WNBA Finals: Finding value on Finals MVP and Props before Game 3
With the WNBA season almost at a close, the Las Vegas Aces are listed as the -1600 favorites to become the WNBA Champions. There’s still plenty of intrigue remaining with another game to be played and the Finals MVP still to be crowned. I looked at the markets available to find value and pinpointed the WNBA Finals MVP winner odds as my favorite bet heading into Game 3.
This is a worthy battle for Finals MVP among the top two contenders, as both A’ja Wilson and Chelsea Gray played at an MVP level throughout this postseason. Wilson and Gray posted 2.5 and 2.4 win shares respectively so far this postseason according to HerHoopStats. To put that in context, Gray (0.36) and Wilson (0.34) outpaced the field in win shares per 40 minutes, and only Breanna Stewart (0.31 WS/40) topped 0.3 win shares per 40 minutes during the regular season.
Despite Wilson’s dominance as the only player in WNBA history to post at least 20 points and 10 boards in five consecutive postseason games, Chelsea Gray’s historic run should be honored with the 2022 Finals MVP award.
Gray is on an unbelievable hot streak since the start of this postseason, with 23.3 points per game on 71.9% true shooting. While that’s down from the 76% true shooting mark Gray had posted when The Next‘s Em Adler pointed out Gray was on pace for the highest postseason true shooting in NBA or WNBA history (min. 75 FGA), Gray is still second in postseason TS% among NBA or WNBA players with at least one three point make.
The most impressive part of Gray’s current run is her pull-up shooting ability. Gray hit a nearly unfathomable number of circus shots with defenders draped all over her throughout the 2022 postseason, including this tough bucket over DPOY runner-up Alyssa Thomas.
The numbers only expand on Gray’s case for Finals MVP and confirm the ridiculousness of her recent shotmaking performance. Gray knocked down an astounding 67.5% of her mid-range shots this postseason, which easily topped all players averaging at least two mid-range attempts per game. Gray’s efficiency is even more impressive considering 76% of her made shots were unassisted, the highest rate in this year’s playoffs. The Point Gawd also lapped the field in points per possession on shots taken off the dribble, as illustrated by Synergy Sports.
Gray’s ability to get a bucket no matter how well she is being defended is difficult to ignore, but the subtleties of her game make a sizable impact on winning as well. More than 38% of Gray’s offensive possessions resulted in assists this postseason, which was the highest rate in the W. She also leads the Aces in steals per game and showed a willingness to stay involved even when playing off the ball.
Despite a dominant two-way showing from the 2022 MVP, I think this award is still up for grabs. Wilson’s first two games may give her an edge in the Finals MVP race, but a big closeout game could swing voters the other way. I’m willing to take the +275 odds on Gray to win Finals MVP.
EDGE: Chelsea Gray to win Finals MVP (+275)
While I don’t have a pick on the spread for tonight’s matchup, there is a prop market I’m targeting for value. Jonquel Jones has seen inconsistent minutes throughout the playoffs but the 2021 WNBA MVP could be in for a heavy workload tonight. Jones scored 15 and 16 points respectively during the first two games of this series and the Sun will need to get JJ rolling to have any chance at staying alive. That should mean early attempts to get Jones the ball and I’m targeting her points prop of 15.5.
If you’re looking for a line with less juice than the -130 on Jones’s over for points, consider pivoting and taking Jones to exceed 9.5 rebounds. Jones averaged 10 boards over the first two games in Las Vegas, which is equal to her regular season average against the Aces. I expect Jones to be active on the offensive glass and put up big numbers in Game 3.
EDGE: Jonquel Jones Over 15.5 Points -130 or Over 9.5 Rebounds -113