The WNBA regular season has just wrapped up, and now it’s time for the 2023 WNBA Playoffs. There are two clear favorites to be title contenders in the playoffs and one underdog who could make some noise in the playoffs. (Odds are as of 9/10, and as always, please bet responsibly.) Let’s break it down! Here is my official WNBA Playoff Preview and Best Bets!
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 10, 2023
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2023 WNBA Playoffs Preview and Best Bets
Las Vegas Aces
(-150 to win the 2023 WNBA Championship, DraftKings)
The Las Vegas Aces are the reigning championships in the WNBA. They arguably have the best starting five in the entire league, with the New York Liberty also in the conversation. The Aces have four players who can go out and score 30 points on any given night: Chelsea Gray, Kelsey Plum, Jackie Young, and the 2022 Most Valuable Player and 2022 Defensive Player of the Year, A’ja Wilson. They also have the potential 2023 sixth women of the year in Alysha Clark on their roster.
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 10, 2023
The Aces are led by and play through Wilson. I have a feeling that if, for some reason, Wilson doesn’t win MVP, she’s going to view it as a snub and go full-revenge postseason on the entire league. The only concern with the Aces is the lack of depth past the five starters and Clark.
There’s no recent news on whether Candace Parker will be able to play in any of the postseason, so the depth will 100% be a significant factor for the Aces in the postseason. You can almost 100% bank on the Aces to make it to the WNBA finals, but even as an Aces fan, I’m afraid that it’ll be another team lifting the trophy at the end of the postseason.
New York Liberty
(+150 to win the 2023 WNBA Championship, DraftKings; Name The Finalist – Exacta, New York Liberty to Win vs. Las Vegas Aces +250, FanDuel)
Remember when I said above, I’m afraid that it’ll be another team lifting the WNBA Championship besides the Aces? To quote the most popular musician in the world right now, “Hi, It’s the Liberty; they’re the Problem.” (Shout out Taylor Swift)
The Liberty are easily playing the best basketball they have played all season, as they have almost an entire season under their belt of building chemistry and getting used to playing with each other after adding previous league MVP winners Breanna Stewart and Jonquel Jones in the offseason as well as another offseason addition in Courtney Vandersloot, who moved into 3rd on the all-time assist leaders as a member of the Liberty.
Breanna Stewart is most likely heading toward her second WNBA MVP, Sabrina Ionescu is returning from a brief injury, Jonquel Jones has really found her groove post-all-star game, Betnijah Laney is playing phenomenal, and Courtney Vandersloot is the anchor at point guard that brings it all together.
Marine Johannes is one of the most exciting players to watch off the bench in the WNBA and will be the X-factor in the playoffs for the Liberty. The Liberty also has veteran leadership coming off the bench in Stefanie Dolson and Kayla Thorton, providing the Liberty with the depth that the Las Vegas Aces need more of.
MJ bein’ MJ 🪄 pic.twitter.com/LgePbpq1pO
— New York Liberty (@nyliberty) September 10, 2023
With the Liberty hitting their stride just as the postseason is ready to kick off, I’m taking the Liberty as my pick to win the 2023 WNBA Championship. (Also, consider sprinkling a little bit on an award future: Jonquel Jones to win 2023 WNBA Finals MVP, +5000, DraftKings)
One Underdog to Watch in the WNBA Playoffs:
Dallas Wings (+2200 to win the WNBA Championship, DraftKings)
Only three teams have been able to defeat both the New York Liberty and the Las Vegas Aces in the 2023 regular season. Those three teams are the Washington Mystics, Connecticut Sun, and the Dallas Wings. While the Mystics and Sun are good basketball teams that can slow down the tempo of a game, they both need more offensive firepower to keep up with the Aces and Liberty.
The one team that has the ability to keep on with the Aces and Liberty on the offense end is the Dallas Wings. The Wings are third in the WNBA in points per game behind, you guessed it, the Aces and the Liberty. The Wings have four starters averaging over ten points per game. (Arike Ogunbowale, Satou Sabally, Natasha Howard, and Teaira McCowan) Ogunbowale, Sabally, and Howard all average over 15 points per game. The Wings also lead the WNBA in total rebounds per game with 38.5.
MAKE THAT 32.
