WNBA Futures: LA Sparks Enter 2017 Season As Favorites

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After finishing last year as the last team standing, the Los Angeles Sparks will enter the 2017 WNBA season as the favorites to win the championship once again.

Of course, the core remains strong for the Sparks with Candace Parker and Nneka Ogwumike patrolling the frontcourt. The biggest adjustment will come at the guard position, as Kristi Toliver signed a free-agent deal with Washington during the offseason. LA looked to counter this loss ahead of the WNBA draft when they acquired Odyssey Sims to join the starting five. Sims was the top player for the lowly Dallas Wings last season but she doesn’t bring the same 3-point shooting that Toliver offers.

You can’t talk about the WNBA championship without talking about the Minnesota Lynx. The Lynx have been the class of the WNBA recently, as the team has appeared in five of the past six finals. Minnesota will return basically the entire team that finished in the top three in the league in every major offensive and defensive category last season. If anything, the team looked to bolster its bench depth with the signing of 13-year veteran Plenette Pierson.

If you’re looking for the most intriguing team to watch, it’s going to be the Washington Mystics. After finishing last in the Eastern Conference last season, the Mystics aggressively tried to fix the issues during the offseason. Washington acquired arguably the best player in the WNBA when they traded for Elena Delle Donne. As previously mentioned, the Mystics also signed Toliver during the offseason.

2017 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Los Angeles Sparks +170
Minnesota Lynx +200
Phoenix Mercury +300
New York Liberty +500
Washington Mystics +600
Atlanta Dream +800
Seattle Storm +1000
Chicago Sky +1600
Indiana Fever +1600
Connecticut Sun +2500
Dallas Wings +4000
San Antonio Stars +4000

Odds as of May 5 at MyBookie

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The WNBA semifinals are set, as the Minnesota Lynx will take on the Phoenix Mercury and the Chicago Sky challenge the Los Angeles Sparks. The Lynx enter the semis as +100 favorites to hoist the WNBA championship with the Sparks close behind at +120.

The Lynx went 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS against the Mercury this season, though the last time the two teams met was June 7. Minnesota’s Maya Moore was especially dominant against Phoenix this season, as she averaged 27.3 points, 5.0 assists and 4.3 rebounds against the Mercury.

The Sparks were a perfect 3-0 SU and ATS against the Sky this season while averaging 89.3 points per game. It gets worse for Chicago, as Elena Delle Donne is still recovering from a thumb surgery and won’t be able to play in Game 1. Delle Donne averaged 21.5 points per game in the regular season – one of only two Sky players to average double-digit points.

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Minnesota Lynx +100
Los Angeles Sparks +120
Phoenix Mercury +650
Chicago Sky +2500

Odds as of September 28 at BetOnline

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It’s been a two-team race in the WNBA pretty much since the opening tipoff. The Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks have spent the entire season dominating the opposition and it shows with the clubs sporting a combined 54-14 record entering the playoffs.

The Lynx are +115 favorites to win the WNBA championship, with the Sparks coming in at +185. Minnesota has gotten it done thanks to their excellent two-way play, as they rank second in the league in both points and points allowed. L.A. is more defensively oriented as they sport the best defense in the WNBA while coming in as the fifth-highest in scoring in the league.

The top team in the Eastern Conference is the New York Liberty (+650). The Liberty have been mediocre offensively, but sport possibly the best player in the WNBA this season in Tina Charles. The former No.1 overall pick leads the league in points and rebounds per game – 21.5 and 9.9.

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Minnesota Lynx +115
Los Angeles Sparks +185
New York Liberty +650
Chicago Sky +1200
Phoenix Mercury +1400
Indiana Fever +1800
Atlanta Dream +2000
Seattle Storm +3300

Odds as of September 20 at BetOnline

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You don’t need to be a WNBA expert to know it’s basically a two-team race for the championship. The Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx both clinched a playoff berth with weeks remaining and are four games ahead of the third-place team.

The Sparks hold the slight edge according to books, as LA is +150 to win the WNBA championship with Minny coming in at +165.

The Sparks have dominated on both sides of the court, as the team ranks first in points for and points against so far this season. The team is led by Nneka Ogwumike whose 19.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game is the third-most in the league in both categories.

The Lynx are just behind the Sparks in terms of efficiency, as the team ranks third in points scored and second in points allowed. Maya Moore has distinguished herself as one of the best players in the WNBA, as she has averaged 19.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game this year.

