Sparks vs Liberty Odds, Picks, Predictions | WNBA Betting Preview (Sept. 7)
Via Melissa Tames/Getty Images. Pictured: New York Liberty forward Kayla Thornton (5) and New York Liberty forward Breanna Stewart (30) looks on during a WNBA game between the New York Liberty and the Chicago Sky on June 2, 2023, at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, IL.
Sparks vs. Liberty Odds
The New York Liberty play host to the Los Angeles Sparks on Thursday night at 7:00 p.m. ET on Amazon Prime Video. It is the penultimate game of the season for both teams, who will then have three days off before all teams are in action on the final day of the season–Sunday.
There is plenty to play for for both teams, with the Liberty trailing the Aces by only one game for the top seed, while the Sparks are currently in a tie for the final playoff spot, though they lack the tiebreaker with the Sky.
This line opened at Liberty -13.5, but has moved to +12.5. I'm not sure I agree with that early line move, though, and see value on the Liberty should the line remain there.
New York Liberty
I noted this on a recent episode of Buckets, but the Liberty have absolutely turned the ship around when it comes to their early-season struggles to cover the spread. For the first half of the season, they had an excellent record, but they were the second-worst team in the W against the spread. This was due to the fact that the respect from the market was there, but they wouldn't win games by enough to actually cover.
That all changed after the All-Star break, though, as they are now right at .500 ATS this season thanks to having covered nine of their last 12 games.
Their net rating only looks better and better the more you zoom in, with a +13.6 net rating since the break (first in the league); +16.6 in the last month (first in the league); and +19.6 in the last two weeks (first in the league). They are absolutely clicking on both ends, and with Sabrina Ionescu back after missing a pair of games last week, the team is fully healthy and ready for the postseason.
The one factor that might swing this game away from being another blowout Liberty win is if they start to prioritize that postseason run. While only one game back of the Aces, Las Vegas ends the season with a pair of games against the Mercury, the worst team in the league. Vegas could rest starters for a half and still come out with two wins. If the Liberty think it's more valuable to not push their players in these final two games, it could change what this number should be.
Los Angeles Sparks
The inverse is true for the Sparks, of course, who are going to be doing anything but packing it in, with their season on the line. However, they have two key players listed as questionable for Thursday, both of whom missed their most recent game: Nneka Ogwumike and Karlie Samuelson. Ogwumike is literally the Sparks best player, and while Samuelson isn't quite at that level, she has started more than half their games this season and provides some much needed outside shooting.
The Sparks have been in and out of injury hell all season, and things were finally looking to have settled about a month ago, with the club putting together a six-game win streak in August to propel them back into a playoff spot. However, thanks in part to injuries popping back up, they have now lost four of five and, as noted above, are going to have to get a bit lucky to make the postseason.
While Thursday's game is not a full-on must-win, it's darn close, as the Sparks will have to win their final game of the season (in Seattle) and have Chicago lose their final two games (home against the Lynx and then on the road against a Sun team that may well be resting starters) if they lose Thursday.
That motivation is likely what is pushing this line towards the Sparks, but I just don't see them having the horses, even with that extra motivation. If Nneka and Karlie were fully healthy, I'd have this line around Liberty -14.5, so in order for me to get to 12.5, I'd need both of those two to play, or to weigh motivation several points, which I do not typically do.
Liberty vs. Wings
Betting Pick & Prediction
I am only making this Liberty -12.5 a lean because of the possibility that both Nneka and Karlie suit up, in part because of how much of a must-win this is for L.A.
I prefer a first half over for this game, because even if the Liberty do fade in terms of motivation a bit in the second half, I think they will come out locked in. On the other side, it's do-or-die for the Sparks as we said, so I expect them to come out locked in.