Thursday WNBA Odds & Best Bets: Today’s Top 3 Picks, Including Storm vs. Sparks (July 7)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images. Pictured: Jordin Canada (21) and Kianna Smith (5).
- The WNBA is approaching its All-Star break, but we have three more games available to bet before then.
- Jim Turvey sees value in Sky vs. Fever, Mercury vs. Liberty and Sparks vs. Storm.
- Check out all three of Turvey's leans for Thursday's WNBA slate below.
You can tell we’re approaching the All-Star Break because not only are the teams on the court playing their first back-to-backs, but Action Network write-ups are coming back-to-back.
Hopefully you trailed that Liberty longshot I gave out yesterday (and hopefully you ignored the game script where I said it would either be Chicago in a close game or Minnesota in a blowout…).
For tonight’s slate, we have two teams on back-to-backs, an extreme rarity for the W. There has been only one back-to-back all season to date, and even if we go back a decade to look for trends, we’re still dealing with only 61 total games since 2013. So there are definitely a few unknowns with the nature of tonight’s slate.
Add in the fact that betting tends to get a bit wonky the day before a big break like this one (it’s like the student who is well-behaved in class all year but gets in a fight the day before summer vacation because it’s just too much to handle), and we’re only going to be handing out leans today.
Article Plays: 21-22-0 (0.1% ROI)
Action Network App Plays: 41-41-1 (-4.9% ROI)
WNBA Odds, Picks
Click on game to skip ahead
|Sky vs. Fever||7 p.m. ET|
|Liberty vs. Mercury||10 p.m. ET|
|Storm vs. Sparks||10:30 p.m. ET|
Sky vs. Fever
|Moneyline||-435 / +350|
|Time||7 p.m. ET|
|Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
There are two players to wait on news-wise for the Fever: Queen Egbo–who has had an outstanding rookie season–is questionable after missing Tuesday’s loss to Seattle due to health and safety protocols. Lexie Hull–another Indiana rookie–is questionable with a wrist injury that forced her out of last game as well.
As of now, the Chicago injury report is clean.
The Factor of 0 Days Rest
This is where we circle back to what we just talked about in the introduction. There’s not a whole lot of evidence to go off of for teams playing back-to-back in the W because the league does a good job of avoiding these.
In fact, the data is to the point where the number of years needed to get a good enough sample then dates back to a point where it no longer seems relevant to compare to modern-day WNBA players.
So, let’s put that aside for a moment (even though it will clearly play a large role).
Matchup-wise, Chicago is a great fit to pick apart Indiana. Chicago thrives in the paint; Indiana’s defense flounders there. Chicago has some of the best ball movement in the W; Indiana is incredibly susceptible to good ball movement. Indiana is very reliant on 2-point shots; Chicago has a very strong 2-point defense.
This should be no surprise. Record-wise, this is the top team in the W versus the bottom team.
What is a little surprising is that the line isn’t double-digits in that case. Granted, Chicago is on the road, but we just saw Seattle close as easy double-digit favorites in Indiana just two days ago and cruise to a cover.
What that means is the books are putting some sort of belief in no days rest.
Chicago is a bit of an older team, but I will note that its game yesterday was an afternoon game, giving it some extra time to get out of town and still arrive in Indiana with plenty of time to get rested and ready for tonight’s game.
Because of the fact that it’s more like 1.5 days rest, and because of how well the Sky match up with the Fever, I’m leaning toward Chicago here.
If Egbo is ruled out, I would feel comfortable turning this from a lean to an official pick, but I’d have to imagine the line would move with it and I would then be back to a lean.
Again, this is a lean because we’re dealing with a lot of unknowns. But sometimes you shouldn’t overthink Best Team vs. Worst Team.
Lean: Chicago -9
Liberty vs. Mercury
|Moneyline||+162 / -195|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
Right now, the Liberty injury report is the same as yesterday: Betnijah Laney, Jocelyn Willoughby, Nyara Sabally all have long-term injuries, and Rebecca Allen day-to-day.
As has been the case all season, the Phoenix injury/news section has to lead with Brittney Griner, who has been detained in Russia for more than 100 days.
Kia Nurse is still to make her 2022 debut for Phoenix.
Looking in a mirror
Here we go again. The Liberty, like the Sky, are playing a back-to-back Thursday. In New York’s case, it’s making the trip from Las Vegas to Phoenix without the help of an extra half day like Chicago had.
New York is also dealing with playing outside of its home time zone, but that historically hasn’t been as big of a deal as the books sometimes think it is.
The Liberty are also fresh off their biggest win in a while, becoming the latest team to treat the Aces defense like a well-worn slice of Swiss. They scored, by far, a season-high for any team in the league with their 116 points last night.
That’s a whole lot of up-and-down the court to have to play a night later against another team that likes to push the pace.
In fact, the Liberty and Mercury are eerily similar in their profiles. Both teams like to shoot a ton of 3s and eschew the offensive glass, but ironically, both teams rank among the worst in the league in actually hitting those 3s (which you’d think would lead to a lot of offensive rebounds, but alas).
If the Liberty weren’t fresh off of such a taxing night of basketball, I’d look to grab the points in a game that should have lots of variances. But in a game in which 3s are going to be flying, those tired legs of New York have me worried.
I will note here, however, that the early line move has actually been in favor of New York, which surprises me a bit but merits watching.
Lean: Phoenix -4.5
Storm vs. Sparks
|Moneyline||-215 / +175|
|Time||10:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds via PointsBet. Get up-to-the-minute WNBA odds here.|
For Seattle, it’s still just Mercedes Russell on the injury report.
The Sparks are less lucky, with a Liberty-esque injury report. They will officially be without Brittney Sykes (COVID-19), Chennedy Carter (knee), Kristi Toliver (calf), in addition to Amanda Zahui B. and Rae Burrell, who they have been without all season.
Riding the Over
Finally, a game without teams playing back-to-backs!
It’s a fun matchup, too. The two teams have played twice already this season, and each team has won once, with tonight’s game deciding the season series.
The previous two matchups both took place in Seattle, and the over hit both times
In fact, this is a matchup I have previewed before, and much of what I wrote last time remains relevant.
These two offenses match up with the opposing defenses quite well. Now, the books have adjusted slightly and the line is a bit higher to start today, but both games have cleared the 161 starting line we’re getting at PointsBet today. As such, no reason to overthink this one.
I’m making it a lean only because of the L.A. injury report, as well as the fact that we’ve got those “Last Day of Class Before Summer Vacation” vibes going tonight, and it feels like anything is possible (but not in the fun KG way).
Lean: Over 161