The WNBA playoffs will kick off on Tuesday, Sept. 15 with a pair of single-elimination first-round games. On Thursday, Sept. 17, another pair of single-elimination second-round games will take place. After that, the postseason moves to a best-of-five series for the semifinals and finals. Let’s take a closer look at the upcoming matches so you can set down your bets against their WNBA odds.
WNBA Playoffs: Bold Predictions, Possible Finals matchups
Eight teams are in the postseason with the top two seeds receiving double byes into the semifinals. In the second round, the No. 3 seed will face the lowest-seeded first-round winner, while the No. 4 seed faces the other winner. In the semifinals, the No. 1 seed meets the lowest-seeded second-round winner, while the No. 2 seed faces the other winner.
The Las Vegas Aces claimed the No. 1 seed in the WNBA playoffs by virtue of their 86-84 win over the Seattle Storm on Sunday. The Aces and the Storm finished at an identical 18-4, but Las Vegas won both regular-season meetings to get the tiebreaker and top seed. Now, let’s take a look at the two playoff series that are set, followed by some bold predictions on which two teams will reach the 2020 WNBA finals.
No. 7 Connecticut Sun (10-12) at No. 6 Chicago Sky (12-10)
- When: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 7:00 PM ET
- TV: ESPN2
Connecticut (10-12 ATS) averaged 80.4 points per game this season (10th) while limiting the opposition to just 79.9 points per game to rank second in points allowed. The Sun reached the postseason despite dropping their final two regular season games, including an 82-75 loss against Atlanta on Friday.
Chicago (9-12-1 ATS) put up a stellar 86.7 points per game to finish the regular season ranked third in scoring. The Sky allowed 84.1 points per game defensively to finish seventh in points allowed. Chicago snapped a four-game skid by beating Dallas 95-88 on Friday. Chicago recorded a 100-93 ‘home’ win on Aug. 8 while Connecticut got some revenge by recording a 77-74 ‘road’ win on Aug. 14.
With Chicago struggling down the stretch and Connecticut owning one of the league’s best defense, I’m going with the Sun to get the big victory in this affair as Alyssa Thomas, DeWanna Bonner and Briann January star. Chicago is without star point guard Diamond DeShields after she started every game a year ago and led the Sky in scoring – and that will be the difference.
Pick: Connecticut 85 Chicago 81
No. 8 Washington Mystics (9-13) at No. 5 Phoenix Mercury (13-9)
- When: Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 9:00 PM ET
The defending champion Mystics (10-11-1 ATS) finished 11th in scoring (80.0 ppg) but allowed 81.5 points per game defensively (6th). More importantly, Washington closed out the regular season by winning four straight including an 85-78 win over Atlanta on Sunday despite being without reigning league MVP Elena Delle Donne all season.
Phoenix put up a stellar 86.1 points per game to rank fourth in scoring while allowing 84.1 points per contest defensively (8th). The Mercury won six of their final eight games, but hit the playoffs having lost two of three, including an embarrassing 83-60 loss against Seattle on Friday.
While Washington reached the postseason one year after winning it all, the Mystics are clearly not as good as they were a year ago with their superstar leader on the floor. Phoenix might not play much defense, but the Mercury still have some of the best talent in the league in former league MVP and future Hall of Famer Diana Taurasi (18.7 ppg), all-star center Brittany Griner (17.7 ppg), Skylar Diggins-Smith (17.7 ppg) and Bria Hartley (14.6 ppg). Phoenix wins based on their sheer offensive firepower.
Pick: Phoenix 88 Washington 78
No. 3 LA Sparks (15-7)
The Sparks will almost certainly face the winner of the Connecticut/Chicago first round matchup and I just don’t see Candace Parker and company losing to either team.
No. 4 Minnesota Lynx (14-8)
The Lynx will likely face Phoenix in the second round in a matchup that could almost literally go either way. I’m going to back Minnesota to advance to the semifinals, if only because, Phoenix plays little to no defense and can be wildly inconsistent despite their star-studded roster.
In the end, I’m expecting No. 1 Las Vegas (18-4) and No. 2 Seattle Storm (18-4) to advance to the 2020 WNBA Finals. Seattle and Vegas have been the best two teams in the league all season long and are the only two teams in the league to average over 87 points per game this season. While I won’t make my finals prediction at this moment, I will say that the 20202 WNBA Finals looks like it could one of the most competitive and entertaining in recent memory.