WNBA: Finding an Edge Amid the Elena Delle Donne Injury

How Bettors Should Approach Washington Mystics Games While Factoring in Elena Delle Donne’s injury.

In 2019, Elena Delle Donne led the Washington Mystics to its first WNBA title in franchise history, winning her first championship in the process. She did so while playing through a back injury that would keep her sidelined for a good majority of the next two seasons. Throughout the 2020 and 2021 seasons, Elena Delle Donne’s injury caused her to play in just three total games.

The Elena Effect is Real, Does Her Absence Change the Game?

She underwent two back surgeries within the same calendar year to repair herniated discs, which left the WNBA veteran having to re-learn how to walk again. Delle Donne, who lives with Lyme disease, also opted out of the 2020 season because of her condition and what the potential exposure to the coronavirus could do to her health.

With so much surrounding the Elena Delle Donne injury, her return to the floor at the start of the 2022 season came with great anticipation for Mystics fans. While she entered training camp at nearly full strength, the Mystics coaching staff and medical team created a plan to manage her time on the court in hopes of preventing further injuries and setbacks.

What Can Bettors Expect?

This season, due to the Elena Delle Donne injury, rest days have been baked into the star’s playing schedule. If the team has a crazy travel spot or too many games in a single week, Delle Donne is likely to sit for one. So far, she has only played three consecutive games once this season and, for the most part, plays nearly every other game. With their best player on and off the WNBA injury report, it not only makes it difficult for the team to manage expectations but also for bettors looking to back Washington.

The Mystics hold a 12-9 overall record through nearly two months of WNBA games. They are 9-4 straight up with Delle Donne in the lineup and 3-5 with her out of the lineup. When she is on the floor, Washington’s offense runs through Delle Donne; at 6’5”, Delle Donne adds size to the lineup that often creates mismatches for opposing teams. Therefore, it seems obvious that the Mystics’ record is better with their star on the floor.

The same is true when betting odds on the spread with and without Delle Donne in the lineup. Washington is 9-4 ATS when Delle Donne plays. Without her, perhaps the market is not putting enough value on her because the Mystics are 4-4 ATS when she is not on the floor.

Bettors Have a Plethora of WNBA Betting Options

In terms of the total, the under seems to be the profitable play regardless if she plays or not. The under has hit in 9 of 13 games with Delle Donne and 5 of 8 without her. Washington is averaging 79.9 ppg with Delle Donne and 77.7 ppg without her. However, they’re giving up 78.5 points to opponents when she’s not on the floor versus 74.6 when she is on the floor.

As the season goes on, I expect Delle Donne’s load management to decrease, and I think we will see her playing more consistently by the end of the season and into the playoffs. I would also continue to look for opportunities to bet either the spread or the under when she is in the lineup and would stay away from the spread when she is out. As she gets more consistent playing time, I think the Mystics are going to be a very profitable ATS team towards the end of the season.

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