WNBA Tuesday Best Bets: Sky and Mercury battle out West

Last week, WNBA fans witnessed dominance by the Chicago Sky — sweeping the Seattle Storm in a 3-game series. The Connecticut Sun went 5-0 at Mohegan Sun Arena, while Phoenix Mercury returns home tonight after three road wins. With less than three weeks to go in the regular season, the stakes have never been higher. Let’s dive in!

Connecticut Sun at Washington Mystics prediction: Sun -9.5 (-104)

Top-seeded Connecticut Sun travel to the nation’s capital to face playoff-hopeful Washington Mystics. As injuries have caught up to the Mystics all season, fans are wondering if we will see more of Elena Delle Donne. Tina Charles has also missed the past three outings due to injury. Even if Delle Donne and Charles suit up tonight, it won’t be enough to beat the league’s best defense. 

Washington is 3-7 in their last 10 games, averaging 80.6ppg and shooting just 40.6% from the field which is the league’s second-worst. Connecticut has only been allowing 64.2 ppg to their opponents since the all-star break, largely because of their physicality and high-pressure defense. The presence of both Joneses plus a lanky DeWanna Bonner has been a tough offensive match-up for teams as well. Ultimately, Washington will get caught up on minutes restrictions for players coming back from injuries which is also going to limit scoring options.

New York Liberty and Minnesota Lynx prediction: 1st Half Over 81.5 (-134)

Tonight wraps up the series between these two teams as the Liberty look to hold onto the last and final spot in the standings. These two teams have split in their earlier match-ups, Liberty winning by 11 and Lynx by 10, with wins coming for the teams at home.

The Liberty are currently on a 4-game losing streak, only winning 1 game since returning from the Olympic break. New York is on the road for the next 4 games until returning home for their final game of the regular season. In the six games post-break, there is a 13-point differential in points scored and allowed between the Liberty and their opponents. Additionally, Sami Whitcomb (league’s best 3-pt shooter) will be sidelined until mid-September. This comes as the Lynx have only lost twice (both to Connecticut) since the month-long pause and their rank in the weekly power rankings reflect that – completely bypassing the Seattle Storm into 3rd place. Out of Minnesota’s 8 games remaining, only 2 are against teams currently in the playoff standings – New York Liberty and Las Vegas Aces. 

Minnesota Lynx forward Napheesa Collier defends Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith

CREDIT – Reinhold Matay (USA Today)

Chicago Sky at Phoenix Mercury prediction: Sky ML (-102)

The league’s two hottest teams meet out West tonight to close out their regular-season series, Phoenix up 2-0. Both earlier contests have been decided by less than 5 points and I don’t see this one ending any differently. 

Chicago is 4-2 since the all-star break, with 3 of the 4 wins coming against a struggling Seattle Storm team. Chicago’s success is strongly driven by Candace Parker, as they are 12-4 with her and 1-8 without. Sunday’s blowout victory in Seattle proves how dominant this team can be when all players are healthy and properly used. On the other hand, Phoenix has won six straight due largely to the play of Skylar Diggins-Smith, Diana Taurasi, and Brittney Griner –  although all wins have come against teams in the bottom half of the standings.

Tonight’s contest will be the most challenging opponent for Phoenix in the next week as they head to Indiana for a 2-game series then onto Atlanta before heading home to face top-seeded Connecticut. As for Chicago, they have the toughest second-half schedule in the league. After finishing a series in Seattle, they will face Phoenix tonight then have 5 games remaining with 3 coming against Las Vegas.

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