Saturday WNBA: O'Sullivan picks Las Aces at Mystics, Chicago Sky at LA Sparks, NY Liberty at Connecticut Sun
Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics, 1 pm EDT, Chicago Sky at Los Angeles Sparks, 3 pm EDT, New York Liberty at Connecticut Sun, 7 pm EDT.
Well, the Seattle Storm got my heart rate up to kick off the weekend, yet another team that frittered away a double-digit lead late in the fourth to fritter away my money. This time, Jewell Loyd had the decency to hit a last-second shot for me, winning the game in overtime for the Storm against a feisty Dallas Wings squad, and saving my hefty money line bet, if not the cover. Don’t these teams in the WNBA realize the games last 40 minutes? Don’t they realize my money is precious to me? It’s almost as if they don’t think of me at all. No matter; here’s today’s vulnerability…
Seattle O’Sullivan so far: 8-6
Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics, 1:00 PM EDT
The Pick: Washington +7.5 (-114), U 167.5 (-110)
The Washington Mystics haven’t played since May 28, which might be for the best, as they’ve struggled so far this season. Washington struggles shooting the ball, with a league-worst 38.4 FG%, and they struggle from the 3-point line, with a third-worst 31.6%. What the Mystics don’t struggle doing so far is defending: They allow fewer than 80 points per game. They also play at a virtual crawl, with the third-slowest pace in the WNBA. Las Vegas also defends, they’re second-best giving up 78.7 ppg. With today’s game, the Aces wrap up a three-game East Coast swing and then get over a week’s worth of rest. They’re a good enough squad that they should take care of business, but looking forward to getting back to Las Vegas (as I would be), coupled with Washington’s rested defense, should keep the game somewhat close and low-scoring.
Chicago Sky at Los Angeles Sparks, 3:00 PM EDT
The Pick: Chicago +1.5 (-105)
What can I say? I like to forgive. It’s true, Chicago has blown double-digit leads in the fourth quarter to lose games twice this week. True, on Thursday Courtney Vandersloot picked up an ill-timed technical foul to allow the Phoenix Mercury to put the game into overtime after blowing that lead. And true, the Sky blew a five-point lead in overtime to lose to the Mercury, and shatter my innocence (actually, re-shatter it after Tuesday’s loss). But their toughness and fight inspire leniency in me. Oh, yeah, also - Los Angeles has been ravaged by injuries. That inspires leniency too. With sisters Nneka Ogwumike (former MVP, All-Star, averaging 16.4 ppg) out 4-6 weeks with a bad knee, and Chiney (former ROY, All-Star, 9 ppg) out as well, the Sparks are under-womanned in the frontcourt. That’s a lot. Even if Candace Parker still isn’t right, Sky big women Astou Ndour-Fall, Stefanie Dolson, and Kahleah Copper should be able to do some damage. Guard Allie Quigley is back, and Chicago’s backcourt should be able to handle LA’s guards, who were terrific on Thursday but against the weak Indiana Fever. That win was a blowout but perhaps deceptive, the Sky’s losses were also deceptive, and maybe I’m just deceiving myself, but I’m picking Chicago to cover.
New York Liberty at Connecticut Sun, 7:00 PM EDT
The Pick: Connecticut ML (-470), Connecticut -8.5 (-115)
If you’ve paid attention to my “betting strategy,” so far (and even those quote marks are rolling their eyes), you’ve noticed with games like this, I like to bet both the money line and the spread. I make sure I bet enough on the ML that if the team doesn’t cover, I still finish ahead. It’s quite wise (until there’s an upset and I lose more money than normal but let’s ignore that for now). This game is a perfect opportunity to follow that strategy (the quotation marks quit on me in disgust). Connecticut’s the better team, and they’re at home. New York has been playing over its head a bit; the Liberty are second in the Eastern Conference but their point differential is actually -0.9. More importantly, they haven’t played the Sun until today. Connecticut’s defense is the league’s best, giving up the lowest ppg (73.4), the second-lowest FG% (39.8), and the fourth-lowest 3 pt. % (31.3). Both teams are off for a week after today’s game; Connecticut is going to make a “statement.” Quotation marks return gladly for emphasis. Hedge a little with the spread if you’re “smart… Quotation marks, where are you going?