Los Angeles Sparks vs. Chicago Sky
It hasn't been the best of starts for the Sparks, as they've dropped three of their first five games so far in 2014.
After winning two of their first three (over Seattle and San Antonio), Los Angeles has fallen in consecutive defeats to Washington (84-92) and Atlanta (85-93). Their defense has let them down lately, with the Sparks now seventh in the WNBA in points allowed at 78.0 PPG.
This evening, Los Angeles hopes to improve to an even .500 on the season with a win over Elena Delle Donne and the Sky. Current WNBA odds offerings have Chicago favored by 4.5 points on their home floor.
The Sky, unlike their upcoming opponents, have raced out to an impressive 5-1 start, thanks to wins over Connecticut (two), Atlanta, New York and Indiana. Their one loss came at home against the undefeated Lynx.
Delle Donne has been sensational for Chicago, averaging 23.0 PPG through her team's first six contests. The Sky have also leaned heavily on Jessica Breland (13.2 PPG and 11.2 RPG) and Courtney Vandersloot, who's putting up 9.5 PPG and 9.0 APG this season.
That being said, we can't help but feel the sports betting value is on Los Angeles' side in tonight's matchup.
We believe the Sparks will have a complete performance tonight, as they match up well with the Sky. Candace Parker (22.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 5.2 APG) continues to light it up and Alana Beard, Nneka Ogwumike, Kristi Toliver, Jantel Lavender, Lindsey Harding and Armintie Herrington have all played important minutes for this team as well. Los Angeles has underachieved so far, but we expect better out of them here.
Pick: Sparks +4.5
Minnesota Lynx vs. Seattle Storm
The Lynx remain perfect on the season, with a showdown with the Storm in Seattle next on the schedule. Right now Minnesota is favored by 5.5 points on the road.
Seattle is coming off a 72-87 loss on the road against Phoenix, which leaves the team at 2-6 overall. Their only two wins have come on the road over Washington (73-65) and at home against Tulsa (62-60).
Meanwhile, the Lynx have yet to lose a game and have looked downright dominant on many occasions. They've passed the test in all four of their road matchups, overcoming Washington, Tulsa, Chicago and San Antonio thus far.
It hasn't mattered one bit that the Lynx have allowed 80.3 PPG so far this season, which puts them 10th in the WNBA defensively. The fact remains that their league-best offense (87.1 PPG) has more than made up for their deficiencies on the other end of the floor, and that's a big reason why we like them to win again this evening.
No team has been able to keep up with Minnesota so far. Maya Moore (27.6 PPG, 8.9 RPG and 3.0 APG) has been stupid good, but Seimone Augustus (19.9 PPG), Lindsay Whalen (16.3 PPG, 5.4 APG, 4.1 RPG) and Damiris Dantas (7.0 PPG and 7.6 RPG) have made large contributions as well.
We just don't see how Crystal Langhorne, Camille Little, Sue Bird and the Storm will be able to keep pace. They've been the WNBA's least efficient offensive team, averaging only 66.5 PPG through their first eight contests.
With that said, let's keep riding the Minnesota train until they give us a reason to jump off. The Lynx look to be on a mission to repeat as champions and we're going to continue to back them with our sports picks for the foreseeable future.
Pick: Lynx -5.5