- The Washington Mystics are the +110 favorites to win the 2019 WNBA title
- By clinching a top-two seed, they earn a bye through the first two playoff rounds directly into the semifinals
- The Mystics were swept in last year’s final by the Seattle Storm
The Washington Mystics are setting a franchise-record pace and are favored to be on their way to making WNBA history.
Saturday’s 91-85 win over the Dallas Wings improved the Mystics to 23-8 on the season. That’s a franchise mark for victories in a season. As the #1 seed in the league, Washington is poised to accomplish another team first – win the WNBA title.
Across the leading sportsbooks, there’s a strong belief that this could happen. The Mystics are the +110 average favorites in the WNBA Championship odds.
2019 WNBA Championship Odds
|Las Vegas Aces||+350|
|Los Angeles Sparks||+550|
Odds taken on 09/03/19.
Last season, the Mystics were swept 3-0 by the Seattle Storm in the best-of-five WNBA Finals. It was the first time in the franchise’s 21-year history that Washington reached the league final.
Mystics Biding Their Time
Saturday’s victory guaranteed a top-two seeding for the Mystics, and thus assured them of a playoff bye through the first two rounds. Since the current playoff format was adopted in 2016, the double bye has proven a path to success.
Last season, the Storm got the double bye as #1 seed and won the title. In 2017, the Minnesota Lynx earned the double bye as top seed and also were champions. The 2016 season saw #2 seed the Los Angeles Sparks rewarded with a double bye and playoff crown.
Nothing Mystical About Washington’s Success
The Mystics have been on a roll for quite some time now. They’ve won three in a row, nine of their last 10 and 14 out of 16.
Washington owns the league’s best overall record (23-8) and the best road record (11-5). No team has posted a better conference record either (11-3).
Perhaps the most important stat is the league-leading 11.8 point differential posted by the Mystics. In WNBA history, just 13 of 23 teams with the best regular-season record have won the championship (56.5 percent). But 17 of 23 teams with the best regular-season point differential went on to become champions. That’s a 73.9 percent success rate.
Combine the two, and teams that posted the best regular-season record and point differential have won 13 titles in 17 opportunities – a 76.4 percent return.
Greatest WNBA Offense Ever?
Washington’s offensive rating is 112.6. The Chicago Sky (101.3) are the only other club over 100. They lead the league in points per game (88.9), field goal percentage (46.9) and free throw percentage (87.1).
Washington has drained 287 3-pointers. Chicago is a distant second with 235 three-point field goals.
— Washington Mystics (@WashMystics) September 1, 2019
The Mystics hold the WNBA’s best assist ratio (19.3) and assist/turnover ratio (1.88). Their turnover percentage of 14.6 per 100 possessions is also a league best, as is Washington’s effective field goal percentage (53.9) and true shooting percentage (57.9).
Individually, Elena Delle Donne (19.1 points per game) is second in the WNBA in scoring. Kristi Tolliver (6.0) is second in assists, while Emma Meesseman (57.3) is second in field goal percentage.
Don’t Let the Sun Come Up
With three regular-season games remaining, the one fly in the ointment for the Mystics are the second-seeded Connecticut Sun (22-9). The Sun took two of three from Washington this season, both wins coming at Connecticut.
The Sun are just 8-8 on the road, so the Mystics can’t let them steal home-court advantage.
Last week, ESPN’s Kevin Pelton ran the WNBA playoffs through a computer simulator. Washington won 84 percent of the time.
As long as they stay ahead of the Sun, a championship won’t be a simulation for the Mystics. It will be a reality.
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