The Money Line: WNBA odds for Wednesday, June 7

June 4, 2017: The New York Liberty vs the Phoenix Mercury at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
June 4, 2017: The New York Liberty vs the Phoenix Mercury at Madison Square Garden in New York City. /

Tuesday night gave us three WNBA games — an early week treat, as we usually only get two games a night that early in the week. There were no real surprises with Washington, Seattle and Los Angeles all beating teams that they should have beaten. Today features two games and four teams who all have tons of question marks about them. Some have done better than others at answering them, but regardless, today could tell us even more about each of them.

Spread: 15-14
Over/under: 12-17

Atlanta Dream (+4, -110)
New York Liberty (-4, -110)

The most pleasant surprise of the young season has undoubtedly been the hot start from the Atlanta Dream. 4-1 heading into Washington on Sunday, the Dream were getting balanced play from everyone offensively, but their defense was what was getting the job done; only once this season has a team scored 80 or more points on them in a game, and that trend continued against the high octane offense of Washington. Down 17 points at one point, Atlanta locked up and stormed back, with 24 points from Tiffany Hayes leading the way. In the end, however, it wasn’t quite enough as the Mystics went 26-of-31 from the free throw line to hold them off. For the season, Atlanta has the third best defensive rating in the league, as well as the second best assist-to-turnover ratio. Talk about a recipe for success. Despite the loss to Washington, Atlanta is proving to be a team that will be tough to beat on any given night.

Not that I doubted them per se, but the Liberty have a ton of pieces missing so it would be understandable, and reasonable, to think some struggles would come with that. Well, consider this my apology for thinking that! All New York has done since saying a temporary goodbye to Epiphanny Prince and Kia Vaughn, who are off playing for their national teams, is go 2-0 with wins over Dallas and Phoenix. In the win over the Mercury, by a convincing score of 88-72, it was another post besides Tina Charles who dominated: Kiah Stokes. Stokes went for 23 points and 14 rebounds in a dominate effort, while Charles had 16 points. Shavonte Zellous continues her stellar play as of late, scoring at least 21 in the past two games. The offensive pace that New York wanted to play at isn’t quite there yet (they rank in the middle of the league in that category), but they are finding ways to win regardless.

I’ve really come to appreciate Atlanta this season (although I would have appreciated them more if they could have scored one more point against Washington to cover), but what New York has done the last two games can’t be ignored. I’ll take New York as a tip of the cap to them, but Atlanta’s defense gets my respect too, so I’ll also take the under.

Phoenix Mercury (-1.5, -110)
Indiana Fever (+1.5, -110)

Does anyone have any information that would let me know which version of each team is showing up tonight? I’m beginning to give up hope of every figuring out these two squads. I’ll start on Phoenix first. To be fair, there were always concerns about who would be the third player to step up each night after the terrific Diana Taurasi and Brittney Griner. When they have been successful this season, players like Leilani Mitchell or Danielle Robinson put together solid games to go along with the two cornerstones. When they haven’t, it’s been trouble. The four player mentioned here all had varying degrees of solid games against New York, but they went cold late, scoring just nine points in the fourth quarter. The team’s true shooting and effective field goal percentages are both top five, but their rebounding percentage is the third worst, a stat that is hard to believe considering they have one of the most physically dominate post players in league history. I think ultimately, the Mercury have to get that consistent third piece to contribute every night, and they have to rebound better. If they do, nobody will want to play them, even more so than right now.\

Indiana has been baffling, but in an opposite way of thinking from Phoenix. I didn’t expect much of anything at all from them this season, but consecutive wins over a budding Connecticut Suns team and the defending champion Sparks gave me pause. They then promptly went on to lose to Seattle and then get beatdown by Dallas, before flipping around and beating Dallas in their next game. Geeze. The most recent Dallas game, a 91-85 win, displayed the best version of this Fever team. Four players scored double digits, the team shot 27-of-31 from the free throw line and committed just six turnovers. If they can put together performances like that, they will be in games. The Fever remind me of Atlanta in some regards, as they both are very team oriented and don’t have one particular player that seems poised to go off on any given night (although Tiffany Hayes might disagree). My concern is just that: when they need a bucket, who gets it? Candice DupreeTiffany MitchellShenise Johnson? I still need to see more.

While this line scare me, I still am going to roll with the team that has the two best players on the court. I’ll take Phoenix and the over.