thing to do as a bettor is watch as many NHL playoff games as you can and follow each series as closely as possible. Each postseason matchup is different, and there is always the possibility that other intangibles will come into play and impact the series more anyway.
Sometimes when a coach has the other team figured out, there will be no “Zig-Zag” to follow because he can help his players prevent any change of momentum. And if one team simply has the other’s number, you can toss handicapping strategies like this out the window to avoid throwing your money away.
Just be aware that the Zig-Zag Theory is worth monitoring and could help you win NHL bets.
Odds Shark Staff Thu, Aug 18, 9:44am
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