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WNBA playoffs preview: Format, bracket, odds, TV schedule, streaming

The WNBA playoffs are here!

The regular season wrapped up Sunday with the Liberty grabbing the final playoff spot thanks to losses by the Mystics and Sparks. All three teams finished with identical records but the Liberty clinched the final spot because of the best head-to-head record. The Sun enter on an absolute tear; they ripped off 14 straight wins to end the regular season en route to finishing with the league’s best record.

With the playoff bracket set, here is everything you need to know before the first round tips off Thursday.

WNBA playoff format and bracket

Unlike the NBA, which sends the same number of playoff teams from each conference, the top eight teams qualify for the WNBA playoffs, regardless of conference.

WNBA playoff seeds
SeedW-LWin pctGB
1. Connecticut Sun26-60.813
2. Las Vegas Aces24-80.7502.0
3. Minnesota Lynx22-100.6884.0
4. Seattle Storm21-110.6565.0
5. Phoenix Mercury19-130.5947.0
6. Chicago Sky16-160.50010.0
7. Dallas Wings14-180.43812.0
8. New York Liberty12-200.37515.0

There are four rounds in all.

  • The teams with the two best records earn a double bye to the best-of-five semifinals.
  • The teams with the third-best and fourth-best records earn a bye to the single-elimination second round.
  • The next four teams open with a single-elimination first round.
  • Teams are reseeded after each round with the highest seed facing off against the lowest-remaining seed in each round.

MORE: Watch the WNBA playoffs live with fuboTV (free 7-day trial)

When do the WNBA playoffs start in 2021?

  • Last day of regular season: Sunday, Sept. 19
  • WNBA playoffs begin: Thursday, Sept. 23
  • WNBA Finals begin: Sunday, Oct. 10
  • WNBA Finals last possible game: Tuesday, Oct. 19

WNBA playoffs channels, how to live stream

ABC, ESPN and ESPN2 will provide coverage of up to 19 games during the WNBA playoffs and the WNBA Finals. You can also live stream the WNBA playoffs with fuboTV (free seven-day trial).

MORE: Upcoming key dates for the 2021-22 NBA season

WNBA playoff schedule 2021

Thursday, Sept. 23 — First round (single elimination)

GameTime (ET)Channel
(7) Dallas Wings at (6) Chicago Sky8 p.m.ESPN2
(8) New York Liberty at (5) Phoenix Mercury10 p.m.ESPN2

Sunday, Sept. 26 — Second round (single elimination)

GameTime (ET)Channel
Lowest remaining seed at (3) Minnesota LynxTBDTBD
Highest remaining seed at (4) Seattle StormTBDTBD

Semifinals (best of five) — (1) Connectict Sun vs. TBD

* If necessary
GameDateMatchupTime (ET)Channel
Game 1Tue., Sept. 28TBD at Connecticut8 p.m.ESPN2
Game 2Thu., Sept. 30TBD at Connecticut8 p.m.ESPN2
Game 3Sun., Oct. 3Connecticut at TBDTBDTBD
Game 4*Wed., Oct. 6Connecticut at TBDTBDESPN
Game 5*Fri., Oct. 8TBD at ConnecticutTBDESPN2

 Semifinals (best of five) — (2) Las Vegas Aces vs TBD

* If necessary
GameDateMatchupTime (ET)Channel
Game 1Tue., Sept. 28TBD at Las Vegas10 p.m.ESPN2
Game 2Thu., Sept. 30TBD at Las Vegas10 p.m.ESPN2
Game 3Sun., Oct. 3Las Vegas at TBDTBDTBD
Game 4*Wed., Oct. 6Las Vegas at TBDTBDESPN
Game 5*Fri., Oct. 8TBD at Las VegasTBDESPN2

WNBA Finals (best of five)

* If necessary
GameDateTime (ET)Channel
Game 1Sun., Oct. 103 p.m.ABC
Game 2Wed., Oct. 139 p.m.ESPN
Game 3Fri., Oct. 159 p.m.ESPN2
Game 4*Sun., Oct. 173 p.m.ESPN
Game 5*Tue., Oct. 199 p.m.ESPN2

Odds to win 2021 WNBA Finals

The Connecticut Sun, winners of 14 straight games entering the playoffs, are the betting favorite to win the title at +200.

Odds courtesy of BetMGM

Connecticut Sun+200
Las Vegas Aces+220
Seattle Storm+400
Minnesota Lynx+750
Phoenix Mercury+900
Chicago Sky+1800
Dallas Wings+10000
New York Liberty+10000

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