The NBA: A True Underdog Story

Tipped +400 to win the NBA Championship, the Phoenix Sun ranked as the 8th worst performing underdog over the last decade, having only won 30% of their games on the back foot. But how does their underdog record compare to their NBA rivals? 

A new report from, reveals which NBA teams have been the greatest performing underdogs over the last two decades.

The NBA: A True Underdog Story

  • A new report from reveals the NBA’s greatest underdogs of the last two decades.
  • The San Antonio are the most successful underdog team of the 21st century, winning 38% of their 327 games when tipped as the underdog.
  • The Miami Heats, one of the richest NBA teams, have been the greatest underdog performers of the last decade, winning 40% of their games.

The sheer belief that your team can make it in the NBA is built into the culture of every NBA supporter.

From those challenging games to the unexpected losses, the passion across the NBA never disappoints. But where do the underdogs stand when up against the favorites in the league?

A new report from reveals which NBA teams have made history as the underdogs. By analyzing the historical results of each team, the report highlights which NBA franchise has most frequently entered games on the backfoot and which ones have performed the greatest against the odds.

The NBA’s Underdog of the Decade

The 13-time title holder of the division, the Miami Heat are named the greatest performing underdog in the NBA over the last decade.

Miami featured 327 times as an underdog in the last decade. It’s no surprise that they’re ranking number one as the greatest underdog with them being one of the highest performing teams in the league in the current season

Orlando Magic have been tipped as an underdog the most in the NBA over the last decade, having a disadvantage in 621 games – Orlando only came out on top in 27% of their games as an underdog. Having the lowest win record in the NBA as an underdog, the Philadelphia 76ers are named the worst NBA underdogs, losing 74% of their games.

The NBA A True Underdog Story

Below is the list of all NBA teams in order of win percentage as the underdog over the last decade:

RankTeamWin-Loss RecordWin %
1Miami Heat131-196-040.10%
2LA Clippers107-170-038.60%
3Toronto Raptors135-226-037.40%
4Memphis Grizzlies163-277-037.10%
5San Antonio Spurs100-170-037.00%
6Golden State Warriors100-176-036.20%
7Boston Celtics134-241-035.70%
8Denver Nuggets138-259-034.80%
9Oklahoma City Thunders111-209-034.70%
10Houston Rockets114-215-034.70%
11Indiana Pacers131-248-034.60%
12Washington Wizards168-323-034.20%
13Chicago Bulls157-302-034.20%
14Atlanta Hawks155-309-033.40%
15Dallas Maverick145-293-033.10%
16Portland Trail Blazers127-266-032.30%
17New Orleans Pelicans167-356-031.90%
18Brooklyn Nets167-357-031.90%
19Utah Jazz113-254-030.80%
20Sacramento Kings180-410-030.50%
21Cleveland Cavaliers145-339-030.00%
22Milwaukee Bucks116-272-029.90%
23Phoenix Suns157-370-029.80%
24Charlotte Hornets153-381-028.70%
25LA Lakers138-352-028.20%
26New York Knicks149-392-027.50%
27Detroit Pistons146-386-027.40%
28Minnesota Timberwolves138-373-027.00%
29Orlando Pelicans165-456-026.60%
30Philadelphia 76ers131-379-025.70%

Related: NBA Matchday Calories – NBA’s biggest eaters

The NBA’s Underdog of the 21st Century

The San Antonio Spurs are one of the only teams to win 50 games each season, setting a record of 18 consecutive 50-win seasons, so it may not be a surprise to see the Spurs take the crown as having the best win ratio as an underdog in the 21st century, winning 38% of their 408 games as an underdog.

The fourth oldest NBA team, the New York Knicks, has featured as an underdog the most in the NBA, hitting the court 989 times as an underdog.

Having not featured in the championships since 1973, it’s no surprise that the Knicks have only won 28% of their as an underdog, making them the second-biggest underdog of the 21st century.

Below is the list of all NFL teams in order of win percentage as the underdog during the 21st century:

RankTeamWin-Loss RecordWin %
1San Antonio Spurs154-254-037.80%
2Houston Rockets226-386-036.90%
3Dallas Maverick223-389-036.40%
4Boston Celtics241-425-036.20%
5Miami Heat226-413-035.40%
6Denver Nuggets241-450-034.90%
7Chicago Bulls282-539-034.40%
8Memphis Grizzlies282-553-033.80%
9Indiana Pacers245-493-033.20%
10New Orleans Pelicans293-598-032.90%
11Utah Jazz222-462-032.50%
12Portland Trail Blazers252-528-032.30%
13Toronto Raptors251-528-032.20%
14Oklahoma City Thunders232-488-032.20%
15Golden State Warriors219-468-031.90%
16Atlanta Hawks283-622-031.30%
17LA Lakers221-490-031.10%
18Phoenix Suns232-520-030.90%
19Washington Wizards285-650-030.50%
20Cleveland Cavaliers239-549-030.30%
21Brooklyn Nets285-658-030.20%
22LA Clippers214-498-030.10%
23Sacramento Kings289-690-029.50%
24Philadelphia 76ers265-642-029.20%
25Detroit Pistons232-564-029.20%
26Milwaukee Bucks226-562-028.70%
27Orlando Magic254-633-028.60%
28Charlotte Hornets275-688-028.60%
29New York Knicks279-710-028.20%
30Minnesota Timberwolves235-691-025.40%

To check the NFL’s greatest performing underdogs, you can visit the site here:



This data was collected through and reveals the biggest NBA underdogs over the last decade and since 2003 (21st century).

The two tables highlight which teams performed best as the underdogs and which teams were named underdogs the most times over the two-time frames.

About is a Maryland-specific sport betting consumer information portal where bettors can find and evaluate the various licensed operators of online sports betting with expert product reviews written by a team of industry insiders.

Bettors will also benefit from betting coverage of sporting events occurring in the state of Maryland or with Maryland-based teams.  

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