Marking the 15th time @Arike_O has recorded 30-or-more points since entering the league in 2019, no player has recorded more 30-plus point games in that time span than Ogunbowale. https://t.co/wcxJoxDrwh
— Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) September 10, 2023
The Wings could be a potential nightmare match-up for any team in the playoffs, including the Liberty and the Aces. The problem for the Wings is their inconsistency and the amount of points they give up on the defensive end. While the Wings can make some noise in the WNBA playoffs, they are a few moves and adjustments away from keeping up with the Aces and the Liberty, but they are close.
First-Round Match-Ups and Best Bets:
The first-round match-ups of the WNBA playoffs have officially been set, with the regular season wrapping up on Sunday. Let’s take a look at the match-ups and best bets for each match-up (Note the first-round match-ups are the best of three series with the higher seed hosting Games 1 and 2, while the semi-finals and finals are best of five series:
(1) Las Vegas Aces vs. (8) Chicago Sky
This series won’t even be close. Look for the Aces to score 90+ in both games and move on with relative ease. Plus, the Aces have the best home crowd in the league, especially the miss twice, get a slice promo for when the opposing team’s player misses two foul shots in a row. Also, expect a big opening series out of A’ja Wilson for the Aces, so keep an eye on her player props to be rolled out; I’m looking to play the over on any of her points totals as well as at 25+ points.
Las Vegas Aces -16.5 for Game 1, -110, FanDuel
Series Correct Score – Aces vs. Sky: Las Vegas Aces 2-0 -650, FanDuel
𝐓𝐇𝐄 𝐒𝐓𝐀𝐊𝐄𝐒 𝐀𝐑𝐄 𝐇𝐈𝐆𝐇𝐄𝐑 𝐓𝐇𝐀𝐍 𝐄𝐕𝐄𝐑 ♦️♠️
It’s officially playoff time in Las Vegas!
— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) September 11, 2023
(2) New York Liberty vs. (7) Washington Mystics
Don’t let the last regular season game fool you. I expect the New York Liberty to take losing on a buzzer-beater to end the regular season personally. Much like the Aces series above, I expect the Liberty to sweep the series, but the Mystics will be able to keep at least one game decently close. Ultimately, the Liberty will have too much offensive firepower that the Mystics won’t be able to keep up with.
New York Liberty -9.5 for Game 1, -110, FanDuel
Jonquel Jones Over 8.5 Rebounds in Game 1 -113, FanDuel
Series Correct Score – Liberty vs. Mystics: New York Liberty 2-0 -210, FanDuel
(3) Connecticut Sun vs. (6) Minnesota Lynx
Although the Sun have won three of the four head-to-head regular season match-ups, the Lynx are a scrappy team that can keep games close and result in some hard-fought wins. I expect Minnesota to win one of the first two games to force the series to go the full three games. Connecticut wins the series, but Minnesota makes them earn it.
Diamond Miller Over 10.5 Points in Game 1 -128, FanDuel
Alyssa Thomas Over 7.5 Assists in Game 1 -125, FanDuel
Series Total Games – Sun vs. Lynx 3 Games +160, FanDuel
(4) Dallas Wings vs. (5) Atlanta Dream
𝐑𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝 𝟏 𝐢𝐬 𝐬𝐞𝐭.
Time to get 𝐋𝐨𝐜𝐤𝐞𝐝 𝐈𝐧.
— Dallas Wings (@DallasWings) September 10, 2023
If you’re looking for a high-scoring battle of a series in the first round, this could be the one. Dallas is in the top five (3rd) in the WNBA for points per game (87.7 points per game) while also giving up the second most points per game to opponents (85.1 opponent points per game).
Atlanta is averaging 82.7 points per game while also being in the bottom half of points per game allowed to opponents. (83.7 opponent points per game). Long story short, expect a lot of offense and not a lot of defense. Ultimately, Dallas’ offense prevails two games in a row to sweep the series.
Dallas Wings -6.5 for Game 1, -110, FanDuel
Satou Sabally Over 1.5 Threes Made in Game 1 -102, FanDuel
Satou Sabally Over 4.5 Assists in Game 1 -130, FanDuel
Series Correct Score – Wings vs. Dream: Dallas Wings 2-0 -150, FanDuel