WNBA Best Bets: 3 Picks From Tuesday’s Slate, Including Sun vs. Sparks
Photo by Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Jonquel Jones (Sun)
- With less than a week left in the WNBA regular season, our expert Jim Turvey breaks down his leans for Tuesday's slate.
- There are three games to target, including two late-night affairs featuring the Aces and Sparks.
- Read below for how to bet these games.
This final week of the WNBA regular season should be absolute chaos. We’ve already seen a bit of it in action, with some funky weekend results. The intensity is clearly already at a playoff level, as anyone who watched tonight’s Liberty-Wings game knows.
Another week in the books hasn’t helped clarify any of our playoff tier madness we covered last week either, and it truly does feel like anything can happen in these final six days.
It’s part of the reason that I felt like I couldn’t quite get a handle on Tuesday’s slate.
In fact, all of today’s plays are leans instead of full plays.
As a reminder, I have been tracking these as follows: lean = 0.5 units; play = 1.0 units; best bet = 1.5 units. So, only 2.0 units are at risk on Tuesday, but that’s fine.
Save all those gummies up for the postseason because you know you’re going to talk yourself into a hundred different series and futures plays if you’re anything like me.
Here’s the rundown for Tuesday.
Article plays: 52-37-3 (17.6% ROI)
Action Network app plays: 129-107-2 (4.0% ROI)
WNBA Odds & Picks
Click on game to skip ahead
|Storm vs. Sky||8 p.m. ET|
|Dream vs. Aces||10 p.m. ET|
|Sun vs. Sparks||10:30 p.m. ET|
Storm vs. Sky
|Moneyline||+155 / -189|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
There’s only one name on the combined injury report here: Mercedes Russell, who remains out for the year for the Storm.
Rubber Match (and Preview?)
The Chicago Sky and Seattle Storm face off in their third and final regular season meeting of 2022, with each team staking claim to one previous win in the season series.
Both teams emerged victorious at home, and both games were excellent matchups — a three-point win for the Storm in May and a four-point win for the Sky in July.
This is also a potential second-round playoff preview, if both teams hold their seed and win their first-round matchups.
It’s worth noting that the Storm have not faced the full-strength Sky, though.
In the first meeting, Chicago was without reigning Finals MVP Kahleah Copper, and in the second, it was without its point guard and ballast, Courtney Vandersloot.
In all fairness, the first matchup also featured a Storm side without Tina Charles — the veteran forward is averaging 12 and eight on 49% from the field since arriving in Seattle.
As far as motivation, both teams clinched a playoff spot a while ago, but both could also still move into different seeds based on their last few games.
This feels like a pretty well set line, but I’m leaning toward Chicago for a couple of reasons.
Seattle has been quite pedestrian on the road this season, with a 7-8 record on the road vs. 13-5 at home. Much has been made about home court mattering less than in the past, but Seattle is one of the lone holdouts on this trend.
I also don’t see Seattle running away with this one, and if it’s a close game late, Chicago has proven itself to be wayyyy more reliable in the clutch this season than the Storm.
While I would write off a bit of Seattle’s fourth quarter struggles given the veteran winning presence on that team, I do think this Chicago team seems to have an extra level it can get to.
I’m going the moneyline route because I do think the inverse of Chicago having that extra gear is that it can play with its food a bit. There’s a reason the Sky have all those clutch minutes to be bragging about — they don’t always blow their opponents out all that often.
I’m also leaning to the under here, thanks to a pair of strong 3-point defenses. Both matchups this season also went well below this number (albeit with a few key pieces missing, as noted above).
Lean: Chicago -189
Lean: Under 163.5
Dream vs. Aces
|Moneyline||+440 / -650|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
The paradigm of health vs. the Queens of DTD.
Las Vegas gets the clean bill, while Atlanta has five players (!) out on Tuesday, per Matt Cohen of Winsidr. AD Durr and Nia Coffey are out for the season, and Monique Billings, Tiffany Hayes and Kristy Wallace have all been ruled out for Tuesday.
I have a nasty habit of being a little wordy, so let’s lead with the pick and then walk ourselves there: Over 168.5.
As you can guess by the Nic Cage-pun subheader, pace is a key factor in my play.
The Aces have the fastest pace in the league, while the Dream aren’t far behind in third. Atlanta made its bones early in the season with some impressively low opponent point totals, but that was never the result of a slow pace — its been pushing the ball all season.
What has changed, however, is the effectiveness of the Dream defense. What started as the top unit in the league for the first month has become middle of the road since, and actually bottom three in the past month.
It shouldn’t be shocking, but this is a young team that is hitting a bit of a rookie wall on that end. A ton of credit still needs to go to Tanisha Wright for how quickly she got this team to competency, but the Dream were always playing a bit above their heads to start the season on the defensive end.
They will be getting a stiff test from this Aces side on Tuesday. The Aces, even during their shakier times overall this season, have been an elite offense from the start. They have reached 90 points in over half of their games and have consistently had the best offensive rating in the W this season.
The Dream offense is a bit inconsistent (as most young teams are), but they can pour it in against bad defenses. The Aces aren’t fully bad, but they sit in the bottom half of the league over the past month — and right smack in the middle of the league for the season as a whole — in defensive net rating.
I am making this pick a lean only because of how many Dream players are out. That could lead to a blowout — with the Aces taking their foot off the gas late — or it could just be hard for the Dream to score with so many players out, including their leading scorer by points per game this season, Hayes.
Lean: Over 168.5
Sun vs. Sparks
|Moneyline||-300 / +235|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
Both teams have the standard names you’ve seen out for the season at this point, with the Sparks adding Kristi Toliver as officially out, and Chiney Ogwumike as a gameday decision.
Our Ionian Friend Strikes Again
If you can figure out the Sparks, you’re a better person than I am. When Liz Cambage left town, the consensus was it could be addition by subtraction, but the team instantly rattled off a massive losing streak that proved that was not going to be the case.
Of course, as soon as we figured out the Sparks were going to be the team we all got rich fading down the stretch, they pulled out one of the more genuinely surprising results of the WNBA season — a 79-76 win in Washington on Sunday.
The team is now fully alive in the playoff race, but let’s not be fooled by one game. I do still think this team is quite bad, and here’s where we get to Pythagoras again.
The Sparks have the biggest gap in the WNBA in terms of their Pythagorean record and their actual record. In other words, they have been the luckiest team in the league by point differential. Their Pythagorean record (9-24) is closer to the Fever than the playoffs!
On the flip side of that coin, the Sun have actually been one of the unluckiest teams in the league by Pythag. Their 25-8 Pythagorean record sits atop the league, as they have been able to take care of business against bad teams and arguably have been a bit unlucky in their close games.
This line opened at Sun -5.5, which I loved but sadly wasn’t able to catch in time. At Sun -7.5, it’s — say it with me today — a lean, but it still seems like the side to be on, especially with Connecticut being strong on the road and the Sparks struggling to clean the defensive glass.
Lean: Connecticut -7.5
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