WNBA Finals Preview: Las Vegas Aces Seek Back-to-Back Titles

Posted on: October 5, 2023, 09:55h. 

Last updated on: October 5, 2023, 10:49h.

The top two teams in the WNBA square off this weekend in the finals. The defending champion Las Vegas Aces are the betting favorite to win the WNBA championship at -200 odds. The Aces are on a mission to win consecutive WNBA championships, while the New York Liberty are seeking their franchise’s first title.

Las Vegas Aces WNBA Finals A'ja Wilson
The Las Vegas Aces, seen here huddling up around star A’ja Wilson (22) during a playoff game against the Dallas Wings, will defend their WNBA championship against the New York Liberty in the finals. (Image: AP)

The WNBA Finals is a best-of-five series that tips off on Sunday in Las Vegas.

The Aces posted the best home record in the WNBA this season with a 19-1 clip in Sin City at Michelob ULTRA Arena at Mandalay Bay Casino. The Aces host home games in Game 1, Game 2, and Game 5 (if necessary). The WNBA Finals head to Brooklyn for Game 3 and Game 4 (if necessary).

The Aces and Liberty were the top two seeds heading into the playoffs. The Liberty went 5-1 so far this postseason, and the Aces were perfect in the playoffs with a 5-0 record.

The Aces opened Game 1 of the WNBA Finals as a -4.5 betting favorite over the Liberty. The points total is 172.5 over/under. The two superteams have been a driving force behind an increase in WNBA betting.

Mark Davis, owner of the Las Vegas Raiders, also owns the Aces. Davis sold a minority stake to future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady earlier this year when Brady officially retired from the NFL.

Las Vegas Aces: Three Wins Away from a Repeat

  • Record: 34-6
  • ATS Record: 21-19
  • Playoff Seed: #1
  • Title Odds (End of Season): -150
  • Current Title Odds: -200

The Aces might have one of the best triple-guard backcourts in WNBA history and a frontline that’s dominated by A’ja Wilson. Wilson averages 25.8 points and 11.2 rebounds per game in the playoffs. She erupted for a career-high 53 points in the regular season, which tied a WNBA record.

Guards Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum both average 16 points per game in the postseason, and guard Jackie Young is right behind them with 15.2 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.

To see those three sacrifice for one another, it’s been a joy to watch,” said Wilson. “They can each go out and give you big scoring, easily. For them to sacrifice some shots for each other, it takes a lot of trust. I love my guards so much.”

Plum averages 6.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game, while shooting 42.1% from 3-point range. Young (41.4%) and Clark (42.9%) have also been hot from downtown in the playoffs.

The Aces swept the Chicago Sky in the first round with a 25-point average margin of victory. They swept the Dallas Wings in the semifinals to return to the WNBA Finals for a third time in the last four years.

Veteran forward Candace Parker is out with a fractured foot, and she’ll miss the finals.

Head coach Becky Hammon will attempt to lead the Aces to the first repeat WNBA championship since the Los Angeles Sparks won back-to-back titles in 2001 and 2002. Hammon, a former WNBA player, was a starter on the Liberty squad that was a finals runner-up in 2002. Hammon had a rocky off-season when she was suspended for bullying a former player.

New York Liberty: Stewart to Lead?

  • Record: 32-8
  • ATS Record: 19-21
  • Playoff Seed: #2
  • Title Odds (End of Season): +150
  • Current Title Odds: +165

The Liberty are led by this year’s MVP Breanna Stewart (19.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 2.8 blocks per game) and former MVP and star forward Jonquel Jones (16.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks per game).

The Liberty also have a dangerous backcourt with point guard Courtney Vandersloot (9.3 points, 6.8 assists, 1.7 steals per game) and shooting guard Sabrina Ionescu (16.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.2 assists per game).

Ionescu won the 3-Point Shooting Contest during WNBA All-Star Weekend, and she’s knocking down 43.2% of her treys in the postseason. Forward Betnijah Laney (17 points per game) has been on fire in the playoffs, averaging a team-best 43.8% from beyond the arc.

The Liberty swept the Washington Mystics in the first round. They lost Game 1 of the semifinals against the Connecticut Sun, but then won three games in a row to advance to the WNBA Finals.

Head coach Sandy Brondello won a WNBA title with the Phoenix Mercury in 2014, and is attempting to lead the Liberty to their first championship. The Liberty advanced to the WNBA Finals four times in the first six seasons of the league’s existence, but haven’t appeared in the finals since 2002.

The Aces and Liberty were 2-2 against each other during the regular season. The Liberty defeated the Aces in the Commissioner’s Cup, which was an in-season tournament that didn’t count toward the regular-season standings.