Last Updated: 2019-09-10
The 2019 WNBA Playoffs begin Wednesday night with the single-elimination first round. The No. 5 seed Chicago Sky welcomes the No. 8 seed Phoenix Mercury, while the reigning champions and No. 6 seed Seattle Storm host the No. 7 seed Minnesota Lynx. The single-elimination second round is set for Sunday, September 15, when the No. 4 seed Las Vegas Aces welcome Chicago or Phoenix, while Seattle or Minnesota will visit the No. 3 seed Los Angeles Sparks.
The top-seeded Washington Mystics and the No. 2 seed Connecticut Sun have a double-bye into the semis that start September 17. The semifinals are best-of-five series, as well as the WNBA Finals that begin September 29. Last year, the Seattle Storm swept the Washington Mystics in the Finals, but retaining the title will be an impossible mission for Dan Hughes’ girls.
2019 WNBA Winners Odds
||Los Angeles +400
||Las Vegas +500
As you can notice, the bookies consider the reigning champs as huge underdogs. Still, the Storm should reach the second round. They won the regular-season series with Minnesota 3-1, while the reigning champions are 6-2 SU in their last eight meetings with the Lynx and 4-0 in the previous four matchups in Seattle.
If they beat the Lynx, the Storm will have a tall task against Los Angeles. The Sparks are 15-2 at home this season and 5-1 in their previous six home encounters with Seattle. The 2016 MVP Nneka Ogwumike (16.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG) and Chelsea Gray (14.5 PPG, 5.9 APG) both play well this term, while Candace Parker (11.2 PPG, 6.4 RPG) is slowly building up her form. Whoever they meet in the second round, the Sparks should reach the semifinals.
On the other side of a draw, the Chicago Sky could be a dark horse. The Sky won nine of their last 14 games overall and five of their previous eight outings on the road. Their offense is the second-best in the league with 84.6 points per game, but Chicago’s defense is a massive issue, allowing 83.3 points per contest (11th in the league).
The Sky won the regular-season series with Phoenix 3-0 and are 5-0 SU and ATS in their previous five meetings with the Mercury. Also, Chicago won one of its two road meetings with Las Vegas, and if the Sky outstrip the Mercury, we’ll see a great battle in the second round. The Aces are 13-4 at home this season, but they rely on Liz Cambage (15.9 PPG, 8.2 RPG) and A’ja Wilson (16.5 PPG, 6.4 RPG) too much.
Whoever wins the battle in Las Vegas will have a tall task against the Washington Mystics in the semifinals. The Mystics are the most-efficient team in the league by far, tallying 89.3 points per game on 46.9% shooting from the field (also 1st). On the other side, the Mystics are surrendering 77.3 points per contest (4th in the league). Washington enters the playoffs on a six-game winning streak, while the Mystics dropped just one of their previous 13 games overall.
Elena Delle Donne is leading the way for the Mystics, posting 19.5 points and 8.3 rebounds, while five Mystics players are averaging points in double figures. Delle Donne became the first WNBA player to join the 50/40/90 club. She made 51.5% of her field goals, 43.0% of her 3-pointers, and 97.4% of her free throws, setting the new record for a player with at least 100 attempts from the charity stripe.
After a tough loss to Seattle in the 2018 WNBA Finals, I expect the Mystics to dominate their rivals this postseason. The odds are not attractive, but I would lean on the Mystics fluid offense and pretty solid D, while Delle Donne will look to build on her fantastic regular season.
Connecticut Sun defeated the Mystics at home twice this season, but they were humiliated in Washington 102-59. The Sun’s offense is fourth-most efficient in the league with 80.8 points per game, while their defense is the seventh-best, allowing 77.9 points a night. Connecticut has played well lately despite two straight losses to finish the regular season, and the Sun’s potential semifinal clash with the Sparks would be a pure joy to watch.
Jonquel Jones (14.6 PPG, 9.7 RPG) and Alyssa Thomas (11.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG) are leading the Sun who are 15-2 at home this season. On the other hand, Connecticut lost two of its three encounters with Los Angeles in 2019 and is 4-8 SU in the previous 12 meetings with the Sparks. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sparks make it to the 2019 WNBA Finals, but my money will go on the Washington Mystics.
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