The Los Angeles Sparks and Phoenix Mercury, two of the teams looking to emerge from the shadow of the powerhouse Las Vegas Aces in the West, collide tonight in a Commissioner’s Cup matchup.
Frankly, after back-to-back losses to the Aces last week, a different opponent should be a welcome sight for the Sparks. They’re 1-2 this season, with that one victory coming against Phoenix at Crypto.com Arena on May 19.
The Mercury are still finding their rhythm after Brittney Griner’s long-awaited return, but are coming off a solid 90-81 win over the Minnesota Lynx last Thursday, powered by 23 points and 10 assists from Diana Taurasi.
Check out my best WNBA picks and predictions for Sparks vs Mercury on June 2.
Sparks vs Mercury best odds
Sparks vs Mercury picks and predictions
The Mercury have their sights set on giving three-time champ Taurasi one last playoff run, and there were some encouraging signs in Phoenix’s hot-shooting win over Minnesota last time out as they poured in 13 triples and finished with five double-digit scorers. I expect that to continue tonight.
When these teams met two weeks ago, we got 165 total points in a 94-71 blowout win for L.A., even with both teams shooting 40% that night and the Mercury going 6-for-20 from deep, including 1-for-9 from Taurasi.
I see a slicker offensive game tonight, as Phoenix looks to build on hitting just under 50% of its shots against the Lynx. Sug Sutton (14 points, three assists) made a big impact off the bench against Minnesota, while Taurasi and Griner combined for 42 points.
The trends support the Over too, particularly on Fridays where it’s hit in the Mercury’s last seven games and the Sparks’ last six. It’s also 4-1 in the past five meetings between these teams in Phoenix.
Griner’s efficiency is another reason to like the Over tonight. She’s shooting 74% from the field and almost 90% from the free-throw line. If anything, I’m watching for her field goal attempts to climb here — Griner has taken fewer than 10 shots in two of the Mercury’s three games so far, and this feels like a game where the hosts will need their center to be aggressive in the paint.
It’s tough to read too much into the Sparks’ defense after running into the Las Vegas buzzsaw, but L.A. allowed 90+ points in both defeats to the Aces. At the other end of the floor, the visitors have four players averaging 10 or more points, and I think they’ll knock down enough shots to cash in the Over.
My best bet: Over 162.5 Points (-118 at 888)
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Sparks vs Mercury spread and Over/Under analysis
These teams look pretty evenly-matched based on the small sample size so far this season, and that’s backed up by a spread that makes the Mercury the slightest of favorites at Footprint Center tonight.
L.A. used a second-quarter surge to pull away from Phoenix in their prior meeting, with big outings from both Nneka and Chiney Ogwumike. They also limited Griner to six rebounds that night — and their ability to keep her off the boards again here could swing the outcome. After Taurasi missed 11 of her 15 shots against the Sparks that night, I expect a bounce-back performance here.
Illness has hit L.A. hard this week, leaving Chiney, Layshia Clarendon, and Jordin Canada questionable for tonight, and that won’t help the chances of an upswing for the visitors’ mark of 1-5 ATS in their past six outings after an ATS loss.
While Phoenix has covered the spread in four of the last five contests on their home floor, L.A. has won six of the last 10 meetings overall. Keep in mind that the home side has picked up the W in eight of the past nine matchups between these teams.
I’ve already made the case for the Over tonight. It’s 5-1 in the Sparks’ last six games overall and has been a winning ticket in their last seven games when playing on three or more days’ rest.
The visitors gave the Aces their best shot in the first of their two May matchups, even grabbing a 10-point half-time lead in a game that served up 179 total points, but it was a different story on Saturday as the Sparks fell into a 59-28 first-half hole and finished with 65 points on 37% shooting.
Sparks vs Mercury betting trend to know
The Mercury have been happy to trade buckets against their rivals in the West. Dating back to last season, the Over is 8-1 in Phoenix’s last nine games against Western Conference opponents. Find more WNBA betting trends for Sparks vs. Mercury.
Sparks vs Mercury game info
|Location:||Footprint Center, Phoenix, AZ|
|Date:||Friday, June 2, 2023|
|Tip-off:||10:00 p.m. ET|
Sparks vs Mercury key injuries
Sparks: Chiney Ogwumike F (Questionable), Layshia Clarendon G (Questionable), Jordin Canada G (Questionable), Azura Stevens F (Out), Jasmine Thomas G (Out).
Mercury: Skylar Diggins-Smith G (Out), Shey Peddy G (Out).
Find our latest WNBA injury reports.