The Dallas Wings will make their first WNBA Playoffs appearance since 2018 on Thursday night, but they could have a quick stay in the postseason if they lose their single-elimination game against the Chicago Sky.

WNBA Playoffs odds Sky Wings
The Chicago Sky will host the Dallas Wings in the first game of the 2021 WNBA Playoffs on Thursday. (Image: Julio Aguilar/Getty)

No. 6 seed Chicago will host the matchup at Wintrust Arena against No. 7 Dallas.

Wings return to WNBA Playoffs after two-year skid

The winner will advance to a second single-elimination game as they attempt to overcome the WNBA’s punishing postseason format.

Dallas may be back in the playoffs after a fairly long absence, but the Wings say they’re not satisfied with simply getting this far. They beat the Sky in two of their three regular-season matchups, and Dallas coach Vickie Johnson says they’re looking to make a deep run in the WNBA Playoffs this year.

“I want to win championships. Making the playoffs is not enough for me. I’ve been to the playoffs,” Johnson told The Dallas Morning News. “This is not the final stop for us. Not this year.”

Guard Arike Ogunbowale leads Dallas into the playoffs. The 24-year-old scored 18.7 points per game this year while making her first All-Star Game appearance. A total of five Wings players averaged double figures this season, creating a balanced attack that’s difficult for opponents to shut down.

“One thing about our team, you never know which team you’re going to get,” Johnson said. “You mess around and get the good team? It’s dangerous.”

Meanwhile, the Sky are no strangers to the single-elimination WNBA Playoffs format. Chicago made the playoffs as a lower seed in each of the past two years, losing both times in knockout games: once in the first round, and once in the second. For the third straight year, Chicago faces a long climb if they want to contend for a championship.

Sky face another long postseason climb

The Sky bring a more formidable roster to the postseason this year, however. Chicago signed Candace Parker in the offseason, and she delivered to the tune of 13.3 points and 8.4 rebounds per game. Allie Quigley, Courtney Vandersloot, Kahleah Copper, and Diamond DeShields can all shoot well and score from behind the arc as well.

“No matter what, the past is the past,” Quigley told the Chicago Sun-Times, speaking of the Sky’s previous playoff runs. “Now it’s time to do whatever it takes to win.”

WNBA Playoffs Odds – Dallas Wings at Chicago Sky (via FanDuel Sportsbook)
Dallas Wings (+5.5): -118 Chicago Sky (-5.5): -104
Dallas: +180 Chicago: -225
Over 166.5: -110 Under 166.5: -110

With home-court advantage and far more WNBA Playoffs experience, Chicago enters as a clear, but small, favorite to move on. FanDuel Sportsbook rates the Sky as a 5.5-point favorite over the Wings, with Chicago the -225 pick on the moneyline.

Either way, the winner faces a long, uphill battle if they want any shot at reaching the WNBA Finals. Whoever advances will play either the Seattle Storm or the Minnesota Lynx in the second round for the right to get into the best-of-five semifinals. FanDuel sees Chicago as a +2000 pick to win the WNBA Championship this year, with Dallas a +10000 long shot.