WNBA Outright Odds: Season Preview

Connecticut, Vegas Enter 2022 as Favorites

WNBA Title Contenders Aplenty

The WNBA season kicks off on Friday. And while the Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces enter the season as co-favorites according to the WNBA outright odds, the race to the championship will be more than a two-team affair.

The Chicago Sky posted a .500 record during the regular season before getting hot at the right time to win the franchise’s first WNBA title. It would not be surprising to see something like that happening again.

Much like a year ago, the crop of rookies aren’t expected to set the league on fire. It would help rebuilding teams like Indiana and Atlanta if the first-year players do come in and light things up.

Here’s the WNBA season preview with a team-by-team breakdown heading into the 2022 season-opening weekend.

Connecticut Sun

  • 2021 record: 26-6
  • Postseason result: Lost to Chicago 3-1 in semifinals
  • Championship odds: +325

The Sun had the best record in the WNBA during the 2021 regular season. However, they once again fell short in the postseason.

The perimeter defense took a hit with Briann January now a member of the Seattle Storm. However, the return of Courtney Williams to the Sun will give Connecticut an explosive scorer in the backcourt.

Having Alyssa Thomas for the entire season will be a huge plus, although it will be interesting to watch how head coach Curt Miller manages the minutes with Thomas joined by WNBA Most Valuable Player Jonquel Jones, DeWanna Bonner, Brionna Jones and Jasmine Thomas. First-round selection Nia Clouden is one of three new faces for the Sun.

The WNBA outright odds look at Connecticut as one of the teams to beat thanks to a talented starting lineup.

Las Vegas Aces

  • 2021 record: 24-8
  • Postseason result: Lost to Phoenix 3-2 in semifinals
  • Championship odds: +325

Becky Hammon, who played for the franchise when it was based in San Antonio, takes over as head coach for Bill Laimbeer. Hammon made it clear that the 3-pointer will be a key part of the offensive game plan. Getting the ball to A’ja Wilson will also be a priority. Any team with Wilson is going to be looked upon favorably in the WNBA outright odds.

The Aces had seven players average more than 10 points per game and six of them are returning, so the offense shouldn’t be a problem. The Aces will need to replace the 14.2 points and 8.2 rebounds per game following the departure of Liz Cambage.

Chicago Sky

  • 2021 record: 16-16
  • Postseason result: Won WNBA championship
  • Championship odds: +450

The Sky made a surprising run to the franchise’s first WNBA title, powered by the veteran trio of Candace Parker, Allie Quigley and Courtney Vandersloot. Kahleah Copper was unstoppable during the postseason run.

Chicago will have to replace double-digit scorer Diamond DeShields, Stefanie Dolson and Astou Ndour, so more will be expected from Azura Stevens and Ruthy Hebard. The addition of Emma Meesseman, who averages at least 13 points per game in her last four WNBA seasons, will be a key moving forward.

One of the many questions during the 2022 WNBA season is whether Chicago can win back-to-back titles.

Seattle Storm

  • 2021 record: 21-11
  • Postseason result: Lost to Phoenix in the second round
  • Championship odds: +450

This will be the final season in the remarkable career for point guard Sue Bird. She will have her usual running mates in Breanna Stewart and Jewell Loyd. Jordin Canada and Katie Lou Samuelson are among the players departing. Gabby Williams missed the 2021 season after being acquired from Chicago. Veterans Briann January and Jantel Lavender are among the new additions.

There’s not much scoring depth on the team, but any squad with Bird, Stewart and Loyd is a dangerous one come playoff time.

Phoenix Mercury

  • 2021 record: 19-13
  • Postseason result: Lost to Chicago 3-1 in WNBA finals
  • Championship odds: +600

The addition of 2021 scoring champion Tina Charles makes Phoenix a scary team on the offensive end. She’ll join Diana Taurasi, Skylar Diggins-Smith and Brianna Turner as key returnees.

Brittney Griner is also on the roster, but she is currently being detained after she was arrested in Russia. There is no timetable for her return to the United States.

When Griner does come back, this will be a formidable opponent.

