Basketball: 2022 WNBA All-Star Game Preview

The WNBA’s Brightest Make Their Way to Chicago for the 2022 WNBA All-Star Game.

The first half of the 2022 WNBA season is in the books, which means it is time for the WNBA All-Star Game. Several of the league’s brightest stars will infiltrate Chicago this weekend as the defending champion Chicago Sky host the All-Star festivities at Wintrust Arena.

The event kicks off on Saturday, July 9, with the 3-point contest and the skills challenge. Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley will look to defend her crown in the 3-point contest, having won in 2017-18 and 2021. A win on Saturday would make her the first WNBA or NBA player to win four different times. She’ll have her work cut out for her though because she’ll be going up against Las Vegas Aces’ guard Kelsey Plum. Plum is the league’s current three point leader with 71.

The Stars Align

Quigley and Plum will be joined by 2022 All-Stars Ariel Atkins of the Washington Mystics, Rhyne Howard of the Atlanta Dream, Jewell Loyd of the Seattle Storm, and Arike Ogunbowale of the Dallas Wings. Of the six contestants, only Quigley and Loyd have participated in previous contests. Details for the skills challenge have not yet been released.

The 18th WNBA All-Star Game will take place on Sunday with a matchup between the WNBA’s best players. A’ja Wilson and Breanna Stewart were voted team captains, and each drafted their own roster. Team Wilson will be coached by Las Vegas head coach Becky Hammon and will feature Wilson, Sylvia Fowles, Candace Parker, Kelsey Plum, and Sabrina Ionescu as the team’s starters. Team Stewart will be coached by Chicago Sky head coach James Wade and feature Stewart, Sue Bird, Jackie Young, Jonquel Jones, and Nneka Ogwumike.

What Are the Odds?

If you have searched for WNBA betting odds for this weekend’s events, you probably haven’t had much luck finding any. It’s likely that bookmakers are going to wait until the very last minute to release odds after the debacle that happened last year. According to ESPN’s David Purdum, Circa Sports was the first book to post an over/under on the total for the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game. That line opened at 248.5 but moved drastically to 195.5 just an hour before tipoff.

Purdum noted that the 53-point shift was the largest movement that several veteran bookmakers have ever seen. The ending total for last year’s game was 178, which finished well under the closing total. With that big of a mistake made by bookmakers, it’s no surprise that they’re going to be extra tight on releasing lines for this year.

What Can We Expect From This Matchup?

Once lines are released and pending where they’re at, I would look to try and play on the storyline of Seattle Storm teammates Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird playing on the same team together. With this being Bird’s final WNBA season, we could see her team wanting to send her out with a win. Now, you could say the same for Sylvia Fowles, who is also retiring after this season and is the co-captain for Team Wilson; however, the chemistry that Bird and Stewart have together is something that will help them in a situation like the ASG where teams are made up of players who haven’t spent much time on the floor together.

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