WNBA Odds: Looking For Value In The Middle Of The Pack

Posted By Derek Helling on July 23, 2020
WNBA odds futures lines spread

Earlier this year, a 2020 WNBA season seemed like it would be nothing more than a dream. With sparks of ingenuity, however, the plans to hold a 22-game season will commence on Saturday, July 25. For that reason, bettors are at liberty to place WNBA futures wagers at several online sportsbooks.

The offseason leading up to this weekend has been as eventful as a storm in the sky. Through all the unanticipated circumstances, the odds on some teams have risen like mercury to rival the sun. For clever bettors, putting money down on these markets could be like holding four aces.

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WNBA odds at legal online sportsbooks

Currently, bettors can find WNBA futures markets on which team will win the 2020 championship. As of Thursday, the lines look this:

WNBA Championship Winner

Washington Mystics
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+450
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+250
Los Angeles Sparks
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+450
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+400
Seattle Storm
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+450
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+400
Connecticut Sun
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+600
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+450
Phoenix Mercury
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+850
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+750
Las Vegas Acres
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+500
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N/A
Chicago Sky
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+1300
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+1500
Minnesota Lynx
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+2700
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+2500
New York Liberty
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+1300
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+2500
Indiana Fever
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+5500
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+4000
Atlanta Dream
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+7000
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+6600
Dallas Wings
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+7000
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+6600

Since March, there have been two major storylines driving these odds one way or the other. Those are players’ decisions to opt-out of the coming season and the New York Liberty’s remodel via the draft.

Prominent players passed on playing in the “wubble”

The entire 2020 WNBA season will take place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, which players have dubbed the “wubble” on social media. Some of the league’s best talents received medical clearance to forego the season, however.

If Washington repeats as champions this year, it will seem like they really are a team full of mystics. Center Tina Charles and 2019 MVP Elena Delle Donne both will not play this season, due to various health conditions that put them at high risk for COVID-19.

The same goes for Las Vegas center Liz Cambage, one of the greatest offensive forces in the league. Connecticut is similarly approaching the season without the services of center Jonquel Jones, who led the Sun in points and rebounds per game in 2019.

The Los Angeles Sparks looked like they would have a fearsome backcourt with the addition of guard Kristi Tolliver, but she also opted out. Sparks forward Chiney Ogwumike did the same.

Sportsbooks have reacted to this news in different ways. Some have shortened odds by significant margins for the Seattle Storm. For example, William Hill moved its line on Seattle winning its second title in three years from +700 to +300.

There’s more to that movement than just the war of attrition. The Storm are getting both forward Breanna Stewart and guard Sue Bird back from injuries that sidelined them in all of 2019.

Without Bird and Stewart last season, center Natasha Howard emerged as a strong scoring option. Seattle also returns guards Jordin Canada and Jewell Loyd, who helped lead the team to the playoffs last year.

Yet, for all the understandable movement on the Seattle line, there are two clubs the books seem to be greatly undervaluing.

WNBA odds: Two clubs that are definitely worth taking flyers on

Other clubs that come in at full strength and had great offseasons include the Chicago Sky and Phoenix Mercury. Regardless, the lines on these championship contenders remain in a middle-tier.

Phoenix not only brought back Brittney Griner but also landed one of the prizes of the off-season, guard Skylar Diggins-Smith. With a healthy Diana Taurasi forming a backcourt duo with Diggins-Smith and some great bench pieces, getting action on the Mercury at odds like +850 on FanDuel Sportsbook seems too good to pass up.

One of the teams that may stand in the way of the Mercury is Chicago, however. The Sky return most of the roster that came seconds away from the semifinals last season and eclipsed 20 wins. Chicago addressed areas of need by drafting forward Ruthie Hebard and trading for center Azurá Stevens.

The potential for pairing Hebard with single-season assists record holder guard Courtney Vandersloot should give Sky fans an experience similar to that which Oregon Ducks fans enjoyed watching Hebard play with former teammate Sabrina Ionescu. If nothing else, Ionescu and the rest of the New York rookies have had an impact on WNBA futures markets.

A franchise-changing draft for the Liberty also changed odds

Like a mythical lynx with wings, the 2020 draft class has shortened odds on New York’s title chase before any of the seven rookies have stepped on the court. Ionescu is the headliner, but the class is deep and talented.

The likes of Kylee Shook and Megan Walker also could rejuvenate the franchise. Despite the loss of Charles, long the face of the franchise, Liberty lines have moved from +6000 earlier this year.

This may not be the year for New York to claim glory, but it may not be far off. Bettors can claim some glory for themselves by wagering wisely on WNBA futures, and there is some value available.

Derek Helling Avatar
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

View all posts by Derek Helling