Gambling Today: 2020 WNBA Championship Futures

With a 22-game season and playoff structure in place, SI Gambling insider Frankie Taddeo goes through the latest odds and identifies contenders, values, and his best bet for the upcoming WNBA season.
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Another U.S sport is on its way back from the COVID-19 shutdown.

The WNBA, which was scheduled to tip off in May, announced it has come to an agreement to play a 22-game season starting in late July. 

According to a release from the league:

“A partnership is being finalized that would make IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, the Official Home of the 2020 WNBA season. Beginning in July, IMG Academy will be the home for each of the league’s 12 teams and serve as a single site for training camp, games, and housing.”

Under the current plan, teams will report to IMG Academy in early July for training camp and proceed with regular-season games tipping off in late July.

“Although the WNBA 2020 season will be played without fans in attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the league will continue to build on the current momentum around the WNBA and the players, while offering fans a front-row seat at home thanks to broadcast partners ESPN, CBS Sports Network and NBA TV and their ongoing commitment to women’s sports.”

The playoffs will now take place in October following a 22-game slate as opposed to the normal season consisting of 36 games. The oddsmakers at the Westgate Superbook have posted an updated WNBA Championship future market following their initial release back in February.

Let’s take a look at the latest odds for the 2020 WNBA season.

Odds courtesy of Westgate Superbook Las Vegas

Odds courtesy of Westgate Superbook Las Vegas

Contenders

Washington Mystics (+350), Las Vegas Aces (+350) & LA Sparks (+450)

League MVP Elena Delle Donne and the Washington Mystics are the highest power ranked team once again in 2020 according to the oddsmakers. Washington defeated the Connecticut Sun to earn the WNBA championship in 2019.

However, star guard Natasha Cloud has announced that she will be opting out of the shortened upcoming season in order to continue fighting for social justice.

“This has been one of the toughest decisions of my career but I will be foregoing the 2020 WNBA season,” stated Cloud on her Instagram page.

“There are a lot of factors that led to this decision, but the biggest one is that I am more than an athlete. I have a responsibility to myself, to my community and to my future children to fight for something that is much bigger than myself and the game of basketball. I will instead continue the fight for social reform, because until Black lives matter, all lives can’t matter.”

The Las Vegas Aces, who went 21-13 last season, join the Mystics as co-favorites on the newest Westgate Superbook offering at odds of +350. The Los Angeles Sparks who posted the third-best record in 2019 with a record of 22-12, slot in as the third overall betting choice at odds of +450.

Middle-Tier Value

Phoenix Mercury (6/1), Seattle Storm (6/1), Connecticut Sun (8/1)

The Phoenix Mercury went 15-19 last season, losing to the Chicago Sky in their single-elimination playoff game, are listed at odds of 6/1. Phoenix will find it hard to hold betting value this season following the news that star DeWanna Bonner will sit out the WNBA season due to COVID-19 concerns. 

Bonner is joined by Jonquel Jones, the star center for the Connecticut Sun, who announced she would skip the 2020 season due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic.

“After careful thought and consideration I’ve decided to forego the upcoming WNBA season and use this time to focus on personal, social, and familial growth,” said Jones.

“This was one of the toughest decisions I’ve made but the resurgence and unknown aspects of COVID -19 have raised serious health concerns that I do not feel comfortable competing in. I’d like to thank the Connecticut Sun organization, my teammates and fans for their unwavering support and understanding. While I won’t be competing this year I’m looking forward to lacing up with my teammates in 2021 and continuing the pursuit for a WNBA championship. Wishing the entire league and everyone involved a healthy and enjoyable season. Go Sun!”

Jones is a massive loss for the Sun after leading the club to the WNBA Finals last year. The oddsmakers at the Westgate doubled the Sun’s odds following Jones’ announcement from 4/1 up to 8/1. 

Betting Choice

Las Vegas Aces (+350)

My initial lean in this market landed on the defending champion Washington Mystics at odds of +350. However, last year’s MVP, Elena Delle Done has battled medical issues in the past and as of yet, she has not made an announcement on her intentions for this upcoming season.

Therefore, my money lands on the Las Vegas Aces at odds of +350. The WNBA is an exciting league and often offers strong value to bettors thanks to sharp line moves in Vegas. It's great to have another strong wagering option soon returning to all mobile betting applications in the next several weeks.