Jordan’s WNBA Picks 51-48-3
Phoenix Mercury at Chicago Sky
The 8th seeded Mercury find themselves in yet another single elimination game in the 2019 playoffs and while they may be underdogs, the Mercury have a ton of talent and are more than capable of winning this game. However, they are 0-3 against the Sky this season.
It’s definitely an uphill climb for the Mercury in this one. Diana Taurasi is doubtful for the opening playoff game and while she has not played much at all this season, it’s still a big blow. Taurasi is a steady hand on the court for the Mercury and she played well in two of Phoenix’s games against Chicago.
The Sky is a young and inexperienced playoff team outside of the steady hands of Courtney Vandersloot and Allie Quigley. However, next to those two partnered in the backcourt is a deep and talented team and it’s not surprising to me that they are somewhat heavy favorites.
There are several key matchups in this one, but most of them revolve around the frontcourts. Obviously, the best battle will be Brittany Griner versus Stefanie Dolson down low, but another big question for the Sky will be who takes the task of guarding DeWanna Bonner.
If Bonner and/or Griner goes off in this game and the Sky have no answer for them, it could be upset city. Bonner and Griner averaged almost 45 points per game in those three regular-season losses, so all it will take is one more Mercury player scoring in double figures to make Phoenix a great ATS play.
That being said, this game is a lot tougher to handicap than that. Chicago plays very well at home and their shaky defense is a little steadier when they play at home. Combine that with the power of a must-win playoff game and I just can’t trust Phoenix yet.
That being said, I think we can trust them earlier in the game more-so than later. Phoenix had a first-half offensive rating of 101 this year, which is second to only the Mystics in the regular season.
There was a large discrepancy in their home/road first-half offense, but with this being a playoff game, and with the Sky defense extremely shaky, I could see Phoenix staying within one possession at the half.
Minnesota Lynx at Seattle Storm
The late game is where most of my sweat will be tonight. Compared to the first game, I’m much more invested in this one.
The Lynx have been playing outstanding basketball as of late and while they are the lowest seeded team among the eight playoff contenders, they should not be undervalued.
However, I do think the spread for this one is sharp. If you’re leaning towards Minnesota, I would definitely take a shot, but the better value for this one is hanging in the first half total markets.
These two teams met four times in the regular season and have been essentially playing in high-leverage games for a month now. They both can play defense, but what’s more important than that has been the difference in pace from the first two second halves for both clubs.
Minnesota played at the fifth-fastest first half pace during the regular season and if they can force Seattle to play quicker, it will very positively impact an ‘over’ play here.
I’m assuming defense will tighten up in the second half a lot, but just looking at these two team’s matchups this season and both were very consistent on offense outside of their first game.
Minnesota scored 39 or 40 points in all four and Seattle averaged 49 points per first half in the final three meetings. Add the over for their playoff game too.