Betting odds: Heat fire Spoelstra, Canes hire Gruden. I'll take the 'no' on both; plus Marlins moves, bowl talk, King-o-Meter, dead Kardashian & more
ODDS ARE: SPOELSTRA OUT: Bodog.com on whether the Heat will fire Erik Spoelstra at some point during this season: Yes at 5/8 odds, and no at 6/5. Not sure I agree that it's likely. Very possible, sure. But probable? Pat Riley does not want to coach again, and only would, I think, if Micky Arison and/or Dwyane Wade and LeBron James came to him insisting. In any case I doubt anything would happen before the return from injury of Mike Miller can be factored in. The sky-is-falling wing of Heat fans -- and the national media fomenting anxiety, led by an intensely over-analyzing ESPN -- needs to remember that the record in November and December doesn't matter nearly as much as how well the team is meshing when winter turns to spring and the playoffs near. Unless premature panic wins out, there remains time for Spoelstra (pictured trying to call a timeout on the hysteria) to get this thing right. (By the way, I heard a rumor the Heat was playing at Cleveland this Thursday. Imagine there might be some coverage on that).
ODDS ARE: GRUDEN IN: Bodog calls Former Bucs/Raiders-coach-turned-TV yakker Jon Gruden (pictured left) even money to be the Miami Hurricanes' next coach replacing Randy Shannon. I doubt it. A lot. I think Gruden is an NFL guy much more likely to wait and instead weigh the best pro opportunities that might yet arise -- including the Dolphins if there is a postseason change here. [Developments today strongly indicated I was right]. Bodog's UM favorites after Gruden at 1-1: Jim Leavitt 2-1, Brent Venables 3-1, Gary Patterson 6-1, Marc Trestman 8-1, Mark Richt 10-1, Chris Peterson 12-1 and Mike Belotti 15-1. Leavitt (pictured right), the former South Florida Bulls coach, is good friends with Canes AD Kirby Hocutt and might have seemed a likelier hire than Gruden, although Leavitt has baggage (hit a player, suing USF) that would be a very tough sell.
SMART OFFSEASON FOR MARLINS SO FAR: No, I didn't think they got enough from Atlanta for Dan Uggla and they'll miss his run-production. But other than that I like what the active Marlins have been doing. Their bullpen, catching and overall defense are improved by the moves they've made, and the latest on -- signing starting pitcher Javier Vazquez (pictured) -- makes the rotation better, too. Florida hopes Vazquez returns to his 2009 form, when he was 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and 238 strikeouts. Even if he has lost a bit off his fastball, I can see him as a solid, innings-eating No. 3 guy behind Josh Johnson and Ricky Nolasco.
LET'S GO BOWL-ING: Latest speculation on bowl destinations for state FBS schools: Miami vs. Toledo in the Dec. 31 Hyundai Sun, or vs. Boise State in the Jan. 8 Kraft Fight Hunger. FIU vs. Texas-El Paso in the Dec. 18 R&L Carriers. Florida vs. Iowa or Penn State in the Jan. 1 Gator. FSU vs. Mississippi State in the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A. South Florida vs. Southern Miss or East Carolina in the Dec. 21 Beef O'Brady's. And Central Florida vs. Georgia in the Dec. 31 AutoZone Liberty.
KING-O-METER: STILL LEBRON, BUT DWYANE AWAKENING: Our unpopular Heat King-o-Meter, updated through 18 games, shows LeBron James with 989.55 King points and 10 games led, and Dwyane Wade with 832.45 points and 8 games. However Wade has won two of the past three to gain slight ground. The King-o-Meter is our blog's cumulative gauge of which of the Heat's would-be Kings is having a better all-round season, using a formula that factors 10 statistical categories. Regular updates right here.
FANTASY UPDATE: WOE IS ME: I'll be 0-2 at making the playoffs this season as I'm now 4-8 in both leagues. The Bad Newz Fennelz lost 100-72, getting no more thanh LeSean McCoy's 19 points and getting steamrolled by my opponent's Peyton Hillis. Greg's Lobos lost 135-120, despite a Herculean 48 points from my new hero Dwayne Bowe.
DEAD AD CAMPAIGN: I could say the headline at right might be the dream-come-true of many who disdain those who are famous for little discernable talent other than the art of being famous. But that might be seen as mean. Anyway, turns out to be an ad campaign for World AIDS Day.
GREG COTE: READ columns and blog in The Miami Herald and MiamiHerald.com, including general sports columns, Friday NFL predictions page and Sunday "Random Evidence" notes. FOLLOW on Twitter. WATCH for occasional appearances on ESPN's Outside the Lines and elsewhere. LISTEN on 790 The Ticket's weekly Dolphins pregame show and most Tuesdays at 4:20 p.m. JOIN in live chat Wednesdays noon to 1 p.m. CONTACT at firstname.lastname@example.org.