WNBA Finals Cheat Sheet
October 1, 2019
By VI News
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The 2019 WNBA Finals are underway as the Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics meet in a best-of-five series.
Oddsmakers at the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened the Mystics as minus-300 favorites (Bet $100 to win $33) while the Sun have a return of plus-260 (Bet $100 to win $260).
Game 1 – Washington 95, Connecticut 86
Game 2 – Connecticut 99, Washington 87
Game 3 – Washington at Connecticut (Sunday, Oct. 6, 3:30 p.m. ET)
Game 4 – Washington at Connecticut (Tuesday, Oct. 8, 8:00 p.m. ET)
Game 5 – Connecticut at Washington (Thursday, Oct. 10, 8:00 p.m. ET)
(Straight Up – SU, Against the Spread – ATS, Over-Under – O/U)
(1) Washington vs. (2) Connecticut
2019 Regular Season Meetings
May 25 – Connecticut (-5.5) 84 vs. Washington 69 (Under 166 ½)
June 11 – Connecticut (-3) 83 vs. Washington 75 (Under 166 ½)
June 29 – Washington (-7) 102 vs. Connecticut 59 (Under 161 ½)
-- Connecticut won and covered all three matchups against Los Angeles in the semifinals as it pulled off the three-game sweep.
-- The Sun won by an average of 19 points per game and the defense only allowed 66.3 PPG, which helped the ‘under’ cash in every decision.
-- Washington advanced past Las Vegas in four games of the semifinals. Despite posting a 3-1 record in that series, the Mystics went 1-3 against the spread for bettors.
-- The Mystics averaged 94.3 PPG in their wins and were held to 75 in the lone loss. The ‘over’ went 3-1.
-- The home team won and covered all three encounters between the pair this season, with the results coming by an average of 33 PPG.
-- Connecticut owns a 17-19-1 ATS mark this season.
-- At home, Connecticut has gone 17-2 straight up and 12-7 ATS.
-- On the road, the Sun struggled to a 5-12-1 ATS mark for bettors despite a 9-9 record.
-- The point-spread hasn’t matter when the Sun have been listed as an underdog this season. Connecticut has gone 3-3 both SU and ATS in that role.
-- Including the playoffs, Washington has produced a 21-16-1 ATS mark this season.
-- At home, the Mystics have gone 16-3 SU and 12-16-1 ATS.
-- The club has produced a 13-6 SU and 9-10 ATS mark on the road.
-- Washington was listed as an underdog four times this season and it went 2-2 both SU and ATS in that role.
-- Coincidentally, the two setbacks came to Connecticut (see above).
-- Game 2, 4 and 5 will be played on one day of rest. The Sun went 10-5 SU and 8-7 ATS playing with the short break this season while Washington was a tad better at 11-3 SU and 9-5 ATS.
-- The pair will have three or more days of rest between the first and third installments. Both Connecticut (9-3 SU, 6-6 ATS) and Washington (9-2 SU, 4-6-1 ATS) have fared well with the extra rest.
-- Sticking with the above, Game 1 and 3 are afternoon matchups. Connecticut has gone 6-9 ATS in day games while the Mystics own a solid 10-4 ATS mark.
-- The ‘under’ went 3-0 in this year’s regular season meetings between the pair.
-- In 2018, the two clubs saw their total results go 2-2.
-- Make a note that Washington has scored 75, 69 and 68 points in their last three trips to the Mohegan Sun Arena.
-- Including the postseason, the Sun watched the ‘under’ go 20-17 while Washington was a great ‘over’ wager (23-15).
-- Connecticut saw both its home (10-9) and away (10-8) records lean to the low side.
-- Washington saw the ‘over’ go 12-7 at home and 11-8 on the road.
-- As mentioned above, Game 1 and 3 will be afternoon tilts and even though the Mystics were an ‘over’ club this season, the high side was just 8-6 in day games. Connecticut watched the ‘under’ go 10-5 in afternoon spots.
WNBA Finals - Notable Trends
-- Both teams are aiming for their first WNBA title. While the Mystics were swept by Seattle in the finals last year, the Sun haven't been here since consecutive appearances in 2004-05. They were coached by Mike Thibault, who now ironically leads Washington.
-- Favorites have gone 13-8 straight up and 9-11-1 ATS in the last five finals.
-- Home squads have produced a 12-9 straight up record during this span.
-- Total bettors have watched more ‘under’ tickets connect in the last dance with the low side holding a slight 12-9 lean.
Stats to Watch
-- Washington has been an offensive machine, ranked first in points (89.3), field goal percentage (46.9%) and free throw percentage (87.5%).
-- The Mystics also led the league in 3-pointers attempted per game (25.4) and they were second in percentage (36.6%) from downtown.
-- Connecticut was ranked third in 3-point shooting percentage (35.6%).
-- That effort helped the Sun averaged 80.8 PPG, which was ranked fourth. That number could’ve been improved but Connecticut was ranked last in free throw percentage (70.3 PPG).
-- Washington surrendered 77.2 PPG defensively, ranked fourth in the league. Connecticut was a few hairs behind at 77.9 PPG.
Players to Watch – Notable Quotes
Per Associated Press
The Sun have benefited by having a healthy year from their starting lineup; the team used the same five players to begin every game. Jasmine Thomas, Alyssa Thomas, Shekinna Stricklen, Courtney Williams and Jonquel Jones all have the ability to have big games, making them tough to game plan against.
The core of Alyssa Thomas (11.6 points, 7.8 rebounds), Jasmine Thomas (11.1, 5.1) and Jonquel Jones (14.6, 9.7) has been together since 2016. Point guard Courtney Williams (13.2, 5.6 and 3.2 assists) joined them in 2017. Jasmine Thomas says they're like a college team that is dominated by seniors and understand how to play with each other.
''We take pride in team basketball. That's what we have fun doing on the defensive and offensive end,'' said Jasmine Thomas. ''But I think we definitely have stars here. We have All-Stars; we have the best 3-point shooter in the league (Shekinna Stricklen - 3rd in the WNBA). We have people who are reaching milestones in their career so early. We do play team basketball, but we absolutely have stars.''
This Mystics team is very different than the one that got swept by Seattle last season.
The Mystics are led by forward Elena Delle Donne, who was named the 2019 WNBA MVP in a near-unanimous vote. Delle Donne averaged 19.5 points, 8.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists and shot a league-high 97.4% from the free throw line.
Along side EDD is Emma Meesseman, who missed the 2018 season while preparing for the Women's World Cup with Belgium. Meesseman was a huge reason the Mystics were able to advance past Las Vegas, winning the series in Game 4 as she had 22 points in the win.
''We didn't have Emma. We're a different team when she's on it,'' Delle Donne said. ''We got a really good Connecticut team coming in. They are playing really great basketball. We'll focus on them and figure some things out.''
While the Mystics have been in this position before, only guard Kristi Toliver has won a title, doing so with Los Angeles in 2016. She had been sidelined with her own bone bruise before returning for the playoffs. She started in Game 4 of the series against Las Vegas - the first time she had done so in the playoffs.