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Kahleah Copper
Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports
Odds and Ends

Wolf Wagers: WNBA Finals Game 2 Best Bets for Sky vs. Mercury

by Jake Wolf
Updated On: October 16, 2021, 10:50 am ET

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Game 2 of the WNBA Finals is tonight with the Phoenix Mercury hosting the Chicago Sky as four-point favorites with a game total of 168.5 at PointsBet Sportsbook. Chicago has a 1-0 lead in this best-of-five series, and tonight's game will tip off at 9:00 pm ET.

Game 1 was a blowout victory for Chicago, but Game 2 should be a closer battle. Phoenix was dealing with fatigue issues after a short turnaround from Game 5 of the semifinals and should be fully rested three days after Game 1. Chicago accentuated this fatigue by pushing the pace in Game 1, which was effective against a Mercury team that played at the second-slowest pace in the regular season.

The Mercury roster will be near full strength with Sophie Cunningham expected to return from injury. Cunningham only averaged five points per game in her injury-shortened series against the Aces, but she exploded in the first round for 22 points in a single-elimination win over the Liberty.

Cunningham will need to do a better job defending Kahleah Copper because the Mercury had no answer for Chicago's All-Star in Game 1, especially with key wing defender Kia Nurse sidelined. After making her first All-Star appearance this season and leading the team in scoring, she picked up right where she left off this postseason and earned a double-double in Game 1. Copper should be the frontrunner for Finals MVP at this point and I'm not sure Phoenix can slow her down.

The Mercury are known for being a strong defensive rebounding team, with the third-most defensive boards per game during the regular season, but they couldn't keep Copper and the Sky off the offensive glass on Sunday. Copper grabbed five offensive rebounds and matched the Mercury's total of seven second-chance points by herself in Game 1, including this strong putback-and-one.

Candace Parker had a strong all-around game on Sunday, even taking some charges, and she paced the Sky in rebounding during this postseason. Parker is the leader of a strong Chicago frontcourt that led the league in percentage of points scored in the paint. Other members of the frontcourt stepped up in Game 1, as Azura Stevens and Stefanie Dolson each scored in double figures and showcased their abilities as stretch bigs.

Whether or not the three-balls are falling will make the difference for both teams in this matchup. Both sides ranked in the top half of the league in threes made per game this regular season. The Mercury shot 80% from beyond the arc in the first quarter, building a five-point lead, but they only hit 25% the rest of Game 1 as Chicago outscored Phoenix by 19 in the final three quarters.

For the Sky, the "VanderQuigs" backcourt pair will need to continue their strong play in Game 2. Allie Quigley has averaged the second-most points per game on the Sky so far in the playoffs and connected on 35.3% of her attempts from beyond the arc. Her wife, Courtney Vandersloot, earned her third double-digit assist game of the last five outings and averaged 13.7 points, nine assists and 5.6 rebounds this postseason.

I think a rested Mercury team should bounce back to win this game, but four points is too much value for the Sky, especially coming off such an impressive showing in Game 1. Chicago is a strong road team, and two of the three regular season matchups between these teams were decided by three points or less. I'm taking the points with the Sky for Game 2.

EDGE: Chicago Sky +4

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Jake Wolf

Jake Wolf is covering basketball for NBC Sports Edge and has worked for FNTSY Sports Network and YES Network. Follow him on Twitter @jakewolf13 for betting content and basketball analysis.