Many handicappers look to back-to-back game situations for an edge, mostly planning to fade teams taking the court for the second straight night.
However, when it comes to the NBA, betting on teams in back-to-back games – the first and second installments – should be avoided like the plague. Heading into the All-Star break, teams playing their first game of a back-to-back are 181-207-11 ATS while teams on the back end of two in a row are 191-201-7 ATS.
This isn’t a trend solely reserved for this season. During the lockout shortened schedule last year, teams playing a back-to-back situation went 285-323-9 ATS in the opening game and 303-308-6 ATS in the finale.
While back-to-back games seem to be the kiss of death for NBA bettors, there are a few teams that excel against the spread in that situation. No team is really burning down the books in the first stop of back-to-backs (Oklahoma City 6-1-3 ATS) so let’s focus on the second game.
Here are the best and worst NBA bets in the second game of back-to-backs:
Stats and records as of Feb. 15.
Washington Wizards (11-2 ATS, 2-11 SU)
The Wizards are making ATS alchemy out of their terrible record. Washington is an NBA best 31-17-2 ATS heading into Wednesday and a good chunk of those profits have come in the second game of back-to-backs.
Toronto Raptors (10-2 ATS, 7-5 SU)
Bettors looking to cash in on the Raptors’ second-game success did so with Toronto winning SU and ATS in the finale of back-to-backs in New York Wednesday. The Raptors beat Denver Tuesday but failed to cover, dropping to 3-8-1 ATS in the first game of back-to-backs.
Memphis Grizzlies (8-4 ATS, 7-5 SU)
Memphis is also among the best all-around bets in the league, with a 29-21-1 ATS record heading into the All-Star break. The Grizzlies have turned to their second-ranked defense to get the job done in the second half of back-to-backs, going 4-7-1 over/under in those situations.
Milwaukee Bucks (4-10 ATS, 5-9 SU)
The Bucks are just under the breakeven mark when it comes to covering the spread, at 24-26 ATS heading into Wednesday. They’ve dropped four in a row SU and ATS, including the second stop of a back-to-back at Utah last Wednesday.
Phoenix Suns (4-10 ATS, 2-12 ATS)
The Suns have kept backers in the red for most of the season, lugging a 21-29-3 ATS record into the All-Star break. Phoenix could be missing Steve Nash’s motor in those second games of back-to-backs. Last year, the Suns finished 12-9 SU and ATS in the same situation.
Philadelphia 76ers (3-10 ATS, 3-10 SU)
With no true go-to guy and a laundry list of injuries, the Sixers have come up short when the going gets tough in the second game of back-to-back outings. Philadelphia’s next two-game string is on Feb. 23 and 24 when it hosts Miami and visits New York.