Zig-Zag Theory Explained

Every bettor dreams of finding that system, that strategy to follow to become consistently successful with their sports wagering. There are almost as many theories on how to play the games as there are games being played, and one of them is known simply as the zig-zag theory. It's not a complicated forrmula at all. You don't need to make any calculations, so put away that slide ruler and abacus.

When They Zig, You Zag

This one's as easy as it gets. If you can access the scores of last night's games, you can employ the zig-zag theory.

How It Works

Wagering systems don't get any less complicated than the zig-zag theory. All it asks you to do it bet on the teams that lost their last game to win their next game. That's not hard to remember, now is it? But doesn't it seem a little too simple to be reliable? Well, now that you mention it, yes it does.

We do happen to think there is merit in the zig-zag theory, but only in certain instances. For example, it would be poor strategy to bet on a lousy team to win the next game after a loss, because the reason they are a lousy team is because they lose a lot.

Take the 2017-18 Memphis Grizzlies as a prime example of why the zig-zag theory is a bad idea when a bad team is involved. The Grizzlies were 22-60 during the NBA season. If you wagered consistently on them via the zig-zag theory, you finished your betting year 16-43, a horrid .271 winning percentage. Your year at the betting window would have proven only slightly better than the Grizzlies actual year on court, considering they finished with a .268 winning percentage.

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

On the other hand, we really like the zig-zag theory when it comes to the top teams. Let's look at some of the best teams in sports during the 2017-18 season and see how they fared the next game after a loss. The NBA champion Golden State Warriors finished the NBA campaign 58-24. The Warriors lost three games in a row once, and two games in a row on three occasions.

That means if you had employed the zig-zag theory on them all season long, you would have gone 19-5. Cashing 19 times out of 24 bets is a 79 percent winning percentage. You score like that and not only will be be well off financially, you will be the envy of all other sports bettors. They'll be putting you right up their alongside the sharps in no time at all.

Now let's move on to the NHL. The Nashville Predators captured the President's Trophy as the NHL's best regular-season team in 2017-18, posting a 53-18-11 slate. Six times they lost two games in succession and twice they endured three-game losing streaks over their 82-game regular-season slate.

Had you employed the zig-zag theory when the Predators lost and bet them to win the next game, you success rate for the season would have been 19-11. Not as sensational as you would have done playing the Warriors, but still over a 63 percent rate of cashing in, and any sharp will tell you that's some pretty sharp wagering. 

Amazingly, zig-zagging on your bets even works well in the long run with a winning baseball team over the course of a 162-game season. The 2017 World Series champion Houston Astros went 101-61 during the regular season. By betting them after their losses, you would have gone 41-21 for the season, a 66 percent win rate. Since most professional bettors consider a 58 percent win ratio to be outstanding, once again by playing the zig-zag theory with an elite team, you've turned yourself into an elite bettor.

The sport where the zig-zag theory may work the best is in the NFL. For instance, the New England Patriots won the AFC East and home field throughout the AFC playoffs with a 13-3 slate. If you played the zig-zag theory following their losses, you went 3-0. But let's expand our search and check how you would have done playing the zig-zag theory with the 10 NFL teams that won at least 10 games during the 2017-18 season.

Deploying the zig-zag theory on these teams would have landed you a 34-11 betting slate, a better than 75 percent win rate. 

A Playoff Payoff?

Supporters of the zig-zag theory insist it is best utilized during a playoff series, the thinking being that postseason opponents are evenly matched and a losing team should bounce back strongly in the next game of the series. In theory, it sounds like this idea merits some consideration, but when you put it into practice, there are serious holes in the argument.

For starters, we can eliminate the NFL from this debate, since they operate on a one and down playoff format and there are no second chances. But what would have happened had you zig-zagged your bets during the 2017 MLB playoffs and the 2017-18 NBA and NHL playoffs?

In the Stanley Cup, the zig-zag theory worked perfectly in the Winnipeg Jets-Nashville Predators Western Conference second-round series, where you would have gone 6-0 by betting on the games utilizing this plan. But overall, it just wasn't a successful formula. Zig-zag bets on the NHL playoffs went 34-36. 

The NBA playoffs were also a lost cause. Other than the first-round series between the Indiana Pacers and Cleveland Cavaliers, where zig-zagging would have scored a 5-1 mark, again the overall picture was not pretty. Zig-zagging your way through the NBA playoffs, you would have finished with a 33-34 slate.

Major League Baseball was the only glimmer of hope, and it wasn't exactly brightly lit. Zig-zagging the World Series between the Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers would have proven sensational at 5-1, but the overall mark for the entire MLB postseason, while a winner, was barely one at 15-13.

Should You Zig Zag?

Based on our research here, the time to zig-zag is when wagering on elite teams, and that only makes sense. Losing streaks are foreign to these upper echelon clubs. But if you opt to zig-zag with frequency, we can guarantee you that losing streaks will become very familiar to you.