- The Storm are off to a good start this season, and their peripheral stats point to their legitimacy as a contender.
- Even though Seattle ranks among the league’s elite in a myriad of statistical categories, why is it a 7.5-point underdog against the Minnesota Lynx on Tuesday night?
After starting off 0-7 ATS, the dynastic Minnesota Lynx have righted the ship, somewhat. They’re 4-2 in their last six games ATS and have won four in a row straight up. So the powerhouse might be finding their form.
However, it’s still stunning that they’re 7.5-point favorites vs. the Seattle Storm on Tuesday. Favorites? OK. Sylvia Fowles has been dominant, and the Lynx are the better team on paper. But 7.5-point favorites?
The Storm are 10-4 and somehow their record doesn’t reflect how good they are. To wit:
- The Storm currently have the best Offensive Rating in league history at 108.9.
- They have the best Net Rating in the league, adjusted for pace, at +9.7 per 100 possessions.
- Their Pythagorean expected win total is actually closer to 11 than 10 and they should have at least 7% more wins through 14 games. That’s not a lot, but it’s meaningful at this sample.
They are an absolute beast, especially offensively. Jewell Lloyd is averaging 18.0 points per game shooting 37% from 3-point range. She can even hit off the bounce:
Put Lloyd in pick and pop with Breanna Stewart, who is 11 of 19 on pick-and-pop jumpers, and you have some serious doom.
That’s before you even throw in, you know, future Hall of Famer Sue Bird, who absolutely slices teams up in stuff like this double screen action with Stewart:
Seattle’s a monster. And in this matchup, there’s reason to think the Storm’s defensive weaknesses might not be exploited, either.
The Storm surrender the fifth-most spot-up possessions league-wide, and the second-highest field goal percentage on those shots. The Lynx have the second-best shooting mark on spot-up shots, and the second-highest points per possession as a result — but those shots account for the smallest percentage of their offense of any team in the league.
Seattle’s other weak point, defensively, is covering the pick and roll, where it is 11th league-wide in points per possession. Luckily for them, the Lynx this season are a baffling 11th in points per possession in the pick and roll using the roll player. Minnesota’s big strength? Transition, where they are third overall.
It helps to have 10 of their 12 players at 5-10 or taller (average WNBA height just below 6-feet (via a Slate study in 2012, although that figure may be outdated.)
The Lynx, despite their recent surge, are 2-5 ATS vs. teams over .500. The Storm are 4-4 ATS vs. the same. And as a kicker? The Storm are 4-1 ATS this season on the road.
Add it up, and what should be the marquee game on the WNBA slate also provides an enticing opportunity for Storm investors getting 7.5 points.
COUNTERPOINT: Action Network’s Lauren Joffe is on the Lynx because of research she dug up using Bet Labs. The money percentages spiked for the Lynx following a reverse line move on the Lynx, triggering a Bet Labs system signal. So we’ve got the betting signals vs. the basketball, just another reason to check out a fascinating WNBA matchup.