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Aces exit All-Star break as heavy WNBA title favorites

Jun 4, 2023; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Las Vegas Aces forward Candace Parker (3) and forward A'ja Wilson (22) celebrates the win against the Indiana Fever  at Gainbridge Fieldhouse. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The Las Vegas Aces exit the All-Star break chasing history and as the overwhelming favorite to complete their quest for a second consecutive WNBA title.

The Aces began the season as the slight +115 favorites at BetMGM ahead of the overhauled New York Liberty (+125). While New York posted a 14-5 pre-break record, that was five wins behind Las Vegas (19-2).

Only the 1998 Houston Comets and 2016 Los Angeles Sparks, each at 20-1, have posted better 21-game starts than the Aces. Both of those teams lost their 22nd game, but Las Vegas will exit its break with a game Thursday against last-place Seattle, which it has whipped by an average of 37 points in this season’s first two meetings.

The Aces are now the -350 favorites to win the title by BetMGM. The Liberty at +275 are the only other team within shouting distance, as the next shortest odds belong to the Connecticut Sun at +2800.

Despite their season-long status as title favorites, the Aces have drawn the second most championship winner bets at 16.8 percent and the most money at 56.1 percent. Las Vegas is the book’s third biggest liability behind the longshot Phoenix Mercury (+50000) and the Sun, who kicked off the post-break schedule with a win over Atlanta on Thursday.

The powerful Aces had three All-Star Game starters, A’ja Wilson (19.7 points per game), Jackie Young (19.1) and Chelsea Gray (14.8). Kelsey Plum (19.1) was a reserve.

The four stars mesh well, and the Aces have won eight games by 20 or more points. Las Vegas averages a league-best 94 points per game.

“People think we’ve been playing together a long time now, but it’s only been a couple of years,” Wilson said. “Our mindset and goal of what we want with this franchise are the same.”

Las Vegas won its final three games before the break by an average of 23 points.

New York returns to action on Friday against the injury-riddled Washington Mystics, who did open the season with an 80-64 home win over the Liberty and then took them to overtime before falling in overtime on the road last month.

The Liberty had a four-game winning streak snapped in their final game before the break. In second place and three games behind Las Vegas, New York has still been popular with the public, drawing the second most money wagered (12.8 percent) at the book to win the title.

–Field Level Media

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