OKBET SPORTS BETTING NEWS – WNBA PLAYOFFS ODSS
The WNBA playoffs odds have begun, accompanied by a new format. The days of one-and-done first rounds, which left great teams at the mercy of a good or bad night, are over, and have been replaced with three-game series in the first round and five-game series in the second round and WNBA Finals.
After a midseason run in which the Chicago Sky dominated, the Las Vegas Aces enter as the favorite. Who else among these clubs could make a surprising run? What about the Seattle Storm in Sue Bird’s most recent novel? Or the Mystics of Washington who support Elena Delle Donne? Is this truly the year for the Connecticut Sun to experience success?
NBA Senior Writer Matt Moore and WNBA and NBA Analyst Jim Turvey discuss their preferred WNBA wagers, including title futures, first-round series props, and Game 1 options.
BEST WNBA TITLE ODDS, PRIOR TO PLAYOFFS
Moore: +175 Aces (BetFred) (2u)
This is available for as little as +135 at some of the larger retailers.
The best team with the best record, the top overall seed, is therefore uninteresting. However, with fewer teams in the W, the gap between the best and the rest is greater.
On the basis of power ranking, I pick the Aces above the Sky. This is crucial when considering the context of the season. The Golden Knights were a heavy favorite for the majority of the season, but suffered a midseason slump and a month-long freefall.
During that period, the Sky flourished (and I consistently wagered Chicago at +250 or better using the Action app). The Sky then began to lose some steam, and the Aces regained their footing, finishing strong, including the last game against the Storm.
The Aces have a more difficult route than the Bulls, since they must face the victor of the Mystics-Storm death match. However, Chicago will face a Liberty squad with greater 3-point rate variance, followed by a formidable Sun team.
However, if I didn’t believe that the Aces line up so well, I would probably still believe that the Sky (+250 or greater) is the greatest wager. The Aces attempt around six more 3-pointers per 100 possessions than Chicago, and based on halfcourt and transition matchup data, I have the Aces favored against the Sky by a far larger margin (Aces -5.2 at home) than their power rating suggests.
Bill Laimbeer’s antiquated, anti-three coaching philosophy and Liz Cambage have been the Aces’ difficulties over the past few years. Both are absent. The moment has come for Vegas, which has long been overhyped, to finally earn their flowers and hoist their banner.
Longshot bet (0.25u): Storm +500 or greater
If the Storm defeat the Mystics, which is unlikely, that will be a nasty series; I put them as significant underdogs versus the Aces, as expected. All of this, though, is predicated on their regular-season profile. With their championship pedigree and tenacity, the Storm may be able to outperform that description in the playoffs.
If the Storm appear like a better half-court offensive team than they did during the regular season (seventh overall according to Synergy Sports), they can make a run. All they need to do is rely more on Breanna Stewart, Jewell Loyd, and Tina Charles.
In addition, the Storm rank third in 3-point rate per 100 possessions to match the Aces (who allow the most 3-point makes per 100 possessions) and second in 3-point makes allowed per possession.
The Storm would thus be underdogs against the defending champion Sky, but my matchup metrics (Sky -3.5 in road games at Seattle) are close enough to offer 5-1 some value.
Beyond the numbers and matchups, however, is there a particular player I wish to back? That would be Breanna Stewart.
Jim Turvey: Seattle +600 (FanDuel; also at +500)
Before discussing the Storm, a brief aside: If I had to choose one club to win the 2022 WNBA championship, it would be the Chicago Sky.
Unlike my colleague Matt, I have less faith in the Aces. The absence of Dearica Hamby to begin the postseason increases my concerns regarding their depth.
Approximately 80% of this team’s scoring come from their starting five, and now that Kiah Stokes has been moved to the starting lineup, only one player averages more than four points per game off the bench.
They also rely heavily on the three-point shot, at which they excel. However, in the postseason, when easy looks dry up and the best teams can experience extended cold spells, this type of volatility from a favorite terrifies me.
I concur with Matt that the Aces and the Sky are a great matchup, but I fear they may not make it to the hypothetical final game. This is mostly attributable to my finest title wager, the Seattle Storm.
The Storm finished the season as the fourth seed and hence have a difficult path to the championship. However, as will be shown later, I do not believe their path to be as difficult as these odds suggest. The Storm will likely face the Aces in the second round if they advance through their first-round clash with the Mystics.
As Matt pointed out, 3-pointers could be the deciding factor in this game. Both teams are exceptional at taking and making threes (the only two teams in the top third of the league in both threes attempted per game and 3-point percentage), but the Aces struggle to defend threes (in the bottom third in both threes allowed and 3-point percentage allowed), whereas the Storm finished the regular season with the best 3-point percentage defense in the entire league.
The Seattle defense also excels at preventing fastbreak points (they allow the fewest in the league) and sending opponents to the free throw line (fewest opponent FT per game). These are the two areas upon which Las Vegas’s offensive relies (ranking third in both fastbreak points and free throws attempted per game in the regular season).
If the Storm defeat the Aces, their matchup versus the Sky (or Sun, who should not be overlooked) isn’t nearly as favorable, but at that point, you’re either in a wonderful position to hedge, or you may seek to double down if the Storm appear as strong in their first two series as I expect they will.
