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Bookies challenge Miami Heat to prove they're better than an average team

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Cavaliers are odds-on favorites after Wade joins them, while Heat are seen as an ordinary team.

NBA: Miami Heat-Media Day Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Dwyane Wade has officially joined the Cleveland Cavaliers, placing them as odds-on favorites to win the Eastern Conference crown. The Miami Heat are seen as a very average team, closing with a record similar to their 41-41 record of last season.

Eastern Conference Odds

TEAM ODDS
TEAM ODDS
Cavaliers -114
Celtics 182
Bucks 1156
Wizards 1610
76ers 2371
Raptors 2779
Heat 3496
Hornets 3834
Pistons 9500
Knicks 14000
Hawks 16500
Bulls 16500
Pacers 16500
Magic 16500
Nets 20000

That assessment isn't shared by the Heat players in the gym at FAU, none of whom believe they are on a mediocre team. Pre-season odds have Miami getting knocked out by the Celtics in the first round of post-season play. While the 76ers jump up in the ranks with untested talent.

Training camp is a time for boundless enthusiasm and high hopes. The bookies doused those flames rather quickly. Time for the squad to accept the fact that their mission will be far more difficult than they ever imagined.

The oddsmakers and forecasters don't think Miami will recreate the 30-11 end of last season. Repeating that ending will require at least twice as much work and character than the players believe it will take. Being true competitors, the Heat will take on the bookies challenge to prove them wrong.