The WNBA playoffs are on to the semifinals, The top four seeds have held serve to this point, setting up a pair of intriguing series. The No. 1 Las Vegas Aces will square off with the No. 4 Dallas Wings, while the No. 2 New York Liberty will face the No. 3 Connecticut Sun.
The best-of-five series will tip off Sunday, starting with New York (-6.5, -278) and Connecticut (+6.5, +225) at 1 p.m. ET. Las Vegas (-10.5, -625) and Dallas (+10.5, +455) will follow at 5 p.m.
Read on as we break down both matchups in our WNBA semifinal round odds preview.
No. 1 Las Vegas Aces vs No. 4 Dallas Wings
The Las Vegas Aces have been the WNBA’s most dominant team from the start. After locking up the No. 1 overall seed — not to mention, a first-round bye — with a record of 34-6, the Aces need only six more victories to become the first WNBA team to win back-to-back titles since the 2001-02 Los Angeles Sparks. In making their fifth straight trip to the semifinals, the Aces have seen their title odds jump to -160.
Las Vegas, fueled by who’s who of All-Stars, averaged a league-high 92.8 points per game and outscored opponents by an average of 12.5 points. In that sense, the key to their success is no secret.
A’ja Wilson is the reigning WNBA MVP, and she very well could repeat next week. The five-time All-Star ranked top five in several statistical categories, including first in blocks (2.2 per game), second in rebounding (9.5) and third in scoring (22.8).
Even if Dallas somehow is able to keep her in check, she’s surrounded by premium talent, including Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young and Chelsea Gray. And that doesn’t even take into account Candace Parker, who has been out since July after undergoing surgery on her foot. The two-time MVP and seven-time All-Star was Las Vegas’ big offseason acquisition.
The Dallas Wings went just 1-3 against Las Vegas during the regular season. They were 12 games behind them in the WNBA standings, though you probably wouldn’t think it. In Arike Ogunbowale and Satou Sabally, the Wings have one of the best young cores in the WNBA.
In Dallas’ first-round sweep of Atlanta, Ogunbowale picked up where she left off in the regular season, averaging 22 points on 44.7% shooting. And she got plenty of help from Sabally, the league Most Improved Player. The former No. 2 overall pick erupted for 32 points, five rebounds and four steals in Game 1. In addition to them, the Wings size, with the 6-foot-7 Teaira McCowan and 6-2 former WNBA Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard, could present some problems for Las Vegas.
The Wings lost in the first round each of the previous two seasons. The franchise has never won an WNBA title in Dallas or Tulsa (2010-15), though it did do so three times in Detroit (2003, 2006, 2008). According to WNBA odds, the Wings are currently +2500 to win it all.
Betting Trends: Las Vegas is 23-20 against the spread, including 15-8 at home. Dallas, meanwhile, has won its last five games ATS and is 23-19 overall. That’s important to remember when assessing the WNBA semifinal round odds.
Series Odds: Las Vegas -1600, Dallas +850
No. 2 New York Liberty vs No. 3 Connecticut Sun
The New York Liberty, the WNBA’s other “Super Team,” looms as the biggest threat to Las Vegas. And that’s no secret. This is what most expected when the Liberty struck it big last offseason, adding Breanna Stewart, Jonquel Jones and Courtney Vandersloot to a roster that already included Sabrina Ionescu. All they’ve done since then is go 32-8 to lock up the league’s second-best record. After sweeping Washington in the first round, New York is +135 to win its first WNBA title.
New York’s best bet to cash in is, of course, Stewart. The five-time All-Star is capable of taking over a game any given night. She’s had four 40-point games and seven 30-point games, cementing herself as a finalist for WNBA MVP alongside Wilson and Connecticut’s Alyssa Thomas. But like Wilson, Stewart doesn’t need to do it all on her own. She’s got a dynamic supporting cast in Ionescu, who scored 29 points in Game 1 against Washington, and Jones.
The Liberty proved they can win in a number of ways. They went a league-best 17-3 away from home and even beat Las Vegas three times, including 82-63 in the Commissioner’s Cup final. It helps that they averaged the second-most points in the WNBA (89.2).
The Connecticut Sun have also never won an WNBA title, despite constantly knocking on the door. On the heels of last year’s trip to the Finals, the Sun went 27-13 to clinch the No. 3 seed. They showed plenty of resolve in doing so, overcoming an season-ending Achilles injury to All-Star center Brionna Jones.
It sure helped having Thomas. She averaged 15.5 points, a league-high 9.9 rebounds and 7.9 assists during the regular season. On top of that she had six triple-doubles, adding to her record total. And when the Sun needed her most, in a decisive Game 3 in the first round against Minnesota, Thomas rose to the occasion with 28 points and 12 assists.
Also, don’t overlook DeWanna Bonner. She, too, has been one of the best WNBA players for quite some time. Bonner had two double-doubles in Round One, and her presence is paramount to Connecticut. That duo is a big reason why Connecticut’s been the league’s stingiest defensive team, holding opponents to just 79.0 points per game. The Sun are +2000 to win the title.
Notably, New York is the only team that Connecticut has not beaten. The Liberty won all four regular-season meetings.
Betting Trends: New York is just 20-22 ATS, including 18-20 when favored. Connecticut, however, has fared far better, going 24-17-1 ATS, including a WNBA-best 12-7-1 on the road.
Series Odds: New York -370, Connecticut +280
For WNBA semifinal round odds, betting news, analysis and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.
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