Seattle Storm vs. Atlanta Dream
A rough 1-4 start has Sue Bird and the Storm searching for answers.
Tonight they will take on the Dream in Atlanta, with the WNBA odds showing the home team favored by 6.5 to 7 points.
Seattle's one win this season came on the road against Washington, with their four losses coming to Los Angeles, Phoenix, Connecticut and New York. The Storm fell short against the Liberty on Tuesday despite 21 points from Bird and a big double-double (13 points and 15 rebounds) out of Crystal Langhorne.
The Storm were solid defensively, but once again they just couldn't find the necessary offensive firepower to keep up. It's been a common theme this season, with Bird and Camille Little the only players averaging in double figures.
As for the Dream, they should be well-rested after having not played since last Sunday in a 77-82 overtime loss to Indiana. That loss came a day after a 14-point road defeat to Chicago, though Atlanta did open the season with consecutive victories over San Antonio (79-75) and Indiana (90-88 in double overtime).
For tonight's game, the Dream are rightly posted as the significant favorites and we believe they're the right side with our sports picks. They've been much more efficient offensively, as Angel McCoughtry, Erika de Souza, Shoni Schimmel and Jasmine Thomas are all averaging in double figures. Sanco Lyttle (8.8 PPG and 9.0 RPG) has been effective as well.
When it comes down to it, we just don't foresee Seattle being able to stay competitive for the entire game here. Look for Atlanta to pull away and win by seven or more, easily covering the spread for our basketball picks.
Pick: Atlanta Dream -6.5
Tulsa Shock vs. Phoenix Mercury
Still looking for their first win of the season, the Shock will do battle with Diana Taurasi and the Mercury in Phoenix in the late game tonight.
Current WNBA betting odds have the Mercury favored by as many as 9.5 points. The total is at 157.5 points at most of the sportsbooks we've checked over.
It's been quite a long rest for Phoenix, who have been off since last Friday's 74-78 loss at home to San Antonio. Before that defeat the Mercury had topped both Seattle at home (81-64) and Los Angeles (74-69) on the road.
As expected, Taurasi has been the heartbeat of the team, averaging 17.7 PPG, 6.0 APG and 4.0 RPG through three games. Brittney Griner (14.7 PPG and 7.7 RPG with just over three blocks a game) and DeWanna Bonner (14.0 PPG and 4.3 RPG) have been contributing good numbers too.
The Mercury have been one of the better defensive teams in the WNBA so far, holding opponents to 70.3 PPG, the second-best mark in the league. Can they find a way to stop Skylar Diggins and company tonight?
Diggins has gotten off a fantastic start, but again her contributions weren't enough in a 79-82 loss to San Antonio two nights ago. The Shock have lost their three games (San Antonio twice and Minnesota) by a combined eight points.
And, as we approach tipoff in Phoenix tonight, we think there's great value on Tulsa. They have the offensive talent, with Diggins and three others (Glory Johnson, Odyssey Sims and Courtney Paris) scoring in double figures, to make life difficult on the Mercury. Back the underdogs.
Pick: Tulsa Shock +9.5