Liberty vs. Aces Odds, Picks, Predictions | WNBA Commissioner’s Cup Preview (August 15)
Erica Denhoff/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: New York Liberty forward Jonquel Jones (35) shoots the ball while defended by Las Vegas Aces center A’ja Wilson (22).
Liberty vs. Aces Odds
The WNBA Commissioner's Cup Final is set to take place Tuesday night between the New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces on Amazon Prime Video at 9 p.m. ET. The league implemented this new twist to their seasons in 2021, with the Seattle Storm winning the inaugural edition.
The Commissioner's Cup, for the uninitiated, brings the Eastern and Western Conference rivalry back into shape a bit, as the first 10 regular season games that teams play against their own conference count as Commissioner's Cup games, and then the team with the best record against their own conference in those games meet in this Final. In the first year, it was the aforementioned Storm defeating the Connecticut Sun. Last season, it was the Aces topping the Chicago Sky.
This season, it's the matchup we all hoped for before the season: The Aces and the Liberty.
These two superteams appear to be on a collision course for the WNBA Finals in October, but this is a nice amuse-bouche to get the palate ready for the big time playoffs down the road.
And let's not get it twisted, with a trophy, as well as $30,000 per player for the winning team on the line, these players will be attacking this like the Final it is.
It's going to be an awesome game to watch no matter what, but let's find some angles for bettors to have a little extra juice on the line.
New York Liberty
Sometimes in a long season, it's really easy to get bogged down in the moment with overreactions to what we are seeing in front of us. If we just zoom out, it can give a greater perspective on what is actually going on.
Before the season even started, a common refrain about the potential Liberty-Aces rivalry, is that it would take some time for the Liberty to catch up to the Aces, since this was Year 1 for New York compared to Year 2 for the Becky Hammon Aces.
However, the Aces started the season 16-1; the Liberty started 14-5 and while that was a solid record, they didn't quite look the World Eaters that the Aces were and people started to wonder if we wouldn't get the amazing two-team showdown we had all been hoping for.
Well, over the past month, we've started to see the gap between these two teams shrink. Over the first two months of the season (up to July 20), the Aces were 20-2 with a +19.1 Net Rating, while the Liberty lagged far behind at 14-5 with a +6.7 Net Rating. The Liberty were far closer to the Sun in third (+6.2) than to any sort of real challenger to the Aces.
Then the All-Star break happened, and the two suddenly look eerily similar. Over past four weeks, the Aces are 7-1 with a +13.4 net rating; the Liberty are even better at 10-1 with a +13.5 Net Rating. The biggest change for the Liberty has been the offense. In the first two months, their Offensive Rating of 106.8 was definitely solid! It was second in the league, and would have ranked in the top two of the league any of the past three seasons. However, anyone who watched them knew their ceiling was higher. And would you look at that, over the past four weeks, they have a 111.6 Offensive Rating thanks to a few keys tweaks.
For one, they are taking even more 3-pointers. They already led the league in 3s per game the first two months at 27.6, but in the past four weeks, they have really leaned into the 3-ball, taking an absurd 32.3 3s per game, while sacrificing only a small percentage drop. Those 32.3 3s per game are unprecedented, as the record for 3s attempted per game coming into this season was the 2021 Liberty who took 27.7 per game.
They also cut down on their turnovers (15.1 to 13.8), and a reinvigorated Jonquel Jones (more on her in a bit) has helped lead the charge on the offensive glass, where they are collecting an extra 3.1 offensive rebounds per game since July 20.
Las Vegas Aces
It's amazing to talk about everything we just did with the Liberty, and yet, the Aces still have a notable edge when it comes to full season Net Rating (+17.6 to +9.2), and if we didn't get a little bit cute with the date above, if we use the last 30 days, the Aces do indeed have the best Net Rating as well (+14.1 to +11.5).
However, we have seen throughout this WNBA season that recency has actually been quite predictive when it comes to betting these teams, and the last time the two teams met was bad news for the Aces. The Liberty absolutely ran the Aces out of the gym on Aug. 6, handing the Aces their worst loss since moving to Vegas! The Aces scored 17 total points in the second half, the same amount Sabrina Ionescu had scored on them, herself, in the second quarter.
The Aces don't even have to have long memories to be holding that loss closely, since it was just nine days ago. This is a team with a proven track record in the postseason that is undoubtedly going to be incredibly motivated on Tuesday night. What might matter more, however, is that they get to be at home. The Aces as a whole have been amazing in 2023, but at home, they've been elite. They are 15-0 at home, with a +24.4 Net Rating. They haven't even been challenged on their home court, with the closest game being a 89-82 win over the Wings, one of only two single-digit games at Michelob Ultra Arena.
A good chunk of that success came with their fully healthy roster, however. On Tuesday, they will return Alysha Clark from a brief absence, but they will still be without Candace Parker, who was key to their size. Without Parker, they have proven susceptible on the glass, allowing the second-most second-chance points per game since she went out. The Liberty, as noted above, have been hammering the offensive glass, with only the historic Wings topping them in terms of second-chance points in the past month.
Liberty vs. Aces
Betting Pick & Prediction
We now have a good feel for where each team sits. It is also likely clear which direction I am leaning. The Liberty spread and even moneyline have value for me because of the recent play of these two teams, as well as the matchup issues New York can give Las Vegas without Parker.
However, since this is the Commissioner's Cup, and I want to meet bettors where they are in terms of excitement for this game, that's just the start.
I also am leaning towards the over, although it has already been bet up a bit, so I like an extra angle to it: The first half. These playoff type games can often get a little tight down the stretch, as defenses really crack down, so playing the over in the first half eliminates that worry. Along that same line, I might even look to the second half under before the game, or even better, look to live bet the game total under at halftime, if it is following that script.
On the player side of things, bettors can bet the MVP for this game, who gets an extra $5,000. The player who catches my eye is Jonquel Jones. I've spoken here about the Aces vulnerability on the glass, and few players do better there than the former MVP.
Since the All-Star break, JJ leads the league in rebounds per game (11.9); offensive rebounds per game (3.6); and is sixth in second-chance points per game (2.9). She is currently sitting at +3400 at FanDuel, which is a wild number for someone with her level of talent, and although it's a longshot, that's my favorite bet for this game as a whole.