A week in the books and the first semifinal is set.
The Las Vegas Aces made quick work of the Phoenix Mercury, while the Seattle Storm made sure they didn’t have to travel to Washington. The Storm looked like a true contender (I hope you listened to Matt Moore and I in the playoff preview) as they escaped what was supposed to be the toughest first-round matchup in just two games.
The other half of the bracket is entirely empty as the two-seeded Chicago Sky and three-seeded Connecticut Sun both dropped home games to necessitate this potentially controversial road Game 3. If either of these title contenders loses in Round 1, expect to hear about the new format having played a role.
It was a fun start on the court (Sunday blowouts aside) and it was a profitable start in our pocketbooks — assuming you followed the plays we handed out here.
Seattle to win its series 2-0 is my only play to have settled from our big playoff preview and that hit for a nice +165 return on Sunday. From the more granular preview later in the week, we went 4-2 with the only misses being the two leans.
The broader preview also left us a with a couple open plays heading into the Game 3s slated for Tuesday and Wednesday. With that in mind, let’s preview the action.
Article plays: 64-43-3 (21.0% ROI)
Action Network app plays: 175-154-2 (9.2% ROI)
WNBA Odds & Picks
Click on game to skip ahead
|Sky vs. Liberty Game 3||Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET|
|Sun vs. Wings Game 3||Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET|
Sky vs. Liberty Game 3 Odds
|Moneyline||-278 / +220|
|Time | TV||Tuesday, 9 p.m. ET | ESPN|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
There was a bit of internet drama regarding the health of Kahleah Copper heading into Sunday’s Game 2, but the reigning Finals MVP was on the court and showing out. There shouldn’t be much doubt that she’s healthy.
She was the only player to be even considered questionable for these two teams.
Did Chicago Flip the Switch?
After a late blown lead in Game 1 that certainly did not paint the reigning champions in a flattering light, Game 2 was a full smackdown.
Chicago jumped out to a 21-point lead by the end of the first quarter and the margin only increased from there as the Sky won 100-62 — the most lopsided game in WNBA playoff history.
And so we come to Game 3. If you followed the advice in our mega preview, you’ll be sitting on a Liberty 2-1 series exact ticket right now. It doesn’t offer much of a hedge, but let’s take a quick look regardless.
If you put one unit on that pre-series bet, priced at +390, you are offered a very narrow window in which to guarantee yourself a profit. If you were to place a 3.6 unit bet at BetMGM on the Sky to win Game 3, you’d be up 0.295 units with a Chicago win and 0.3 units with a New York win. This is likely not a good use of your capital, though, unless your betting unit is big enough that less than a third of one is a notable amount to turn down.
However, if you believe the Sky really did flip the switch, as Courtney Vandersloot suggested after Game 2, the previous bet does allow you to really go all in on Chicago, knowing you have a back-up plan if New York wins.
Personally, I’m not sold on that hedge.
I think the line has come out in just about the right spot, so I’m going to ride that first Liberty ticket when it comes to a side.
As such, I am once again going to head over to the player prop market.
I am basically flipping my fade(s) of Sabrina Ionescu in Game 2 (both of which landed). I am going to avoid the assists, but I don’t foresee Ionescu going down without a fight at home in Game 3.
You can get over 6.5 rebounds for -156 at FanDuel, but I also like that total at over 7.5 if the line adjusts and you can get close to even money on it. Ionescu’s points prop is sitting at 18.5 (-114), another number I would grab (less wiggle room on that one). In Game 2, Ionescu played only 23 minutes and took just five shots. She also played less than two minutes in her beloved fourth quarter. Even if Chicago is up by a decent margin in Game 3, Ionescu is going to play more and shoot more because there is nothing left in the season.
Picks: Sabrina Ionescu over 18.5 points and 6.5 rebounds (up to over 7.5 around even money)
Sun vs. Wings Game 3 Odds
|Moneyline||-265 / +210|
|Time | TV||Wednesday, 9 p.m. ET | ESPN|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
Arike Ogunbowale remains out for the Dallas Wings. Otherwise, there’s no new news for either team since the series started.
Much Better Hedge Spot
Ok, if you’re a hedgehog, this is your spot. The Sun to win series 2-1 exact bet I handed out in the playoff preview now requires only a half unit bet to guarantee some profit (0.44 being the crossover line) and if you wanted to split the difference, you could guarantee yourself over two units, with a 0.9 unit bet on the Wings at +228 at Caesars.
I’m not going that way, however.
Despite laying an egg in Game 2, I still like the Sun to come out rocking on Wednesday and advance to the next round.
College Park Center has been far from a fortress this year for the Wings (8-10 at home) and the Sun have been great on the road (12-6 on the road).
This is also the exact spot where a team like the Wings is finally going to miss their superstar, Arike Ogunbowale. There has been a lot of Ewing Theory chatter centered around the Notre Dame legend and I have bought into it at times. However, in a winner-take-all game like this on Wednesday, offensive possessions get tight and you need players like Ogunbowale, who can score with zero space. She has no fear (sometimes to her detriment) of taking the big shot and in elimination games, that matters.
Speaking of which, the play I do like for this game is the under. Both the overall game under, as well as the Wings team total under. These numbers have tracked down slightly since opening, but there is still value at their current price.
Pick: Under 164.5
Pick: Dallas team total under 79.5 (at Caesars now; play to under 78.5)