Not only is their potential competition better this season, but the Heat are also facing some internal factors that could hurt their standings in the NBA Future Odds. They are still the clear-cut favorite at most sportsbooks, however a couple threats are moving up as well, and could move to at least co-favorites with Miami by the end of the season. I see three things that could potentially threaten the Heat’s reign as title favorites, and two of them are other teams. At Bovada, the Heat are +240 to win the NBA Championship, and all odds listed are from Bovada as well.
Indiana Pacers (+275)
The Pacers are currently three full games up on the Heat with a little over half the season gone, and they are also currently the team directly behind Miami in the NBA Odds to win it all. The Pacers will be a big threat to Miami. They took them to seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season, and this year they have the same team with the addition of Luis Scola and Danny Granger. The Pacers’ size could also be a huge issue in another potential playoff series. They just singed Andrew Bynum as well, and if he turns into a 15-20 minutes a game player for the Pacers behind Roy Hibbert, watch out.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+375)
I think Oklahoma City should also be looked at as a big threat to a potential Heat three-peat. Not only is Kevin Durant playing out of his mind, but also they are doing all of this without Russell Westbrook. Once he comes back, this team is going to be deadly. Their young guys like Perry Jones, Jeremy Lamb and Reggie Jackson are starting to play well, and when the guys on your roster are playing well for minimal salary, that’s how you make it to the Finals. It also doesn’t hurt to have a guy averaging about 35 points per game in the last month or so. We all saw how the Thunder dominated the Heat a week or so ago, and with Westbrook, they may be the favorites by the end of the regular season.
While this isn’t a team, it could be THE team. Wade’s knees have cost him over a dozen games this season and counting, and while I buy the “knee maintenance,” story to an extent, there is an injury here. This is not just Wade’s knees being sore from not having any meniscus. When a guy like Wade plays only an average of one game a week, it’s an issue. If Wade can’t play 35 minutes a night when the playoffs start, the Heat are not going to win a title. Lebron James as great as he is can not win a title by himself, I think that’s been proven already, and even with Miami, if Wade can’t give them his normal minutes in the playoffs, Miami won’t get past Indiana. Should the Heat be favored right now? I think they should. However in the coming months, I could see things change easily.