WNBA Finals Game 1 Betting Odds, Pick: Back the Storm For Fast Start vs. Aces (Saturday, Oct. 3)


Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart.

Storm vs. Aces Odds

Storm Odds -5.5 [Bet Now]
Aces Odds +5.5 [Bet Now]
Over/Under 164 [Bet Now]
Time 7 p.m. ET
Channel ESPN2

Odds as of Monday at 2 p.m. ET and via bet365. Get up to $100 in bet credits at bet365 today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

In a playoff format, there was no guarantee the two teams with the best regular-season records would meet in the WNBA Finals.

But here we are. The Seattle Storm did their part by sweeping the Minnesota Lynx in three games, while the Las Vegas Aces needed five games to dispatch the Connecticut Sun. Both teams finished the regular season with an identical 18-4 record.

The Storm opened up as 4.5-point favorites over the Aces in Game 1, although Seattle seems to be getting the early money as it has already been moved to as high as 5.5 at some books, including bet365.

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Two of Seattle’s four regular-season loss were against Las Vegas. The Aces won the first meeting, 82-74, and then they took the second matchup, 86-84. Veteran Storm guard Sue Bird did not play in the first meeting, and then Bird and 2018 MVP Breanna Stewart sat out the second matchup due to rest.

Seattle has made a concerted effort to manage the minutes of the 39-year old Bird, who is averaging 26.6 minutes in the playoffs compared to Stewart’s 33. Even with less time on the court, Bird’s plus-minus is plus-13.7 points with Stewart at plus-14.

Both Bird and Stewart have been efficient in the first quarter of the playoffs, and that is largely due to Bird establishing the tempo and flow of the game as the point guard. Seattle won the first quarter in all three games against Minnesota, outscoring the Lynx, 72-56, between the three wins in the series. Las Vegas, meanwhile, was outscored in all five first quarters against Connecticut, 110-88.

My model favors Seattle to win Game 1, 85-82, but I’d expect those projections to widen with Bird and Stewart on the court together against Las Vegas for the first time this season. The opening game will be a good indicator as to whether Seattle’s regular-season losses to the Aces were simply part of a rope-a-dope strategy. That uncertainty will likely keep me off betting the full game, as I’d prefer to back Seattle in the first quarter given Las Vegas’s propensity for to slow starts.

I would play Seattle against the spread if I can find them at -1.5, but I would consider the current -170 moneyline at the current number of -2.

The Bet: Storm first-quarter moneyline (-170)

[Bet now at bet365. NJ only.]

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