Last Updated: 2017-09-24
The WNBA Finals begin today and it’s no surprise that the defending champions, the Los Angeles Sparks, are facing off against the Minnesota Lynx for the title. The two have been the class of the WNBA the past few seasons and it was clear early on that these two were on a collision course to meet in the Finals once again.
Neither team had any trouble in the playoffs, sweeping their first opponent, and both covering two out of the three games. These two teams met three times during the regular season, splitting the two games played in Minnesota and Los Angeles won the lone game played in California. But the Lynx have home court advantage for the series, which is one reason why they are -190 to wrestle the crown away from the Sparks. The other is that they’re simply a little bit better of a team, head-to-head play notwithstanding.
The Lynx won the first meeting in an obvious revenge situation, having lost to the Sparks in the Finals a year ago, and Los Angeles returned the favor in the rematch, coming away with a 70-64 victory. In Los Angeles, the Lynx made 18 turnovers and were playing catch-up the entire way and fell 78-67 after trailing by 14 points at the half.
Minnesota is favored by 4.5 points for Game 1 after opening as 4-point favorites and the total on the game is 158.5, while my numbers have Minnesota winning 87-76. Still, I won’t play the over, as you have to expect a little bit of early nerves and believe that scoring will be down a little bit. All three regular season games between the two landed under, as did the first game of last year’s Finals, along with the second game and Game 5.
Both teams had a tendency to step up their defense when playing good offensive teams, with the Sparks going 7-20 in totals against teams averaging more than 77 points, although Los Angeles was a good under team all season. But LA was a better under team at home, where my numbers predict four fewer points per game.
For the season, the two teams are pretty comparable shooting, with LA a bit better from the four line and the Lynx better from 3-point range, while the Lynx also get a slight nod on defense, although it’s a relatively small one.
This one most likely goes to four or five games, but have to believe the Lynx will take their title back and will play Minnesota to win the series. If I had to play Game 1, would look at the home team and the under, but may be inclined to watch the first game and just have the series bet going.
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