- In the best-of-five WNBA semifinal series, the Washington Mystics and Connecticut Sun both own 2-0 leads
- Sportsbooks have the Mystics as -170 favorites on the road to eliminate the Las Vegas Aces in Game 3
- The Sparks are the -235 chalk at home to force Game 4 against the Sun
The WNBA semifinal series switch locales for Game 3 of the best-of-five sets on Sunday. Both the Las Vegas Aces and Los Angeles Sparks need to whip up some tasty home cooking if they want to survive.
The Washington Mystics, favorites in the 2019 WNBA Championship odds, are holding all the aces, with a 2-0 series lead over Las Vegas. The Sparks, also trailing 2-0, must locate a spark in order keep the Connecticut Sun from setting on their season.
Igniting the Sparks
Los Angeles has played in two of the last three WNBA finals. The Sparks lost to the Minnesota Lynx in 2017. One year earlier, they’d vanquished the Lynx to win the third league title in franchise history.
If #4 is to be in store, Los Angeles must find that spark, and fast.
Sun vs Sparks WNBA Semifinal Game 3 Odds
|Connecticut Sun||+185||+5.0 (-105)||Over 161.5 (-110)|
|Los Angeles Sparks||-235||-5.0 (-115)||Under 161.5 (-110)|
*Odds taken 09/21/19.
So far, Los Angeles has only been close in the odds but never in point of fact. The Sparks were whipped 84-75 in Game 1 as 2.5-point underdogs. Listed as even money entering Game 2, LA was completely run out of the building by a 94-68 count.
It was 70-57 Connecticut after the third quarter when the Sun quashed any notion the Sparks might’ve held of staging a comeback rally. Connecticut opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run.
With 5:31 to go in the final period, LA coach Derek Fisher emptied his bench, taking all of his starters out of the game. At that point, the Sun led by 23 points.
Jonquel Jones scored 27 points for the Sun. Courtney Williams contributed 25 points, pouring in 13 during the third quarter.
Nneka Ogwumike scored 18 points for the Sparks. Riquna Williams, held to two points on 1-for-9 from the field in Game 1, added 14. LA got just six points from its starting backcourt of Williams and Chelsea Gray in Game 1.
The best thing the Sparks have going for them right now is that they are coming home. Connecticut owns a 3-2 edge in the season series between these two teams, but the home team is 5-0 straight up in the set.
Don't sleep on @Chiney321's strength! ?
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 20, 2019
The Sparks won their two home games against the Sun by an average of 12 points. LA is 16-2 at home this season. The Sun are a below-.500 8-9 on the road in 2019.
Chairwomen of the Boards
Connecticut dominated the boards this season against Los Angeles but the Sun’s accustomed edge wasn’t prevalent during Game 1. Connecticut held just a 34-33 advantage in rebounding.
The usual form returned in Game 2, and then some. Connecticut set a new WNBA postseason record by pulling down 29 first-half boards. The Sun finished with a 46-24 advantage in rebounds.
This @ConnecticutSun ball movement though…??
— WNBA (@WNBA) September 20, 2019
During regular-season play, the Sun averaged 10 more boards per game than the Sparks.
But the Sun have proven to be a different team on the road all season long. Connecticut is just 5-11 against the spread as an away team this season. The Sparks are a solid 13-5 ATS at home.
Home Sweet Home?
LA has won 15 in a row at the Staples Center but that facility is not available until Game 4. Sunday’s game will be played at Cal State Long Beach. However, the last time the Sparks played there, they won by 20 points.
— Los Angeles Sparks (@LA_Sparks) September 22, 2019
Look for LA to find a way to survive and force Game 4.
Pick: Los Angeles Sparks (-235).
Mystics’ Depth Dominates
There’s an old saying that for a team to win in the playoffs, their best players must be their best players.
The Mystics’ best player hasn’t been their best player in either semifinal game against the Aces, and yet they are up 2-0 in this semifinal series.
That, in a nutshell, explains why Washington has been the best team in the WNBA.
In Game 2, WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne was held to 14 points. So Emma Meesseman tied a career high with 30 points and the Mystics won going away 103-91. Natasha Cloud (18 points) also scored more than Delle Donne.
In Game 1, Meesseman led the way with 27 points and 10 rebounds. Delle Donne came through with 24 points.
Losing finalists in the 2018 WNBA Finals, the Mystics are a win away from a chance at redemption.
Mystics vs Aces WNBA Semifinal Game 3 Odds
|Washington Mystics||-170||-3.0 (-115)||Over 181.5 (-110)|
|Las Vegas Aces||+135||+3.0 (-105)||Under 181.5 (-115)|
In Game 2, Liz Cambage scored 23 points and pulled down 10 rebounds for the Aces, 1-4 straight up this season in head-to-head meetings with Washington.
Washington’s pressure defense has helped the Mystics start strongly in both games. They’ve forced six Aces turnovers in the first quarter of each contest.
Washington Holding all the Cards
The Mystics have won eight in a row and 14 of their last 15. Washington played twice at Las Vegas during the regular season. The Mystics were 95-72 winners on June 20th. They toppled the Aces 99-70 on August 5th.
That’s two wins by an average margin of 26 points per game.
Vegas is 14-4 at home but Washington is 12-5 on the road. Washington is the league’s best offense (89.9 points per game). The Mystics shoot better from the field (47-43.1%). They are also the better defensive team (78.1-80.3 ppg).
Any way you look at it, the Mystics come up aces against the Aces.
Pick: Washington Mystics [-170, -3.0 (-115)].
Let's have fun and keep it civil.