Cities With NBA, NHL Fans Enduring Winters Of Their Discontent

Cities With NBA, NHL Fans Enduring Winters Of Their Discontent
Fact Checked by Jim Tomlin

It has been a good long while since fans of the Detroit Pistons or Red Wings – or folks betting on those teams at Michigan sports betting sites – had reason to celebrate, with both clubs mired in longstanding postseason droughts. Between the Motor City’s NBA team, which last made the playoffs in 2019, and the Red Wings (who last reached the Stanley Cup playoffs in 2016), Detroit lays claim to a citywide title that no fan wants to claim.

That’s because Detroit has the longest two-team playoff drought among cities with NBA and NHL teams, beating out Washington and Chicago (both of which last saw the postseason in spring 2022). Every other city that has franchises in both leagues had at least one of them make the playoffs in the 2022-23 season.

As for actually winning it all when you do get to the playoffs? According to oddsmakers at Caesars Sportsbook Michigan, neither the Pistons (+60000 NBA title odds) nor the Red Wings (+5000 Stanley Cup odds) have great odds of snapping the city’s championship drought.

Worse yet for both franchises, it has been 15 years since the Pistons last won a playoff series and 11 years for the Red Wings. Both teams have fallen a long way from their 21st century heyday; the Red Wings won Stanley Cup titles in 2002 and 2008 and the Pistons won it all in 2004.

Cities With Longest NBA/NHL Combo Droughts

Here are the cities with both NHL and NBA teams that have gone the longest without hosting the playoffs in either sport, and which team was the most recent one to qualify for the postseason. This list was complied by, where the best Michigan sports betting bonuses can be found:

  • Detroit: 2019 Pistons (Red Wings have not made it since 2016)
  • Washington: 2022 Capitals (both them and Wizards missed in 2023)
  • Chicago: 2022 Bulls (both them and Blackhawks missed in 2023)
  • Dallas: 2023 Stars (Mavericks missed)
  • Philadelphia: 2023 Sixers (Flyers missed)
  • Phoenix: 2023 Suns (Coyotes missed)
  • Toronto: 2023 Maple Leafs (Raptors missed)
  • Boston: 2023 both qualified
  • Denver: 2023 both qualified
  • Miami: 2023 both qualified
  • Minnesota: 2023 both qualified
  • Los Angeles: 2023, 3 of 4 teams qualified (Ducks missed)
  • New York: 2023, all four teams qualified
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Detroit Sports In League Of Their Own

To make matters worse for fans who might bet with the hearts at Michigan sportsbook apps, the Lions haven’t made it past the NFL’s Wild Card round since 1991 and MLB’s Tigers haven’t won a playoff series since reaching the ALCS in 2013. Add it all up and you get a fuller picture of the city’s current sporting playoff predicament.

Among the four, there’s currently a 64-season championship drought in Detroit (16 seasons for each of the four), showing how far removed the city’s teams are from being perennial powers in their given sport.

That’s one of the main reasons Detroit is uniquely positioned as the worst off sports town in America, whether it be determined by championships or even playoff berths, beating out other longstanding down-and-out sports towns such as Washington D.C., Chicago, Dallas and Phoenix.

But at least the Red Wings are off to a decent start, with 11 points in their first nine games, tied for second in the Atlantic Division as of Monday morning. At DraftKings Michigan Sportsbook, the team has +135 odds to make the playoffs. Bettors thinking the Wings will continue their playoff drought can get-165 odds on them to miss the postseason again.



Christopher Boan

Christopher Boan is a staff writer for He has covered sports and sports betting for more than seven years and has worked for publications such as, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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