A distant third in the standings and on the odds board are the New York Liberty. The Liberty have relied heavily on Tina Charles this season, as her 21.4 ppg accounts for more than one-quarter of the team’s points. However, the Liberty also have the luxury of playing in the Eastern Conference and would avoid playing the Sparks or Lynx in the playoffs.

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Los Angeles Sparks +150
Minnesota Lynx +165
New York Liberty +550
Chicago Sky +1300
Phoenix Mercury +1400
Indiana Fever +2000
Atlanta Dream +2500
Seattle Storm +4000
Dallas Wings +5000
Washington Mystics +6600
Connecticut Sun +25000
San Antonio Stars +50000

Odds as of August 3 at BetOnline

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A late three-pointer from Renee Montgomery lifted the Minnesota Lynx past the Los Angeles Sparks and secured their spot as the lone remaining undefeated team in the WNBA. The Lynx have opened the season with 13 consecutive wins – the record for most wins to start a season.

Though the Lynx offers plenty of depth – three players averaging double-digit points this season – but the best player in the league in the WNBA dons Minnesota’s jersey. Maya Moore is fourth in the league in points and assists while shooting 49.6 percent from the field.

The team is not just offensively minded though, as they supplement the second-rated offense with the second-best defense in the league.

After giving the Sparks their first loss of the season, the Lynx have locked themselves into the favorite position to win the WNBA Championship. The Lynx are now sitting at EVEN money to win their third championship in four seasons. 

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Minnesota Lynx +100
Los Angeles Sparks +225
Chicago Sky +650
New York Liberty +800
Phoenix Mercury +900
Dallas Wings +1200
Atlanta Dream +1600
Washington Mystics +2500
Indiana Fever +3300
Seattle Storm +6600
Connecticut Sun +10000
San Antonio Stars +15000

Odds as of June 23 at BetOnline

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We have plenty of basketball left to play, but the Minnesota Lynx look like the team to beat. The Lynx opened the season 10-0 – tying their own record for consecutive wins to open the season – with four of those victories coming by 17 points or more.

The Lynx – who rank first in the league in points and second in defense – have won the WNBA Championship in three of the past five seasons.

Arguably the best player in the WNBA also puts on a Lynx jersey with Maya Moore leading the charge. Moore is averaging 20.2 points, 4.9 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting over 50 percent from the floor. However, it was the acquisition of Sylvia Fowles last season that has put this Lynx squad on another level. Her huge frame has helped improve the team’s rebounding – which is still their ‘weakness’ – with Fowles averaging 8.6 rebounds per game this season.

The biggest challenge in front of the Lynx at the time being appears to be the Los Angeles Sparks. The Sparks are the only remaining undefeated team aside from the Lynx and the two will face off in back-to-back games on June 21 and 24.

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Minnesota Lynx +130
Los Angeles Sparks +300
Chicago Sky +500
Phoenix Mercury +550
New York Liberty +1000
Indiana Fever +1400
Atlanta Dream +1400
Dallas Wings +1800
Washington Mystics +2500
Seattle Storm +5000
Connecticut Sun +8000
San Antonio Stars +15000

Odds as of June 13 at BetOnline

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Much of the talk in the WNBA surrounds the Western Conference with both the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx starting the season 7-0, but what about the Atlanta Dream. The Dream sit atop the Eastern Conference as of this writing with a 6-2 record.

Atlanta is second in the WNBA in points (85.7 ppg) and rebounds (39.0 rpg) while also ranking in the top half in defense. Their talented two-way play is thanks to their incredible depth, as four of their five starters all average double-digit points and more than four rebounds per game.

Three of the Dream’s starters – Angel McCoughtry, Tiffany Hayes and Elizabeth Williams –  are all 5’10 or taller, which makes them one of the hardest teams in the league to defend in the paint. McCoughtry, Hayes and Williams have shot a combined 53.7 percent from the floor – but the trio lacks the ability to stretch the floor with a woeful 15.3 shooting percentage from beyond the arc.

It will be difficult for any team in the league to contain such a massive lineup and – assuming they make the playoffs – playing Atlanta will be a physical grind across a full series.

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Minnesota Lynx +200
Phoenix Mercury +400
Chicago Sky +500
Los Angeles Sparks +550
New York Liberty +850
Indiana Fever +1200
Atlanta Dream +1400
Dallas Wings +1600
Washington Mystics +2000
Connecticut Sun +4000
Seattle Storm +5000
San Antonio Stars +15000

Odds as of June 7 at BetOnline

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After the first three weeks of the WNBA season, the Los Angeles Sparks are one of only two undefeated teams remaining. The Sparks just squeaked into the playoffs last season on the back of a 14-20 regular season record, which had fans cautiously optimistic entering this season.