Minnesota Lynx

  • 2021 record: 22-10
  • Postseason result: Lost to Chicago in the second round
  • Championship odds: +800

Minnesota won’t lack for proven WNBA performers with Napheesa Collier, Sylvia Fowles and Kayla McBride being joined by Odyssey Sims and Angel McCoughtry.

The Lynx had some surprising roster cuts with double-digit scorer Laysia Clarendon and 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year Crystal Dangerfield among the players being let go. There are a lot of personalities to manage on this team, but there also is a ton of talent. A key could be Damiris Dantas, who dropped off a bit after averaging 13 points and 6.0 rebounds per game in the 2020 campaign.

Washington Mystics

  • 2021 record: 12-20
  • Postseason result: Did not qualify for playoffs
  • Championship odds: +1800

The good news is that Elena Delle Donne should play more than three games this season. However, the loss of Tina Charles, who put up 23.4 points and 9.6 rebounds a season ago, is a big blow. Emma Meesseman missed the 2021 season and is now a member of the Chicago Sky.

Ariel Atkins, Myisha Hines-Allen and Natasha Cloud are proven WNBA producers. Elizabeth Williams joins the Mystics from Atlanta and 6-foot-5 rookie Shakira Austin should help provide some size.

New York Liberty

  • 2021 record: 12-20
  • Postseason result: Lost to Phoenix in first round
  • Championship odds: +2200

The 2020 draft class was supposed to be the key to setting up the Liberty for future success. No. 1 overall pick Sabrina Ionescu is still in New York, but many of the other players drafted by the Liberty that year have moved on.

The return of Asia Durr, who hasn’t played since 2019, will help. Natasha Howard and Betnijah Laney combined for 33 points per game during the 2021 season while Sami Whitcomb and Rebecca Allen are proven WNBA scorers. Veteran Stefanie Dolson was signed to add depth in the post.

Los Angeles Sparks

  • 2021 record: 12-20
  • Postseason result: Did not qualify for playoffs
  • Championship odds: +3000

The players might need some time to mesh considering all the roster changes. Liz Cambage, Jordin Canada, Chennedy Carter and Lexie Brown have been added to the roster. Nneka Ogwumike is clearly the face of the franchise and one of the most consistent players in the WNBA. Her sister, Chiney, has played seven games in the last two seasons, so it is uncertain how much she can be relied upon.

Dallas Wings

  • 2021 record: 14-18
  • Postseason result: Lost to Chicago in the first round
  • Championship odds: +6600

Is this the year where all the young players and high draft picks start to figure things out?

Dallas added 6-foot-7 Teaira McCowan in the offseason, giving the team one of the best rebounders in the league. Arike Ogunbowale can put up points as well as anybody in the WNBA. The season could be determined by the emergence of Satou Sabally, Charli Collier, Awak Kuier and Tyasha Harris. First-round pick Veronica Burton will bring a defensive presence to the backcourt.

Atlanta Dream

  • 2021 record: 8-24
  • Postseason result: Did not qualify for playoffs
  • Championship odds: +8000

The Dream moved on from former No. 1 draft pick Chennedy Carter and high-scoring guard Courtney Williams, so one question is where will the points come from?

Veteran Tiffany Hayes returns but Odyssey Sims and Elizabeth Williams are also among the departed players.

Cheyenne Parker, Monique Billings and Nia Coffey give Atlanta some options in the frontcourt. Second-year guard Aari McDonald and No. 1 overall pick Rhyne Howard could hold the key to Atlanta’s future.

Indiana Fever

  • 2021 record: 6-26
  • Postseason result: Did not qualify for playoffs
  • Championship odds: +8000

Indiana had four of the top 10 picks in the most recent WNBA Draft, so plenty of eyes will be on the quartet of NaLysa Smith, Emily Engstler, Lexie Hull and Queen Egbo.

With the trade of Teaira McCowan in the offseason, Indiana is without the No. 3 overall picks in both the 2019 and 2020 drafts. Indiana does return four of its top six scorers from last season (Kelsey Mitchell, Tiffany Mitchell, Danielle Robinson and Victoria Vivians), but this is looking like another long season for the Fever.

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