Miami Heat: nba FUTURES & BETTING ODDS
The Miami Heat have only existed for a little more than 30 years, but they have had an action packed history. The Miami Heat became the first NBA team in Florida, when they joined the NBA along with the Charlotte Hornets for the 1988-89 NBA season. The Heat’s most notable achievement during their expansion season was that they opened the season with seventeen losses before they won their first game, en route to a league-worst 15-67 record.
The Miami Heat odds to lose were enormous barely every night, so a bet on the Miami Heat would have paid off in huge numbers those 15 times. Oddly, the Heat were placed in the Western Conference for their inaugural season, in a division with Nuggets, Jazz and the three Texas teams. The constant travel could not have helped their record, but the Heat were fortunate to move to the Eastern Conference for their second season. The travel load was lighter but the Heat, led by rookies Glen Rice and Sherman Douglas, still managed to only win 18 games, at that point any bet on the Miami Heat was still a serious longshot.
By the franchise’s fourth season they had improved to the point where they made the Eastern Conference playoff, but the Miami Heat odds to win a playoff game were long and indeed they immediately got swept by Michael Jordan’s Bulls. Pat Riley would reinvent the Heat’s culture as winners when he joined Miami in 1995, but it would not be until Miami’s ninth season, in 1997, when a playoff bet on the Miami Heat would pay off, as they finally won a playoff series, actually beating both the Magic and the Knicks before once again falling short to the Bulls.
Despite the emergence of Heat center Alonzo Mourning as a star, their chances of ever winning a title in the 1990’s remained slim as they fell to the Knicks in consecutive postseasons. After over a decade of any bet on the Miami Heat to win it all falling short, the franchise’s hopes were revitalized by a rookie guard out of Marquette, Dwyane Wade. In just his first season, the Miami Heat odds shifted from also-ran to contender, as the team won only their fourth playoff series. In 2005, Wade and the Heat lost a painful Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals to the Pistons, but that may have prepared them for what was to come in 2006.
The Heat went 52-30 in the 2005-06 season but that was just a warmup for the postseason. If you bet on the Miami Heat to win it all, it wasn’t exactly as a favorite but the Miami Heat odds were overcome as Wade led the team through the Bulls, Nets and Pistons in the East, before coming back from 2-0 down to stun the Dallas Mavericks, giving the Heat their first ever championship.
The franchise actually took several steps back after 2006, failing to win a playoff series for the next four seasons. But the Miami Heat odds went from middle of the pack to NBA favorites when LeBron James picked the Heat as his new team, to join Wade and the newly acquired Chris Bosh. In their first season together, the trio stormed through the playoffs but the Dallas Mavericks got their revenge in a six game NBA Finals. The Heat would rebound in June of 2012 by beating the Oklahoma City Thunder in five games for the team’s title.
Like most defending champions, the Miami Heat odds to repeat were questionable, but the Heat, buoyed by a miracle shot by guard Ray Allen in Game 6, came from behind to beat the San Antonio Spurs in seven games. A bet on the Miami Heat, when they were trailing by five points with 30 seconds to go in Game 6 would have paid off handsomely. The Spurs would get revenge on the Heat in 2014, hitting seemingly every shot as they dispatched the Heat in five games.
LeBron James left after the 2014 season to go back to Cleveland, and with him the Miami Heat odds to win another title dropped significantly. As Wade started to age, the Heat began to reinvent themselves again under longtime coach Erik Spoelstra, pursuing a youth movement with players like Bam Adebayo and Duncan Robinson to go with star Jimmy Butler. The strategy paid off, during the shortened 2019-20 NBA season, as the Miami Heat improved every night in the bubble, as they played incredible winning basketball, and vanquished the Pacers, Bucks, and Celtics, before falling to the Lakers and old friend LeBron James in six games in the NBA Finals.
Championships: 3 (2006, 2012, 2013)
1: Chris Bosh
3: Dwyane Wade
10: Tim Hardway
23: Michael Jordan
32: Shaquille O’Neal
33: Alonzo Mourning