​WNBA Betting Guide: Thursday 8/26/21

The WNBA season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean you have to wrap up watching or betting on the games just yet. Playoff races are heating back up, and the teams at the top are jostling for seeding position as the W rushes to the finish line.

That only means we have to get smarter and sharper as we look at the betting lines offered on FanDuel Sportsbook. Which games on Thursday, August 26th, should you look to wager on?

Dallas Wings (+144) at Washington Mystics (-178)

Spread: Mystics -3.5
Total: 162.5

The Washington Mystics have gotten a huge boost since former two-time MVP forward Elena Delle Donne returned from a back injury. Delle Donne, whose recovery process made Bruce Wayne’s look like child’s play, has helped put Washington smack-dab back in the middle of the playoff hopefuls and elevated the team that center Tina Charles’ heroic efforts had been keeping afloat in her absence. With EDD back in the lineup, Washington scores 13.3% more and gives up 18.3% fewer points per 100 possessions despite playing at a slower pace.

The Dallas Wings are suffering some crucial injuries with forward Satou Sabally (Achilles’) and guard Allisha Gray (concussion) missing this contest, and that’s shown in the box score. Dallas has lost five of their last six games, despite topping 79 points in all but one of those.

At -3.5, this feels like a really good spot to keep getting shares of the Mystics’ hot streak before the markets catch up to them. I’d be okay hitting this side until it gets to about -6.0. There is some value in the total over 162.5, but I prefer to keep pressing Washington’s button more than anything else.

Los Angeles Sparks (+570) at Connecticut Sun (-900)

Spread: Sun -11.5
Total: 146.5

While Delle Donne and Charles are bucketing everything in sight, Jonquel Jones and Brionna Jones are destroying other teams’ offensive hopes and dreams with a sweltering interior presence. Over their last three games, Connecticut has won by an average margin of 11.6 points against the Minnesota Lynx (twice) and the Las Vegas Aces, two of the best offenses in the league. The Joneses held the league-best Aces' offense to just 62 points – their lowest total of the season.

The Los Angeles Sparks are fighting to make their last shreds of playoff hope into a full berth, but this game is all but certainly lost already. Even with the return of Nneka Ogwumike and Chiney Ogwumike, this Sparks team is just going to try to hold on in garbage time against a dominant Sun defensive unit.

The Sun’s league-best defense meets a faltering Sparks offense here, so I don’t even feel great picking the L.A. side to cover -- though I refuse to lay almost 12 points on principle. Instead, even though this total is aberrantly low, I like the under 146.5 here. The median outcome in my model is a game between 145 and 146 points, so there’s still a little juice left in this line for these two turtle-paced defensive teams.

Las Vegas Aces (-950) at Atlanta Dream (+590)

Spread: Aces -12.5
Total: 166.5

From turtles to turbochargers, the Las Vegas Aces and Atlanta Dream face off in what is expected to be a barnburner. The only other time these teams met in 2021, the Aces walked the Dream in a 118-95 blowout. Vegas smashed a 15-point favorite and the two combined to obliterate even a sky-high 174.5 total.

Coming off an embarrassing limitation by the Sun, I expect Vegas to play hard and fast in this one and get back to the kind of basketball they like to play. MVP candidate forward A’ja Wilson and star center Liz Cambage anchor this frontcourt, but guards Chelsea Gray and Kelsey Plum help to keep the pace high. Vegas might have had a shot in the last contest solely due to Plum’s shot creation for others on the second team, but the shots just wouldn’t fall.

The Dream are still a team in turmoil and not one I’m looking to bet on until they get things sorted out. Forward Candace Dupree (back) is out, guard Tiffany Hayes (knee) is out, Crystal Bradford (foot), Cheyenne Parker (maternity leave), and Chennedy Carter (suspension) are all out. This is a team that’s packed it in and is looking toward 2022 already.

With Vegas really showing up just to play themselves tonight, I actually think the 166.5 is still a little soft to an under. My model projects the median outcome for this contest closer to 162 or 163 points, which gives us some value on the under. The Dream should in theory be able to cover this spread, but not the way the team is currently suited up, and I don’t tend to lay double-digits on favorites. Hit the total, ignore the rest.