The Money Line: WNBA odds, predictions for Friday, August 18

ST. PAUL, MN - AUGUST 11: Sylvia Fowles
ST. PAUL, MN - AUGUST 11: Sylvia Fowles /
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PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 05: Krystal Thomas
PHOENIX, AZ – JULY 05: Krystal Thomas /

Phoenix Mercury (-1, -105)
Washington Mystics (+1, -115)
Total: 164

It was just under two weeks ago that these two teams met and it ended with a Mystics 85-80 win.  The big difference between that game and tonight’s is the availability of MVP candidate Brittney Griner for Phoenix. Returning after a four week hiatus due to injury, Griner got on the court for the first time last Saturday night in a loss to Seattle. The loss aside, Griner looked great, scoring 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting. The Mercury have lost three of their last four, rating as the worst defensive team in the league during that streak, allowing opponents to shoot a sky high 56.8 true shooting percentage. On a positive note, during that same time period they have been the best offensive team, so the return of Griner should pay dividends on both ends of the court.

A national TV game with no Elena Delle Donne or Tayler Hill for the Mystics was probably not what the folks at ESPN were planning on when they laid out the schedule. Regardless, that’s what happened and the Mystics got steamrolled. Emma Meesseman scored 20 points and rookie Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 16, setting a new career high for the second straight game, but it didn’t matter as the Sparks won by 33. The Mystics will be a tough out in the playoffs when Delle Donne returns but in the meantime, they have to find a way to compete. Though they’ve played well without her in spurts, tonight will be tough with the Griner addition to Phoenix.

With a healthy squad on both sides this game would be a lot of fun, and perhaps it still will be. Last time there two played there was some chippy play so there is certainly no love lost here. I think Phoenix covers here and the over hits.