The arrow seems to be pointing up for Chicago’s WNBA franchise, which, in 2020, wrapped up its 15th season. The Chicago Sky could arguably possess the best active point guard in the league: Courtney Vandersloot, and an award-winning coach and general manager James Wade. The Sky could be a few pieces away from championship caliber.
The WNBA is competitive, however, with less than 200 of the best female basketball players in the world competing in the league each year. That makes for an exciting betting product, as every team is capable of winning on a given night.
The Sky team returns to WinTrust Arena in Chicago to play a full season in front of spectators in 2021. The fan interest should grow with legal sportsbooks up and running in Illinois.
Our Chicago Sky betting guide has all the information you need.
Throughout the summer and into the fall, you can bet on Chicago Sky basketball games. You can find live WNBA odds at the best Illinois sportsbooks, including BetRivers Sportsbook and William Hill.
The Sky have qualified for the postseason in each of the past two seasons. However, in both instances, they were ousted before reaching the semifinal round. In 2021, they’ll be looking for more.
Legal Illinois sports betting apps carry markets on Chicago Sky games, but there’s a lot more you can wager on when it comes to the Sky and the WNBA. Another category is player and team props. Some WNBA prop bets examples for the Chicago Sky include:
Those events within a game can be fun wagering. Some bettors also like to get some action on events that take all season to decide, called futures wagers. Again, these can be for individual athletes or entire teams, like:
The 2021 Chicago Sky schedule is in and here are the dates (all times are CST):
|Wednesday, May 19||at Atlanta Dream||6 p.m.|
|Sunday, May 23||New York Liberty||Noon|
|Tuesday, May 25||Atlanta Dream||7 p.m.|
|Friday, May 28||Los Angeles Sparks||7 p.m.|
|Sunday, May 30||Los Angeles Sparks||5 p.m.|
|Tuesday, June 1||Phoenix Mercury||7 p.m.|
|Thursday, June 3||at Phoenix Mercury||9 p.m.|
|Saturday, June 5||at Los Angeles Sparks||2 p.m.|
|Wednesday, June 9||Indiana Fever||7 p.m.|
|Sunday, June 12||at Indiana Fever||Noon|
|Tuesday, June 15||at Minnesota Lynx||8 p.m.|
|Thursday, June 17||Connecticut Sun||7 p.m.|
|Saturday, June 19||Connecticut Sun||1 p.m.|
|Tuesday, June 22||at New York Liberty||6 p.m.|
|Thursday, June 24||at New York Liberty||6 p.m.|
|Sunday, June 27||at Connecticut Sun||1 p.m.|
|Wednesday, June 30||at Dallas Wings||7 p.m.|
The WNBA has two conferences for scheduling purposes. Chicago is in the Eastern Conference with five other teams. A normal regular season is 36 games, split evenly between away and home contests.
Throughout the regular season, the Sky will play each other team in the league in a home-and-home series. The schedule fills out with another home-and-home with the other five teams in the East and another home-and-home with the two teams in the West whose records from the previous season were most comparable.
The other Eastern Conference teams are:
A glimpse at a few of the important statistics over the past four non-pandemic seasons for the Sky includes some familiar names among fans. Some of this talent is no longer playing for Chicago, however.
|2019||Courtney Vandersloot (300)||Diamond DeShields (551)||Cheyenne Parker (197)||Courtney Vandersloot (45)|
|2018||Courtney Vandersloot (258)||Allie Quigley (493)||Cheyenne Parker (196)||Gabby Williams (56)|
|2017||Courtney Vandersloot (218)||Allie Quigley (509)||Jessica Breland (215)||Courtney Vandersloot, Tamera Young (33)|
|2016||Jamierra Faulkner (156)||Elena Delle Donne (601)||Elena Delle Donne (197)||Courtney Vandersloot (41)|
Delle Donne, the 2019 WNBA MVP, is now with the Washington Mystics. Regardless, the Sky have used the draft picks they acquired by moving her to build the current roster of talented players.
While Vandersloot is the best award candidate on the roster, don’t discount DeShields’ ability to possibly win a scoring title if the team is able to address its issue of seeing a drop-off in production while Vandersloot takes a break. Especially with some defensive improvement, the Sky are built to score in bunches.
The WNBA has a draft each year to allow teams to pick from the best of the college ranks to add to their rosters. Teams also pull talent from all over the world, however.
