In the COVID-19 era, with the NBA postponing several games in December, there will be more instances of back-to-back games in the second half of the season. The worst back-to-back (B2B) teams in the NBA this season are the Houston Rockets, Charlotte Hornets, Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets, and New Orleans Pelicans.
Back-to-back games in the NBA can be a pain in the ass, especially if teams have to travel in between B2B spots. It’s a bit easier when teams get to host consecutive games, but traveling in between games is one of the most difficult aspects of the NBA, especially for teams in the Western Conference where cities are more spread out.
|NBA Back-to-Back Games – Worst Record|
- Houston Rockets 0-8
- Charlotte Hornets 0-8
- Orlando Magic 1-9
- Denver Nuggets 1-6
- New Orleans Pelicans 1-6
- Oklahoma City Thunder 1-5
- Brooklyn Nets 2-5
- LA Clippers 2-5
- Miami Heat 2-5
Several years ago, prior to the pandemic, the NBA tried to do a much better job spreading out the schedule. Many teams were stuck playing back-to-back games to fit into the NBA’s national broadcast schedule. A couple of coaches irked TV executives when they began to rest players on the tail end of a back-to-back stint when it coincided with a TNT or ESPN broadcast. This was the beginning of the “load management” era thanks to Gregg Popovich from the San Antonio Spurs and Erik Spoelstra from the Miami Heat.
Bad teams, bad B2B: Rockets, Thunder
The Houston Rockets (14-32) are the worst team in the Western Conference this season once again. They’ve been fighting with the Oklahoma City Thunder as the bottom feeders in the West.
The Rockets are 0-8 in back-to-back games this season. If they can’t win when they’re well-rested, it makes sense they’ll suck when they’re tired. The Oklahoma City Thunder (14-30) find themselves 1-5 in B2B spots this season. They face that exact situation this weekend on Saturday when they travel to Cleveland to play the Cavs.
The Orlando Magic (8-38) are the worst team in the NBA this season. It might take them another month to even reach double digits wins. In 10 back-to-back situations this season, the atrocious Magic won just one of them with a 1-9 B2B record.
The New Orleans Pelicans would be the worst team in the West if it weren’t for the Thunder and Rockets. Zion Williamson has yet to play this season after he faced a setback in his recovery from a fractured foot. The Zion-less Pelicans can’t win on consecutive nights, with a 1-6 record.
Good teams, bad B2B: Nets, Heat
The Charlotte Hornets are a young team, but they’re sitting in the #7 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Hornets (25-20) have one of the better home records in the NBA with a 12-6 clip in Buzz City. Betting-wise, the Hornets are 28-17 ATS with the fourth-best record in the league. When it comes to back-to-back games, however, the Hornets are among the worst in the NBA. They’ve yet to win a B2B game, with a 0-8 record.
The Miami Heat moved into the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference with a 29-16 record, and it’s hard to find any weak spots aside from when they play games with no rest. The Heat are 2-5 in B2B games this season.
The Brooklyn Nets have been near the top of the Eastern Conference standings. They’ve slipped to #3 overall after Kevin Durant went down with a sprained knee. The Nets are 2-5 in back-to-back games this season because that’s when head coach Steve Nash takes the opportunity to rest either Durant or James Harden.
The banged-up Denver Nuggets (23-20) hold on to the #6 seed in the stacked Western Conference. Nikola Jokic is a one-man show for the Nuggets, but even he gets tired in consecutive games without the benefit of load management. That’s why the Nuggets are 1-6 in back-to-back games this season.
Worst B2B ATS: Rockets, Nets, Nugs, Bucks
The Rockets are bad in pretty much every possible situation. If you’re looking for a betting edge, target the Rockets the next time they play the second game in a back-to-back spot. The Rockets have the NBA’s worst B2B betting record at 1-6-1 ATS.
The Denver Nuggets also struggle to cover the spread overall with an 18-25 clip. The Nugs are even worse in back-to-back spots, going 1-6 ATS in B2B situations. The Brooklyn Nets have the second-worst betting record in the NBA, covering at a 17-26-1 clip. It’s no surprise that the Nets have difficulty in B2B spots with a 1-5-1 ATS record.
If you’re looking to catch the defending champion Bucks in a vulnerable spot, then seek out their next B2B game. The Bucks are 2-6 ATS in back-to-back games this season.
Best B2B: Suns, Raptors, Celtics
Only a trio of NBA teams win more than two-thirds of their back-to-back games this season. The NBA teams with the best records in back-to-back situations include the Phoenix Suns (5-2), Toronto Raptors (5-2), and Boston Celtics (6-3).
The Raptors also boast the best ATS record in back-to-back spots and they beat the spread at a 6-1 clip. As bad as the Indiana Pacers played this season, they are 6-2 ATS in a B2B situation.
The Memphis Grizzlies are one of the best betting teams in the NBA with a 30-17 ATS record, which is third-best in the league. The Grizzlies are also 6-3 ATS in B2B spots.