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Odds and picks for Opening Day in the WNBA

The W is back, and the opener features the favorites against the league’s most marketable rookie (ever?) at 12 p.m. tomorrow to tip off the season in the “Wubble.”

Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty dribbles the ball during a scrimmage against the Chicago Sky on July 22, 2020 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.  Photo by Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images

Update, July 25th 10:20 a.m.: The line on the Seattle Storm-New York Liberty game has moved to Seattle -10.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook less than two hours before tip-off. Congrats to all of you that took our outstanding advice below before the change.

The first pro basketball played in a post-Covid-19 world comes from the WNBA, which gets underway tomorrow at noon when the Seattle Storm take on the New York Liberty live on ESPN. The Storm are the favorites to win the title at +300, and with superstars in Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart surrounded by plenty of help, they’re the chalk for a reason. They’ll face the newest women’s basketball superstar in former Oregon Duck and #1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu, who will be making her pro debut with a younger team looking to gel.

From there the Los Angeles Sparks get Candace Parker back, and they’ll take on Diana Taurasi and the Phoenix Mercury at 3:00 p.m., with the Indiana Fever facing the defending-but-crippled champion Washington Mystics at 5:00 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.

All games will be from “The Wubble” a.k.a The WNBA Bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. All 12 teams are there, but not all 12 have the players they expected before the season. The Mystics won the title last year, but lost the most to players not wanting to quarantine with league MVP Elena Delle Donne, Natasha Cloud, LaToya Sanders, and Tina Charles all staying home. And that’s before Kristi Toliver signed with LA.

Here are the odds and spreads for tomorrow’s WNBA Opening Day action, courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook.

Seattle Storm -5.5 vs New York Liberty
LA Sparks -4 vs. Phoenix Mercury
Indiana Fever vs. Washington Mystics -3.5

The pick: Seattle -5.5

Let us stipulate that Sabrina Ionescu is going to be one of the five best women to ever play the sport by the time she’s done. She’s a triple-double machine that plays as hard as any human alive, and she’ll have all five boroughs on NYC eating out of her hand very soon. And if you think there’s not a market for women’s basketball consider her jersey sold out in an hour after being drafted.

But the Seattle Storm nee Huskies just have an overwhelming amount of talent, and nothing to distract them while wubbling. Former Geno Auriemma charges Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart won it all in 2018, and also won it six times in college combined. Fellow UConn’er Morgan Tuck was an elite college player, and she might not even get on the floor.

Natasha Howard is the reigning Defensive Player of The Year, Jewell Lloyd can make things go, Jordin Canada can shoot from... Canada... they’re just overwhelming. And a young Liberty team should be suitably overwhelmed in their first game together. The NYC’ers will be fine in the long-term and are building back a franchise that still somehow hasn’t won a title in a quarter-century of play, but that won’t help tomorrow. Storm by double-digits and with the bench emptied by the final whistle.

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