8 NBA Bets That Are Losers

NBA Players With a Sportsbook Background

One of the most important things I learned when I was trying to become a winning NBA gambler was situations to avoid. I didn’t rack results for a long time and I struggled. When I started tracking results I started learning about tendencies that I could take advantage of.

This is how I built a list of losing bets to avoid. I’m going to share this list of eight losing NBA bets with you on this page. If you skip all of the games that are losers, you can spend more time evaluating the games on the schedule that have the chance to offer real value. This improves your profits faster than anything else you can do as an NBA gambler.

1 – Road Teams on the Back End of Back to Back Games

The NBA schedule changes from year to year, but every season there are times when teams have to play on back to back days. When this happens, there’s a bet that’s almost always a loser.

When a team is forced to play on back to back days, they rarely do well in the second game. This is even truer when they have to play the second game on the road.

You should never bet on the road team when they’re playing the second day in a row. This is never a good bet, no matter what the handicapping shows. In other words, even if you evaluate an NBA game and it looks like the road team on the back end of a back to back has value, you should never bet on them.

But this can also lead to another mistake. You might think that the home team is a good bet in these games. And sometimes they are a value bet. But there’s a problem with this too.

Just because the road team is a bad bet doesn’t mean the home team offers value. You still have to handicap the game to make sure that the home team offers value based on where the line is set.

Teams on the back end of back to back games don’t usually perform well, but they can be unpredictable. Don’t bet on the home team in these games unless they have real value.

2 – Teams Resting Star Players

Some star players in the NBA play almost every game, but many of them need rest throughout the season. You must track when stars are playing and when they’re resting so you can make sure that you’re not surprised after making a wager.

A few NBA teams are able to maintain their competiveness when a star player is out, but most teams struggle without their best player. This can even be true when their second or third best player is out.

Two NBA Players of Opposite Teams

I simply never bet on NBA teams that are missing one of their best players. This doesn’t mean that a bet on their opponent is always a value bet, but you do need to evaluate the game to see if the opponent offers value.

This is the main reason why you need to wait until just before the game starts to place your NBA wagers. This way you’re never surprised by a late scratch.

3 – Teams Starting Rookies

Every season a few NBA teams start rookies. These are usually the best rookies in the class, but the best teams in the NBA don’t start rookies. The best teams might have a rookie in the rotation, but when a team has to start a rookie the odds are that the team isn’t very good.

Even the best NBA rookies are unpredictable. The best players in college still have a lot to learn before they can become dominant in the NBA.

It’s simply impossible to accurately predict how well NBA teams starting rookies are going to play on any given day.

This also makes it difficult to find value on the opponents of these teams. You have to be careful betting on middle of the pack teams when they play teams starting rookies. But when the team starting a rookie or two plays one of the top teams, the top teams usually dominate the game because they can deal with the rookies even if they play well that day.

4 – Teams on Losing Streaks

Almost every NBA team deals with at least one losing streak during the season. And all losing streaks eventually end. But it’s extremely difficult to predict when the losing streak will end.

Teams that get on a losing streak seem to be able to find a way to lose no matter what happens. This doesn’t mean that they’re not trying to win, but losing can become ingrained in a team.

I’m much more likely to bet on the losing streak continuing than on it ending. You still have to handicap the game and identify true value on the team facing the team on a losing streak. Often there isn’t any real value, so you should skip betting on the game completely.

5 – Over on Top Scoring Teams

This is one of the most common mistakes that losing NBA gamblers make. They see a game with two of the top scoring NBA teams playing against each other and automatically bet on the over. This is a situation where the best NBA gamblers realize that value simply doesn’t exist.

The sportsbooks make a lot of money on gamblers betting the over in these games. They push the total line up because they understand how the public thinks and bets. You can often find value on the under in these games, but no matter what your evaluation looks like, the over is never a value bet.

Start tracking all of the games when two teams in the top half of the league in scoring play. Keep a record of the total line and the result of the game. You’re going to see a consistent pattern in these games that you can use to make profitable wagers in the future.

6 – Under on Defensive Teams

You learned in the last section that it’s a bad bet when you take the over when two high scoring NBA teams meet. The same is true for taking the under when two low scoring or defensive teams play.

Defense isn’t something that’s popular in the NBA. But some teams are clearly better than others when it comes to defense. Whether two defensive teams or two teams that are low scoring meet, the results are the same.

NBA Player Anthony Davis Dunking the Ball

Losing NBA gamblers look at these games and take the under, but if there’s value it’s always on the over. This doesn’t mean that every game like this has value on the over. You have to handicap the game to find value, but always look for it on the over in these games.

Track these games and lines just like I suggested in the last section. You’re going to see patterns that are profitable that you can take advantage of.

7 – College Coaches

Where do the best NBA coaches come from? A few decent NBA coaches come from the college ranks, but it’s never a safe bet to assume a good college coach is going to make a good NBA coach.

When an NBA team hires a coach from college, it’s not a good bet to wager on the team to win. Look for value on the other side in these games until a coach proves that they can win consistently at the pro level

8 – Long Distance Road Teams

NBA teams that have to travel a long distance to play on the road don’t play as well as normal. The longer the distance they have to travel, the poorer the results.

The sportsbooks know this also and adjust their lines, but these games aren’t safe to bet on. It’s too hard to predict how these games are going to play to make consistent profits. It’s best to skip them and find a better opportunity for profit on the schedule.


If you want to be a profitable sports bettor you need to avoid making the eight losing wagers listed on this page. You can find plenty of profitable betting opportunities on the NBA schedule, so you can afford to skip situations where there isn’t any real value.

One of the best things you can do is track lines and results to learn about tendencies and patterns. This is how I learned that the wagers on this page aren’t profitable. Start building your knowledge of bad bets in the NBA and your profits are going to improve.