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Can Miami Heat prove the smart money wrong in the playoffs?

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The Heat face stiff odds in reaching the Eastern Conference Finals according to off-shore wagering sites.

NBA: Miami Heat at Atlanta Hawks Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Off-shore bettors love LeBron James and disrespect the current Miami Heat team going into the 2018 NBA playoffs.

Figures from oddsshark puts the Heat either last or tied for next-to-last in their chances to reach the Eastern Conference Finals.

ECF odds from 4 sites

TEAM #1 #2 #3 #4
TEAM #1 #2 #3 #4
Cavaliers 140 140 140 100
Raptors 150 193 180 120
Celtics 400 385 400 250
76ers 1200 1800 1000 1600
Wizards 2500 5250 3000 1800
Pacers 3300 5500 4500 1800
Bucks 3300 5250 5000 2800
Heat 4000 7200 5000 2800

They list the Cleveland Cavaliers and Toronto Raptors as co-favorites, with the Boston Celtics third, the Philadelphia 76ers a distant fourth, and the rest of the contenders as long-shots to get out of either the first or second round.

Even with Miami currently in sixth place, two of the sites have the Heat lagging behind both the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks in the playoff picture.

The NBA bracket has one twist emphasizing the importance of which team finishes either third or fourth in the conference.

Barring any upsets, the third place team faces the Raptors in the Finals, while the fourth place team meets them in the second round, so there is an incentive for the Cavaliers and 76ers to finish third and avoid the Raptors until the EC Finals.

Regardless of which playoff spot Miami grabs, they’ll be pitted against one of top three EC teams in the very first round as road warriors.

Damion Lillard hurt his ankle, Joel Embiid suffered an orbital fracture, Kyrie Irving got knocked out of post-season action: the point being that unexpected injuries can strike any team and throw possible playoff scenarios out the window.

Bettors don’t think much of Miami’s playoff chances this post-season, especially since the Heat have the worst road record of any EC playoff team at 18-22.

Within the Eastern Conference itself Miami is 30-20, Milwaukee 25-23, Washington 27-21, Philadelphia and Indiana 31-18, Cleveland 33-15, Celtics 31-17, Raptors 37-11.

Relativity speaking the Heat did pretty well against the EC teams, minus the Brooklyn Nets, and compare favorably against most of them as post-season begins next week.