WNBA Odds, Picks & Previews: Best Bets From Wednesday’s Slate, Featuring Dream vs. Sun, Mercury vs. Fever (June 15)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Megan Gustafson
- One WNBA game is already in the books this afternoon, but there are two more enticing matchups this evening.
- The Atlanta Dream take on the Connecticut Sun, and the Phoenix Mercury travel to Indiana to take on the Fever.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of today's WNBA slate, including betting picks.
Afternoon basketball! On a weekday no less!
By my quick scan, this is the first such occasion of weekday afternoon action in the W this season, so let’s enjoy it!
We also get to see two of the Big Three in action, and a line that I find as baffling as it is terrifying.
The Storm may have biffed what several of us here at Action thought was a sure thing Tuesday night, but if you track my picks in the app, we’re still in the green for ROI, so let’s keep that going with a trio of games this Wednesday.
WNBA Odds, Picks
Click on game to skip ahead
|Aces vs. Wings||1 p.m. ET|
|Dream vs. Sun||7 p.m. ET|
|Mercury vs. Fever||7 p.m. ET|
Aces vs. Wings
|Moneyline||-420 / +310|
|Time||1 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
The big news here is that Jackie Young will be making her return to the lineup for the Aces. More on the fourth-year breakout in a bit.
Riquna Williams remains out indefinitely for Las Vegas.
On the Wings side of things, just as Satou Sabally was starting to get back into full playing shape, she hurt her knee on Sunday and will be out at least this Aces game. Tough timing for Dallas. As of writing, I haven’t seen an update on whether Marina Mabrey will be back from COVID protocols — she is still listed out as of now.
The Death Star is Forming
During their June 2nd loss to the Connecticut Sun, the Aces lost their leading scorer at the time, but in the two games they played without Young, they didn’t miss a beat. Kelsey Plum and then A’ja Wilson each stepped up to top 30 points individually in separate games, with Plum now in the team lead for points per game.
Both Plum and Young are having somewhat delayed true breakout seasons. The pair of number one overall picks have enjoyed varyingly levels of success in seasons past (Plum reaching one tier of breakout last year as well), but nothing like what they’re doing this season.
The Aces now have a former MVP in the post, two stars playing at an All-WNBA level on the wing, the two-time Sixth Woman of the Year in Dearica Hamby, and my personal favorite point guard to watch in the league, Chelsea Gray. They have five players averaging at least 12.6 points per game(!), something no other team in the W can stake their claim to.
In short, this team is a juggernaut. They also match up well with Dallas. The Wings, somewhat surprisingly based on their personnel, rank first in the W in second-chance points and offensive rebound rate. That’s a credit to head coach Vickie Johnson getting that effort from her squad, but the Aces clean the defensive glass better than any other team in the league, and are in a tie for second-fewest second chance points allowed in the league.
The Wings are also 1-4 at home this season, with College Park Center being far from a fortress so far. On the flip side of that, the Aces are 4-1 on the road, with travel not having presented any issues so far for Becky Hammon and crew.
With all that said, I’m not breaking the bank on this game only because the afternoon nature feels like it could make things a little wonky. I’m going to go two directions here: Aces first half and the under.
I like the first half pick because, well, I like the Aces, but also because they are the best first half team in the league and the Wings are much better in the second half. That’s part of what’s scaring me off the full game line, the threat of a backdoor cover similar to the last time these two met.
I like the under because I think Young will be a little rusty in her return; it’s an early start game which always seems to throw teams off; and Mabrey and Sabally are two key cogs for Dallas who are out. That being said, the Dallas unders have been a struggle for me lately, so that’s going to be a lean not a pick.
Pick: Las Vegas first half -5.5 or better
Lean: Under 171.5 points
Dream vs. Sun
|Moneyline||+320 / -425|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
No new injury news for Connecticut Sun, who are missing “only” Jasmine Thomas, who is out for the season after tearing her ACL several weeks back.
For the Dream, they remain without Tiffany Hayes, who hurt her knee overseas (still so wild that these players have to play through what should be their offseason), and Erica Wheeler remains questionable for this game at time of posting.
Can a Quietly Elite Dream Defense Slow Down the Sun?
