Friday WNBA: O'Sullivan picks Seattle Storm at Atlanta Dream and a parlay with Dallas Wings at Phoenix Mercury
Seattle O'Sullivan does like his Wings . . . Just not tonight against the Mercury.@DallasWings on Twitter

Friday WNBA: O'Sullivan picks Seattle Storm at Atlanta Dream and a parlay with Dallas Wings at Phoenix Mercury

Seattle Storm at Atlanta Dream, 8 pm EDT, Dallas Wings at Phoenix Mercury, 10 pm.

Two rematches from earlier in the week, which require a specific mentality to pick...

The Pick: Money Line Parlay, Seattle (-550) with Phoenix (-154), Total Price -105.

Seattle O’Sullivan so far: 20-11

Seattle Storm at Atlanta Dream, 8 pm EDT

The Pick: Over 168.5

Seattle should win again, but I’m leery of laying the 9.5 points for several reasons. First, it’s 9.5 points. Second, Atlanta’s at home. Third, the Dream are certainly eager to make up for Wednesday’s outing, when they were drubbed by the Storm 95-71. Finally, the Storm are the better squad, but they’ve got a big matchup with the Eastern Conference leaders, the Connecticut Sun, on Sunday, so they may be looking past the Dream and susceptible to a lackluster performance. So I’m going to tie Seattle’s lack of value with Phoenix in a parlay (see above). In this single game, like Wednesday, I’m going to take the over. I know the actual total fell short of the listed 170.5 that evening, but if you’re a loyal reader, you’ve no doubt saw my whining about Atlanta’s shooting performance and have it rattling around in your brain. To repeat for the newcomers: the Dream went 11.5% from 3 in that game, and only scored 10 points in the fourth quarter. For the most part, both teams were putting the ball in the hoop and not especially obsessed with stopping the other team’s offense. With the lowered total, I’m gonna take the over again.

Dallas Wings at Phoenix Mercury, 10:00 pm EDT

The Pick: ML parlay, above

After watching them for a week, I really like the Dallas Wings. They’re fourth in offensive rating, behind the WNBA’s three powerhouses: the Aces, Storm, and Sun. They’re fourth in the league in 3 pt. % (36.2). They lead the WNBA in rebounding (39.4). I’m amazed and amused when I read columns that list the “power rankings” that put the Wings behind teams like the Sparks (whom Dallas has beaten twice), the Lynx, and the Sky (!?!). I read one ranking where the Wings were considered the 11th-best team out of 12. I want that writer’s imagination.

The buzz is that the Wings will be good. I disagree. I think they are good. Satou Sabally is a terrific frontcourt presence, Marina Mabrey is headed for Most Improved Player, and Arike Ogunbowale is a killer. They don’t play afraid. They play with confidence. They’re +5500 to win the WNBA Championship this season. Do I think they’ll win the WNBA this year? No. But that’s crazy value. Maybe I’ll wager my mere “100” imagination and if I win, it’ll be creative enough to become Vladimir Nabokov or gain the talent to create Tolkien-like worlds or some such (though it would mean you wouldn’t be getting my winners anymore)…

So why do I think Dallas will lose tonight? “That makes zero sense, O’Sullivan,” I can hear you saying. First off, settle down. Second, hear me out. Third, I think tonight’s game is not about stats that much. (Although if you want stats, the two teams were tied going into the fourth quarter on Tuesday, and the Mercury shot 20% from the 3-point line overall.) No, I think it’s a game that, looking back, the Wings will point at and feel they learned a valuable lesson - because they lost. They beat Phoenix on the road on Tuesday. It’s natural to let down a bit when you face the same team three days later. The Mercury are without Diana Taurasi, but guard Skyler Diggins-Smith is fighting hard on every possession. I’m thinking she and center Brittney Griner come out hyped not to lose two in a row at home. This is a game where veteran teams take advantage and young teams slip. As I said, Seattle will take care of business tonight. But I think Dallas will fall and will be thankful they did later this season.

You readers can be thankful now.

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