​WNBA Betting Guide: 8/31/21

The WNBA season is winding down, but that doesn’t mean you have to wrap up watching or betting on the games just yet. Playoff races are heating back up, and the teams at the top are jostling for seeding position as the W rushes to the finish line.

That only means we have to get smarter and sharper as we look at the betting lines offered on FanDuel Sportsbook. Which games on Tuesday should you look to wager on?

Los Angeles Sparks (-176) at Indiana Fever (+142)

Spread: Sparks -3.5
Total: 151.5

On a three-game skid, the Los Angeles Sparks are fighting to maintain a playoff berth. Unfortunately for them, while other competitors have gotten healthier, the Sparks are down two of their most crucial players – guards Kristi Toliver (hand, out for Tuesday) and Chiney Ogwumike (knee, questionable). Without the second Ogwumike sister in the lineup, L.A. has played about 4% less efficient on offense and about 8% worse on defense while running about 1.3 fewer possessions per game. Toliver’s removal also sees a five-point drop by Offensive Rating and only a small uptick in pace.

The Indiana Fever, despite clearly playing with one of the most mismatched roster constructions in the league this year, are finally starting to hit a groove in the home stretch. They’ve won four of their last seven games, including one win against the Eastern Conference’s top seeded Connecticut Sun and a narrow loss to the Phoenix Mercury.

The Sparks have gone 4-4 against the spread (ATS) as a favorite this year, but the under has hit in six of those games (average game total of 149). The Fever have gone 6-4 ATS as home underdogs in 2021 but are just 3-3 ATS in games where they are spotted five or fewer points. In their 10 games as home ‘dogs, however, the under has hit seven times (average game total of 155.5).

This total is lower than the Fever’s average, but they have played with better defense of late. If both the Sparks’ banged-up guards are out, this is a good chance to hit the under -- but it’s dropping fast.

Connecticut Sun (-470) at Washington Mystics (+340)

Spread: Sun -8.5
Total: 151.5

The Connecticut Sun are smothering their way to a top playoff berth in the East on an eight-game win streak where they have scored 84 points or fewer each night but limited opponents to an average of under 64 points. With the presumptive MVP in Jonquel Jones and the likely MIP in Brionna Jones, the Sun play slow, ball-control basketball that prefers to constrict an opponent rather than race them. Due to this, it’s no surprise that they have hit the under seven times in their last 10 games.

The Washington Mystics had a flash of playoff hope with the return of former two-time MVP forward Elena Delle Donne (questionable), but EDD left their last game with an undisclosed injury. The Mystics were able to fight back to take the win and the cover, but the Dallas Wings are no Connecticut. Center Tina Charles (glutes, out) remains out indefinitely, as well, which means the Mystics are without their two best bigs -- yet needing to contend with the Sun at their own game.

Washington is 5-3 ATS as a home underdog this year and 6-3 overall when spotted five points or more. They also happen to be on a run of five straight unders (average game total of 152) and seven in their last 10 games. As an away favorite, Connecticut has hit the under five times in seven games with an average game total of 147 points.

I’m comfortable taking the under here, especially if we receive confirmation that Delle Donne will sit this game out. If this total drops below 150, though, this game is one to avoid.

New York Liberty (+350) at Minnesota Lynx (-480)

Spread: Lynx -9.5
Total: 164.5

Coming off three days of rest each, the New York Liberty travel to the Minnesota Lynx for this contest. While it is projected to be high scoring, the Lynx are directly in competition for one of the top playoff seeds, while the Liberty rest on the postseason fringe and are more playing for dignity at this point.

Guard Sami Whitcomb (ankle, out) got injured last week, and New York is clearly suffering for it offensively. Over their last two games without her, the Libs have put up 79 and 64 points to the Phoenix Mercury -- not a defensive-focused team -- and when Whitcomb isn’t on the floor, N.Y. has an 85.6 Offensive Rating (101.5 with her). The Liberty are 5-6 ATS as road ‘dogs this season, and 6-10 ATS when getting five points or more on the spread. That said, they fight; the over has hit seven of 11 times in New York away games when they are not favored.

The Lynx are rolling right now, winning eight of their last 10, with their only losses coming in a back-to-back visit to Connecticut. As far as the markets go, though, they’re not so dominant. As home favorites this season, Minnesota is just 4-3 ATS while hitting the over just four of seven times in those games, as well. Even when we look at games where they are favored by five or more points, the Lynx are just 3-2 both ATS and on overs.

With Whitcomb out, I would lean towards taking the under here -- especially since this game opened at 162.5 and has already risen two points -- but the sides don’t have much juice left in them.