With three weeks to go in the WNBA season, things have officially heated up into “stretch run” mode.
Just about every storyline is in the final chapter: Aces or Liberty as the top seed; Stewie, A’ja, or even AT as MVP; Sparks or Sky for the final playoff spot; will EDD and the Mystics get healthy in time to be a nasty first-round matchup?
The storylines are endless.
Sunday sees eight teams in action, with neither of the big dogs playing, but plenty of the teams battling it out for playoff seeding. Three of the four games are on NBA TV, with action on from 3 p.m. ET to around 9 p.m. ET and pretty much nonstop there.
Let’s give bettors some extra juice for this slate.
WNBA Best Bets
The team logos in the table below represent each of the matchups that our WNBA betting staff is targeting from today’s slate of games. Click on the team logos for any of the matchups below to navigate to a specific bet discussed in this article.
By Jim Turvey
This line opened with the Wings as short favorites, but with the official news that Elena Delle Donne and Shakira Austin will be out, the Wings are now -5.5
However, I think it’s the total that should’ve been more impacted by that news, specifically about Austin. Shakira being in or out of the lineup has been the biggest differentiator between turning the Mystics into a heavy under team or a heavy over team.
All of last season, and to start this season, the Mystics were a reliable under team. They had the best defense in the league and played at a slow enough pace that they were hitting unders at a better rate than any other team in the league.
However, that flipped mid-season, and the reason was simple: Shakira Austin got hurt.
Austin is one of the best defensive players in the league and her impact is very underrated in the betting market. Austin being on the court also slows down the pace for the Mystics, who play much faster without their young big.
As such, the play here makes sense: Over 165.5 -115.
Pick: Over 165.5
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By Jim Turvey
This is almost certainly the game you’ll be skipping today. It’s not on NBA TV, and it’s a battle of two teams that are going to miss the playoffs (no small feat in the W).
There’s also no Brittney Griner in action for the Mercury, and while that makes the viewing less tempting, it makes the betting more intriguing.
Whenever a mega-usage player like Griner is out, it provides an opportunity to see which players can fill that void. And on the Mercury, you don’t have to look far.
According to pbpstats.com, with Griner on the court alongside Taurasi, DT averages 26.5 points per 100 possessions. With Griner off the court, Taurasi’s scoring flies up to 39.5 points per 100. On the flip side, with Griner on the court, Taurasi averages 22.4 assists per 100 possessions; with BG off the court, that number plummets to 11.0.
As such, if you can get a same game parlay in which you get DT points over and assists under, that’s ideal since the books won’t necessarily have them positively correlated even though they have proven so with BG out, but the two bets work well on their own, too.
Pick: Taurasi Over 16.5 Points; Under 4.5 Assists
By Jim Turvey
These two teams played on Friday, and the Storm were a best bet for me. I have been fading the Lynx almost all season, and they have been the team I have lost the most on this season because they continue to refuse regression.
By net rating, these two teams are near equals (they were equals before the Friday game), so having the Storm as 2.5-point underdogs at home seemed incorrect.
However, the Lynx did indeed get a relatively easy win in Seattle, and now they play host to the Storm in Minnesota. And I am once again confused by the line.
On Friday, Minnesota closed -1.5 over Seattle in Seattle, implying the books thought they were about 4.5 points better than the Storm on a neutral court. Now, the two teams are playing in Minnesota, and they are -4.5, implying the books think they are now only 1.5 points better despite just covering on the road.
None of it makes sense, and though in theory it doesn’t make sense to flip the team you are on two days later, I now find myself seeing value on the Lynx on Sunday.
I like them in the first half, and the game as a whole, with the latter as more of a lean. I also like the under, which I did as well on Friday and saw nothing to move me off that position.
Pick: Lynx First Half -2.5; Lynx -4.5; Under 160.5
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