As is the norm, when new sports seasons come around, Florida’s teams are in the mix for glory. 2023/24 is no different. There are several Sunshine State teams that have chances of pushing the favorites in their respective leagues this year. We’ll take a look at some of those here, and provide supporters with a little more knowledge of some Floridian teams’ chances for the season ahead.
Last season’s Stanley Cup runners-up, the Florida Panthers, reached the final on the back of an excellent play-off campaign. The Panthers endured a torrid regular season, scoring only 92 points. They squeaked into the knockout phase as the second Wild Card qualifiers.
Nonetheless, by reaching the Stanley Cup final, the Florida outfit showed it was capable of performing when the chips were down. The same will be necessary in 2023/24 if the Panthers are to repeat their achievements of the last campaign.
Online sportsbooks only rank the Florida Panthers as 10th favorites for Stanley Cup glory in 2023/24, with odds of +2000 on offer for last season’s finalists. Having said that, the Vegas Golden Knights, winners last time out, are only the 6th favorites at this early stage in the betting. With +950 odds on offer, expectations of a repeat final are slim.
If the Florida Panthers are to achieve Stanley Cup success, early season injuries to Brandon Montour and Aaron Ekblad need negotiating. The loss of these two stalwarts until at least December no doubt contributes to the longer opening odds that bookmakers are offering.
The Panthers will also need to be more defensively sound during the regular season. If they’re able, the highly-rated offensive duo of Matthew Tkachuk and Aleksander Barkov will be more able to impact results. The Florida Panthers should look to put at least 100 points on the table during the season to make the playoffs easier to negotiate this time around.
The Miami Heat is another Florida franchise that enjoyed a successful but heartbreaking 2022/23 campaign. For the second time in four seasons, the Heat reached the NBA Finals only to fall at the last hurdle. Having last won the seasonal main event in 2012/13, these near misses are becoming harder to bear every time they occur.
Odds on the Heat to win the NBA Championship have plummeted recently due to its failure to secure the trade of Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard. Instead, the superstar point guard has joined the Milwaukee Bucks. Online betting shops are of the opinion that, without Lillard on the Heat’s roster, the Miami franchise will struggle.
The odds reflect these views with the Miami Heat drifting in the betting. From +1000 and 6th-favored in futures betting, the franchise drifted to +3000 and 11th-favored since the announcement. Florida bettors with different views would do well to take advantage of the current odds. Possibly their biggest concerns revolve around the legalities of placing bets in the Sunshine State, though.
Is sports betting legal in Florida? The answer to this question is a complicated one. Sports betting is technically legal pending the outcome of a protracted court process, meaning Florida bettors can place bets on the Miami Heat and other sporting code franchises. They should, however, remain aware of the intricacies of the pending appeals process.
Of the three Florida franchises competing for NFL Super Bowl LVIII glory, the Miami Dolphins seem to have the best chance. According to online sportsbooks, The Dolphins are currently 6th in the futures betting with odds of +1000.
The current favorites, the San Francisco 49ers, have odds of +550, due mainly to the efforts of Brock Purdey. Could the new quarterback be joining the ranks of potential future stars in the NFL?
The Miami-based team started the new NFL season with three wins. The Dolphins then came unstuck in their last outing against the Buffalo Bills, causing them to drift in the betting. There is no cause for alarm, though, as their form has been consistently good over the pre-season and early season. As such, bettors should watch the odds closely as the season progresses.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have experienced a mixed start to the 2023/24 campaign, with a 2-2 win/loss ratio so far. The Jaguars did find a little support from betting shops after their 23-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons. Jacksonville currently has odds of +3200 as the season heads into Week 5.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have started the 2023/24 season well with three wins in four, but bookmakers aren’t confident that their current form will last. The latest betting reflects this, with the Buccaneers only 20th-favored in the betting at +8000. Bettors would do well to watch the Tampa Bay franchise’s form going forward, though, as the team’s form has been promising.
After the final round of fixtures in the 2023 MLB regular season, two Florida-based franchises had reached the Wild Card stage. In the American League, the Tampa Bay Rays meet the Texas Rangers for a chance to meet the Baltimore Orioles in the MLB Divison Series playoff. In the National League, the Miami Marlins play the favored Philadelphia Phillies in a Wild Card match-up.
The Rays have the bookmakers’ backing to beat Texas in their Wild Card playoff. That’s as far as they believe their Tampa Bay’s World Series challenge will go, however. The Orioles are +700 4th-favorites for the World Series, with Tampa Bay Rays currently having odds of +1200 to win baseball’s ultimate prize.
The Philadelphia Phillies carry the same futures odds as The Rays into their match-up with Florida’s Miami Marlins. To progress further, The Marlins will have to overcome their +5000 rank outsider status in the World Series betting.
In fact, online sportsbooks don’t expect any of these four franchises to take the field when the World Series starts on 27 October. The Atlanta Braves (+260) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (+410) dominate the betting and, on paper, it’s easy to see why.
Power Five College Football
Four Florida college teams compete in the Power Five conferences of college football. They are all experiencing varying levels of success during their current seasons.
Of the four, the Florida State Seminoles are faring best. The Seminoles are unbeaten after four games and lie second behind the Louisville Cardinals in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The highly-supported Florida Gators find themselves in fourth position in the SEC East Conference. To date, The Gators have won three of their five games.
The other two Florida college teams aren’t currently faring as well. The Miami Hurricanes’ 10th position in the Atlantic Coast Conference is somewhat misleading, though. The Hurricanes haven’t played any conference games so far but have a 4-0 record in their inter-conference games.
Finally, the UCF Knights are 12th in the Big 12 Conference, having lost both conference games so far. They are unbeaten in their three other matches, though. The Knights presently seem difficult to back, but the season is long and their drifting odds may make the odd wager more profitable as the game weeks progress.
Florida bettors that want to back their college football sides can take heart in the form shown by the Sunshine State outfits, with the Hurricanes’ conference position especially not indicative of their performances in 2023/23 so far. The Seminoles and Gators certainly present competitive betting options.