The WNBA will crown a new champion this season as the Phoenix Mercury knocked off the 2020 champions, the Seattle Storm, to advance to the semifinals. They’ll now take on the Las Vegas Aces, who finished the regular season with the second-best record at 24-8.
Joining the Mercury in the other semifinals bracket will be the Chicago Sky. The Sky punched their ticket by upsetting the No. 3 seed Minnesota Lynx in the second round. Awaiting Chicago will be the top-seeded Connecticut Sun.
This semifinal round will feature a best-of-five series which means both teams will get at least one game on their home court. That should add even more excitement this year, with plenty of fans in attendance for the games.
Projected WNBA Odds
|Matchup||Time||Proj. Spread||Proj. Total|
|Sky vs. Sun||8 p.m. ET||Sun -8.5||157.19|
|Mercury vs. Aces||10 p.m. ET||Aces -4.5||165.60|
Sky vs. Sun
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
You’d think the Chicago Sky should come into this matchup feeling pretty confident after winning two of the three meetings against the Sun during the regular season. However, a closer look at the box scores reveals that Connecticut’s best player, Jonquel Jones, actually missed all three of those games.
I would wager that the bookmakers aren’t aware of this, just as they weren’t aware of this year’s All-Star game Olympics tuneup that featured the U.S. women’s national team against the WNBA All-Stars. Factoring Jones’s absence back into my model is why my projection is a bit more aggressive with the Sun, as I have them as an 8.5 point favorite.
But here’s something else to keep in mind: Teams that open as a seven-point favorite in the WNBA playoffs are 6-1-2 for 4.62 units.
However, by no means is this an easy game to handicap because of the contrasting styles. Chicago finished the regular season third in pace (97.46), while Connecticut was dead last (90.96). The obvious question that will need to get answered in this game is which of these teams will succeed in getting their opponent to play at their tempo?
Both teams are also atop the league in defending against the 3-point shot. Connecticut allowed 6.3 3-point field goals per game, while Chicago allowed 6.6 per game.
But again, we haven’t seen these two teams in action with Jones on the court. I don’t think I’ll take a position in this game. Though, If I had to play anything, I’d look to lay the points with the Connecticut Sun.
Lean: Sun -7
Mercury vs. Aces Odds
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
The Las Vegas Aces won two of the three meetings during the regular season against the Mercury. However, their two victories were far from convincing to say the least. Las Vegas won by six points in the first meeting and by one point in the last game of the season.
But if we review the box scores, we’ll find that the Phoenix’s star point guard, Diana Taurasi, missed all three games this season, whereas Las Vegas was relatively at full strength for each of them.
On Sunday, her first game back from an ankle injury, Taurasi played 33 minutes in Phoenix’s 85-80 victory over the Seattle Storm. She finished with 14 points on 4-of-13 shooting from the floor and 3-of-11 from the 3-point line. I like her chances to play even better now that she’s gotten a game under her belt.
Again, I’m going to bank on the bookmakers not factoring in her absence in the prior three meetings. That should create some additional value on the Mercury in this spot.
Note that during the playoffs, short home favorites laying between three and six points are 1-5 ATS in their last six games and 53-64-4 overall for a loss of -14.49 units.
My model projects Las Vegas to be no more than a 4.5-point favorite, so I’ve got a slight edge with the line sitting at 6.5.
Pick: Mercury +6.5