There is $665,000 at stake when the Las Vegas Aces and Chicago Sky meet at 7:30 p.m. EDT on Tuesday at Wintrust Arena in Chicago for the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup.
The second year of the mid-season format, which includes a round robin with the top two teams playing for a championship, dishes out $500,000 to the winning team’s players and an additional $165,000 to that team’s selected charity.
2022 WNBA Finals Preview
The bonus of this game is it could be a WNBA Finals preview as these are two teams with the top WNBA picks for futures, and they’ve backed those expectations up.
The Sky (21-7) have a one-game lead on the Aces (20-8) for the league’s top overall seed with a new playoff format that ditches conferences for seeding the eight best teams.
Tuesday’s game features the top two offenses in the league, but that isn’t an automatic that the over is going to hit as detailed later. Here’s a deeper look into Tuesday’s meeting.
Las Vegas Aces vs. Chicago Sky Odds
WNBA odds show the Sky are moneyline favorites at -135, with the Aces slight underdogs at +115. The spread favors the Sky -2 as opposed to Aces +2 with -110 odds on either side. It’s the same pick ‘em odds for an over/under of 169.5 total points.
Las Vegas Aces vs. Chicago Sky Betting Preview
Las Vegas enters with the league’s best offense, scoring 90.4 points per game. They are the best 3-point shooting team, converting 35.9% of attempts, and the fourth best overall, making 45.4% of all attempts. They are also fifth in rebounding, pulling in 35.9 per contest.
The Aces have a strong trio led by guard Kelsey Plum, who is averaging 19.7 points and 5.4 assists per game, forward A’ja Wilson – averaging 19.3 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game – and Jackie Young, averaging 16.6 points, 4.2 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game. Chelsea Gray leads the team at 6.2 assists per game.
Aces’ Performance Under Hammon’s Coaching
They have been excellent under first-year coach Becky Hammon, who is proving a lot of NBA executives wrong that she can get it done as a head coach. She had several opportunities to interview, but she wasn’t selected as the finalist.
Defensively it has been somewhat of a struggle because of the great pace the Aces play with. They allow the fourth most points per game, 84.7 on average, but also aren’t contesting shots very well.
They are eighth in opposing field goal percentage (43.8%) and third worst in opposing 3-point percentage (36.0%). Their season betting records are 13-15 against the spread and 14-12-2 on over/unders.
The Sky are a combination of great offense and great defense, ranking in the top third of the league in each category.
Their offense is second in scoring 85.6 points per game and is the most efficient shooting team from the field (47.6%) and free throw line (82.7%). They convert 34.7% of 3-pointers, ranking sixth.
Defensively they are fourth, allowing 79.5 points per game, in part due to a quicker pace. They are fifth in forcing teams to shoot 42.9% from the field and sixth in 34.1% from 3-point range.
They also have a slight rebounding edge while corralling 35.9 per game (fourth) and allowing opponents to pull in 33.3 per game (third best defensively).
Finals MVP Returning
Chicago remade its championship roster from a season ago. The core of Finals MVP returned:
- Kahleah Copper
- Candace Parker
- Allie Quigley
- Courtney Vandersloot
Joining them and scoring double figures as well are Emma Meesseman and Azura Stevens. That balance is so difficult to defend against, with any player able to score at any point.
Their season betting records are 14-14 against the spread and 14-13-1 on over/unders.
Las Vegas Aces vs. Chicago Sky Picks and Predictions
The head-to-head matchup this season is split, with each team winning and covering while on the road. An over of 176.5 hit in Chicago’s 104-95 victory on June 21, while the under 172.5 hit in the Aces’ 83-76 victory in Chicago on May 28.
That’s probably the opposite result one would expect, given each team’s strengths, but that’s why basketball betting is sometimes a coin flip.
Public Betting Data
Public betting data show 55% of bets are on the Sky against the spread, though limited data show 65% of the money is on the Aces. The over/under is pretty one-sided, with 72% of bettors on the over.
One injury status to watch is Vandersloot. The veteran guard is the Sky’s leader in assists at 6.2 per game and averages double figures in scoring.
She has not played in the three games since the All-Star break, and her status is questionable with a concussion.
In those games, the Sky are 2-1 with a win over the Storm. All three games have been decided by six points or less.
Sky Without Vandersloot
Without Vandersloot, it will be difficult for the Sky. In their last game, Chicago started Julie Allemand, a 26-year-old guard out of Belgium averaging 3.4 points and 3.8 assists in 16 games this season. It would also mean a bump in minutes for Dana Evans and Rebekah Gardner off the bench.
If the Sky are short-handed, the Aces are the play despite being on the road. Again, they’ve won in Chicago earlier this season, too. If Vandersloot is good to go for the first time since July 14, she should be rested enough to carry the Sky.
As for our Aces vs. Sky Predictions, we’ll take Aces +2 and double dip with +115 on the moneyline.
WNBA Pick: Aces +3 (-110)