|Apr 16th, 2014
Though previously published, this article included updated (off another winning season) statistics complete entering the 2014 postseason for Billy Walter's picks
It is NBA playoff time. In gambling that means every major handicapping site will have an article or six about the famed, or is it infamous zigzag theory. The concept is to bet on whichever team loses the previous game in a series to cover the ensuing contest.
Entering the 2014 postseason the blind zigzag is 388-363-8 since 1995. Obviously, there is no edge. There should be no further discussion.
Yet our bounce-back angle continues to win. Not as easy to objectively measure, it says weigh the zigzag based on a combination of the more evenly matched the teams are and the bigger the blowout is, the more likely the previous game loser is to bounce back.
The key word is "combination" of such factors. In other words, the threshold for "blowout" is not the same for a No. 1 versus eight as it would be for a four vs. five or when one plays No. 2.
Hence, some sports betting expert playoff bounce back subsystem angles that we trace involve both the spread and straight up margins.
Finally, teams are even more likely to respond positively at home. This why we must test hypotheses. My gut reaction was that home court advantage would be less in the postseason than regular season.
Why? Because scheduling dynamics are biased towards the home team in the regular campaign. When teams are playing three games in four nights or five in seven, a majority of those are on the road. In matchups in which one team is clearly more rested than their opponent, it benefits the home team about 80 percent of the time. In fact, long-term clients know some of our best NBA regular season angles are betting road teams when they are the 20 percent exception.
But alas, objective numbers say that since 1995 home teams have a +3.2 scoring edge in the regular season, but +4.8 in the postseason even though the aforesaid scheduling dynamic does not exist as any sports betting expert would know.
In reality, the explanation was right in front of my eyes. I've lived in Atlanta since 1988 and have gone to my share of Hawks games. Regular season crowds can be sparse and unenthusiastic. Playoff crowds in Atlanta are almost the polar opposite.
Since 1995 Atlanta is 16-9-1 against the spread in the postseason, but seven games under .500 in the regular season. The last several years, I print out attendance figures. I used to call, now can simply visit ticket sales websites on game day to see how many tickets are available. When analyzing home/road splits, I add up to 1.5 points to teams that were low in attendance during the regular season, but are sold out or nearly sold out that night.
Of the bounceback subsystems I track, among the most prominent is to go with playoff home favorites off a double-digit loss. This system is a very solid 76-50. Add to that the more subjective criterion of lower attendance teams that will have a sellout that night and the "bounce back angle" gets even stronger.
The term "playoff atmosphere" is not just a broadcasters' cliche, it is an actual handicapping angle.
The once vibrant, not nearly dormant USENET group rec.gambling.sports has a long-time poster with his own bounce back angle. He named it "Denise Milanis" apparently after an adult movie star known for her "bounciness."
He says to bet in a team off a "blowout" or "bad home loss" in the playoffs. Though he seems to be pretty clandestine about how he defines each, the bottom line is that he does post which games he says apply before they tipoff.
I have kept an eye his tracking and the only legitimate criticism is he does bloat his record a bit with cherry-picked lines, meaning the best hindsight spread he could have bet.
Still, he claims a mark of 115-71-5, which, even with a more objective scorekeeping using widely available lines, would not impeach the angle.
We all know of the proverbial fine looking daughter (or son) of not-so-attractive parents. Among the top of sports betting secrets is that the zigag is a Plain Jane mom with one beautiful looking daughter: the bounce back angle. She gets better with age.
Joe Duffy's Picks gives you the exact angle and the precise up-to-date stat when the bounce back angles apply.