WNBA Thursday: O'Sullivan picks Dream at Wings, Sparks at Lynx, Sky at Aces, Liberty at Storm, playoffs loom
Tuesday night I was one Minnesota Lynx bucket away from going 7-0. I can take the path of either two mindsets: Treat my 6-1 as a slight imperfection that makes the evening perfect in actuality, or take affront at the Lynx’s inability to cover the spread and harbor it for the remainder of my days. Guess which path I’ll travel.
Seattle O’Sullivan so far: 102-85-1
Moneyline Parlay: Dallas (-290)/Minnesota (-300)/Seattle (-900)
True Price: -101
Atlanta Dream at Dallas Wings, 8 pm Eastern
The Pick: Dallas -290, Dallas -6.5 (-110)
As we wind down the regular season, the most relevant thing to me is playoff positioning. Which team has more to play for? Obviously, in this case, it’s Dallas. Currently, the Wings are positioned in the 7-seed, but if they slip much they could fall out of the playoff race entirely. So they’re going to give it everything they’ve got tonight. They lead the Dream in every statistical category save offensive rebounds and steals, and they lost to Atlanta in their last matchup on May 27. Dallas needs tonight’s game and the second game against the Dream on Sunday. That second game might be a letdown, but I think the Wings get it done tonight.
Los Angeles Sparks at Minnesota Lynx, 8 pm Eastern
The Pick: Minnesota -300, Los Angeles +6.5 (-108)
Going by my above theory, the “middle” actually makes a lot of sense. Minnesota is a half-game out of the third-seed but hasn’t clinched a playoff spot yet; Los Angeles is a half-game out of the playoff picture. Both teams will fight. The Lynx are simply better, with Napheesa Collier the best player on the floor. The spread scares me, however, because Lynx center Sylvia Fowles is questionable with a shoulder injury. So let’s try to thread the needle. If anything, put more on the moneyline to ensure a profit.
Chicago Sky at Las Vegas Aces, 10 pm Eastern
The Pick: Las Vegas -180, Las Vegas -3.5 (-118)
This line opened at Las Vegas -7 and has dropped three points, which should tell you something. Maybe it should tell you that I’m not the only one going by the “playoff positioning” theory today. Chicago has not clinched a playoff spot yet and is only 1.5 games ahead of Dallas in the sixth-seed. Meanwhile, the Aces have clinched and are two games ahead of Seattle for the top seed in the Western Conference. Their forward Dearica Hamby is questionable tonight with an ankle injury. But I’m going against my own theory, here. The Aces should really want that second-seed, as it ensures not one but two playoff round byes. This is their first matchup against the Sky, and they’re returning home after more than a week on the road.
New York Liberty at Seattle Storm, 10 pm Eastern
The Pick: Seattle -11.5 (-110)
I’m officially of the opinion that Seattle needs to stop messing around and focus. They’ve lost three in a row, and are now one game from dropping to the fifth playoff seed. That means no bye at all. They need to drop the hammer tonight against a New York team that’s dropped five games in a row. The Liberty’s last win, in fact, was against Seattle. So I’m not only employing the “playoff positioning” theory but the “revenge” theory as well. The moneyline price is too high, so I’ll parlay it with Minnesota and Dallas to give it some value. But c’mon, Storm - get your act together.