Bet 4 WNBA Sunday Games: O'Sullivan picks Storm vs Sun, Mystics vs Dream, Wings vs Aces, Liberty vs Mercury
With a 2-0 night, I return to my winning form. Watching the Los Angeles/Minnesota matchup, I realized how the Sparks manage to play such ferocious defense: they constantly foul the crap out of the other team. This, is an objective fact, not an opinion. Sure, head coach Derek Fisher deserves credit for having his team play with huge energy, trapping, and never letting an opposing ball handler feel comfortable. But he also deserves credit for following the philosophy of the Georgetown Hoyas in the early 80s: banking on the refs not being able to call five fouls at once. If I had a nickel for every missed reach-in thirty-five feet from the basket, and a dime for every missed over-the-back, I could make up for the games I lost on Friday.
Four games on today’s slate, including two heavyweight bouts. Read on…
Seattle O’Sullivan so far: 22-13
Seattle Storm at Connecticut Sun, 2 pm EDT
The Pick: Seattle ML (-215)
The two current best teams in the league, by their records, and the current leaders of both conferences. The best of what the WNBA has to offer is in today’s Seattle/Connecticut matchup. Except for one thing: Sun superstar and WNBA MVP frontrunner Jonquel Jones will not be playing. Jones has left to play for Bosnia and Herzegovina in this year's Eurobasket tournament. Connecticut does have experience playing without Jones (she opted out of playing during COVID last season), but it’s a huge blow. The Sun may also be without forward DeWanna Bonner, who has a lower back injury. Connecticut was already scoring 7.7 fewer points a game than Seattle (89.1 vs. 81.4), and the two frontcourt players’ absence is sure to hurt their league-leading defense. Even with over a week of rest, the Sun are going to be in retrograde. (grimace) I’m sorry I did that, and not just because as Google informs me, "From the perspective of the sun, no planets ever have retrograde motion..." It's the horrible joke, not the inaccurate information, which shames me...
Washington Mystics at Atlanta Dream, 3:30 pm EDT
The Pick: Atlanta +3.5 (-105)
Home dog alert! Home dog alert! (Yeah, I know Connecticut’s also a home dog - but the “sun in retrograde” thing (oh, never mind). Washington has won two straight, while Atlanta has lost four in a row. As always, pay attention to where and to whom the Dream suffered those losses: at Minnesota and home to Seattle. I think Atlanta will be eager to shake off that string. The two teams are so different, so I’ll take the points at home.
Dallas Wings at Las Vegas Aces, 6 pm EDT
The Pick: Dallas +7.5 (-112), O 169.5 (-110)
To me, this is also a heavyweight matchup, as anyone who’s read me for the past week must understand. I think Dallas is knocking on the door of the WNBA elite. This is a perfect chance to prove it, by playing at the home of an elite team. Las Vegas is an offensive powerhouse: most ppg in the league (89.7), highest offensive rating (107.0). But Dallas is close behind: third in ppg (86.3) and fourth in offensive rating (104.0). The Aces shoot a higher percentage, 47.9% to 42.6%, but the Wings shoot better from 3, 35.4% to 34.3%. Dallas has an advantage on the boards, winning the rpg matchup 39.5 to 35.8; Las Vegas turns the ball over fewer times, 11.0 to 13.9. The Wings are on a three-game winning streak, while the Aces have had a week off. I think Las Vegas is the better team, but unless Aces head coach Bill Laimbeer reads Bettors Insider, he’s probably underestimating the Wings just like everyone else is. 7.5 points is a lot, none of Dallas’s losses were by more than 7, and they know they can play with the WNBA royalty. I think this will be a great game with a lot of scoring.
New York Liberty at Phoenix Mercury, 6 pm EDT
The Pick: New York +5.5 (-110), Phoenix ML (-245)
The more I dwell on it, the more I realize that the top three things that have enraged me over the course of my life are: 1. DANCES WITH WOLVES winning “Best Picture” over GOODFELLAS at the Oscars in 1991, 2. The Phoenix Mercury’s lackluster performance against the Dallas Wings on Friday, and 3. People who stop at the top of escalators. I mean, I’m a reasonable gambler, but Phoenix’s effort against Dallas was infuriating - dammit, here’s where I should’ve used the “retrograde” joke. All right, new list: 1. My failure to use the…
Forget it. Anyway. New York has the highest percentage from 3 (41.4%) and attempt the second-most in the league. They have the third-highest FG% (43.8). At no point during Friday’s game between Dallas and Phoenix did I say, “Ooh, solid defense from Phoenix!” The Liberty have lost three straight, but two of those games were to the Sun and the Aces, they’ve had a week off, and they’re probably still convinced they can keep pace with the Sun now that Jones will be out. Both teams are at least .500 but have negative point differentials. Both teams seem to think they’re better than they are. Put it this way, neither of these teams is GOODFELLAS, and neither deserves to be favored by 5.5 points. I’ll take Phoenix to win but New York with the points, for a “middle” pick that could prove a great stroke of finesse but will most likely be the gambling equivalent of stopping at the top of an escalator, and have me filled with self-loathing.