After a thrilling Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, the Las Vegas Aces hold a 1-0 lead over the Connecticut Sun with odds of -650 to win the series according to FanDuel. Game 2 will be played tonight in Las Vegas and PointsBet Sportsbook lists the Aces as -4.5 favorites at home. After a low scoring game to open the Finals, I'm targeting two unders for star frontcourt players on each side of this Game 2 matchup.
A'ja Wilson failed to surpass 20 points in each of the last two regular season matchups against the Sun and averaged just 11 points per game in the first three games of this postseason. While Wilson's current hot streak includes an average of 28.5 points over her last four outings, she only exceeded 23.5 points in three of her seven playoff games. Even during Wilson's MVP campaign during the regular season, she still only topped this line in a third of her games.
Wilson's most common play type this season was a post-up according to Synergy and Connecticut tied for the fewest opponent post-up plays per game this season. If the Sun pack the paint to prevent A'ja from dominating inside, that could lower the MVP's usage for Game 2. Wilson is at her best when attacking scrambling defenses off the short roll as the Vegas guards hold the defenders' attention. With Kelsey Plum in the midst of a cold stretch from beyond the arc, Connecticut may be less worried about Plum pulling up from deep which should allow the Sun to send more help towards Wilson.
Nearly 30% of Wilson's points came from the free-throw line this postseason, which is the third-highest rate among players averaging at least 20 minutes per game. While Wilson managed to take a whopping 14 free-throw attempts in Game 1, I'm skeptical that this parade to the foul line will continue against a Connecticut defense ranked second in opponent free throw rate in the half-court according to Synergy.
While I'm hesitant to fade this season's MVP and DPOY, this number is too high and offers value on the under. I'd play Wilson's under down to 22.5 and the -134 line at BetRivers is more favorable than the -136 line on Wilson's points prop at FanDuel.
EDGE: A'ja Wilson Under 23.5 Points -134 (BetRivers)
Alyssa Thomas had her own case for DPOY this season, as shown by her perimeter performance against Chelsea Gray in Game 1, but her offense can be limited at times due to her low volume from outside the paint.
Thomas posted 19 points in Game 1 of the WNBA Finals but I'm backing Connecticut's star forward to go under her points total in tonight's outing. Thomas averaged less than 12 points per game so far this postseason and averaged just 11 points in three regular-season matchups against Las Vegas.
Thomas scored 18 of her 19 points in the paint, including two easy buckets in transition. While Game 2 might be a higher-scoring game compared to the 67-64 result in Game 1, I don't expect the Sun to replicate a 12-0 fast-break points advantage.
Connecticut also doubled the Aces in total points in the paint, which was a surprise considering Las Vegas held opponents to the third-fewest average points in the paint during the regular season. The Aces also allowed the second-lowest field-goal percentage from the restricted area so I expect a better defensive performance against Thomas tonight.
EDGE: Alyssa Thomas Under 14.5 Points -136 (FanDuel)