With just 12 teams and each team limited to 12 active-roster spots, the competition for these spots is fierce. Just because a player gets drafted does not at all guarantee them a roster spot.
As a matter of fact, there are many examples in the history of the league of teams drafting players just to trade their rights later or keep another team from drafting the player. It’s quite common in this league for a player to be drafted by one team then actually make her WNBA debut with another team as well.
The 2020 draft was on April 21. The Sky ended up making three selections after taking part in a four-team trade. Those selections were:
|Round 1, No. 8 overall||Ruthy Hebard||Oregon||Forward|
|Round 3, No. 30 overall||Japreece Dean||UCLA||Guard|
|Round 3, No. 32 overall||Kiah Gillespie||Florida State||Forward|
Dean did not make the Sky roster for the shortened 2020 season. Hebard made starts toward the end of the season, but that was partially due to other front-court players sustaining injuries. Gillespie was able to hold down a roster spot but played very sparingly.
Given all the circumstances, general manager/head coach James Wade did an admirable job in the 2020 “wubble” season. His performance in his short tenure with the Sky seems to have cemented his position with the franchise. Here is his staff:
In 2021, Wade will be heading into his third season at the helm of the Sky. He is the sixth head coach the franchise has had in its history, following predecessors of varying lengths. He was Coach of the Year in 2019.
The Chicago Sky have been playing at WinTrust Arena since 2017, under a five-year lease agreement. The Sky played their first eight seasons at Allstate Arena. Here’s what you need to know about the Sky’s home for at least the next season:
The WNBA has a national broadcast deal with CBS and Disney. Some Sky games may appear on ABC, CBS, CBS Sports Network, ESPN and ESPN2 throughout the season.
Other games will be available on WCIU locally. You can find your channel for your provider here.
If you aren’t in WCIU’s broadcast area and the game you want to watch isn’t on any of the national channels, the WNBA does have its own streaming service called WNBA League Pass. Respective games on CBS and Disney properties could be available to stream live on CBS All-Access or ESPN+ with your provider credentials.
The Sky have had a good amount of success in their decade and a half. So far, however, a championship has proven elusive. The team came very close in one season, however.
Michael Alter helped bring an expansion franchise and still serves as the team’s principal owner since 2006. Matthew Knowles, the father of Beyonce Knowles, is among the minority owners.
The first few seasons were rough, but things started to turn around with the drafting of WNBA all-time rebounds leader Sylvia Fowles in 2008 and Elena Delle Donne in 2013. The Sky made the playoffs for the first time in Delle Donne’s rookie season.
Under head coach Pokey Chatman, the Sky would see almost no limit to their ascension in 2014, reaching the Finals for the first time. The Phoenix Mercury swept them, however. That proved to be the high-water mark for the team under Chatman.
The franchise would then go through two rebuilding seasons under Amber Stocks, during which time the organization dealt Delle Donne to the Washington Mystics. The team would use the acquired draft picks to select players like Diamond DeShields and Gabby Williams.
In Wade’s lone non-pandemic season, the Sky won 20 games and would have reached the WNBA semifinals if not for a last-second half-court buzzer-beater shot by Las Vegas Aces forward Dearica Hamby. The core of that roster remains intact for 2021, including all three 2019 All-Stars in Allie Quigley, her wife Vandersloot, and DeShields.
Among active Sky players, Vandersloot holds both the WNBA single-game assist record (19) and the single-season assist record (300). Quigley holds the franchise all-time scoring record with 2,974 points in a Sky uniform.
Fowles, now a member of the Minnesota Lynx, still holds the Sky’s all-time (1,832) and single-season (369) rebound records. Delle Donne essentially owns the Sky rookie record book.
Michael Alter is the principal owner. The minority ownership group includes Michelle Williams, who was part of the musical group Destiny’s Child, and the father of Beyonce Knowles, Mathew Knowles.
No, however, they did reach the finals in 2014.
No. The law in IL allows for retail sportsbooks inside stadiums but the capacity at WinTrust Arena is not large enough to qualify. That doesn’t mean the Sky can’t partner with a sportsbook for promotional purposes at the games, however.
A few players have to be part of that conversation. They include Elena Delle Donne, Candace Dupree and Sylvia Fowles, all of whom are playing for other teams. Among current roster members, Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley have worked their ways into the debate. It’s all subjective, so have fun with the debate.