Dallas Wings (+11.5, -110)
Los Angeles Sparks (-11.5, -110)
The Sparks have been an absolute nightmare to pick with the spread this season; in fact, I’m just 2-4 in games involving them. After picking them in their game against Dallas last week, a game in which they not only didn’t cover but failed to win at all, I went against them on the road against Phoenix and they won (of course). Though their bench only scored 14 points in the win against the Mercury, the entire starting lineup went for double digits and were lead by an unlikely player. That isn’t to say that it is surprising to see Chelsea Gray score 24 points at any given point, but after a hot start where she averaged 17.7 points per game, she had only scored 24 points total over the three games prior to that one.
Offense is the one area LA has done consistently well in, leading the league in rating while ranking second in both true shooting and effective field goal percentage. Defensively, the Sparks needs to pick it up if they want to repeat as champions. The team currently ranks in the lower third of the league in defensive rating and defensive rebounding percentage, while being next to last in opponents field goal, three point, effective and true shooting percentage.
For the Wings, they have a ton of rookies and their play indicates that. Yes, they lost last time out to Minnesota 91-74, but so has everyone else. Prior to that, Dallas picked up a signature win when the defeated the Sparks 96-90 last Friday. That game had Glory Johnson going off, scoring 24 points to go along with 12 rebounds, her fourth double-double of the season. Against Minnesota, Johnson had a down game, but Karima Christmas-Kelly lifted the Wings on offense, putting up 21 points. As a team, Dallas was out rebounded 40-24, a huge gap that simply won’t get it done.
A team that ranks in the middle of the road in most statistical categories, Dallas is prone to run hot or cold, a trend that we’ve seen thus far. Skylar Diggins-Smith has shown flashes of a franchise player, and the Rookie of the Year award is Allisha Gray‘s to lose at this point, but this team needs to string together consecutive games of good play together. If they do, look out.
11.5 is a massive spread and, as I’ve said before, these are professional athletes that play basketball for a living. It is difficult to take such a massive favorite, especially the Sparks who have bitten me several times this year. I may regret this later, but I’ll take the 11.5 points and the Wings, as well as the over.