2021 WNBA Season Predictions with Odds and Expert Analysis
We are just a week away from the return of the WNBA season. And to say I am excited about it would be an understatement. Last season, we were treated to some great basketball despite teams being isolated and playing on neutral courts for the duration of the 22-game regular season. If I had to go out on a limb and say the best team won the title – the Seattle Storm – I would be comfortable doing that because they were, in fact, the best team all season long. This year, the regular season kicks off on May 14 and is back up to 32 games. Teams will play 16 home and away games and each team will play three games vs 10 opponents and two games (home/away) against one team from the opposite conference. Each team will decide on whether or not fans will be allowed in the arena based on league, federal, and state health protocols.
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WNBA Championship Odds
Seattle Storm +175
The Storm were undoubtedly the best team in the WNBA last season, and they capped their dominant run with the franchise’s fourth WNBA title and second title in three seasons. Can they repeat as champions this year? Well, historically, teams don’t fare well when trying to defend their crown for reasons not limited to turnover and injuries. The last team to defend their crown was the Los Angeles Sparks back in 2001 and 2002. So, do the Storm have what it takes to buck the trend? I say yes.
For starters, they have Breanna Stewart under contract for one more season. And if you follow along with the WNBA and its stars at all, you’ll know that Stewart had a tremendous offseason, where she was named the MVP of the EuroLeague Final Four after leading her team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, to their third straight EuroLeague title. Her game is at an all-time level, and it would be no surprise to me to see her elevate one step further and lead the Storm to another dominant record. In addition to the returning Stewart, you have Sue Bird, who at age 40 is seemingly getting better every day. Fellow Storm teammate and all-star starter from a year ago, Jewell Lloyd, is also back in the mix and figures to take the next step and blossom into a superstar for years to come. Candice Dupree – a seven-time all-star – will replace Natasha Howard down low, and that’s an upgrade we can live with.
In all, the Storm have a powerful roster. And with much of the production returning from last year, the Storm are the team to beat in the West. If they can defend their home court like we expect them to – say 13-3 or 12-4 – they should be in line for top seed and home-court advantage throughout the postseason.
Washington Mystics +300, Las Vegas Aces +350, Los Angeles Sparks +550,
As for the batch of contenders, the Washington Mystics are first in line to challenge the Storm for their crown. The Mystics are coming off a very poor season. Their star forward, Elena Delle Donne, was mired with injuries throughout the season, and the offense never got clicking. Remember, they had won the WNBA title the year prior, so maybe it was a hangover. Nonetheless, the Mystics are hoping to regain that 2019 form, and they have the talent to do so. They return Delle Donne, Tina Charles and Natasha Cloud, who is an emerging star in this league. They have talented sharpshooters like Ariel Atkins and a second-team all-star player like Myisha Hines-Allen to round out the starting lineup. It’s a talented roster. And with the East not being as strong as the Western Conference, the Mystics are my choice to come out of the conference.
What about Las Vegas? Well, for a team that was without two amazing players in Liz Cambage and Kelsey Plum, making the Finals was an impressive feat. So, what are they going to do when those two players return to the lineup? The only acceptable answer would be to win the title. The Aces are a stacked team this year. And with reigning MVP A’ja Wilson entering just her fourth WNBA season, the sky is the limit on how far she can take her talents and lead the Aces. What I found interesting about the Aces is that they finished last in three-point attempts and three-pointers made, but they still had the second-best offensive rating in the league. They thrive around the basket and pushing out to mid-range. Therefore, with the return of Cambage and Plum, the offense should be even better and more efficient. They are a very scary team. Seattle should take note.
As for Los Angeles, the Sparks are looking to take their game to the next level. And after finishing 15-7 last season, the Sparks are hoping to turn in a solid season despite losing Candace Parker and Chelsea Gray in free agency and push for a top-seed and a better path to make a deep run in the playoffs. The Sparks did acquire Nia Coffey and Bria Holmes – both of whom are experienced and can play multiple spots on the floor. And then you add in the Ogwumike sisters, and the Sparks are a few fortunate breaks away from going on a deep run this year.
Phoenix Mercury +1000, Chicago Sky +1400, Minnesota Lynx +1600, New York Liberty +5000, Atlanta Dream +6000, Dallas Wings +6000, Indiana Fever +10000.
If you told me I had to bet on one of these six teams to win the WNBA title or quit betting altogether, I’d be extremely inclined to call it a career and save my bankroll. Every one of these teams is severely flawed, and we just don’t see a way they can contend against the likes of the Aces, Mystics, or Storm. The best option out of the bunch would have to be the Sky since they are returning their dynamic backcourt of Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. The Sky finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference, but that’s not saying much considering they were the only team to finish above .500.
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