LAS VEGAS -- All eight NBA playoff series have had their Game 1s, so it's time to handicap the Game 2s through the prism of the famous zig-zag theory.
For the uninitiated, the zig-zag -- also referred to as the "loser of the last" -- means betting on the loser of first game to cover the spread in the next game. Legend has it that the zig-zag started with the Gold Sheet, which popularized the theory's use during the 1980s and 90s, and word of it spread even further during the early days of the internet.
The zig-zag theory was a very profitable 311-249-10 ATS (55.5 percent) from the 1991 NBA playoffs through 2000, according to the betting results kept by Marc Lawrence of playbook.com. The results, however, haven't been as strong since the turn of the century, as the zig-zag was 475-444-27 ATS (51.6 percent) from 2001 through 2013 (and everyone should know by now that you have to hit 52.3 percent to break even against the standard 10 percent vig).
The logic behind it is that teams make adjustments after they lose or play with added incentive, while a team isn't as likely to make adjustments after a victory (note: there's also a school of thought that says longer series mean higher TV ratings and advertising revenue, and that plays into the zig-zag's success).
While the zig-zag theory is a cautionary tale that all good trends dry up, it has been very profitable for Game 2s, as according to Lawrence's database, he has Game 2 zig-zag plays at a still exceptional 204-159-13 (56.2 percent) since 1991.
One last warning before we look at the first-round Game 2s that will take place Monday through Wednesday: Past performance does not guarantee future results, and I don't advise playing any system blindly. So I'll try and focus in on the Game 2 zig-zag plays that I like the best, and we'll see if that approach fares better than playing all eight.
Note: I went 2-1 with my plays on Monday and Tuesday, and the zig-zag theory bets went 2-2-1.
Below are the zig-zag theory bets and then my personal plays for Wednesday's games: