Putting zig zag theory to the test 

April, 16, 2010

Bettors have theories -- lots of theories -- on everything from NCAA expansion to health care to the best brunch in all of Las Vegas (Bally's Sterling Brunch; at least that was the consensus this past February, the last time I had 12 wise guys around a table).

Naturally, those theories tend to get adjusted based on a variety of circumstances. But when it comes to betting the NBA playoffs, one theory has been a constant since Wes Unseld was battling Jack Sikma in tape-delayed NBA Finals. And it will help dictate point spreads throughout the postseason.

It's called the zig zag theory, because everything in Vegas has to sound like some scam cooked up by Damon Runyan characters over highballs at the 21 Club. The zig zag is an amalgam of historical trends, bettors' logic and bookmakers' strategy. Here's how it works: