2014 Eastern Conference Champions!

Who's the Next Miami Champion?

Handicapping the championship odds for South Florida's sports teams

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    LeBron James #6 of the Miami Heat answers questions as he celebrates after defeating the San Antonio Spurs 95-88 to win Game Seven of the 2013 NBA Finals at AmericanAirlines Arena on June 20, 2013 in Miami, Florida.

    The confetti had not even settled from the Miami Heat's championship parade on Monday before Las Vegas declared the Heat the overwhelming favorite to win the 2014 NBA Finals. Sportsbook Bovada released its first championship odds for the 2013-14 season on Monday, and the Heat were given 2-1 odds to pull off the elusive "three-peat."

    The next best odds belong to the Oklahoma City Thunder (the 2012 Western Conference champs, who fell to the Heat in 5 games in the Finals), with 11-2 odds. Barring a huge reshuffling of player talent (which is not out of the question), there are not super-teams out there who can match Miami's talent at this point.

    But are the Heat the most likely local team to bring the next championship home to South Florida? Let's take a look at every other Miami sports team and determine their odds of winning the next championship, from least to most likely (all championship odds via Bovada unless otherwise indicated).

    Miami Hurricanes football (championship odds: 28-1): The Canes are back on the upswing, and senior quarterback Stephen Morris is a sleeper Heisman Trophy candidate in some circles. Miami could have appeared in its first ever ACC Championship Game last season had it not self-imposed a postseason ban to appease the NCAA Infractions Committee. Of course, if the NCAA completes its Nevin Shapiro investigation this summer and assesses the U with another bowl ban, Miami's BCS Championship dreams will be over before the season even starts.

    Miami Dolphins (championship odds: 40-1): The Dolphins are trending up as well following a promising rookie season by QB Ryan Tannehill and an offseason spending spree by GM Jeff Ireland. With the New England Patriots getting older, the AFC East is ripe for the taking. The Dolphins have not won a playoff game in over a decade though, so there is not much evidence to suggest their luck will change so drastically in one season.

    Miami Hurricanes basketball (championship odds: 100-1): Miami went to the Sweet Sixteen for the second time ever in 2013, also winning its first ACC Championship, but it might be awhile before the Canes cut down anymore nets. All five starters from last year's team are gone due to graduation or the NBA Draft. Miami will be rebuilding next season, and a 2015 NCAA Tournament run is far more likely than one in 2014.

    Florida Panthers (championship odds: 100-1): The Panther followed up their banner 2011-12 season (when they won their first division championship and made the first playoff appearance since 2000) with a 15-27-6 stinker, giving them the worst record in the NHL. Oddsmakers do not expect their fortunes to change anytime soon, the Panthers have the worst championship odds in the league heading into the offseason.

    Miami Marlins (championship odds: 5000-1): At this point it would take a miracle for the 25-50 Marlins to even contend for the Wild Card, much less win a championship. Even the lowly Houston Astros are 1000-1, the next worse odds in MLB. The Marlins have a promising group of young talent still in the minors, but playoff contention is at least 2-3 years away for Mike Redmond's ballclub.

    So it looks like South Florida will have to pin its championship hopes on the Heat yet again (that is, unless the Canes or Dolphins make a surprising run this fall). The Heat don't need any more pressure heading into the 2013-2014 season (only four franchises in NBA history have won three straight championships). But if anyone can pull off the three-peat, it is LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and company.