WNBA free agency is still ongoing and the 2021 Draft has yet to take place. Preseason camps haven’t started and the full schedule isn’t out yet. The league and individual franchises haven’t yet announced their plans for in-person spectators. Regardless, several legal online sportsbooks have posted their first WNBA futures markets for the 2021 championship.
So, is it too early to put your money down on a team, given all that can still change? That depends on how you plan to wager. As a matter of fact, there are some very good reasons why if you’re going to stake a WNBA franchise to win it all in 2021, now is the time to act.
Taking a look at WNBA futures for the 2021 championship
Most of the popular sports betting apps in multiple states have odds live right now. The defending champion Seattle Storm lead the pack at most of the books that have markets up. However, that isn’t a complete consensus.
This is the first drop of odds for the next WNBA championship, so that’s a big part of the reason for the discrepancy from one book to the next on these odds. That leads to the reason why it might be a good play to get in on this action now.
1. Take advantage of sportsbooks’ hot takes
Looking over the odds, you probably noticed that some books are a lot higher on certain teams than others. While some of that variance may hold through the beginning of the season, that will likely normalize as time passes.
When oddsmakers get a better sense of how the public is betting these markets, they’ll adjust. As teams finalize their rosters, they’ll adjust. Right now, it’s the levelest playing field between bettors and sportsbooks that will exist in this regard.
Sportsbooks have just as much of an idea about how players on new teams – and players returning from opting out of last season – will impact those squads as bettors do. The more information they gather, the more of a consensus these lines will move toward.
So, it’s actually the ultimate time to line shop. Of course, there’s a risk here – like with any other wager. The only way your bet pays off here is if you correctly pick the 2021 WNBA champion. However, you’d also like to maximize your profit should you make a correct pick. Now might be your best shot to do so.
2. Not so lonely at the top
You probably noticed that one of the places where there’s a lack of consensus is which team has the shortest odds. BetMGM is a bit of an outlier in that it doesn’t have the defending champion Storm as its favorite, preferring the Las Vegas Aces. There are some valid reasons to support that argument.
Seattle traded away Natasha Howard and lost Alysha Clark via free agency. Clark is arguably the best on-ball defender in the W and Howard is one of the league’s top rim protectors. While signing Candice Dupree could make their offense even more dangerous, the Storm defense could suffer in the coming season.
Meanwhile, Las Vegas is set to perhaps be even stronger than it was in 2020, when it made the Finals. The Aces expect guard Kelsey Plum, who missed all of last season with an Achilles tear, and Liz Cambage, who opted out of 2020, back in the fold for 2021. The same could be said for the other team on the shortlist, the Washington Mystics.
Washington is Clark’s new locale. The Mystics also should get 2019 MVP Elena Delle Donne and veteran All-Star center Tina Charles on the court together for the first time in 2021, after both opted out of the 2020 season. Those are big reasons why sportsbooks have them on the same level here.
But, is there value if you’re looking for a bigger return or a contrarian play? Absolutely. Of course, as is always the case in gambling, a potential bigger return means greater risk.
3. Money in the middle
In the next tier of teams, bettors will see some of the largest inconsistencies from one operator to the next. For example, bettors stand to get a payout that’s $1,600 larger at PointsBet or William Hill than at BetMGM if they stake $100 on the Minnesota Lynx and that bet proves wise.
Perhaps the two most intriguing teams here are the Chicago Sky and Connecticut Sun. Chicago arguably landed the prize of the offseason in adding forward Candace Parker via free agency. She gives the Sky the lockdown defensive presence that they needed to complement their offense, which has been the best in the league over the past two seasons via several metrics.
Connecticut is just a season removed from a Finals run and should get Jonquel Jones back in 2021. She opted out of 2020. Pairing her with scoring threat DeWanna Bonner in the middle gives the Sun a lot of upside, especially at odds as long as +2500.
The question for these teams is – did they improve enough to beat the Aces, Mystics, or Storm, in a five or seven-game series? That’s what they’ll likely have to do to make wagers pay off.
Regardless of which team(s) you stake in these markets, the coming weeks could move the odds significantly. That’s why you might actually get the best price of the year on some of these WNBA futures right now.