Well, Game 3 of the WNBA Finals is here, and hopefully it won’t be the last one, but given what we’ve seen in the first two matchups of this series, it very well could be.
The Las Vegas Aces are up 2-0 on the New York Liberty, and more importantly, we went just 1-2 on Game 2 props — I think it’s our first under .500 day in nearly two months, but I’d need to fact check that. Just know it’s been a long time.
On that note, here’s a record update.
- WNBA season: 48-32
- WNBA since August 8: 34-15
- WNBA playoffs: 16-9
- WNBA Finals: 2-3
Ultimately, when it comes to Game 3, you could talk yourself into anything. You could look at the result of Games 1 and 2 and easily believe that will carry over into yet another blowout for the Aces in Game 3. However, you could also turn to the Liberty’s regular season success against the Aces and Brooklyn and think that’ll translate to the playoffs. Maybe the Aces are due to fall off after a hot start from the field, and, conversely, the Liberty rising above water after two dreadful games. Honestly, whatever you want.
Me? I’m just looking for win No. 50 on the season, and hopefully, this Finals series we’ve been looking forward to all year doesn’t end with a Notorious B.I.G.-sized fart noise on 620 Atlantic Avenue.
WNBA Finals Player Props
Las Vegas Aces vs. New York Liberty
Jonquel Jones Over 16.5 Points (-113)
|Time | TV||3 p.m. ET | ABC|
The only consistent thing about any of the Liberty’s positive production is that Jonquel Jones has done her part.
The Bahamian Big has recorded 38 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks while shooting 15-for-24 (62.5 percent) from the field and 7-for-9 (77.8 percent) on free throws in the first two games, finishing with 16 and 10, then 22 and 10, respectively.
Jones has shot identically in each game, going 7-for-12 in Game 1, followed by 8-for-12 in Game 2. And even in two blowout losses, she’s gotten steady minutes — as expected — 34 in Game 1 and 30 in Game 2.
She’s the only Liberty player I’d feel good about betting on right now because of their collective volatility. Breanna Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu are struggling but are liable to bounce back at any moment, as is Betnijah Laney to a lesser extent because she was consistently awesome before the Finals.
But I think Jones, regardless of outcome, should get over 16.5 points. The others are more dependent on how the team is performing in a way that Jones hasn’t been in this series. For good measure, she’s gone over in five of her last nine, including all eight playoff games and the final contest of the Liberty regular season. All five hits were of games with 19 or more points, and she also had a near miss of 16 earlier this season, as previously mentioned.
Chelsea Gray Over 15.5 Points (-110)
If there’s one player from the Aces that I’m not worried about regressing to any distinct mean, it’s Chelsea Gray, who I seriously think should get more Finals MVP consideration than she actually will.
Gray has been the tone-setter in the series and has dominated with her pace, her precision passing, and her consistency, along with her production. The five-time All-Star finished Game 1 with 20 points, nine assists and six rebounds, following up with 14 points, 11 assists and six rebounds in Game 2.
She’s only hit this over three times in the playoffs, but has done so twice in her last four efforts. Additionally, Gray has peppered the Liberty defense — a backcourt who hasn’t been able to guard anyone this series — for 16 or more points three times in seven tries this season, including the Finals and Commissioner’s Cup, but finished with 15 or 14 points in each of her misses.
As an alternative, I like Gray to hit over 1.5 threes, which she’s done both times this season and in three of her last four, though, that’s only at -146, for what it’s worth.
A’ja Wilson Under 10.5 Rebounds (-113)
I’m going to stick to what I said before this series started, which was, if the Aces are going to win, they will have to be led by their guards, not necessarily A’ja Wilson.
And while she has put up All-Star production, it’s clear that the Aces guards and shooting has really spearheaded their victories more than Wilson’s general dominance. Wilson exploded for 26 and 15 in her last effort, which I noted was destined to happen eventually, because she’s too excellent, but I didn’t see it happening routinely in this series because of her prior struggles against the Liberty.
Game 2 marked Wilson’s first time, in seven tries, over 23 points and over eight rebounds in any game against the Liberty this year. So, despite how all this looks, I’m going under her 10.5 rebounds in Game 3, citing everything before Game 2 as my frame of reference.
She has stayed under this number in seven games against the Liberty, and three unders in seven playoff games, and including that, she’s gone under in 12 of her last 18 games overall.
I’m sticking to bets I think could hit regardless of result, so this is a third that I don’t think will directly correlate with who I think will win or lose Game 3.