In addition, this is Sue Bird’s final season, and a nice reminder to check out the Career Highlights and Awards part of Breanna Stewart’s Wikipedia page to see what a future GOAT looks like. It is more likely than not that she will win the league championship when she is healthy, which is an insane phrase to type.
WNBA FIRST-ROUND SERIES BETS
Moore: Storm 2, Mystics 1 (+260). (.25u)
My statistics underestimate the Mystics’ home court advantage in the playoffs, and normalizing it would put the Mystics at home as a coin flip.
I do feel the Storm are superior, both on paper and in the postseason, but Elena Delle Donne and her teammates are not going out like lambs; they are going out like lions. If the Mystics were to win Game 1, I am confident that the Storm would reply in Game 2.
Turvey: Liberty series accurate total 2-1 +490; Sun series accurate total 2-1 +300
Here we have a pair of options with slightly divergent rationale.
Yes, I did just mention that if I could pick a champion without odds to win this season, it would be Chicago, but as we all know, value is value. And the Liberty are extremely dangerous (thus precious) in a three-game series, especially one with a format as unusual as this year’s opening round.
A nice reminder that the W requires the higher seeds to play the first two games at home before sending a potential third game to the lower seed’s home court. I can see the backlash coming from a mile out, and the Liberty appear to be in the greatest position to capitalize on it.
First, as any fan of the Liberty basketball team will tell you, they have the highest variance of any team ever assembled. Part of this is due to the fact that over 40% of their shots come from the three-point line, and part is due to the personnel.
Sabrina Ionescu has some of the highest highs witnessed in this competition, but she also has bizarrely off games. Betnijah Laney is still shaking off the rust, and Natasha Howard is allegedly nursing a minor ankle injury as the team enters the postseason.
However, they only need to go hot from three in one of the first two games of the series to make Game 3 in what could be a packed Barclays Center really intriguing. (Not to mention providing us with an exceptional hedging chance if they advance to Game 3)
This series exact pricing is also advantageous because it’s quite unlikely that the Liberty would win consecutive games in Chicago, so you’re essentially receiving a boosted version of the Liberty series price, which tops out at +360 at Caesars.
The Mercury take almost as many 3s as the Liberty, the Aces struggle to defend 3s, as noted, and if it gets to Game 3, all the pressure will be on the Aces. Additionally, the Mercury have been great at home all season.
Numerous individuals are targeting this Sun series matchup as their potential first-round upset. The fact that everyone is outraged at Curt Miller for spoiling Mama Syl’s final game is only part of the explanation.
I believe this series will be tight — Dallas won two of three during the regular season, and Teaira McCowan is one of the few bigs in the league who can compete with Connecticut’s powerful frontcourt — but I have little faith in the Wings if Game 3 is played in Dallas.
The Wings have performed better on the road than at home this season, and while I do somewhat subscribe to the Arike Ogunbowale Ewing Theory that has been playing out, a win-or-go-home playoff game is when these ideas are put to the ultimate test. When this occurs, you want Arike to finish out the game for the strongly favored team.
This identical wager has good value at +300.
WNBA FIRST-ROUND GAME 1 BETS
Moore: Sun team score exceeds 86.5 (-120, BetMGM, 1.8u)
The Wings have the second-worst half-court defense in the league and the weakest in the playoffs by a wide margin. I have predicted 91.2 points. The Sun’s playoff record while favored in the playoffs over the past three seasons is 5-3.
The Sun score the most points per 100 possessions off turnovers, while the Wings allow the most points per 100 possessions. Dallas has difficulties on the glass and in transition, two areas in which the Sun excel.
It’s a high figure based on pace, but WNBA playoff totals are slightly greater than during the regular season, and overs occur at a higher rate.
-165 Turvey: Seattle
Back to the well, let’s lay down some of the impending reasoning I predicted. Even though they had nothing to play for, the Mystics elected to play Elena Delle Donne in their final two regular-season games against the Indiana Fever.
Now, EDD will take a cross-country commercial aircraft to Seattle, where she will face the player I just deemed the GOAT in the making. To underline the EDD-Stewie contrast, here are the stats from their games this season:
19.6 PTS, 5 REB, and 0.7 AST per game on 48/30/100 shooting percentages; +2 in 91 minutes.
Stewart: 20 PTS, 6.3 REB, 4.7 AST per game on 50/43/80 splits; +45 minutes per game
Delle Donne is a fantastic player, whereas Stewart is a legend. In a three-game series between two elite defensive teams, this will be a separating factor.
If you are as confident in Seattle as I am, the best way to play them in the first round is with a mechanical parlay.
If you bet the Storm at -165 in Game 1 and put all your profits on the moneyline for Game 2 (assuming the line remains the same), you will transform one unit into 2.58 units if Seattle wins both games.
If you bet just one unit on them to win the series, you reduce your risk, but you only win 1.59 units. Even if you adopt a more aggressive strategy because you believe in them as much as I do and bet them to win the series 2-0 exactly, you turn one unit into 2.50 units – don’t leave money on the table!
The only way this strategy would not be more profitable is if the game two line moves significantly after game one. However, this is unlikely to occur unless Seattle’s victory was partially due to an injury.
As a result, I will wager on the Seattle moneyline for Game 1 and then invest the entire amount on the Seattle moneyline for Game 2 if Seattle wins the series opener.
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