One of the most impressive parts to the Dream’s surprising 7-6 start to the season has been the defense that first-year head coach Tanisha Wright has built in Atlanta already.
They are allowing a league-low 75.2 points per game, and it’s not due to just some slow, plodding style of play, they actually rank third in the league in pace and when going by defensive rating instead of points allowed, they are first in the league by an even greater margin.
And it’s an overwhelming defense at every level. Basketball-Reference has a cool tool in which users can see the field goal percentage allowed by each team at each spot on the floor: 0-3 feet, 3-10, 10-16, 16-3 point, 3-point range. The Dream rank in the top two(!) at each of those spots on the court, except the long twos, where they are still in the top half of the league.
They’re going to face maybe their stiffest test yet on Wednesday, though. The Dream have only played The Big Three (Las Vegas, Chicago, Connecticut) twice so far, and they allowed an average of 84.5 points in those games–nearly 10 points higher than their overall total. That’s a tiny sample, but it shows just how few real tests the Dream defense has had so far.
Atlanta is a very physical defense as well, which can throw a lot of teams off, but it also means they are often in the bonus. The Sun are tops in the league at getting to the line. Just how tight or loose a whistle the refs decide to play with tonight could go a long way in determining the outcome of this game.
There’s also the matter of the Atlanta offense which has been quite pedestrian, with one rare area of success being the corner three — a shot the Sun take away as well as any other team in the league.
This is a pretty well-set line, to be honest, but I’m going to lean toward the Sun. To a certain extent, the Dream defense means they aren’t going to be hyper-blown out in any game, so the chances of the Sun heading into fourth up 16 and then the Dream pulling out a last-second cover seems less likely.
Lean: Connecticut -9 and team total over 82.5
Mercury vs. Fever
|Moneyline||+100 / -120|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
As has been the case all season, the Phoenix injury/news section has to lead off with Brittney Griner who has been wrongly detained in Russia for more than 100 days.
Sophie Cunningham also remains out after injuring her elbow on June 5, and Kia Nurse has yet to make her 2022 debut.
For the Fever, Lexie Hull missed Sunday’s game, but that was due to attending her college graduation, Indiana should be at full strength Wednesday,
An Admiral Akbar Line if I’ve Ever Seen One
This line opened at Phoenix -1, which is as full blown an “It’s a Trap” line as I’ve ever seen. Phoenix is by far the bigger name and the -1 line is always trying to tempt those slight extra juiced moneyline dollars. Add in the fact that the Mercury were the road (slight) favorites, and it had all the makings of Vegas knowing something and the public falling for the trap and betting Phoenix.
BUT a strange thing has happened, in that the line has shifted further toward the Fever. Indiana is now the favorite, which I have to imagine means the books are taking in more Indiana money, or that at least the sharps are targeting the Fever.
On paper, this looks like a great spot for the Mercury to reset a bit. They have played by far the hardest schedule in the W, and the Fever haven’t beaten a team with a winning record all season.
Of course, the Mercury themselves don’t have a winning record, but to the overarching point on the schedule, Phoenix has played just three of its 14 games against teams with a losing record so far this year, and has zero games against the Fever, Lynx, or early-season Liberty, who are/were the clear bottom of the barrel.
I would have pegged this game far closer to Phoenix -3.5, or something in that ballpark, but after jumping on Seattle at -5.5 Tuesday as a line that seemed way too good, only to see the news later in the day that Sue Bird was not going to be playing, I’m a bit spooked.
The Mercury are an older team, if a Charles or Taurasi was ruled out for a game off later in the day, it wouldn’t be shocking, and with WNBA injury news as hard to find as it can be, if Vegas has a lead there, it can definitely matter to the final line.
This should probably be a stay away, but I’m going to fall for the trap today. Just a lean, but with the price having moved to a clean +100 at DraftKings, I’m going to hope there are no late breaking injury reports out of Phoenix’s camp midday. But for you, you don’t have to press go just yet. Keep an eye on the line as the day moves along, but even more so, keep an eye on the injury report. If it’s truly just Cunningham out for Phoenix, and they remain plus money, definitely jump on it closer to tip.
Lean: Mercury +100 moneyline