The opening round of the WNBA playoff schedule continues Friday, with the fourth-seeded Dallas Wings hosting the fifth-seeded Atlanta Dream. Dallas is a comfortable 6.5-point favorite (-114) and -295 on the moneyline to win Game 1 at home. Atlanta, meanwhile, is +7 (-106) and +240 on the moneyline. The projected total is 168.5 (-112 Over, -108 Under).
Game 2 is slated for Sept. 19, also at Dallas, while a deciding Game 3 would be held Sept. 22 at Atlanta.
While this is shaping to be one of the more competitive first-round series, Dallas is still a -310 favorite to advance, with Atlanta priced at +240. Should the Dream be getting more respect? Read on as we break down both teams in our Wings vs Dream betting preview.
Atlanta Dream vs Dallas Wings
Date & Time:
Location: College Park Center; Arlington, Texas
The Dallas Wings have gone 21-19 against the spread, including 11-9 ATS at home and 14-14 when favored. Notably, Dallas has won its last three games ATS. The Atlanta Dream, meanwhile, are 19-21 ATS, including just 8-12 on the road and 10-13 as an underdog. Remember when evaluating the odds in our Wings vs Dream betting preview.
Can Dallas’ Defense Rise to the Occasion?
The Dallas Wings have already beaten expectations, going 22-18 to secure a WNBA playoff berth for the third straight season. As the No. 4 seed, Dallas faces a potentially daunting road. If the Wings are able to take care of business in the opening round, the defending champion Las Vegas Aces likely await in the semifinals. It’s why the Wings are a +2200 longshot to win it all, according to WNBA lines, up from +3500 in the preseason.
Dallas is undoubtedly talented. The duo of Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally is one of the WNBA’s best. Add in veterans like Natasha Howard and Teaira McCowan and the Wings have a team capable of going on a surprise run. But consistency is the key. Can the Wings, who went just 4-4 over their last eight games, put it together when it matters most? That’s what will ultimately make or break the Wings’ season.
Dallas is unquestionably dynamic on offense. Ogunbowale is an elite scorer. She averaged 21.2 points (fifth in the WNBA) and made 117 3-pointers, trailing only New York’s Sabrina Ionescu (128). And then there’s Sabally, who averaged 18.6 points. As a team, Dallas ranked third in the WNBA in scoring (87.9 points per game).
But to reach their potential, the Wings must tighten up things on the other end of the floor. They ranked just ninth defensively, allowing teams an average of 84.9 points. The only three teams worse than them were a combined 41-74, though the Minnesota Lynx did make the playoffs despite a sub-.500 record.
Six of Dallas’ last eight opponents scored 90 points or more. They allowed at least 100 points seven times. That’s important to remember when assessing the odds in our Wings vs Dream betting preview.
Atlanta ‘Dream’ing of Playoff Run
Despite a mediocre 19-21 record, the Atlanta Dream managed to break their four-year postseason drought. Atlanta — one of four sub-.500 playoff teams — earned the No. 5 seed in the WNBA standings after losing eight of their last 12 games in the regular season.
Atlanta’s late-season slump has tempered expectations. The Dream is a +12000 longshot to win it all, the second-to-longest odds in the field. And even that may be a tad generous. The Dream still feels like a team that’s a year or two away from seriously contending.
The Dream is led by forward Rhyne Howard, who followed up her Rookie of the Year season by leading the team in scoring (17.5 points per game), assists (3.5), and steals (1.3). She’s gotten plenty of help from Allisha Gray and Cheyenne Parker, who have formed one of the more productive trios in the WNBA. But they’ll need more assistance from the rest of the roster to knock off Dallas.
Notably, Atlanta ranks fifth in the WNBA in scoring (82.5) and seventh in opponents’ scoring (84.0).
Handicapping the Game
Dallas swept Atlanta during the regular season, beating them by an average of 12.0 points in their three wins. That includes a 94-77 victory in Sunday’s finale, in which Ogunbowale poured in a game-high 32 points. Will history repeat itself this round? If so, that could be trouble for Atlanta.
The Wings are on the rise. They’re still a tier below the WNBA’s top two teams, the Aces and New York Liberty, but the Wings — who haven’t won a playoff series since relocating from Tulsa in 2016 — aren’t far from being a legitimate contender. With a young core led by Ogunbowale and Sabally, the future is bright. Really, really bright. With that in mind, expect them to outlast Atlanta in the opening round.
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