Loading scores...
Arike Ogunbowale
NBAE, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC
Odds and Ends

WNBA Best Bets: Odds Preview for Wings v. Aces on Monday, September 13

by Jake Wolf
Updated On: September 13, 2021, 2:07 pm ET

The App is Back! Don’t forget to download the NBC Sports EDGE app to receive real-time player news, mobile alerts and track your favorite players. Plus, now you can check out articles and player cards. Get it here!

Monday's WNBA action consists of only one game, tipping off at 3:00 pm ET as the Las Vegas Aces host the Dallas Wings. PointsBet Sportsbook lists the Aces as -10.5 on the spread with the Total at 164.5 for this matchup. My WNBA picks record is at exactly 60% (15-10) since the break entering today’s game, and I like taking the spread as a one-unit play.

Dallas Wings at Las Vegas Aces

Both teams have clinched a spot in the playoffs heading into this game, but there are incentives for each side to win and improve its seeding before the regular season concludes on Sunday. The Aces sit second in the standings with a 21-8 record heading into this game. Connecticut already clinched the top seed, but the second seed is still a coveted position as it offers a double-bye for the playoffs. Las Vegas is 1.5 games ahead of Minnesota for the second seed, so the Aces can clinch the double-bye by winning two of the last three games or if the Lynx lose one of the team's two remaining matchups.

Dallas has gone 13-17 so far this season and clinched a playoff spot with a 77-76 win over the Liberty on Saturday. Satou Sabally hit a game-winning layup in the final minute, and while she won't play against Las Vegas, Dallas had four other double-digit scorers against New York led by Marina Mabrey's 21 points off the bench.

Mabrey is among the best shooters in the league this season with 13.1 points per game on 35% from beyond the arc. Dallas also boasts the league's leading scorer from last season in Arike Ogunbowale. Ogunbowale is fifth in scoring since the break and has averaged 18.5 points per game this year. Ogunbowale ranked in the top-10 of average points off turnovers, second-chance points and fast-break points per game this year, so she can score in a variety of different ways.

The Aces deserve to be listed as straight up favorites for this game, as the Las Vegas offense led the league in points per game and field goal percentage this season while giving up the fewest turnovers per game. The Aces also paced the WNBA in free throw attempts per game, led by A'ja Wilson's 6.2 attempts from the line per night, second-most in the league. Wilson ranks fifth in Kevin Pelton’s Wins Above Replacement Player metric this season and won her first MVP award last year.

Despite how well the Aces played this season, I see a few reasons why the Wings should be able to cover the double-digit spread in tonight’s matchup. The Aces went 2-0 against Dallas this season with both wins coming before the break. The Wings lost by 16 points as +3.5 home dogs in the most recent matchup between these teams, but they covered +8.5 on the road in the first game, an 85-78 loss in June.

Both sides will be without key players for this game, so the depth of these squads will be an important factor. Tonight's matchup features the WNBA's top two teams in bench scoring, as the Aces rank second with 24.5 reserve points per game behind Dallas's 30.1 bench points per game.

Las Vegas hasn't played since last Wednesday, but star center Liz Cambage will still be inactive tonight as she returns from health and safety protocols. Cambage has anchored the Aces' defense this season, as she earned the third-highest block rate and fourth highest blocks per game average in the league and ranked in the top-12 of defensive win shares despite playing the fewest games of any player in the top-20 this season. Las Vegas only allowed 91.1 points per 100 possessions with Cambage on the floor, which would rank as the fourth-best defensive rating in the league this season.

Las Vegas is on pace to set a new WNBA season record for defensive rebounds per game with 31.4 defensive boards per game this year. No team in league history averaged over 30 defensive rebounds per game prior to this season, according to Las Vegas Aces PR.

In spite of the team's dominance grabbing defensive boards, the Aces haven't been nearly as successful on the offensive glass. Las Vegas grabbed the fourth-fewest offensive rebounds per game with the fourth-lowest offensive rebounding rate this season even with Cambage active. This could be an issue against a Dallas team that led the league in offensive boards per game and ranked second in offensive rebounding rate this year. The Wings also scored the second-most second-chance points and third-most fast-break points per game.

In addition to the matchup concerns for the Aces against Dallas, I think this line is inflated due to Las Vegas’ success against bottom-tier teams as big favorites, and the spread isn’t accounting enough for the early start time. Las Vegas will honor Becky Hammon during this game and while this is an important day for the franchise, a 12:00 pm local time start on a Monday is difficult for an Aces team that struggled to cover the spread in early matchups this season. The Aces went only 2-6 ATS in eight games against teams currently slated for a playoff spot when tipoff was 3:00 pm or earlier in Las Vegas time this year.

Prediction:

The Aces went 6-5 ATS as double-digit favorites this season, but most of that success came against easier competition. Las Vegas went 0-2 ATS in two games as double-digit favorites against the teams currently in line for a playoff spot this season, so I think this spread is too high against a solid Wings team. I’ll take the points with one unit on Dallas at +10.5 as my best bet for Monday's WNBA action.

EDGE: Dallas Wings +10.5

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

Jake Wolf

Jake Wolf is covering basketball for NBC Sports Edge and has worked for FNTSY Sports Network and YES Network. Follow him on Twitter @jakewolf13 for betting content and basketball analysis.