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Lynx, Sparks Enter WNBA Season As Favorites To Win Championship

Lindsay Whalen of the Minnesota Lynx fights for the ball against Alana Beard of the Los Angeles Sparks

After meeting in the last two WNBA Finals, it should surprise nobody that the Minnesota Lynx and Los Angeles Sparks are head and shoulders above the rest of the league entering the 2018 season. The Lynx, who have won four of the last seven WNBA championships, are a +110 favorite to repeat while the Sparks are +130 to win their second title in three years.

WNBA Championship Favorite: Minnesota Lynx

Oddly enough, the Lynx have never won back-to-back championships during their current reign of dominance. The last team to defend their championship was the Sparks back in 2002 when Lisa Leslie led the team to the promised land twice in two seasons.  

The Lynx foundation remains intact with their starting five – Lindsay Whalen, Seimone Augustus, Maya Moore, Rebekkah Brunson and reigning league MVP Sylvia Fowles – back with the squad in 2018. How head coach Cheryl Reeve manages this group’s minutes – four of those five have been in the league over 10 years and Whalen was named the head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers women’s team in the offseason – will be critical.

Trading for Danielle Robinson from the Phoenix Mercury could go a long way to help add some energy to the lineup. Robinson will likely be the first player off the bench for the Lynx, bringing her absurd speed to an aging lineup in need of some pop off the bench.

The Other WNBA Championship Favorite: Los Angeles Sparks

The driving force of the Sparks is their frontcourt tandem of Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker, who own three WNBA MVPs between them. Both Ogwumike and Parker finished in the top 11 in the WNBA in points and rebounds last season – something you should expect again in 2018.

The backcourt is in good hands with the duo of Chelsea Gray and Odyssey Sims, who both shot over 48 percent from the floor during the 2017 regular season. Gray was the best three-point shooter in the league last season and while Sims had her ups and downs during the regular season, she stepped up in a big way in the playoffs.

WNBA Championship Sleeper: Dallas Wings

The Wings made the playoffs last season – barely – but got bounced in quick fashion. However, things are looking up for the Dallas franchise.

First, Liz Cambage, the dominant center who was drafted second overall in the 2011 WNBA draft, has joined the Wings. Cambage had issues with the Tulsa Shock during her first WNBA stint and decided to play internationally after just two seasons. Now back in the WNBA, she brings her size and complete game to a Wings team that will look to space the floor under coach Fred Williams.

The second piece is Skylar Diggins-Smith. The point guard is the perfect player for coach Williams’ fast-paced style with her aggressive rim-attacking offense – she shot a league-high number of free throws last season while hitting 89.4 percent from the charity stripe. It will be up to Diggins-Smith to help a young squad mesh but it is clear that the Wings are trending upward.

2018 WNBA Championship Odds
TeamOdds
Minnesota Lynx+110
Los Angeles Sparks+130
Washington Mystics+900
Connecticut Sun+1000
New York Liberty+1000
Phoenix Mercury+1000
Dallas Wings+1800
Seattle Storm+2000
Atlanta Dream+4000
Chicago Sky+5800
Indiana Fever+6500
Las Vegas Aces+8000

Odds as of May 15 at MyBookie

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