The WNBA card for Thursday night has four games on the board and all of the matchups are revenge spots for the home favorites laying points.
With the regular season winding down, home chalk cooking looks to be the way to go at the betting windows as payback will be a bitch for the visiting teams. Leading the way is the Seattle Storm as they look to stay hot when hosting the Connecticut Sun.
Two weeks ago when the Storm and Sun met at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, it was one of Seattle’s worst defeats of the year as they put up their lowest scoring effort of the season with only 53 points on the board. Just a month before that, it was a different story on that floor for the UConn alums in the West’s lineup as they enjoyed a big win in the All-Star game as Seattle’s Swin Cash and Sue Bird joined forces with the Phoenix Mercury’s Diana Taurasi and the Minnesota Lynx’s Charde Houston for a record-setting 130 points with the West beating the East.
Although we are unlikely to see an all-star shootout in tonight’s game at Key Arena, the Storm’s offense has blown through the opposition lately and will look to do the same in tonight. Seattle has crushed two straight opponents at home from the East as impressive wins against the Washington Mystics and Indiana Fever have the Storm ready for revenge against the Sun. In both of these victories, at least five players from the Seattle roster all scored in double figures and this kind of teamwork is what it will take for another “W” tonight in the standings and for bettors at the sportsbooks.
In the first matchup with Connecticut, the Storm were held to only 30 percent shooting from the field and Lauren Jackson’s double-double that night was not enough to keep it close. Seattle also turned the ball over 19 times that evening and I cannot see that happening on their home floor tonight. You have to go back almost two months to find a game where a visiting team had fewer turnover’s than the Storm when visiting Seattle.
The Sun at one point this season were considered to have the league’s top defense, but it seems the top spot in that department has changed on a regular basis this year. Connecticut has now slipped to fifth in the WNBA for points allowed and has given up an average of over 75 points a game. In four of their last five games, the Sun have let opponents hang at least 85 points on them, including 90 by the Detroit Shock on Tuesday night in a crushing 20 point defeat in the woods of Connecticut. This performance has been unlike Seattle’s defense who has consistently been among the top three defenses in the WNBA all year and tends to even face more fire powered offenses out West than the Sun do.
As the playoffs approach, the queens of the court start rising to the top and Seattle’s lineup looks ready for a run at another WNBA championship. Bird leads the league in assists averaging nearly six per game and had more assists than anyone on the court last year when the Sun orbited to the Key Arena. Jackson has averaged nineteen points, seven rebounds, and two blocks per game making her among the league’s top overall weapons as this puts her among the best ten players in each of these categories.
The bench of the Storm has also been more involved in games down the stretch lately, including Janell Burse who has put double figures on the board for two straight games. This could perhaps be the biggest difference-maker for Seattle between tonight’s game and the disappointing effort two weeks ago against the Sun. In the prior matchup with Connecticut, the Storm’s starters all played for at least 30 minutes each and the bench was hardly utilized at all - so I would look for more of a mix tonight.
Pinnacle Sports opened the point spread for tonight’s game favoring the Storm by 4 ½ and it has dropped to 4 at most sportsbooks since then. While the Sun have won seven straight games when facing the Storm, I feel tonight’s matchup is quite a different spot. There are no excuses for Seattle as they come into this one having been home for over a week and no look ahead games on the schedule against conference opponents for quite a while. Meanwhile, the Sun have to travel out West for tonight’s game on only one day’s rest and have what could be a very tough road trip ahead of them which has potential of knocking them out of the playoffs altogether.
I feel the line should have been higher tonight due to the situational factors, revenge for the Storm after their offense was humiliated in Connecticut, and for Seattle’s two home blowout wins in a row. The Storm are also only two games behind the Phoenix Mercury for the West’s top spot and what seemed all season like an impossible task in catching up to them now has its strongest chance in months. Lay the points tonight and go with the Storm to blow through the Sun.
Indiana to keep rolling with winning home fever
With this being a night of revenge in the WNBA, other home favorites tonight are worth a look in addition to the Storm.
The Indiana Fever are currently seven point favorites as they host the San Antonio Silver Stars and the line for this one has already gone up one and a half points. Last month, the Fever had an embarrassing defeat in San Antonio losing by 19 points in what was a very difficult weekday afternoon spot that the league squeezed in the schedule right before All-Star weekend. With the Fever on a 12 game home winning streak, it will be a much different spot tonight.
Indiana also come into this matchup with two road losses in a row and would like nothing better than to erase those from their minds with a big home victory. Another part of tonight’s revenge in this spot for the Fever is for coach Lin Dunn who lost leading the East against San Antonio’s coach Dan Hughes in the All-Star game last month. The West piled on the scoring in that one and some starters like Sue Bird stayed in the game a bit longer than they needed to as the 4th quarter was winding down. So I would look for Dunn to possibly run up the score a little for a Fever cover tonight.
Three losses to the Dream a shock for Detroit
The Detroit Shock have lost all three matchups this season to the Atlanta Dream and a spot like this could make it a real revenge nightmare for the visitors.
Detroit comes into tonight’s matchup with three big wins in a row as they are back in the playoff hunt after struggling most of the season. With their lack of success against the Dream this year, the line for tonight’s game has been kept a bit low at only 3 ½ points. With the Shock allowing the second lowest shooting percentage in the league on defense, they should finally have some ways of shutting down the fire power that Atlanta has had most of the season.
The line has gone up to 4 at a few books, so I would get in on this one early as a win here for the Shock will make the East standings that much tighter.
Red hot Sparks look to keep Mercury’s temperature low in LA
The game of the night in the WNBA has the LA Sparks putting a six game winning streak on the line at home against the Phoenix Mercury who has defeated them in both matchups so far this season. While you would think Phoenix could have LA’s number this year, the Sparks team that the Mercury face tonight is a lot different from two months ago when both games between the teams happened.
During their current winning streak, the Sparks have shown why they now have the top defense in the league and have notched wins against some top offensive squads like the Minnesota Lynx and Atlanta Dream. Tonight’s game will certainly be another battle for the Sparks against a high octane offense and I look for defense to win out. LA has allowed an average of only 67 points a game at home this season and has all cylinders in sync now with their lineup unlike prior matchups against Phoenix when either Candace Parker or Lisa Leslie was not playing for them.
When hosting the Mercury in defeat earlier this season, the Sparks were a 4 ½ point favorite. With them only laying 4 points tonight and being much improved during the current winning streak, this number should be a bargain. Phoenix has been dogging it down the stretch a little losing three of their last five games and the Sparks are the last team they would want to run into right now. With clear excuses in their first two games against Phoenix, the Sparks have none tonight and should get it done.