Let's hope you didn't burn any of your Miami Heat championship party decorations last night, because according to Las Vegas odds makers, Dwyane Wade and company are already the frontrunners for the 2012 finals. Apparently winning last night hasn't made Dirk Nowitzki and his Dallas Mavericks favorites to repeat, and gamblers are already betting on a Los Angeles Lakers-Miami Heat finals.
Bodog Sports has given the Heat 5-to-2 odds to win the championship next year. The Lakers come in with the second-best odds at 11 to 2. The Mavericks have only 10-to-1 odds to repeat. The Heat's biggest competitor in the Eastern Conferences are still those Chicago Bulls, with 6-to-1 odds, while the Celtics are at 12 to 1.
Jay Kornegay, director of the Las Vegas Hilton Race & Sports Book, tells the LA Times he's even more confident. He's given the Heat 2-to-1 odds and expects the Heat to take on either the Lakers, Mavericks, or Oklahoma City Thunder in the big series.
"The Heat still have all the pieces. The salary cap will come into play, but we still think they'll most likely find a couple of guys willing to play for that team at a budgeted price," Kornegay tells the paper. "The only thing the Heat will have to re-evaluate is why LeBron [James] doesn't shoot more. I'm sure they will. They're not that far off."
Then again, the predictions come with a caveat, as ProBasketball Talk points out:
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Understand that the role of the bookmaker is not to predict what will happen with these odds but to spread the betting out so that the house makes money -- which means it's more about predicting what the public will put money on than predicting what will actually happen. And Bodog thinks you all are going to put your money on the Heat and Lakers. That sounds about right.
As much as nearly every basketball fan in the world, on some level at least, would like to see a Heat-Lakers finals while Kobe is still near his peak, we can't all just collectively will it to happen.