The Money Line: WNBA odds, predictions for Tuesday, June 27

Curt Miller. (Getty Images)
Curt Miller. (Getty Images) /

It’s been about a week since a post here at The Money Line and no, it is not because I went 1-5 last time out, though that did hurt. As many know, the father of Washington Mystics Head Coach/GM Mike Thibault, and grandfather of assistant Eric Thibault, passed away last week, so I was in California attending the funeral services with my wife and the rest of the family. I mention this briefly to say thank you to everyone who reached out with their condolences and kind words; it was thoughtful and appreciated.

With that being said, let’s get back to the games! There was a lot that went on in the last week, but as the saying goes the more things change, the more they stay the same. The Minnesota Lynx finally took a loss and then promptly got back on track their next game, while San Antonio continues to come up short and are inching closer to the all-time record for worst start in WNBA history. We have two games today, one that starts at noon EST, so let’s not waste anymore time.

Spread: 24-25
Over/under: 22-27

Seattle Storm (+4, -110)
Washington Mystics (-4, -110)
Total: 166

Most sites have this game with the Mystics as a 5-6.5 point favorite, but I feel much better about a four-point spread instead. Washington took one on the chin on national TV on Friday, falling 93-76 at the hands of Minnesota.  Though they fought back to draw close several times, the Lynx jumped out to a huge lead early and never really looked back. The Mystics are now 8-5, sitting in third place, but they are still yet to register a win against the league’s elite. So far, their wins are over San Antonio, Chicago (three times), Dallas, Atlanta and Connecticut (before the Sun got on their hot streak). The team’s shooting has taken a bit of a dip lately, so their scoring has done the same. Now just eighth in effective field goal percentage and fifth in points per game, the Mystics need to get back on track scoring the ball, although Sunday’s game against Chicago was a great start as Washington shot 47% in an absolute beatdown of the Sky, 97-63Elena Delle Donne is an obvious All-Star and the rest of the team performed well in the game, so maybe this team is on the rise.

More from Connecticut Sun

Seattle, meanwhile, has been the disappointment of the season in my book. Though there is no reasonable way I could see them missing the playoffs, as it currently stands they are just 6-6 and sitting in the last playoff spot. Following an 85-82 loss to Phoenix, the Storm have lost four of their last five, two of those losses coming at home. Breanna StewartJewell Loyd, and Sue Bird all showed up in the Phoenix game like they have for most of the season, and even Crystal Langhorne continued her hot streak, but it still wasn’t enough to pull out a win.

Often, the stuff that determines wins are in the margins, and that certainly seems true for this game. Phoenix’s rebounding percentages were 27.6 on offense and 85.2 on defense which, in case you don’t feel like doing the math, mean’s Seattle’s percentages were 14.8 and 72.4, respectively. This is a season long issue as the Storm rank third to last in total rebounding percentage while also ranking in the middle of the pack defensively. They are one of the best teams in terms of both true and effective shooting percentages, stats that bode well for them, especially if they get it turned around on the defensive end.

This is a tough game for me to pick, but like I said earlier, the 4 point line is much friendlier than any of the others. I’m going to roll with the home team here and take Washington along with the over.

Los Angeles Sparks (-2, -110)
Connecticut Sun (+2, -110)
Total: 170.5

Even Vegas is buying into the Sun! The sexy pre-season pick for surprise team in the league, Connecticut stumbled out of the gates, losing their first four games. Since then, they have won six of eight, including a streak of five in a row at one point.

They fell on Sunday 96-82 to a red hot Dallas squad as Connecticut struggled to take care of the basketball and didn’t get to the free throw line nearly enough. Alyssa Thomas scored 19 points in the loss, extending her streak to six straight games with at least 12 points, while double-double machine Jonquel Jones continued her stellar play with 14 points and 12 rebounds. The 18 turnovers that the Sun had as a team were a bit uncharacteristic as the team owns the fourth best assist-to-turnover ratio in the league, as well as the fourth lowest turnover percentage.

Connecticut sits in the upper half in almost every important category, and their league leading 43.4% shooting from three is nearly five percentage points higher than the team in second place. It is still early, but a tip of the cap to Curt Miller and his staff for clearly pushing the right buttons lately, and the team for turning their early season woes around.

Now this Sparks team is the one I’ve been expecting to see all season long. After some head scratching losses earlier in the season to Indiana, Atlanta and Dallas, the Sparks seem to have figured it out, extending their winning streak to five after their win over Indiana on Saturday. Everyone knows about Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker, but its been Chelsea Gray who has stepped up as the third player you have to be prepared for, and that has helped get LA rolling. After averaging 6.4 PPG on 43.8% FG and 32.6% from three over her first two seasons, Gray is now averaging 15.9 PPG on 53.2% FG and 48.4 from three, and absurd jump that nobody saw coming. The best shooting team in every shooting statistic other than from three (where they rank third), the Sparks are finally looking like the defending champs.

It has been a ton of fun watching the young Sun squad play so well, but the Sparks are getting things figured out at the same time. It is hard to pick against the veteran squad when there is so much youth on the other side, so I’m going to go with LA and the under.