WNBA Odds, Picks & Predictions: Sky To Win Title? EDD For MVP?
Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Elena Delle Donne
- The Chicago Sky to win the 2021 WNBA title. Elena Delle Donne to win WNBA MVP.
- Below are the WNBA futures our staff is targeting ahead of the season's tip-off Friday.
The 2021 WNBA season tips off this Friday. And in honor of its return, we asked our analysts to break down their favorite futures.
Find their picks below, including one championship bet and one MVP angle.
WNBA Odds & Picks
WNBA Championship Pick
Bill Monighetti: Injuries at key positions caused the Sky to limp across the finish line in 2020, going 2-7 over their final nine games of the season, including a first-round loss to the Sun in the playoffs.
Most notably, a thigh injury limited Diamond DeShields to only 17 minutes per game and led to sharp declines in every major statistical category. The Sky also lost Azura Stevens to a knee injury after the promising third-year forward had averaged a solid 14 points and 7 rebounds through Chicago’s first five games. According to head coach James Wade, DeShields will be a full go to start the 2021 campaign, while Stevens will begin the year on a minutes restriction.
Of course, I am burying the lede here, as the Sky also added two-time league MVP Candace Parker via free agency this offseason. A balanced, all-around player, Parker will bring a championship pedigree to a Sky roster that is otherwise lacking in playoff experience. Rounding out the team’s core, the Sky will pair arguably the league’s top shooter in Allie Quigley with the league’s top playmaker in Courtney Vandersloot for the ninth straight season.
At +850 to win the championship, the Sky are listed behind the Sparks (+600), who lost Parker in free agency, and well behind the Storm (+175),who replaced former Defensive Player of the Year Natasha Howard with an unproven talent in Katie Lou Samuelson this offseason. At those odds, it’s a bet I’m willing to make given the star power on this Chicago roster.
WNBA MVP Pick
Michael Arinze: Last year was a tumultuous one for Elena Delle Donne as she sought to receive a medical opt-out from the WNBA due to her ongoing battle with Lyme Disease. Since her opt-out was based on a medical issue and a recommendation from her physician, Delle Donne would have been eligible to receive compensation.
Unfortunately, her request was denied by the independent panel of doctors selected by the league and the players association, who didn’t view her as a high-risk candidate amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Mystics organization later stepped in and announced their commitment to honor her salary even if she chose to sit out.
The key takeaway here is that the Mystics had Delle Donne’s back during the ordeal, and I think she’ll be motivated to show her gratitude in spades. Keep in mind that Delle Donne is only two years removed from winning the MVP along with the WNBA title.
It was a historic season for that year her as she became the first and only WNBA player to join the 50-40-90 club. It’s an honor that she shares with only eight NBA players.
Insane numbers. Welcome to the club big dog https://t.co/ifYlzhJkTy
— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 9, 2019
A’ja Wilson won the MVP award last year, and the only other player in WNBA history to go back-to-back was Cynthia Cooper in 1997 and 1998.
One common trend with the MVP winner over the last five years is they all managed to reach the WNBA Finals. It’s not enough to just put up points — it helps to be on a good team as well.
Delle Donne is likely to be at the top of the league in terms of win shares. In fact, if we look at the recent MVP winners, none of them came close to her win shares (7.7) when she won the award.
It’s important to remember that the voters are not robots, but rather human beings. So don’t be surprised if it’s a close race and the voters opt for Delle Donne, given what she endured last season.