Getting the most bang for your buck in the NBA may not be about seeing the best teams play.
Sure, odds are, if you go to a Warriors or Celtics game these days, you’re likely to see the home team win. But that doesn’t mean you’re getting a great value. After all, as of January 11, it cost fans an average of $375 to get inside Oracle Arena, according to data from TicketIQ.com.
And while the Warriors win a lot, the “price per win,” (divide the average ticket cost by the number of wins) is $11. As a point of comparison, the highest price-per-win team is the Lakers at $19. The Celtics, on the other hand, fetch an average of $176 for a seat at the Boston Garden and with 33 wins, the price per win average is only $5, making a Celtics game a better value.
With only three teams that cost less than $100 to see on a regular basis—the Pelicans ($69), Blazers ($95) and Hornets ($96), according to TicketIQ.com data—spending on the teams with the best chance to win at home is a sound approach. At the other end of the spectrum, Golden State is far away and the most expensive ticket in the League, though three other teams have an average ticket price above $200.
But where can you get the most for your money? Below is a list of 10 teams that offer fans a good shot at seeing a win, but at a fairly low “price per win.” With the exception of the Heat, every team on the list also has tickets available via Ticketmaster on the primary market, often at prices below the secondary market prices, so make sure to check them out when doing your ticket shopping.
New Orleans Pelicans: Currently sitting in eighth place in the Western Conference, the Pelicans have not only the cheapest ticket in the NBA, but the lowest price-per-win number at $3. New Orleans (20-20) is sitting on the playoff bubble and can’t seem to find any consistency. The Pelicans are 5-5 in their last 10 games and lost to the Grizzlies Wednesday. The Pelicans host Portland Friday, thought the 22-19 Trail Blazers haven’t put together much recently, either, going 6-4 in their last 10 games.
Indiana Pacers: Like the Pelicans, the Pacers are on the playoff bubble, but in the Eastern Conference. They’ve managed to put together a 21-20 record, which with their $108 average ticket price means the price-per-win number is $5, making them a great value. The one thing the Pacers to seem to have going for them is a bit of dominance at home—they’re 13-10—but after Friday night when they host Cleveland, fans won’t have a chance to see them play at Bankers Life Fieldhouse again until they host the Suns on January 24. The Pacers start a five-game West Coast road trip on Sunday.
Washington Wizards: After losing two consecutive, the Wizards, at 23-18, are sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and own one of the cheaper tickets in the NBA–according to TicketIQ.com, the average cost to get into a Wizards game is $127. With 23 victories, that translates into a cost of $6 per win. And with more wins than losses at home (13-8), odds are if you go to a game, you’ll see a victory at Capital One Arena. The Wizards are in the middle of a five-game home stand and will host the Magic Friday, followed by the Nets Saturday and the Bucks on Monday, before going on the road for a week.
Miami Heat: Riding a six-game win streak, the Miami Heat may currently be the league’s best value in the price-per-win department. With an average ticket price of $147 and 24 victories, that number comes in a $6 … and the Heat has won its last three at home. Unfortunately for Heat fans, the team plays at home on Friday, but then embarks on a five-game road trip before a two-game set at home vs. the Kings and Hornets, January 25 and 27, respectively. This isn’t bad news for Heat itself, though—Miami is 13-8 on the road. The Heat are sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 24-17 record.
Milwaukee Bucks: In sixth place in the Eastern Conference, the Bucks are much, much happier at home these days. Milwaukee has 22 wins this season and 14 of them have come at the BMO Harris Bradley Center. That also means that while the average ticket price to a home game is $137, like the Heat, the price-per-win number comes in at $6, making it a great value. The Bucks are hoping to get a little something going after Wednesday’s home win against the Magic, but they host the Western Conference-leading Golden State Warriors on Friday before a two-game road trip.
Charlotte Hornets: In 11th place in the Eastern Conference, the Hornets present, surprisingly, a good opportunity for fans to catch a win at home at a good price. According to TicketIQ.com, the average ticket price for a Hornets game is the third-lowest in the league. At $96 against 15 wins, the price-per-win number is just $6. The Hornets (15-24) don’t have a winning record either at home or on the road, though they’ve struggled more on the road. Charlotte opened a three-game home stand with a loss to Dallas on Wednesday and will host the Jazz and Thunder on Friday and Saturday, respectively, at the Spectrum Center.
Denver Nuggets: Sitting at .500, the Nuggets are mired in a three-game losing streak, though they’re a surprising 14-5 at home, which means there’s a good chance fans will see a win at home. The price-per-win number sits at $7 and seven of the Nuggets next nine games are at the Pepsi Center, beginning with Friday’s game against San Antonio. Denver is 21-21 and in seventh place in the Western Conference. The average price for a ticket to a game is $142 on the secondary market.
Utah Jazz: If only Utah could just play well at home. The Jazz, who are 17-24, have amassed a whopping 13 of those victories at Vivint Smart Home Arena. Those numbers translate into a decent price-per-win number of $7 … meaning that even though Utah is in 10th place in the Western Conference, there’s plenty of opportunity to see a win at home. Fans next opportunity to do that will be on Monday, when Utah hosts the Pacers.
Sacramento Kings: In last place in the Western Conference, the Kings are a pretty cheap seat – for a win or loss at home. Sacramento, which has an average ticket price of $100 has won 13 times this season, including seven times at home, which makes for an $8 price per win. Currently on a two-game losing streak, the Kings are 3-7 in their last 10. Sacramento plays a home-and-away series with the Clippers beginning Thursday night before playing at Oklahoma City on Monday. They return home for a single game against Utah on Wednesday before embarking on a six-game road trip.
Detroit Pistons: Still in the playoff mix, the Pistons are 22-18 and have won 13 times at home. Detroit fans are historically NBA rabid and as such, the average price to get into a game is $172, according to TicketIQ.com, making the price-per-win number $8. Given the number of wins at home, there’s still a pretty good chance to catch a victory at Little Caesar’s Arena. Detroit schooled the Nets in its last outing Wednesday and has a three-day break before playing at the Bulls on Saturday. Detroit’s next home stand begins January 19.