top of page
  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

NBA Playoffs 2018 Round 1, Game 1: Wizards @ Raptors

Updated: Sep 10, 2020

The fabled Tony Salinas Zig Zag Theory offers guidance for betting the NBA playoffs. Salinas' hypothesis includes backing the home team to cover in game 1, as peak effort and crowd intensity are presumed to attend the home opener. In the recent past though, the Zig Zag Theory has not been profitable in the first contest of the eight concurrent series that kick off the professional basketball playoffs. Last year, for instance, away teams registered a 5-3 ATS record in series 1, game 1 situations. Zooming out a bit, home teams were a similarly unprofitable 21-19 versus the number in game 1's of their first playoff matchup over the last five completed seasons.

In days just ahead, we will assess the value of the Zig Zag Theory in game 2's (and beyond), but we will cross those bridges when we come to them. More immediately, there are eight series openers on the NBA docket for this weekend. We are focused on exploiting opportunities these contests present.

Though the Zig Zag Theory's recent historical track record hints that the approach is not relevant to Saturday and Sunday's NBA action, we have uncovered a trend that appears more instructive.

Washington Wizards +8 @ Toronto Raptors

Over the last five years, teams ranked #1 are 3-7 ATS. Though since 2005 the highest seeds are a more respectable (but still unprofitable) 69-64-3, the data clearly suggests wagerers should not be shy about fading the best teams versus the number.

Specific to Saturday's action, we note that the Raptors finished the regular season an uninspiring 18-19-1 ATS from the position of home favorites, while the Wizards went 13-9 ATS as road dogs (good for 5th best in the NBA). Also of concern to Toronto fans, the Raptors ATS standing slipped dramatically during the back stretch of the regular season. Toronto covered only 3 of their final 14 games (including a 2-6 ATS stint at home). On the other hand, Washington tends to play well in Toronto, as indicated by their 7-3 ATS record in the last ten at Air Canada Centre. Oh yeah, and, by the way, the Raptors have NEVER won a first game of a first series of the playoffs straight up (in nine playoff appearances), and are 0-7 from this spot ATS since 2007 (we do not have historical betting line data for Toronto's 2001 and 2002 playoff efforts).

Trends in favor of the Wizards are clearly not lost on big money bettors. As of the time of this writing, The Action Network reports that while only 48% of spread betting tickets they track support Washington, a whopping 83% of the dollars wagered call for the Wiz to beat the line.

We are inclined to side with history and the sharps here. As such we are betting on Washington plus the points.

Happy betting!!

bottom of page