After starting the season 5-0 – their best start since the team went 9-0 to kick off the 2009 season – only optimism remains for the Sparks’ faithful.

L.A. is averaging 88.4 points per game while allowing just 71.4 ppg – both of which are tops in the WNBA so far this season. The Sparks may have the top duo in the WNBA with Candace Parker and Nneka Ogumike dominating this season. Parker is averaging 20.8 ppg while shooting 46.4 percent from the floor and 43 percent from three-point range. Ogumike has been dominant in the paint with the Texas-born forward averaging 15.6 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.

The one knock against the Sparks is their opposition. L.A. has not faced a team with a record above the .500 mark – and the one team they faced with a .500 record took them to overtime.

If you’re willing to buy into this team and truly believe they can make a run at the WNBA Championship, now would definitely be the time to grab them. They don’t face many difficult challenges over the next month and they play eight of their next 11 games at the Staples Center. If the winning continues, the value will likely dry up sooner rather than later.

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Minnesota Lynx +225
Phoenix Mercury +325
Chicago Sky +350
Los Angeles Sparks +600
New York Liberty +800
Indiana Fever +1200
Atlanta Dream +1200
Dallas Wings +1600
Washington Mystics +1600
Connecticut Sun +3300
Seattle Storm +5000
San Antonio Stars +15000

Odds as of May 31 at BetOnline

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After only a couple of weeks of action only two undefeated teams remain in the WNBA. The Minnesota Lynx opening the season 3-0 is not much of a surprise – considering they are the defending champions – but the Los Angeles Sparks have certainly turned some heads.

The Lynx are averaging 90 points per game thanks in large part to perennial All-Star Maya Moore’s 22 ppg. Minnesota is more than just an offensive juggernaut, as they have held their opponents to 79 ppg. Given their recent history – two championships in the past three years – the Lynx are +200 favorites to win it all again.

It has been the LA Sparks who have been the best team in the WNBA to start the season. The Sparks lead the league in points (90.7 ppg) and points allowed (68.3 ppg). The depth of LA has been incredible with Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike and Krist Toliver all averaging over 15 ppg.

After opening the season as the favorite, the Phoenix Mercury promptly dropped their first three games while allowing more points than any other team. Phoenix lost two of its first three by four points or less and is still a decent +300 to win the WNBA Championship.

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Minnesota Lynx +200
Phoenix Mercury +300
Chicago Sky +350
New York Liberty +700
Los Angeles Sparks +750
Indiana Fever +1200
Washington Mystics +1600
Atlanta Dream +2500
Dallas Wings +2800
Connecticut Sun +3300
Seattle Storm +5000
San Antonio Stars +15000

Odds as of May 24 at BetOnline

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Despite dropping the Western Conference Finals in two-straight games last season, the Phoenix Mercury are the favorites to be the team covered in confetti at the end of the season.

The team managed to finish last season 20-14 and made it to the Western Finals without either Diana Taurasi or Penny Taylor playing. The two veterans are coming back to bolster a great young core that features DeWanna Bonner (15.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) and Brittney Griner (15.1 ppg, 8.1 rpg).

If the Mercury want to win it all for the second time in three seasons, they will need to make it out of the east which will not be easy with the Minnesota Lynx standing in their path. The Lynx cruised to the WNBA Finals last season without a loss through the first three rounds of the playoffs – though they had a first round bye. The team’s chemistry is undeniable with the starting lineup working perfectly in harmony, but there is no doubt the team’s centerpiece is Maya Moore (20.6 ppg).

The Eastern Conference team with the best odds is the Chicago Sky who boasts the best female player on the planet in Elena Delle Donne. The reigning WNBA MVP averaged 23.4 points and 8.4 rebounds per game while being the key piece for a Sky team that had the best offense in the league. Chicago struggled defensively last season, but if 6’7 draft pick Imani Boyette can bring her defensive game from Texas than the Sky will be a difficult out.

2016 WNBA Championship Odds
Team Odds
Phoenix Mercury +225
Minnesota Lynx +325
Chicago Sky +400
New York Liberty +550
Indiana Fever +1100
Washington Mystics +1100
Los Angeles Sparks +1400
Connecticut Sun +2800
Atlanta Dream +2800
Dallas Wings +4000
Seattle Storm +5000
San Antonio Stars +10000

Odds as of May 12 at BetOnline

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