Jordan’s WNBA Picks 21-22-1
LA Sparks at New York Liberty
The Sparks and Liberty are set to hook up for the third time this season and the Liberty will have to do it without one of their best players. Asia Durr has recently been ruled out for the Saturday matinee, which takes a shaky New York offense and makes it even worse.
Durr has been one of the more standout rookies of the season and if it wasn’t for Arike Ogunbowale having a huge season in Dallas, Durr might be the frontrunner for Rookie of the Year.
Now without her on Saturday afternoon, the Liberty are going to have to put the ball in Kia Nurse’s hands more, as well as Tina Charles, Bria Hartley, and Amanda Zahui B.
However, even with Durr, the Liberty have struggled to score early in games and I think that could be even more exaggerated on Saturday.
The Liberty are averaging just 85.8 points per 100 possessions in the first quarters of their games this season, which ranks dead last in the WNBA. They are also allowing close to 100 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter.
Things don’t improve much at home either. Their defense gets better, but they also have allowed 100 points per 100 possessions in their last two first quarters, so the defense may be an illusion.
The Sparks on the other hand are averaging 102.8 points per 100 possessions and despite losing Riquana Williams due to suspension, they can still light up the score board.
So, to hedge against the Sparks falling flat, I think the over is a strong play too. Both of these teams play very fast in the first quarter, so I’m going with the favorite and the over in the first 10 minutes and hoping for a quarter full of offense from the Sparks and no defense from either team.
My Pick: Sparks 1Q ATS and 1Q OVER
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle
Phoenix Mercury at Dallas Wings
The Dallas Wings have been playing some better ball as of late and even if they don’t win the game, they have been covering first halves and full games lately. Now they have another matchup against a heavy favorite while playing at home and they could once again be a great play.
I’ve watched the Mercury a lot this season and they look lost once again. They have spent the last three or four seasons playing in single-elimination playoff games because they just can’t seem to get their stuff together in the regular season.
Now they’ll be without Diana Taurasi again on Saturday, as well as one of their better bench players, Sancho Little. Against a fast, tough, and surging Wings team, this is going to be a tough one to cover for the Mercury.
They may be able to cover the full game, but I think the Wings are the play in the first half. They have had one of the better first half offenses in the league over their last five games and while their defense is somewhat suspect, they also have the size and athleticism to slow down the Mercury’s two stars.
They did it back on Wednesday afternoon in Phoenix. After allowing 21 first-quarter points, they held Phoenix to 10-second quarter points. If their defense stays strong, they can cover the first half against a very top-heavy Mercury offense.
My Pick: Wings 1H ATS