Dallas Wings guard Arike Ogunbowale (24) talks to her teammates during their WNBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Sparks Friday, May 14, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
- Chicago and Dallas open up the single-elimination first round of the WNBA Playoffs on Thursday, Sept. 23rd on ESPN2
- The Sky come into the game as the sixth seed, while the Wings entering the postseason as the seventh seed
- See below for the latest odds, analysis and the best bet for the game
The Chicago Sky and Dallas Wings will open up play in the WNBA Playoffs on Thursday, Sept. 23rd as eight teams atop the WNBA championship odds start their journey at claiming a league title.
The sixth seed Chicago and seventh seed Dallas will face off in the first of two single-elimination opening round games at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
If the eight seed New York Liberty top the fifth seed Phoenix Mercury in the second first-round contest, the winner of the Chicago and Dallas game at Wintrust Arena in Chicago will advance to take on the Seattle Storm in the second round. If Phoenix wins the other game, the Sky or Wings winner will take on the Minnesota Lynx.
Dallas Wings vs Chicago Sky Odds
|Dallas Wings||+4.5 (-110)||+160||Over 164.5 (-110)|
|Chicago Sky||-4.5 (-110)||-190||Under 164.5 (-110)|
Odds as of Sept. 22nd at DraftKings
Sky Try to Defend Home Court
Chicago comes into the first round of the playoffs as the early favorite, likely due to the mix of it being a higher seed and playing at home for the single-elimination games.
After a rough start to the year, Chicago finished the regular season with a record of 16-16 overall en-route to claiming the sixth seed and a home contest in the opening round. The Sky have played better in the latter portion of the season, having gone 5-5 in their last 10 games.
Leading the way for Chicago this season was Kahleah Copper with 14.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists and Candace Parker with 13.3 points, 8.4 rebounds, four assists and 1.2 blocks. Behind them, Allie Quigley has averaged 13.2 points, Diamond DeShields averaged 11.3 points and 3.5 rebounds and Courtney Vandersloot has tallied 10.5 points, a WNBA-best 8.6 assists and 3.4 rebounds a game.
At home in Chicago this season, the Sky hold a record of 6-10 in front of their fans. Part of the reason behind that below-.500 mark at home was due to the slow start to the year as mentioned, but Chicago is hoping playing at home will give it a boost when it needs it most on Thursday.
Wings Looking For Upset Win on the Road
As a bottom two seed in the playoff field, the Wings will have to play on the road for most, if not all, of the playoffs.
Dallas wrapped up the regular season with an overall record of 14-18, tallying a .500 record of 5-5 over the final 10 games. The Wings finished two games back of the Sky in the standings, at one point threatening to challenge Chicago for the sixth seed.
Arike Ogunbowale has led the way for Dallas all season long, averaging a team-best 18.7 points, 3.3 assists, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game. Marina Mabrey averaged 13.3 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists during the summer, followed by Allisha Gray and Satou Sabally with 11.9 points a piece.
Away from home this year, the Wings compiled a record of 7-9 on the road, the same mark they finished with at home. So it appears Dallas is comfortable playing wherever, and we’ll see if that remains the case in the first round.
Prediction and Best Bet
During the regular season, Chicago and Dallas squared off a total of three times, with the Wings owning a 2-1 advantage in that series. The Wings claimed wins over the Sky on July 2 in Arlington and Aug. 17 in Chicago, with Chicago taking the lone game of the series on June 30 in Arlington.
On Thursday night to open up the playoffs, this should be one of the more entertaining and back-and-forth games in the early stages of the postseason, as both teams are pretty evenly matched and can put up points in a hurry. But with Chicago playing the contest at home, that might be one of the biggest factors into the Sky ultimately coming out on top and advancing to the second round.
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 21, 2021
For betting purposes and looking at the best bet in this game, go with the Sky and them being 4.5-point favorites leading up to the contest. Regardless of who wins, it will likely be decided by more than 4.5 points, and since Chicago is the likely squad to pull this one out, the over on that 4.5 points is the pick.
- The Pick: Chicago -4.5 (-110)
Mitchell has over seven years of experience in journalism, marketing, communications and digital fields, having covered sports teams and leagues on all levels. He has spent more than five years covering the WNBA and NBA, among other sports. You can follow him on Twitter @M_Hansen13.