Four teams with 12 wins are battling for three playoff spots, and that’s not including a pair of 10-win teams threatening, with just over two weeks to play in the regular season.
That makes Thursday’s game between the Los Angeles Sparks (12-15) and Phoenix Mercury (12-16) as important as any this season. They meet at 10:00 PM EDT at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Sparks vs. Mercury betting stats show the Sparks have had the edge in three games decided by seven points or less.
Home Team Series
Although the home team has won each game in the series. Los Angeles won 99-94 on May 25 as 2.5 point favorites with the over 164.5 hittings.
The Mercury answered with an 81-74 win as nine-point underdogs on June 5 with under 171 hittings. The Sparks took the season series edge on July 4 with a 78-75 win as 4.5 point underdogs and the under 167.5 hittings.
WNBA odds show the Mercury are favored by four points and Sparks underdogs at even odds. The over/under is 166.5 with even odds on either the over or under. The moneyline favors the Mercury (-175) with favorable odds (+145) on the Sparks.
Sparks vs. Mercury Betting Stats
The Sparks are below average on each end of the floor but have been good enough to be middle of the road and fighting for one of the league’s eight playoff spots, which this year are awarded to the eight best records regardless of conference.
Los Angeles is the second worst team defensively, allowing teams to score 85.4 points per game. The Sparks allow teams to convert 45.8% of shots from the field, the second worst mark, and the worst 3-point field goal percentage of 79.9%.
They don’t do much better offensively, scoring 80.6 points per game for seventh. They also convert 45.5% of attempts from the field, which is third, but have a 34.5% 3-point percentage (seventh) and 77.1% free throw percentage (77.1%).
Sparks Team Lead
Forward Nneka Ogwumike leads the team, scoring 19.0 points and grabbing 6.8 rebounds per game. Adding Liz Cambage from Las Vegas has helped bolster the front court.
She’s averaging 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. Katie Lou Samuelson and Brittney Sykes each score 10.6 points per game.
The Mercury have been one of the top offenses in the league, ranking fourth at 83.1 points per game. They’ve struggled with efficiency, however, and are largely doing it with great guard play.
This is funny because they have the worst 3-point shooting percentage in the league at 32.8%. They are seventh at 43.3% from the field and fourth from the free throw line at 81.4%.
Phoenix Rebound Stats
Phoenix is also the worst rebounding team, pulling in 31.3 per contest and allowing the second most per game at 37.1. That’s partly due to a size deficit since Brittney Griner has been detained in Russia since February.
It’s unclear how that has impacted the team off the court, but losing the All-Star has certainly hurt their paint protection, pick-and-roll opportunities, and everything exemplified in last season’s runner-up finish to the Chicago Sky.
Defensively, the Sky are third worst, allowing 85.4 points per contest, fourth worst with a 44.5% opposing field goal percentage, and second worst with a 37.5% opposing 3-point percentage.
Skylar Diggins-Smith is averaging 20.0 points, 5.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds, and 1.7 steals per game to lead the team. Diana Taurasi is adding 17.0 points, 4.1 assists, and 3.3 rebounds per game.
Diamond DeShields, who came over from Chicago and is questionable with a hip injury, is averaging 12.5 points per game.
Sophie Cunningham is converting 40.7% of 3-point attempts and is always an X-factor in Mercury games.
WNBA Betting Trends
- Basketball betting trends show 74% of public bets on the Mercury against the spread
- That data also sho 58% of public bets are on the over
- The Sparks are 13-14 against the spread and 16-11 on over/under this season
- The Mercury are 12-15-1 against the spread and 15-13 on over/under this season
WNBA Betting Predictions and Pick
The WNBA picks are sometimes difficult because of matchups. The Mercury’s strength is the backcourt while the Sparks’ strength is the frontcourt, and neither team is great defensively because of their weaknesses.
In one regard, that could allow for a high-scoring affair but is that usually what happens with two poor defenses? Something to ponder. DeShields could be an X-factor in this one if she’s available.
It would give the Mercury an extra slasher while playing alongside Cunningham and could force the Sparks to cover both wings and not load one side.
But the underdog has won two straight in the series, so we’ll go Sparks +5.
WNBA Pick: Sparks +5 (-110)