If you’re betting WNBA futures right now, it’s a little last minute. But hey, we all procrastinate.
The clock is ticking down to tipoff of the 2023 WNBA season, which starts on May 19, and there’s still some bets to be made in the WNBA odds.
Unlike previous seasons, when we only had title futures, many mainstream operators are offering a full board of season-long odds, like win totals, MVP and Rookie of the Year markets, Commissioner’s Cup as well as “Yes/No” props on the playoffs.
Here are some of my WNBA picks for futures markets just under the wire of Friday’s first night of action.
WNBA Championship pick
As mentioned, you’re a little late to the party when it comes to the WNBA title odds.
It was a wild offseason for the league, in which the reigning title winners, the Las Vegas Aces, got even stronger with all-time great Candace Parker coming aboard. And then we saw the New York Liberty land former MVPs Jonquel Jones and Breanna Stewart along with cagey vet Courtney Vandersloot, putting plenty of firepower around All-Star guard Sabrina Ionescu.
I was lucky enough to sniff out the preseason rumors around the Liberty as a possible landing spot for Stewart and Jones, getting down on New York around 9-1 to win the title before those signings went down.
The league is so top-heavy with those two contenders that many books are offering an Aces/Liberty (-650) versus the Field (+400) prop. It’s nice to get a blanket bet on the remainder of the league, but I honestly think that there are just two teams worth the wager to win the 2023 title, beyond Las Vegas and New York.
The Washington Mystics are out there at +1,800 to win the 2023 WNBA Championship, bringing back the core of a solid team that struggled with star Elena Delle Donne in and out of the lineup last year. Delle Donne is fully healthy heading into the season for the first time in three years and has a great cast around her with Ariel Atkins and Natasha Cloud still in D.C. along with additions like Brittney Sykes.
The Connecticut Sun could also be worth a squeeze at +4,000. That price is so high with turnover in talent and on the bench, as the Sun lost Jones and highly-touted coach Curt Miller. New head coach Stephanie White still has plenty to work with in Alyssa Thomas, Brionna Jones, Tiffany Hayes, and DeWanna Bonner. This is a deep team that has thrived despite losing star players the past few seasons (injuries and COVID opt-outs). Connecticut is great at home and away with the best net rating on the road in 2022.
Best bets: Mystics (+1,800 at DraftKings), Sun (+4,000 at FanDuel)
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Commissioner’s Cup pick
The Commissioner’s Cup is a mid-season tournament that happens over the course of the schedule with 10 games assigned as Cup games. The teams with the best record in those designated games for each conference will compete for the Commissioner’s Cup.
The Commissioner’s Cup odds the WNBA title odds somewhat, with the Aces and Liberty well above everyone else. But there could be a window for either Washington or Connecticut to make a run, with my money on the Mystics.
Washington opened at +1,000 when these markets hit the board in early May but has since been bet down to +650 at FanDuel. You can find the Mystics +900 to win the Cup at bet365.
So, why so high on D.C.?
Well, the Aces are the Aces. They’re going to be awesome all season. At +130, it’s a winning bet, but not a great value-buy. As for the Liberty, they come in with a similar price tag but could struggle to find their sweet spot with so many new shiny pieces trying to fit.
It reminds me of the Miami Heat’s “Big 3”, which needed time to figure out each other’s role, as LeBron, Wade, and Bosh all wanted to share the ball and not step on any toes in their first season together. It was a bit of a mess.
Stewie, Jones, and Sabrina have all been top guns on their respective teams, and it could take a good chunk of the schedule — and those 10 Cup games — to iron out the wrinkles. I believe the Liberty will get it together in time for the playoffs, but might not be peaking in the first three months of the sked.
Washington, on the other hand, has a Top 5 player in EDD with a deep complementary roster and familiarity that should be there from Game 1. The Mystics were a completely different team with Delle Donne on the floor and she’s planning to plan every game in 2023.
Washington has the third-highest season win total behind Las Vegas and New York and should the Liberty start the season slow, the Mystics will find themselves in a Commissioner’s Cup game against the Aces. Then it’s just a one-off contest in late July between two very strong teams. Hedge it up.
