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.


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