Though it contradicts certain episodes (The Eastern Alliance) in which the Galactica makes independent jumps to FTL, the general consensus is that the Galactica must transition from Lagrange point to Lagrange point to move across the stars, presumably through some kind of wormhole effect which can only be opened at those points-
And that each point lies at opposite sides of the star system from that which a ship using the wormholes entered.
If true, this would also explain how the ships of the Rag Tag Fleet, which the original novelization of the TV pilot said were strictly sublight craft (intra system freighters and the like) could keep up with an FTL capable Battlestar. Galactica is moving the remnants of a planetary population as gene base at the accepted risk of very slow navigation across star systems.
Hence, when Adama said he felt 'herded' what he was saying was that other Lagrange points had been denied to them (presumably by Cylons, jumping ahead and cutting of system exit points except along one route, something which Viper scouts would discover).
Here it is also important to note that the Galactica TOS supposedly had a means to jam or 'stealth deny' acquisition by Cylon tracking systems and thus could maneuver beyond the Cylon's ability to track them, at least initially.
This was part of what got the RTF to Carillon where the Ovions nearly ate them.
If Adama thought he was still in charge of his own fate in terms of localized pinpointing of the RTF but was almost certain that he was being forced into a corridor that approached a given system, it would be reasonable for him to think that the Cylons simply went where he -could- go and narrowed down his options like a pack of wolves cutting a sick buffalo from the herd at Yellowstone before running it to exhaustion and killing it.
i.e. He knows what's happening but cannot do a thing about it because of the nature of the RTF and non 'hyperdrive' based FTL travel between systems.
One other thing deserves mention. In the novelization of 'Gun On Ice Planet Zero', there is mention that the world they are on is actually a planetoid or asteroid, not a real world. It is stated that the Cylons used their antigravity systems to move such huge bodies around as battle stations and staging bases, during the millennia long war with the humans.
And that large quantities of diethylene were a trace chemical resulting from this propulsion method (presumably some form of ionization of ozone similar to what happens when CBR hits the atmosphere here). This is in fact what originally get's Creeds attention in the book.
Where a 'pulsar' would still have limited range and capability before the beam lost coherence and where a -real- spaceship, capable of several thousand feet per second diversions would be all but unhittable, based on historical data from 3-4 light second distant images, the planetoid could still be moved VERY CLOSE to Galactica's and the RTFs final passage lane towards the escape Lagrange Point. Whereupon the pulsar could engage within .5 light seconds or so and simply slaughter the civilian RTF, even if the warship was either armored or agile enough to avoid a killing blow.