Fellow degenerates, we truly live in historic times. The state of Mississippi removed its confederate flag, the Patriots signed Cam Newton, and now – for the first time in human history – sportsbooks will be offering team season win totals on the WNBA.
The limits are low (the highest so far is $100 at BetOnline), and there are so many variables in this shortened 22-game season that anything could happen. But value abounds! If your experience is like mine, you may even get to feel like a real whale and watch the book immediately move the number when you max-bet one of these.
Going from highest win total to lowest, let’s break these down. I’m using the current numbers from BOL, where the lines originated, and they’re obviously fluid.
Washington Mystics 16.5 Wins
The Mystics lost Kristi Toliver (first in free agency, then she decided to sit the year out entirely) and Natasha Cloud (taking the year off to advocate for social justice, not unforeseen after her piece in Player’s Tribune), two key pieces of their championship run last year. So why are books expecting them to win nearly 75% of their games? Are we to believe an aging Tina Charles and Emma Meesseman are all the depth they need? This reminds me of those years when Patriots season wins was set at 12.5 or 13. Even if you’re eventually proven wrong- and Elena Delle Donne could prove you wrong- you were still on the right side.
Las Vegas Aces 14.5 wins
The Lady Aces added Angel McCoughtry, but lost Kelsey Plum for the year to an ACL injury and replaced her with Alex Bentley, most known for getting run out of the worst team in the league for her inability to shoot. Sid Colson bolted for Chicago. Sugar Rodgers, Danielle Robinson, and Carolyn Swords are all on the wrong side of 30. Depth issues lurk for the Aces. I suspect they’re one or two injuries away from the locker room drama that seems to follow Liz Cambage everywhere she goes. The team relied on one of the best home-courts in the league, and will instead be playing in an empty arena in Florida. This is an easy under.
Los Angeles Sparks 13.5 wins
Stay-away, over if line goes to 12.5
Oh hey, a line that makes sense. Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver are taking the season off, but the Sparks probably had depth to spare. I was bullish on the Sparks in my season preview, and largely still am. They made a great signing with Te’a Cooper (Baylor star, real-life fiancé of Dwight Howard), making the best of a bad situation and injecting the roster with youth. Shipping out 2019 top pick Kalani Brown and bringing in Kristine Anigwe is probably a lateral move. Derek Fisher is still the coach, but if he truly sucks they can just shitcan him and promote Fred Williams. The lean here is to the over, but I’m waiting to hammer it until the line moves to 13 or 12.5. In a 22-game season, every half-game of movement matters.
Looking to bet other sports? Check out the NHL playoff betting odds.
Seattle Storm 13.5 wins
Have people already forgotten how insanely good Breanna Stewart is? With Stewie fully healthy, Seattle returns all of the core players from their 2018 championship run, none are taking the year off. The Storm actually are the team the books think the Mystics are. Expect an MVP-caliber year from 26 year-old Stewart as she enters her prime, and leadership from veteran Sue Bird (39 years old) as her window starts closing. It should be easy for the Storm to get to 14 wins, and the playoffs.
Connecticut Sun 12.5 wins
This Sun team isn’t the Sun team that went to the Finals last year. MVP runner-up Jonquel Jones is taking the season off due to Coronavirus concerns. Two other key pieces of their championship run (Courtney Williams and Shekinna Stricklen) now play for the Dream. They added all-Star Dewanna Bonner, but then filled the rest of their roster with role players. Beatrice Mompremier, a big from the University of Miami highly touted before the draft, was signed as a free agent and will get a chance to prove herself, but Jonquel Jones leaves huge shoes to fill. This reads to me like a .500 team that, like the Aces, won’t get the home-court advantage they’ve become accustomed to. Under.
Phoenix Mercury 11.5 wins
As a Mercury fan, it pains me to say the Mighty Mercury are overvalued here. The roster is only carrying 11 players due to salary cap issues. Of those eleven, two (Griner, Taurasi) are injury-prone stars. Three (Cunningham, Smith, and Turner) have played one year in the league, and the rest of the roster is either Skylar Diggins-Smith (returning after a year off due to pregnancy) or players that failed to impress elsewhere. It’s hard to see where this roster gets 12 wins. Another under.
Chicago Sky 10.5 wins
Spectacular value here. Here’s a team with a great coach that’s returning its core that came within one bad referee no-call of going to the semifinals last year (Hamby’s foot was on the line, I’ll go to my grave believing this), added Sidney Colson and Azura Stevens in free agency, and all they have to do to cash is win half their games? I’ll take that bet every time. The high-pace, high-scoring style of play the Sky utilize will wear down a lot of their aforementioned opponents with depth issues.
New York Liberty 10.5 wins
The Ionescu hype has reached the sportsbooks. The Oregon star is expected to make an immediate impact, as Tina Charles is now gone. Her supporting cast consists primarily of rookies. There are seven- seven!- rookies on the roster, AND a rookie head coach in Walt Hopkins. Several promising players from last year (Han Xu, Raincock-Ekunwe) aren’t returning for 2020. Expecting this team to win half its games is going to be a VERY tall order for this roster and coach. This is the most astounding number on the board; I did not expect a double-digit number here.
Minnesota Lynx 9.5 wins
Here’s another easy under where the number is set too high because the public remembers a team built on players who are no longer on the team. Odyssey Sims is taking the year off after carrying a lot of weight for this team in 2019. Their free agency was spent on questionable signings (Rachel Banham) but they had a decent draft, picking up Crystal Dangerfield and Mikiah Herbert-Harrigan. These players are going to need time in the league to develop, and Napheesa Collier can only do so much. This is a team in transition that’s paradoxically priced like the perennial playoff team they’ve been for the past decade. More likely, this is the first year of a rebuild, and an under play.
Indiana Fever 7.5 wins
There’s a lot to love about this Fever team. They replaced Pokey Chatman with Marianne Stanley, a proven coach who will come to the league ready to win. None of their core players from last year (when they exceeded expectations and nearly made the playoffs) are taking the year off, and E-Weezy (MVP of the 2019 All-Star Game) is dialed in. They used their #3 overall pick to fortify their front court with Baylor’s Lauren Cox, signed Belgian national team star Julie Allemand, and they get Victoria Vivians back from injury. The Fever is more likely to make the playoffs than cash an under ticket here.
Dallas Wings 6.5 wins
The Wings’ rebuild started last year, when Arike Ogunbowale established herself as an all-star level talent. Their winning percentage was .297, but then they lost Azura Stevens and Glory Johnson, two key veterans. The rebuild continues this year, as the roster features three rookies and zero players with more than 4 years of service in the W. Head coach Brian Agler is not an idiot, and knows exactly how to tank. If Dallas sucks on ice all year and the Dream have a halfway decent year, their odds of getting the first pick in the lottery will be favorable. In any case, they’re unlikely to outperform what they did last year (which would equate to 6 wins in a 22 game season), when they had a better roster. Another under.
Atlanta Dream 5.5 wins
Unlike the Wings, we have no reason to believe the Dream are about to tank. They were aggressive in free agency, adding Courtney Williams and Shekinna Stricklen while trading for Kalani Brown. Both Renee Montgomery (who was on the decline anyway) and Tiffany Hayes (injured most of 2019) are taking the season off, but their absence gives Chennedy Carter, the most explosive rookie in this draft class, more playing time to develop at this level. Overall, their roster is better than several other teams in the league, yet their number is the lowest. The team could utterly implode and still go 6-16, cashing all the over tickets.