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Diana Taurasi
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

WNBA Finals Best Bets: Game 4

by Johnathan Wright
Updated On: October 17, 2021, 11:37 am ET

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The Chicago Sky are one win away from their first-ever WNBA championship, and they have all the momentum heading into Game 4. They flat out embarrassed the Phoenix Mercury in Game 3 with an 86-50 victory in Chicago. It was the largest margin of victory in WNBA Finals history.

Game 4 will stay in Chicago, but the Sportsbooks are not expecting another blowout. PointsBet lists the Sky as a 4.5-point home favorite, with the total set at 164.5. The match will tip-off at 3:00 pm ET. 

PHOENIX MERCURY VS. CHICAGO SKY ODDS

The storyline coming into the finals revolved around which All-Stars among Diana TaurasiBrittney GrinerSkylar Diggins-SmithCandace ParkerCourtney Vandersloot, and Kahleah Copper would win their positional matchups.

After three games, Kahleah Copper is the clear answer to that question. Throughout the first three games of the Finals, Copper is averaging 19.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. Her shooting percentages are 54.1% from the field, 57.1% from 3-point land, and a perfect 100% from the free-throw line. 

Copper has a quick first step that allows her to blow by defenders and attack the rim. She also improved her ability to shoot from the perimeter, making her a nightmare for any defender to guard. It is a risk to double team Copper because that leaves more space for the other stars on Chicago, such as Candace Parker and Courtney Vandersloot.

However, a championship cannot be won solely with offense, and Sky head coach James Wade has been able to get that across to the team. Chicago has been just as good on defense as they have been on offense. They are giving up just 72.7 points per game to the Mercury and have held them to a shooting percentage of 38.5%. 

Despite facing elimination today and being blown out in the last game, the Phoenix Mercury do not feel inferior against the Chicago Sky and believe they can still win this series. 

Diana Taurasi had this to say on Saturday in preparation for today's game: "The playoffs are ebbs and flows. It's about energy and momentum. I always say none of that carries over to the next game. You think it does, but it doesn't. Each game is its own entity. Tomorrow we have to create our own energy and style of play that's going to help us win," via azcentral

The only person who has played their own style in the first three games of this series for the Mercury is Brittney Griner. She is leading the Finals in points, averaging 21.7 per game on 51% shooting. If Phoenix is to create their own energy and force a Game 5, they will need better production out of their other two stars, Diana Taurasi and Skylar Diggins-Smith. 

Aside from Taurasi's overtime performance in Game 2, she has struggled for someone who was just recognized as the GOAT. So far in the series, she is averaging 14 points, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.0 assist on 36.1% shooting. Meanwhile, Diggins has also failed to impact the Finals in the way she is capable of. She's averaging 11.7 points, 6.3 assists, 4.3 rebounds on 33.3% shooting.

On the defensive end of the ball, Phoenix is giving up 87.7 points per game and allowing the Sky to knock down 49.5% of their shot attempts. 

FINAL GAME 4 PREDICTION AND PICK

I believe the Sky will close out the series today and claim their first WNBA title, but I am staying off the spread for my best bet, as the Sportsbooks have it set at a fair number. However, there is value on the individual Totals for this game, specifically, the Phoenix Mercury team Total at Over/Under 80 points. 

After the Mercury's 50-point performance in Game 3, Diana Taurasi said, "We'll be better than 50. You can take that to Vegas" via ESPN. I agree they will be better than 50, but I do not believe they will be better than 80. 

The Mercury have scored over 80 points just once in this series, which was in Game 2. That said, Game 2 went into Overtime, and they only scored 79 points through four quarters. 

Edge: Phoenix Mercury Under 80 (-105)

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Johnathan Wright

Johnathan Wright is a betting content creator for NBC Sports EDGE. He is currently pursuing a master's degree in Sport Analytics and also writes for ClutchPoints and FanSided. You can follow him on Twitter for more insight @JwrightOfficial.