The Worst Bad Beats in NBA Betting History

05 / 07 / 2021 By Ally Mielnicki

Blog Home | All Posts

It’s a bettor’s worst nightmare. Picture this: It’s the closing moments of a game, and your winning bet is seconds away – but then you lose your bet due to an unforeseeable backdoor cover. Sports bettors refer to this as a “bad beat,” and it’s a bettor’s worst nightmare.

All bettors have experienced backdoor covers, and most will tell you they’ve had more bad beats than good ones.

Here are some of the worst bad beats in the NBA that crushed the hearts of bettors across the country.

Knicks (+12.5) vs. Grizzlies 

  • Date: April 7, 2017
  • Spread: Knicks +12.5
  • Final Score: Grizzlies 101, Knicks 88

Grizzlies rookie Wade Baldwin IV was averaging under 3 points a year for Memphis. So what does he decide to do with his team up by ten against the New York Knicks with only a few seconds to go in the game? Dribble out the clock, right? Wrong. Instead, Baldwin crushed the hearts of any Knicks backers who took the spread at +12.5 by launching a ridiculous deep three-pointer with less than a second left in regulation. Of course, it went in.

Nets vs. Cavaliers (+8)

  • Date: February 13, 2019
  • Spread: Cavs +8
  • Final: Nets 148, Cavs 139

The Cavaliers had been leading most of the game, including by double-digits in the third quarter, but the Nets, led by point guard D’Angelo Russell who tied the game at 109 with just about a minute remaining.

Cleveland had every chance to win, including in double overtime. Leading by 3 with four seconds left, the Cavs opted to play instead of foul, and DeMarre Carroll hit a buzzer-beater from behind the arc to send the game into a triple overtime.

That’s when everything fell apart. The young Cavaliers were out of gas and outscored by the Nets 20-11, costing bettors a win against the spread by a point.

Raptors vs. Rockets

  • Date: November 16, 2016
  • Total: 216.5
  • Final: Raptors 115, Rockets 102

With 20 seconds remaining in regulation and the Rockets down by 11, Raptors guard Kyle Lowry dribbled the ball to run out the clock. Rockets guard Patrick Beverly tried to snag the ball from Lowry, but the referees called a reach-in foul with 0.2 seconds left on the clock. Lowry made both free throws and, in doing so, sent the game over the total by half a point. 

Timberwolves (+3.5) vs. Thunder

  • Date: December 6, 2019
  • Line: Timberwolves +3.5
  • Final: Thunder 139, Timberwolves 127

Leading 121-119 with 1.1 seconds, Karl Anthony-Towns was at the line, ready to attempt his second free throw shot. However, officials halted the game when Thunder point guard Chris Paul reported that the Wolves’ Jordan Bell had his shirt untucked, resulting in a technical foul since it was Minnesota’s second delay of game warning. 

After OKC’s Danilo Gallinari successfully sank the free shot to cut the lead to 121-120, it was time for Towns to shoot his second and final shot. If he’d missed the shot intentionally, time would have expired, and Minnesota would have walked off victorious. Instead, Steven Adams belted a Hail Mary pass to Denis Schroder, who scored the layup to tie the game at 122 and send it into overtime. The Thunder then outscored the Wolves 17-5 in OT, costing the Wolves moneyline and spread bettors across the country.

Raptors vs. Wizards (+4.5)

  • Date: March 30, 2007
  • Spread: Wizards +4.5
  • Final: Raptors 123, Wizards 118

This is likely the most memorable NBA bad beat in recent history. Down 3 with 3.3 seconds to go, Toronto attempted to hurl a deep pass to Chris Bosh to try and tie it up. It was deflected away and wound up in the hands of Washington’s Michael Ruffin, who mistakenly tossed the ball away, trying to run out the clock. However, he threw it in the direction of the wrong team. Toronto’s Morris Peterson (who hadn’t attempted a shot the entire game and only played in the final 10 seconds of regulation) caught it just before midcourt and hurled a miracle shot from behind the arc into the air. It went it, and Toronto took over in overtime, drowing the hopes of all Wizard bettors.

Nuggets vs. Jazz (-4.5)

  • Date: August 23, 2020
  • Line: Utah -4.5
  • Final: Utah 129-127

Down 129-124 with just over six seconds remaining in regulation, the Nuggets inbounded the ball to point guard Jamal Murray. Murray seemed to take his time, dribbling down the court and hitting a buzzer-beater three-pointer right as time expired. That unnecessary bucket left Jazz -4.5 backers without a win and with a bitter taste in their mouths. 

Download the ZenSports apps