WNBA Playoff Predictions, Odds & Picks: Sharp WNBA Bets for Every Game 1 Matchup

<p>AP Photos</p>

AP Photos

The WNBA regular season has officially wrapped up, and it’s time for the best eight teams in the league (four from each conference) to begin their playoff march toward the WNBA Championship.

We’re breaking down what to expect from Game 1 from each series, along with our recommended bets for every Game 1. 

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New York Liberty vs. Chicago Sky: Game 1 Odds & Predictions

Wednesday, August 17 | 8 p.m. ET

For our first matchup of the WNBA playoffs, we’ve got the 2-seed Chicago Sky (26-10) taking on the 7-seed New York Liberty (16-20). Right off the bat, the record difference is an obvious indicator of the disparity that can be expected between these two teams, but records don’t tell the full story.

The Liberty finished the season winning seven of their last 10 games to sneak into the playoffs and their third-year star Sabrina Ionescu is averaging the best numbers of her career. 

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These teams played four times over the regular season, with the Sky going 3-1 in those contests — the lone Liberty win came by just 3 points, although the Sky also won one of their matchups by only 2 points. That said, the Sky had an early season victory by a crushing 33 points (83-50), so when they get out to a hot start, they’ve shown a propensity to not take their feet off the gas. 

The Sky have the better talent and coaching on their side, and are currently in win-now mode whereas the Liberty are likely a year away from being a year away.

We’ll be taking the Sky in Game 1, and we’ll be betting them at -6.5, available for -135 at BetMGM at time of writing. But be sure to shop for the best line before locking in your pick — you can line shop using here OddsJam’s odds comparison tool to find the best value.

Pick: Sky -6.5 | -135 at BetMGM

Phoenix Mercury vs. Las Vegas Aces: Game 1 Odds & Predictions

Wednesday, August 17 | 10 p.m. ET

For the second game of the night on Wednesday, we’ll be watching the 1-seed Las Vegas Aces (26-10) take on the 8-seed Phoenix Mercury (15-21). Much like the matchup between the Sky and Liberty, the Aces and Mercury could not be further apart when looking at records.

However, unlike Liberty vs. Sky, the skill disparity here is much more evident and the Mercury don’t have recent momentum to fall back on the way the Liberty do. Phoenix is 4-6 in its last 10 games, and — more worryingly — 2-5 in its last seven.

While the Mercury have to be respected for making their 10th straight WNBA playoffs, the reality is that the bottom of the WNBA was woeful during this most recent season, and it’s less that the Mercury made the playoffs so much as it is the teams under them just barely failed to knock them out of the eighth and final seed.

At 15-21, the Mercury were just one game up on the 14-22 Lynx, the 14-22 Dream, and two games up on the 13-23 Sparks — not exactly head-and-shoulders above their nearest competition. But, they’re here and now they have the pleasure of taking on the best team in the WNBA in the first round.

The Aces have the best offensive rating in the WNBA, and while they don’t have the best defense, they’re in the top half of the league at sixth. Overall, they have the No. 1 net rating, and their record (both overall and against other highly seeded teams) bears that out.

Since the odds are so highly inflated in favor of the Aces, we’re going to be a bit non-traditional and focus on a bet that we don’t touch on often: first-half point spread. I fully expect this to be a blowout from the opening tip, so we’ll be taking the Aces First Half Spread -8.5, available for +100 at BetMGM. Check out the lines at other books here.

Pick: Aces First Half Spread -8.5 | +100 at BetMGM

Dallas Wings vs. Connecticut Sun: Game 1 Odds & Predictions

Thursday, August 18 | 8 p.m. ET

On Thursday night, we have the 3-seed Connecticut Sun (25-11) taking on the 6-seed Dallas Wings (18-18). A much closer matchup than Wednesday’s slate of games, this one is a bit more interesting from a competitive standpoint.

The Wings have won two of their three matchups this season (once by double-digits), although the Sun do have the most dominant victory between the two teams from this past season. 

The Sun have momentum on their side (8-2 in their last 10) as well as health. While the Wings have arguably looked better in her absence, they are missing their leading scorer from this season, Arike Ogunbowale, due to a hip injury. When defenses tighten up in the playoffs, that’s a tough pill to swallow.

While we’ll be taking the Sun to win, the Wings have shown that they can be competitive with this team this year, so we’ll be taking a spread that’s a couple of points above the main listed spread. We’re taking the Connecticut Sun point spread at -6.5, available for -185 at BetMGM. Check out the lines at other books here.

Pick: Sun -6.5 | -185 at BetMGM

Washington Mystics vs. Seattle Storm: Game 1 Odds & Predictions

Thursday, August 18 | 10 p.m. ET

For the final Game 1 of the WNBA playoffs, we have the 4-seed Seattle Storm (22-14) and the 5-seed Washington Mystics (22-14). With the same record and similar overall net ratings, this promises to be the closest matchup of the playoffs.

Funnily enough, while the Storm have the slight edge on seeding due to their head-to-head matchups throughout the season, the Mystics have the edge in net rating (+5.7 vs. +5.2).

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In truth, I expect the Mystics to be the better team in this series. The Storm are very good at everything, but they’re not great at any one thing. Meanwhile, the Mystics are the best defensive team in the league.

When whistles disappear in the playoffs and the game slows down, defense wins games — and the Mystics have a significant advantage on that side of the ball. I expect this game and this series to largely come down to which team is able to maintain the rebounding advantage, as each possession in this series is going to be hugely important. 

While the odds don’t favor them, we’ll be taking the Washington Mystics moneyline in Game 1, and we’ll be doing so at +140 at FanDuel.

Pick: Mystics Moneyline | +140 at FanDuel

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