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WNBA Playoffs Game 5 Preview: How To Bet the Mercury vs. Aces Winner-Take-All Matchup

WNBA betting analyst Michael Arinze previews Friday's WNBA playoff Game 5 matchup between the Phoenix Mercury and Las Vegas Aces.

Michael Arinze

Mercury vs. Aces Odds

Mercury Odds +5.5
Aces Odds -5.5
Moneyline +180 / -225
Over/Under 169
Time Friday, 9 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.

It’s win-or-go-home time in the WNBA playoffs as the Phoenix Mercury head to Las Vegas to take on the Aces in a decisive Game 5. After a tightly contested opener in Game 1, we’ve had three straight blowout games in the series.

Will that trend continue on Friday night?

Let’s take a look.

Projected WNBA Odds

Matchup Time Proj. Spread Proj. Total
Mercury vs. Aces 9 p.m. ET Aces -4.29 165.05

Pace is Key for Game 5

It was a bad omen for the Phoenix Mercury in Game 4 when they lost Kia Nurse to a knee injury just one minute after tipoff. Nurse averaged around 25 minutes and contributed 10 points per game before the injury. That’s a significant loss for the Mercury, considering that she gave the team a legitimate fourth scoring option in the starting lineup.

Nurse’s absence might force Phoenix to consider slowing the game down to focus more on their half-court sets. After all, Las Vegas finished third in the regular season with 70.3 field goal attempts per game and was first in field goal percentage (47.2%).

I think that strategy offers Phoenix the best chance to win this game, and it’s something they’re very familiar with, considering they finished 11th in pace per 40 minutes (77.97 possessions).

That analysis brings me to the total, which is currently trading at 169.5. We’ve seen the total go under in the last two games, and I think both teams will give an even greater effort on the defensive end. There are no do-overs after this game. It’s win-or-go-home at this point in the season.

My model’s a bit bearish on the total going over as it projects 165.05 points in this contest. I’m hoping this game looks more like the series opener, which was decided by six points.

The line has also held steady, with the Aces as a 5.5-point favorite since the open. I don’t have a great feel for either side in this spot, so I’ll look to lock in on the total by playing it under 169.

Pick: Under 169