Zig-Zag System in NHL Playoffs

Alexander Ovechkin.

The Zig-Zag System is one of the staples for betting the NBA playoffs. It has been around for a number of years and has plenty of followers. As expected, the method is nothing special, having lost most of its edge when it gained popularity. Last season the method went 42-44, but did go 42-37-2 the year before and 49-38-2 in 2013-14, giving it a slightly profitable 52.8% winning percentage the past three years.

Naturally, that got me wondering how the method would have fared in the NHL. There’s no simple answer, as it’s 144-129 between the 2013-14 and 2015-16 playoffs. It has showed a decent profit, as the average lay price is -105, but it’s still a bit risky, as it has had a slightly above average year, a very good year and a pretty poor one.

Last season, the method was 48-43 and showed a slight profit, with a return on investment of 1.7%. Not that bad for such a simple concept. In 2014-15, it was as good as gold, posting a 54-35 record and an ROI of better than 18.5%. It was 33-15 with favorites and 21-20 with underdogs.

But 2013-14 was a bit of a disaster for the method, which went 42-51 and yielded a loss of 11.1% on the amount risked. Favorites were slightly in the red, with a 25-19 record, but underdogs were a dismal 16-32 and showed almost a 25% ROI loss.

Looking at the three years collectively, underdogs have shown a slight flat-bet loss of 1.9%, while favorites have gone 81-50 and yielded a profit of 5.8%, which isn’t bad at all.

If you’re going to follow the method, it makes sense to skip the underdogs and focus on the favorites.


April Dogs With High Totals

James Paxton.

April has traditionally been an above average month for baseball underdogs. Going back to the start of the 2004 season, betting every underdog would have yielded a 1983-2482 record and a profit of $4803. That’s definitely better than the flat-bet loss of $27,000 that favorite bettors would have amassed over the same period of time.

But if you were to look at those games where the total is 10 or higher, you’d have essentially the same profit, but a much better return on risk, as those games have gone 233-250, good for a profit of $4,722. The big difference is obviously in the amount of money risked. The return on risk when betting on all underdogs is 1.1%, while it’s nearly 10% (9.8%) by betting the underdogs in those games with high totals.

In 2014 through 2016, these games have gone 16-13 and have yielded a return of 18.3%. There have been no plays so far in 2017.

Underdogs fare better in games with high totals, but they tend to do even better right out of the gate and is something worth watching during the opening month of the season.

Arena Football League Starts This Week

As if there wasn’t enough to try and keep track of, the revamped Arena Football League will open its 30th season on Friday when the Baltimore Brigade faces the Washington Valor. On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Storm will visit the Cleveland Gladiators.

There’s been plenty of changes since Arena Bowl, most notably the number of teams in the league, which has now dropped to five. The Philadelphia Soul is the other team in the league.

Some of the previous teams folded, while others joined different arena leagues. While the Arena Football League is the oldest and most famous of the arena leagues, which include the National Arena League, Arena Pro Football and Indoor Football League.

The AFL also has Ted Leonsis and the other leagues can’t match that. Leonsis not only only owns the Washington Valor, he also owns Baltimore Brigade, so the first game of the season will actually be his two teams playing each other. Probably not a coincidence.

Last season, we handicapped the AFL on a weekly basis with mixed results; some weeks were good and others left a bit to be desired. This year, it’s practically impossible to do anything until the first month or so is in the books. Many teams have undergone major roster changes, which make last year’s statistics pretty meaningless.

Once we get some games in, we’ll be delving into the Arena Football League season once again, provided lines are posted for their games.