For most of the year, the New York Liberty and Connecticut Sun have been on a WNBA playoff semifinals collision course. The long-awaited series tips off this afternoon at Barclays Center, with the Liberty holding as heavy chalk in the WNBA odds.
The Liberty swept a dangerous Washington Mystics team in the first round but needed overtime in Game 2, with Breanna Stewart scoring 27 points in the clincher. Their offense adjusted well to the postseason grind, posting 90 points in both games.
Under pressure on the road in Game 3 against the Minnesota Lynx, the Sun responded with a 90-75 win behind 28 points and 12 assists from Alyssa Thomas. But Connecticut have to flip the script in this semifinal series after losing all four matchups against New York this season.
Get a closer look at this afternoon’s Game 1 with our free WNBA picks and predictions for Sun vs Liberty on September 24.
Sun vs Liberty Game 1 best odds
Sun vs Liberty Game 1 picks and predictions
Breanna Stewart and Sabrina Ionescu have dominated the spotlight in New York this season to such an extent that it’s sometimes easy to forget that 2021 WNBA MVP Jonquel Jones is also a key part of this Liberty powerhouse.
Jones provided some timely reminders in the first round, averaging 19.5 points and 13 rebounds against the Mystics. Now she faces her former team with a place in the WNBA Finals on the line. That feels like a recipe for a monster series.
While there are a lot of mouths to feed in this New York offense, I see Jones staying in playoff gear this afternoon. She’ll have a rebounding edge against DeWanna Bonner and an otherwise undersized Connecticut frontcourt, and she should get some open looks as the Sun defense tilts towards Ionescu on the perimeter.
Look no further than the eight free-throw attempts that Jones had in each game against Washington for proof that she is going to be more aggressive in the paint now that we’re at the business end of the season.
Jones has recorded a double-double in her past three matchups against the Sun, and I’m grabbing these odds for her to add another today in Game 1.
My best bet: Jonquel Jones Double-Double (-105 at FanDuel)
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Sun vs Liberty Game 1 spread and Over/Under analysis
Despite Connecticut’s 27-13 regular season record, including a 14-6 mark on the road, the visitors are big underdogs in Game 1 against a New York side that’s 17-5 at Barclays Center this season, including the playoffs.
The 8-point line is mainly a product of that home dominance and the Liberty having had the Sun’s number this year, using their size and 3-point shooting to win all four meetings (and cover the spread in three of them).
Two of those contests were blowouts, including an 89-58 demolition on September 1 in which Connecticut shot just 33% from the field. With Jones and Stewart deterring drives into the paint, the Sun were often forced to turn to a Plan B of long jumpers.
If the visitors — who are 1-4 ATS in their last five games after a win — are going to pull off an upset this afternoon (and in the series as a whole), Alyssa Thomas will need to play at an MVP-level. That’s something the Connecticut forward has done consistently this year, except against the Liberty. She averaged just 11.5 points against New York this season.
Though the Liberty’s last four outings have all hit the Over, I see Game 1 being a little more defensive-minded. The Under is 8-2 in the Sun’s last 10 games against Eastern Conference opponents and 5-1 in the past six meetings between these teams in New York.
When it comes to the total, monitor the 3-point battle. The Liberty set a new WNBA record by knocking down 444 triples this season. To keep pace, Connecticut will need a big performance from bench spark Tyasha Harris, who hit 46% of her 3-pointers this year.
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Sun vs Liberty betting trend to know
Despite some big spreads over the past few weeks, the Liberty are 7-2 ATS in their last nine games. Find more WNBA betting trends for Sun vs. Liberty.
Sun vs Liberty Game 1 game info
|Location:||Barclays Center, Brooklyn, NY|
|Date:||Sunday, September 24, 2023|
|Tip-off:||1:00 p.m. ET|
Sun vs Liberty Game 1 key injuries
Sun: Bernadett Hatar C (Questionable), Brionna Jones F (Out).
Find our latest WNBA injury reports.
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