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South Florida Swimming in Success: Panthers, Heat Into Finals

History Could Be Made if Both Teams Win Titles

In 76 years since both the NBA and NHL existed, no two teams from the same metropolitan area have simultaneously captured their league’s titles. Many have come close but at least one team falls short. Now, the Florida Panthers of the NHL and Miami Heat of the NBA have a chance to make historic NHL and NBA news if they are the first to do it.

Close But No Cigar: Same Area Teams That Reached the Finals

Having both NBA and NHL teams from the same region in their respective finals is an impressive feat. It has happened a few times, most recently when the San Jose Sharks and Golden State Warriors reached the Stanley Cup and NBA Finals in 2016. They’re not from the same metropolitan area but are just 60 miles from each other.

South Florida Swimming in Success: Panthers, Heat Into Finals
Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat | Carmen mandato/getty images/afp

Unfortunately, both the Sharks and Warriors lost in their finals. The Sharks lost in six games to the Pittsburgh Penguins while the Warriors infamously blew a 3-1 lead to LeBron James’s Cleveland Cavaliers. The good news for Warriors fans is that the team signed Kevin Durant and won two straight titles as lucrative NBA picks. However, San Jose has yet to return to the finals.

New York and New Jersey also had their NBA and NHL teams play in the finals simultaneously. In 1994, the New York Rangers and Knicks made their respective finals. But while the Rangers snapped its 54-year Stanley Cup drought, the Knicks lost to the San Antonio Spurs.

And in 2003, both New Jersey teams also made the finals. Like New York a decade ago, it was the NHL side that came through as the Devils edged the Anaheim Mighty Ducks to capture its third Stanley Cup. The Nets fell short in the NBA, losing in six games to the Spurs.

And if we go all the way back to the late ’50s, Boston was the first city to pull off this feat. Both the Celtics and Bruins made the finals in 1957 and 1958. However, these teams combined to win just one title as the Celtics won in 1957 while the Bruins lost both Stanley Cup Finals. Boston would also do it in 1974 though the Bruins fell short again.

The Year Philadelphia Almost Conquered It All

Sending both teams to their finals is impressive. But sending all four? Only one city has done it since all four leagues have existed: Philadelphia. In 1980, the city had the 76ers (NBA), Flyers (NHL), Phillies (MLB), and Eagles (NFL) all play in their respective finals.

The bad news is that only the Phillies, who defeated the Kansas City Royals, won the title. The 76ers and Flyers lost to two dynasties: the Los Angeles Lakers led by Magic Johnson and the New York Islanders, respectively. The Eagles, on the other hand, lost to the Oakland Raiders.

Winning one of four titles was bittersweet for Philadelphia fans. Still, this feat of having all four teams play in their finals in the same year is unmatched even today. Those betting online would have had big paydays wagering on their teams.

Odds Against South Florida… Again

Many cities have simultaneously sent their NBA and NHL teams to the finals. But when both are the lowest-seeded teams that overcame longshot odds, that’s unprecedented. The Heat finished Boston on Monday evening. The Panthers clinched a Stanley Cup Finals berth by sweeping Carolina last Wednesday. And yet, the online sports betting odds are against them again.

Miami is a 3-1 underdog to upset the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals. The Panthers are a slight underdog against Vegas at +110. Of course, this is not something they are not used to. Both Miami and Florida were underdogs in all of their past series in their respective playoffs.

In fact, the two have combined for a 19-8 record (10-4 for Florida, 9-4 for Miami) as underdogs per their online gambling lines. Florida sunk NHL predictions by coming back from a 3-1 series deficit against the record-setting Bruins. The Heat, not to be outdone, took out the top-seeded Bucks in just five games. Both opponents had the best regular season records and were the title favorites in their respective leagues.