By Mark Strotman | | 5 mins
Washington Mystics Solid Value Bet For WNBA Championship
The Seattle Storm felt destined to win the WNBA title in 2018. They had the league’s best offense, best player and best record. They were the rightful favorites, and the Storm wound up finishing their 2018 season with a ring, knocking off the Washington Mystics in three games to earn the franchise’s third championship.
Fast forward a year, however, and it’s last season’s runners-up who feel destined to reach the promised land. The Mystics have never won a title, but their current hot stretch of play over the last month has their WNBA-best championship odds continuing to shrink and looking like the best value on the board as the playoffs approach.
Mystics’ Odds as Favorite Continue to Shrink
All 18 of our record breaking threes!! pic.twitter.com/GqE21n9XSe— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) August 18, 2019
It’s been a steady shortening for the Mystics, who began the year at +260 to win the title. Those odds shortened to as little as +200 before the All-Star break, but in winning 10 of their last 11 games – and setting WNBA records in the process – oddsmakers have finally dropped them below the +200 mark for the first time this season on PointsBet.
WNBA Championship Odds 2019
|Las Vegas Aces||+300|
|Los Angeles Sparks||+550|
Mystics Offense Can’t be Stopped
With seven games remaining in the regular season, the Mystics are on pace for the greatest offensive season in WNBA history. Their offensive rating of 112.4 would shatter the current record of 109.1, set by the 2000 Houston Comets during their own championship season – Washington’s +14.2 net rating would also be the WNBA’s best since 2000 when Houston had a +18.4 net rating.
Washington leads the WNBA in a host of categories, including effective field goal percentage, assist rate, 3-pointers, free throw percentage and points.
To no one’s surprise, Elena Delle Donne has led the way. Though her points per game are the lowest they’ve been since 2014, EDD’s efficiency is reaching all-time highs. She’s shooting 51.5% from the field and 96.3% from the free-throw line, both career bests, and her 41.9% shooting from beyond the arc is her best mark since 2016. She’s on pace for the first 50/40/90 season in WNBA history and is the frontrunner for league MVP.
Kristi Tolliver has put together an All-Star campaign and is second in the league in assists (5.9), and the return of Emma Meesseman – she missed a month of the season playing for Belgium in the EuroBasket Championships – has been a shot in the arm: The Mystics are 11-2 since her return, and she’s averaged 12.2 points on 56.1% shooting in that span.
Washington will need to tighten up its seventh-ranked defense, but with an offense as good as this one it’s nearly impossible to keep pace.
Important Double-Bye on the Horizon
For those unfamiliar with the WNBA playoff format, the top two seeds hold a distinct advantage in the postseason in receiving byes to the semifinals.
Of the Mystics’ seven remaining regular-season games, four will come against the Dallas Wings and New York Liberty, owners of the second- and third-worst records in the league. They play twice more against Chicago, who they’ve beaten twice already, and once against Los Angeles.
All signs point to Washington wrapping up a top-2 seed and a bye to the semifinals. They hold the tiebreaker over current No. 3 seed Las Vegas and could secure a tiebreaker over Los Angeles with a win next week.
Each of the last six WNBA champions – and 11 of the last 12 – have had a top-2 record heading into the postseason. If Washington can secure one of those two seeds, they’ll need to win a pair of five-game series to earn the franchise’s first title.
Sun, Sparks Loom as Contenders
The Las Vegas Aces have been steady presences atop the WNBA standings all season long. But two others have emerged as legitimate contenders to take down the Mystics. The Connecticut Sun, whose odds shortened to +350 before the All-Star break, is down to just +250. Their 13-1 home record will make them a difficult out in the postseason.
Playoff bound ♦️♠️ pic.twitter.com/rXctkfw3tb— Las Vegas Aces (@LVAces) August 19, 2019
The LA Sparks have bounced back from a 4-6 start and have won 12 of their last 16. That hot stretch has pushed their title odds from +750 to +550. They haven’t lost at home since June 18, and six of their last nine games will be played at Staples Center. That’s good news for their hopes of earning a top-two seed.