Mercury vs. Liberty Odds, Picks, Predictions | WNBA Betting Preview (June 18)
Alex Slitz/Getty Images. Pictured: Marine Johannes #23 of the New York Liberty.
Mercury vs. Liberty Odds
-108 / -112
-108 / -112
This potentially star-studded affair tips early Sunday afternoon, but unfortunately two big pieces of the puzzle are missing right now, with Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner both still questionable in the lead-up to this game.
For the Liberty, they had a couple of key swing pieces questionable this morning as well, but Sabrina Ionescu has officially been ruled out, and Jonquel Jones is officially able to play, so we have a much better sense of the set-up there now.
With that in mind, I'm going to write how to approach this game when the news comes out, either way, for the Mercury, and take a look at some potential for the Liberty. The side and total will be tricky to approach without knowledge of Taurasi and Griner's statuses.
Here's how I'm betting Sunday's matchup between the Mercury and Liberty.
Taurasi and Griner are easily the Mercury's top two players by usage rate, which means the absence of either, or both, will obviously greatly impact the surrounding players on the roster. For instance, Sug Sutton averages 6.9 assists per 100 possessions with Taurasi on the court, per pbpstats.com (an excellent source for any bettor interested in digging into play props). With Taurasi off the court, Sutton nearly doubles that rate, at 12.3 assists per 100 possessions.
Currently, FanDuel lists Sutton's assist prop at 6.5. While the books may well be flying as blind as all bettors right now, that tells me that they at least lean towards Taurasi not playing.
As for Griner, I am torn. There are no props to give us hints, and while this is a arguably the biggest crowd she would get to play in front of (the Liberty are opening the second deck of Barclays for this game), reports are that her hip injury is more serious than the team may be saying publicly, and for a team with the worst record in the WNBA right now, is there really any reason to rush her back? If you feel like aligning with these two leans, I think the Liberty spread has value at -11.5.
New York Liberty
For the Liberty, Ionescu being out is the bigger deal than Jones being available. Jonquel really hasn't looked herself all season, and has been on a limited minutes load under head coach Sandy Brondello.
When Ionescu is out, it means big deltas for a few players. For one, Marine Johannes gets the start, and she scored 18 points in that role the last time out for the Liberty. Her player prop moved quickly on the news of Sabrina being out, but I still think there is some value on her "To Score 20+ Points" prop at FanDuel. It is currently at +560, and I would play it to +380.
The other big impact when Sabrina is out is the assists totals for two teammates. Courtney Vandersloot sees her assists go down, while Breanna Stewart sees her assists go up. Calvin Wetzel of Her Hoop Stats came across this pattern, and while both numbers have moved, I still like Vandersloot under 8.5 assists and Stewart over 4.5 assists at their current spots at FanDuel. Make sure to shop around to see if there is a stale number in the market when a book like DraftKings releases their props, however.
There are, unfortunately, lots of unknowns for this game. However, there are still actionable bets out there. Look for Marine Johannes to have a big game, while Stewart and Vandersloot see their assist totals move in opposite directions with Sabrina out.
If you want to get a little wild, I do lean towards thinking both Mercury players will be out, however, the longer it goes without official word, the more that comes into doubt. If neither play, I would take the Liberty to -14.5.
Pick: Johannes to score 20+; Vandersloot under 8.5 assists; Stewart over 4.5 assists