The Sparks are on a five-game losing streak and now have to contend with a hot Mercury team. Let's break down the WNBA odds and see where we go with our picks.
At time of writing, the Mercury were favored by four points across the WNBA odds board, despite being the road team. Keep tracking the live line movement at SBRodds.com to ensure that you're not getting cheated with a bad line.
If you want to get in on the total, the number is trading at 152 points right now, a reasonably high number. That's not all that surprising though considering how much talent will be on the court inside Staples Center this evening.
Los Angeles Sparks
Ugly. There's no other word that better describes the Sparks' season thus far. They've won just two games all year long and have already suffered through extremely long losing streaks; they lost seven in a row to start out in 2015 and have dropped five straight ahead of this evening's battle with Phoenix.
Most recently, the Sparks lost by four at home to Atlanta five days ago. Though Nneka Ogwumike and Jantel Lavender combined for 39 points and 17 rebounds, LA still fell short in front of their own fans. Kristi Toliver failed to get much going offensively and finished with just eight points on the day.
There will be better days ahead for the Sparks, especially now that we know when superstar Candace Parker will make her 2015 debut. Parker, who has yet to play a single game this season, is set to return for LA's road game against Minnesota on the 29th. Her insertion into the starting lineup is going to make a huge impact immediately, but the Sparks are going to have to go on a heater over the second half of the season if they want any chance of making the postseason.
The good times finally came to an end for the Mercury recently, as they saw their winning streak dry up after six games following a 75-73 home loss versus New York.
In the defeat, the Mercury were outscored 27-18 in the final quarter to lose by two in what was a very disappointing finish for the hosts. Brittney Griner did her best to set the tone with her high-energy play, and she finished with 15 points, eight rebounds, four assists and seven blocks in the losing effort. DeWanna Bonner was the only other member of Phoenix to score in double figures, however.
As it stands, the Mercury find themselves in second place in the Western Conference, three games back of the Lynx for the top spot. They've already lost more games (six) than they did all of last season (29-5), but not having floor leader Diana Taurasi would explain that. Nonetheless, Phoenix has still been playing very good basketball, with Griner leading the way.
It's always a little scary putting your faith in a team that's mired in a losing streak, but we see this as an appealing opportunity to get a piece of a talented Sparks team on their home court at a very attractive price.
Yes, the results just haven't been there for Los Angeles lately, but we've seen glimpses of what this team is capable of, and we think the Sparks are going to come out with a lot of energy against a Mercury squad they lost to narrowly in the first meeting of the season. Revenge will be on the minds.
Parker may not be back yet, but LA still has some talented players that can take over games, namely Toliver and Ogwumike. All in all, we believe the Sparks match up quite well with the Mercury, so we're going to take the points on this occasion and back the underdogs on their own court with our WNBA picks.
WNBA Pick: Los Angeles Sparks +4 at 5Dimes