Bettors have been fading two of the worst teams in the NBA because the Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves struggled to beat the point spread in the first half of the season. The Rockets and Timberwolves are among the worst teams in the NBA ATS, along with the Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, Cleveland Cavs, and New Orleans Pelicans.

NBA Worst ATS Record Minnesota Timberwolves Indiana Pacers Houson Rockets New Orleans Pelicans
Karl-Anthony Towns and rookie Anthony Edwards of the Minnesota Timberwolves discuss strategy in a recent game during their losing streak. (Image: Will Newton/Getty)

While four losing teams in the Western Conference occupy this list of fade-worthy teams, the Indiana Pacers (16-19) stick out because they’re in the thick of the playoff hunt in the Eastern Conference. The Pacers are three games below .500, but are just a half-game out of the #8 seed in the East.

NBA Worst ATS Records
  • Houston Rockets 11-23
  • Indiana Pacers 14-21
  • Minnesota Timberwolves 14-21-1
  • Sacramento Kings 15-21
  • Cleveland Cavs 15-21
  • New Orleans Pelicans 15-21

The Cleveland Cavs (14-22) recently bounced back from a 10-game losing streak with a four-game winning streak, before losing their last game before the All-Star break.

Even though the Cavs are ranked #13 in the East, they’re closer to securing the #8 playoff seed than they are to sliding into the Eastern Conference cellar, where the NBA’s worst team lives. The Detroit Pistons (10-26) have the worst record in the NBA and continue to shed their top players (e.g., Derrick Rose and Blake Griffin). Surprisingly, though, the Pistons exceeded the market with an 18-17-1 ATS record.

Rockets Skid Now 19

For a quick moment, we all thought the Houston Rockets found their groove under rookie head coach Stephen Silas after the James Harden trade. The Rockets won six games in a row at the end of January to improve to 10-9, but that was their high-water mark of the season. Since then, the Rockets won just one game during a 1-14 stretch.

At 13 games and counting, the Rockets aren’t just losing close games, they’re getting blown out, which is why they’re the worst team in the NBA with an 11-23 ATS record.

“I don’t stop trying to figure it out, don’t stop thinking of ways I can be better and help, different coverages, offensive sets that we can run,” said Silas. “I’m a problem solver at heart, and we got a problem.”

Silas and the Rockets have a chance to start the second half of the season on the right track with a road game against the Sacramento Kings. In the rest of March, the Rockets have 11 games on the schedule with seven of them against losing teams. It’s the Rockets’ easiest stretch of the season, and they have a chance to save face.

The Rockets can’t wait until Christian Wood returns to the lineup. He missed a huge chunk of the season with a severely sprained ankle.

In the meantime, multiple players on the roster are the subject of trade rumors, including John Wall, Victor Oladipo, and PJ Tucker.

Indiana to Make Second-Half Run?

The Indiana Pacers hope that Caris LeVert returns to the team sooner than later. LeVert has yet to play a game for the Pacers after they acquired him in the four-team mega-trade that sent James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.

The Pacers gave up Oladipo and shipped him to the Houston Rockets, and hoped LeVert would pick up Oladipo’s scoring slack. However, the Pacers’ medical staff found a mass on his kidney and he had emergency surgery to remove it. He’s on his way to a full recovery. The Pacers are anxious for him to return and help provide a scoring punch to compliment Domantas Sabonis and Malcolm Brogdon.

After starting the season 6-2, the Pacers went 10-17 the rest of the season. They also had three games postponed due to COVID-19 health protocols. The Pacers have the second-worst ATS record in the NBA at 14-21, which made them fade-worthy material ever since they took part in the Harden trade.

T-Wolves: How About Next Year?

The entire Minnesota Timberwolves franchise needs a reset. Can you Control-ALT-Delete an entire team? If so, the Timberwolves would love to start over.

The Timberwolves (7-29) are the worst team in the NBA and already went through a controversial coaching change after firing Ryan Saunders due to a disastrous 7-24 start. The team has yet to win a game for new head coach Chris Finch.

Finch opened up the offense and the T-Wolves average 130.5 ppg since his arrival, which is the only positive thing to come out of the coaching change. The T-Wolves headed into the All-Star break with a nine-game losing streak.

The Timberwolves started the season 2-0 and it’s been a fast decline since then. Toss out those early wins in December, which were more akin to preseason games, and the T-Wolves are 5-29 on the season.

Fading the Timberwolves provided bettors with a profitable strategy in the first half of the season with a 14-21-1 record.

Finch and the T-Wolves face an uphill battle to start the second half of the season. This weekend, they host the Portland Trail Blazers for back-to-back games in Minneapolis before they hit the road for three games against the LA Lakers and Phoenix Suns. Keep fading away.

Kings Worst D in League

The Sacramento Kings are often cannon fodder for the elite teams in the Western Conference. There’s a reason why the LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and Utah Jazz have so many wins, and it’s due in part to bottom-feeding teams like the Kings.

The Kings are loaded with young and talented players like D’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Marvin Bagley III, and rookie Tyrese Haliburton. Yet, they can’t close out games as their porous defense regularly comes back to haunt them in the fourth quarter.

If you like betting NBA totals, then the Kings are one of the best teams on which to bet the over. The Kings have a rare combination of a potent offense and horrendous defense that allows an NBA-worst 120.4 ppg.

Fade Zion?

The New Orleans Pelicans (15-21) are still finding their way under head coach Stan Van Gundy. For the entire first half of the season, JJ Redick and Lonzo Ball were on the trading block. One of them should be moved before the trade deadline on March 25.

In the meantime, the Pelicans have a public perception of being better than they actually are. That has a lot to do with the popularity of Zion Williamson. How can you not love Zion? Even the worst Duke haters in the world gave Zion a pass because he’s a good kid with untapped power. He’s been improving with every game, but still has yet to achieve his full potential. In the meantime, the Pelicans are four games out of the playoff hunt.

The Pelicans were fade material in the first half as one of the worst NBA betting teams due to their immense popularity, but will their poor ATS record continue in the second half? If they keep Ball, then they should be in a better position to cover more games.

The Pelicans stumbled into the break losing four out of their last five games. The scheduling gods tossed them a bone to start the second half with back-to-back games against the Minnesota Timberwolves and Cleveland Cavs. The Pelicans hit the road next week for a tough three-game stretch with a back-to-back matchup against the Portland Trail Blazers and a showdown in Denver against the Nuggets.