The road to the WNBA Finals is no cakewalk for the New York Liberty. They were reminded of that Sunday, as the third-seeded Connecticut Sun stunned the second-seeded Liberty 78-63 in Game 1 of the best-of-five semifinals at Barclays Center.
Game 2 is set for Tuesday, with New York looking to even the series at home. Oddsmakers seem to like the Liberty’s chances of responding, listing them as comfortable 8.5-point favorites (-110). The Liberty is also -375 to win outright, while Connecticut is +8.5 (-110) on the spread and +305 on the moneyline. Meanwhile, the projected total is 161.5 (-110 Over, -110 Under).
Read on as we break down the Sun vs Liberty betting odds in our Game 2 preview.
Connecticut Sun vs New York Liberty
Date & Time:
Location: Barclays Center; New York
The New York Liberty are 1-5 against the spread over their last six games, including 1-4 in their last five games at home. For the season, the Liberty are just 20-23 ATS. The total has gone Over in five of New York’s last six games. The Connecticut Sun, meanwhile, are 5-2 ATS in their last seven games and 25-17-1 overall. The total has gone Under in four of Connecticut’s last six games. That’s important to remember when assessing the Sun vs Liberty betting odds.
Defense Does It
Better late than never, the Connecticut Sun (27-13) picked up their first win in five tries against New York this season. The Liberty, the only WNBA team Connecticut hadn’t beaten, were outscored 41-23 in the second half to fall into an early series hole.
Connecticut, a 6.5-point underdog, got a game-high 20 points from DeWanna Bonner, while Alyssa Thomas added eight points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. In addition to balanced scoring — four Sun players hit double figures — the Sun made a tremendous effort defensively. The Liberty shot 33.8%, committed 14 turnovers, and were held to just eight points in the fourth quarter. The 63 points were easily a season-low for the Liberty, who came in averaging 89.2 on the WNBA schedule.
Based on the regular season, Connecticut’s defensive effort wasn’t all that surprising. The Sun led the WNBA in scoring defense due, in part, to the tenacity of Thomas. The four-time All-Star and two-time All-Defensive First Teamer had two steals in Game 1 and is averaging 2.3 in the playoffs. It’s no wonder she’s a finalist for WNBA MVP, alongside New York’s Breanna Stewart and Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson, the reigning winner.
Following the win, Connecticut saw its WNBA title odds soar from +2000 to +900. The Sun still, however, are third on the WNBA betting odds board. Of the four semifinalists, only the Dallas Wings (+4000) have longer odds.
Offense Goes Cold for NY
The New York Liberty went cold in Game 1, turning in one of their worst offensive efforts of the season. The Liberty shot 8-of-27 (29.6%) from 3-point range and scored just four points in the paint in the second half. That’s right, just four. Stewart, a two-time Finals MVP and one of the league’s top scorers was held to 19 points on 7-of-25 shooting (0-of-8 from 3), and four-time All-Star Jonquel Jones battled foul trouble.
The Liberty are certainly capable of responding. But this looked nothing like the team that had separated itself as a WNBA title contender. New York went 32-8 to lock up the league’s second-best record. And in doing so, it held its own against Las Vegas, beating the defending champions three times, including 82-63 in the Commissioner’s Cup final.
As such, the Liberty entered the playoffs as a strong +135 title pick. Those odds have since dropped to +270, as Las Vegas (-240) has only widened its grip as the favorite. Still, New York is firmly in the mix.
The Liberty will need more from not only Stewart but also Sabrina Ionescu, who was held to 12 points on 4-of-14 shooting. Ionescu also had just one assist. Keep that in mind when analyzing the Sun vs Liberty betting odds.
Handicapping the Game
New York hadn’t lost back-to-back games all season before in Game 1 to Connecticut. Is that a harbinger of things to come? Or was it just an aberration? Regardless, with the best-of-five series set to shift to Mohegan Sun Arena on Friday, New York can ill afford another poor performance.
Following the loss, Jones and other Liberty players suggested that the team lacked energy and effort. Head coach Sandy Brondello went so far as to call it the team’s “worst game of the season.” If anything, it sounds like the Liberty got the wakeup call they needed.
Trailing 1-0, expect New York to get its offense back in sync and respond to even the series on Tuesday. New York -8.5 seems like a fairly accurate number.
Can’t get enough? Here’s more!
- Wings vs Aces Preview: Bet For More Fried Wings This Tuesday
- WNBA Semifinal Rounds Odds Preview: Aces, Liberty Remain in Driver’s Seat
- Sun vs Lynx Odds: Can Connecticut Avoid First-Round Flame-Out?
- Sun vs Lynx Odds: Money on Minnesota to Complete WNBA Quarters Upset
- Lopsided Mystics vs Liberty Odds Headline WNBA Quarters This Tuesday