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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

NBA Betting Guide: All Zig, No Zag After Finals Game 1 Win

Updated: Jun 4, 2023

We cited several historical precedents suggesting a high probability that the Denver Nuggets would beat the number at home in game 1 of their 2022-23 NBA Finals matchup with the Miami Heat (see here, here and here for details). As expected, Denver coasted to an 11 point win (and a sweat-free cover) in a game that was not nearly as close as the final score implied.

We are laying the chalk with the Nuggets again for game 2, as history hints that the strong showing Thursday sets the stage for continued success against the spread on Sunday.

The angle indicated in the graphic has delivered a long-term return on investment of 22% and is 4-0 ATS so far this season (these very Nuggets account for two of those four covers, by the way).

To rationalize the success of this system, we hypothesize that wins by meaningful favorites over quality opposition (where quality is proxied by recent playoff appearances) indicate a talent disparity that is likely to persist into second meetings, especially when the better teams enjoy the benefit of playing in their own building (home court advantage is relevant as Price, Remer and Stone (2012) and Pelechrinis (2023) document evidence of NBA referee bias toward home teams).

So, while the Zig-Zag Theory, which endorses the home cover in game 1 but prescribes siding with the loser of the prior game to beat the game 2 number, has proven to be a consistently profitable guide in the kickoff game of the NBA Finals, we are deviating from this oft-cited approach and laying the 8.5 with the Nuggets again.

Happy betting!!

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