WNBA’s Odds, Predictions, Previews: Thursday’s Slate Includes Mystics vs. Sparks, Sky vs. Liberty, Wings vs. Fever (June 24)

WNBA’s Odds, Predictions, Previews: Thursday’s Slate Includes Mystics vs. Sparks, Sky vs. Liberty, Wings vs. Fever (June 24) article feature image

Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Chicago Sky star Candace Parker goes up for a shot.

  • Candace Parker and the Chicago Sky are back in action Thursday when they take on the New York Liberty.
  • The Sky have won six consecutive games since Parker returned from an ankle injury.
  • Michael Arinze breaks down the game below, as well as two others on the slate.

We cashed a ticket with the Chicago Sky on Tuesday, as they pummeled the Liberty in a 92-72 road victory. The win was the sixth in a row for Chicago since Candace Parker returned from an ankle injury. The two-time WNBA MVP missed eight games, but Chicago is a perfect 7-0 with her on the floor.

Chicago's recent run has moved it into fifth place in the standings.

Another team making a move up the standings is Washington. The Mystics have won three consecutive games, with their most recent triumph taking place on the road against arguably the best team in the league in Seattle.

However, it wasn't just beating the Storm that was so impressive; it was that they did so despite being extremely shorthanded. Washington even had to sign Megan Gustafson to an injury hardship contract, because it had fewer than 10 available players.

Anyway, that's enough poetic waxing for now, as I might need to save something for later given both Chicago and Washington are back in action.

We have three games on Thursday's schedule to break down, so let's get right into it.

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Projected WNBA Odds

MatchupTimeProj. SpreadProj. Total
Wings at Fever7 p.m. ETWings -4.75163.67
Sky at Liberty7 p.m. ETSky -6.29164.52
Mystics at Sparks10:30 p.m. ETMystics -3.85158.89

Wings at Fever Odds

Wings Odds-9
Fever Odds+9
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday afternoon via DraftKings.

Injuries & News

There are no players listed on the Dallas injury report.

Indiana’s Jantel Lavender (6.4 PPG) and Bernadett Hatar (6.0 PPG) are listed as questionable. Lavender is dealing with an ankle injury, while Hatar has a toe injury. In addition, Aaliyah Wilson (foot) has been ruled out and isn't expected to make her season debut until early July.

Fade Dallas As Road Favorite

If Indiana is going to get its second win of the season before the Olympic break, it might not get a better chance than against Dallas. After following the Wings over the last few seasons, they strike me as more of an underdog team.

In other words, the Wings like to punch above their weight, but when favored, they tend not to perform as well.

This makes sense because Dallas is currently the youngest WNBA team, with an average of 23.9 years of age. Unfortunately, that suggests they might still lack the maturity to win the games they're expected to win.

As for Indiana, it has looked a bit better in its last four games, with two of its losses coming by less than six points.  Indiana lost by five points on the road to Washington despite jumping out to a 12-point lead in the first quarter. While that might not sound like a big deal with so much time left in the game, I assure you that it likely meant everything to a Fever team that's lost its last 10 games.

After running the numbers, my model makes Dallas no more than a 4.75-point favorite in this matchup.

Keep in mind that historically Indiana is 9-5 ATS against Dallas, but at home, that mark improves to 5-1 ATS (+3.73 units). So, to sum things up, this seems like a good buy-low spot to grab the extra points with the Fever.

Pick: Fever +9.5

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Sky at Liberty Odds

Sky Odds-7.5
Liberty Odds+7.5
Time7 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday afternoon via Bet365.

Injuries & News

Astou Ndour-Fall (10.1 PPG) is the only Sky player listed on the injury report. She’s currently away from the team for an undisclosed amount of time due to a personal matter.

New York lists three players on its injury report: Natasha Howard (14.5 PPG), Kia Stokes (2.2 PPG), and Jocelyn Willoughby have all been ruled out. Howard will be out four to six weeks with an MCL sprain in her left knee, while Stokes is overseas competing in the  2021 European Women Basketball Championship. Willoughby is done for the season after tearing an Achilles in a scrimmage.

Candace Parker: The Definition of "Game Changer"

I might be dating myself here a bit, but I was a big fan of the NBC show The A-Team growing up. I'm not going to get too much into the show, but there was a character named Hannibal who would often use the phrase, "I love it when a plan comes together."

Well, that's exactly how I feel about my handicap on Tuesday in the Sky-Liberty game. Not only did I go into detail as to why the Liberty was overvalued and overrated, but I also waxed on about Chicago's 3-point defense and why it would be key against the Liberty, who fancy their chances from behind the perimeter.

And not only did Chicago cover the six-point spread with a 20-point blowout win, but also held New York to 21.4% from behind the 3-point line on 6-of-28 shooting.

Perhaps the oddsmakers haven't really caught on to how good Parker is. I don't think it's a surprise Chicago's six-game winning streak coincided with her return from an ankle injury. Parker is the reigning WNBA Defensive Player of the Year, and if anything, you can be sure that the Sky will bring it defensively with her on the court.

If I can be honest, I'm surprised this total opened as high as it did when you consider that New York's strength on offense plays into Chicago's strength on defense.

And in case you were wondering, New York has been one of the more profitable under teams in the league at +20.12 units. So, although my model projects the total to be about five points lower than the market, I stand by my position and could only look to play this game under.

Pick: Under 170.5 

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Mystics at Sparks Odds

Mystics Odds-3.5
Sparks Odds+3.5
Time10:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Thursday afternoon via Bet365.

Injuries & News

Washington lists six players on the injury report: Myisha Hines-Allen (14 PPG), Natasha Cloud (6.9 PPG) and Kiara Leslie (3.1 PPG) are listed as questionable. In addition, Erica McCall (4.2 PPG) and Elena Delle Donne have been ruled out, while Alysha Clark is done for the season.

Los Angeles lists three players on their injury report: Nneka Ogwumike (16.4 PPG), Chiney Ogwumike (9.0 PPG) and Jasmine Walker have all been ruled out knee injuries.

Ride Surging Mystics in Latest Showdown

The Mystics had burned me before when I backed them as favorites, but I hope this current win streak creates some confidence and stability within the team. Though the they've been shorthanded for some recent games, I think that adversity has actually helped bring them together as a team.

Last week, I opined I felt the players could rally together with their best player — Tina Charles — out of the lineup against Atlanta. While it was only a lean, the Mystics did just that by defeating the Dream, 96-93, after losing by 23 points just four days prior with Charles on the court.

And what did Charles do after watching her team get the win in her absence? She went off in their next game, racking up 30 points and 15 rebounds in an 82-77 win over Indiana.

You see, they might not admit to it, but star players like to be the reason their teams will ball games. Washington then carried that performance into their game against Seattle and defeated the Storm, 87-83, on the road despite being shorthanded. If they can't take anything away from that game, they might as well pack it up for the year.

This will be the second meeting between the Mystics and the Sparks as Washington won the first matchup 89-71, and both Ogwumike sisters didn't play in that game. With Washington rolling as they are right now, I can't see the Sparks playing much better this time around with the sisters still sidelined.

The Mystics are only 18-17-1 ATS against the Sparks, but on the road that number improves to 11-5-1 (+5.42 units).

Winning can be an intoxicating feeling in sports, so let's hope the Mystics continue to live their best life in La La Land for one more night.

Pick: Mystics -3.5

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