Skip to main content

What is Zig-Zag Theory in Sports Betting?

by January 3, 2022
Big3 Playoffs Betting Odds & Picks: 3 Headed Monsters vs. Power

The Zig-Zag theory is a multi-level theory that suggests that there are ways to catch the sportsbooks off guard in several scenarios, which are created because lines are made through a complex system combining only computer simulations based on lineups and active players, recent performance, and which side people are betting on.

Simply put, a computer cannot account for human error or correction of that error between games, as there is no data to suggest that they have made any changes until the next game is underway, and even then, it will not adjust so fast. Using the NBA as an example, a computer model also cannot factor in tired legs on the second leg of a back-to-back, or tired players after a long trip across the country, or even the fact that they are on a long road trip.

Check out all of our Sports Betting 101: Strategy Tips & Advice >>

So how can I take advantage of this?

Knowing anything about professional athletes means that you are aware that this is their life’s work, and when they have an uninspiring performance, they may come out flat or be charged up to win that next game. Using this theory is leveraging the above paragraphs and looking to “buy low” on a team. If a team is on a winning streak, the books will make sure to protect themselves from losing too many games in a row from one game by making it more costly to wager that team. This is an example of recent performance shifting the lines.

Also, you can use this to take advantage of the COVID pandemic as it hits teams, because not only will the lines not change as much as they should, but also, guys are not accustomed to playing together, so even if they have more talent, there may be a period needed to learn how each other plays. This pandemic has been annoying for all of us and this is the opportunity to take something back from it. You can catch teams with G-Leaguers, or on the flip side, you can react to line movement when a star player returns, as to this point it has shown that it takes them a little while to get back to full form.

Is this theory guaranteed money?

Whichever situation that you are trying to take advantage of, nothing is ever guaranteed in sports betting. An example of this is the Dallas Mavericks’ recent two-game stretch covered against the Jazz on Christmas Day which they followed with a twenty-point beatdown of the Portland Trail Blazers last night. This is without six of their rotation players, including starters Luka Doncic and Tim Hardaway Jr.

This is a theory to not tail blindly, as there are still other injuries on both sides to consider, as well as the quality of the teams playing and prior head-to-head matchups to consider, but if this method is appealing to you, there is money to be made for sure!

10 Tips to Become a Sharper Sports Bettor >>

Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RadioPublic | Breaker | Castbox | Pocket Casts

Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced strategy — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.

Josh Weil is a featured writer at BettingPros. For more from Josh, check out his archive and follow him @Josh_Weil.

Bet Types, Betting 101, How-To