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Wolf's Wagers

WNBA Best Bets: Game Preview and Spread Picks for Friday, May 20

by Jake Wolf
Updated On: May 20, 2022, 12:43 pm ET

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My WNBA picks went 9-8 so far this season for a profit of four units, with my multi-unit plays currently at 6-4 and up five units. I have another two-unit play tonight, and even after some line movement in my direction I still like the Sparks to cover the current spread.

Los Angeles Sparks at Seattle Storm

The Sparks allowed the third-lowest opponent efficiency in the half-court, compared to a below-average ranking in transition defense. Luckily for L.A., no team averaged fewer fast-break points per game than the Storm so far this season and the Sparks have an extra day of rest after Seattle played against the Sky on Wednesday.

Seattle has also been among the worst rebounding teams to start the year, with a bottom-two rebounding rate. That should give L.A. an advantage on the boards and in the paint against a team that averaged the second-fewest points in the paint this year while allowing the second-highest opposing PITP average on the season.

L.A. has a size advantage with Liz Cambage at center against a Storm squad missing center Mercedes Russell, an underrated post defender. While Ezi Magbegor stepped in for Russell and performed well so far this season, she's listed five inches shorter than Cambage, her former teammate with the Australia Women's National Team.

Seattle leads the league in blocked shots, but the team’s defense is around league-average in terms of opponent efficiency at the rim, an area where the Sparks limited opponents to the second-lowest accuracy according to PBP Stats

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Look for a big game from Jordin Canada, the starting point guard for L.A. who spent the first four years of her career with Seattle before signing with the Sparks this offseason. Canada's partner in the L.A. backcourt, Brittney Sykes, is off to a good start in the Defensive Player of the Year race with a whopping 3.4 steals per game and Sykes should be able to disrupt Seattle's offense in this game.

While the Sparks went 1-3 straight up against Seattle last season, L.A. covered the spread in all four matchups and went 7-3 ATS in the last ten games against Seattle. The Storm also went just 7-16 ATS last season when favored by at least five points and Seattle finished the year with a league-worst record of 11-21 against the spread.

According to Covers.com, Seattle also went just 3-13 ATS in the previous 16 games as favorites and failed to cover any of the last five games following an ATS win. While I don't expect the Sparks to win this game outright, I think the spread is inflated as a result of L.A.'s current 0-3 stretch both straight up and against the spread.

I took the Sparks when the line opened at +8.5 last night and even with the current line down to +7, I'd take L.A. to cover for two units. 

EDGE: Los Angeles Sparks +8.5 (2 Units)

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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.