Best bet: Mystics (+900 at bet365)
WNBA MVP pick
Like most futures markets, the MVP odds feature Las Vegas and New York talents at the top.
The Top 4 choices for 2023 Most Valuable Player come from those two teams, but could those rich rosters cannibalize the individual outputs and therefore the MVP hopes of those star players? Sure.
If you’re looking for bang for your MVP buck, my best bet is Connecticut forward Alyssa Thomas. Her MVP futures run +1,900 to +3,000, so shop around.
Thomas is the top player on a Sun team projected to be fourth-best in the league, and is the No. 1 option in Connecticut with Jones jumping to New York.
She was fourth in MVP voting last season with a stat line of 13.4 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 6.1 assists per game, and those numbers will climb in 2023, like they did when Jones sat out the 2020 bubble season.
Best bet: Alyssa Thomas (+3,000 at bet365)
Rookie of the Year pick
South Carolina star and newest addition of the Indiana Fever, Aaliyah Boston, is a -200 odds-on favorite to win 2023 WNBA Rookie of the Year. It’s well deserved considering the ways Boston can impact an outcome on both ends of the floor.
That said, the Fever are shit. Indiana won only five games last season and the extended schedule sees them projected for a season win total of just 10.5 victories, which could be a stretch.
If you believe team success will influence the voting on ROY, then look no further than Villanova product Maddy Siegrist at +700 odds.
Siegrist was the No. 3 overall pick by the Dallas Wings, who many forecast to make a leap in 2023. Dallas, which went 18-18 last season and has another .500 projection with a win total of 19.5 for 2023 (more on that below)
The Wings need help on offense after trading away some scorers, and Siegrist is a pro-ready talent after a four-year stint in Philly in which she led the NCAAW ranks in scoring with 29.2 points per game last year.
Siegrist will have an opportunity to produce points right away and will help push the Wings over the hump, making her a great value pick to win Rookie of the Year.
Best bet: Maddy Siegrist (+700 at DraftKings)
WNBA season win totals pick
And speaking of the Dallas Wings, I love them to go Over 19.5 victories (-115) in 2023.
This season win total has bounced between 19.5 and 20.5 for the past month, which projects another breakeven season (Dallas was 18-18 last year) with the schedule extended to 40 games. But there’s room for improvement considering the team’s offseason moves and the lack of depth in the Western Conference.
The Wings drafted well with Siegrist at No. 3 and Lou Lopez Sénéchal from UConn at No. 5 (they just waived No. 11 pick Abby Meyers). Dallas traded for defensive stalwart Natasha Howard, former ROY guard Crystal Dangerfield, and veteran Diamond DeShields in the winter. And the team has one of the most electric players in the league in guard Arike Ogunbowale, who is projected to make another run at the scoring title.
Dallas showed guts in 2022, playing hard on the road (10-8 with net rating of + 0.9), taking the fight to top teams, and put a scare in Connecticut in a first-round playoff loss. The Wings swapped out offense for defense with those recent deals, which was needed after they ranked among the worst in defensive rating, but they’ll still fill it up with Ogunbowale and Siegrist’s high ceiling.
Dallas will also benefit from a down year in the West.
The Seattle Storm used to be the gatekeepers of the conference, but lost Sue Bird to retirement and Stewart to the Liberty. The Phoenix Mercury are a bit of mystery, with Dianna Taurasi at age 40, Skylar Diggins-Smith on maternity leave, and Brittney Griner coming off her 10-month detainment in Russia. And the Minnesota Lynx, with Natalie Achonwa on mat leave, and L.A. Sparks own twin win totals of 16.5, which would have them sinking to the bottom of the conference.
The Wings open the schedule with softer matchups against Atlanta at home, trips to Seattle and Chicago, and a homestand with Minnesota. That could be four wins right there (20.5% of the way to the Over 19.5) before getting a true test with visits to Washington and Connecticut to start June.
Best bet: Wings Over 19.5 wins (-115 at DraftKings)