After an off-day on Monday, an exciting week of WNBA action begins with two matchups on Tuesday, June 7. At 8:00 PM ET, the New York Liberty will host the Minnesota Lynx, followed by a 10:00 PM ET battle in Seattle between the Storm and the Atlanta Dream. I wrote about both games on the slate for tonight, with my best bet against the spread and a moneyline parlay on two home favorites.
New York Liberty vs. Minnesota Lynx
While some might be surprised to see the Liberty as favorites despite the team losing to Minnesota at home only two days ago, I think New York will bounce back in tonight's rematch.
Minnesota led by as much as 19 after a dominant third quarter on Sunday but the Liberty clawed back in the game in the fourth and lost by single-digits despite shooting just 4-30 (13.3%) from beyond the arc. The Lynx knocked down more than half of the team's 13 three-point attempts and several Liberty starters struggled with foul trouble heading into Minnesota's big run.
Natasha Howard and Sabrina Ionescu each averaged more than 20 points in the first two games against Minnesota despite shooting under 30% from beyond the arc, and I expect another big game from New York's stars tonight. Ionescu is on pace for a career-low 2.9 turnovers per game and has played better since the Liberty added Crystal Dangerfield.
Dangerfield, the 2020 WNBA Rookie of the Year, was cut by Minnesota prior to this season and signed with New York after a brief stint with the Fever. Dangerfield had at least 2 assists in each game since joining the Liberty and New York outscored opponents in 101 minutes when Dangerfield shared the court with Ionescu.
The Lynx rank near the bottom of the league in both offensive and defensive rating this season while averaging the second-fewest made threes per game. If New York can improve from beyond the arc, I expect a different result from the previous two matchups and feel confident the Liberty can get a win. I'd take this spread for one unit up to -2.5 for New York.
EDGE: New York Liberty -1.5 (1 Unit)
Seattle Storm vs. Atlanta Dream
The second matchup on tonight's slate features the Seattle Storm attempting to avoid a three-game losing streak. The Storm lost the team's most recent game but there were some encouraging signs in Sunday's loss as Sue Bird and Ezi Magbegor entered the lineup after missing the last three games.
Bird set season highs with 15 points and five made threes in her return from the health and safety protocols on Sunday, while Magbegor is on pace to shatter her previous career-highs. If Bird’s shot begins to fall, the Storm could vault back into the realm of contenders as the future Hall-of-Famer ranked in the 98th percentile among all players on catch-and-shoot jumpers last year but made just 31.1% of her shots from the field in her first seven games of this season.
The team added another key piece earlier in the weekend as Mercedes Russell made her season debut on Friday. While Russell only averaged 11.5 minutes in her first two games of the year, the former starter should settle back into a critical role with the team as she recovers from injury.
The reason I'm staying off this spread is the rebounding battle, which could give the Dream an advantage in this game. No team allowed fewer opponent second-chance points or points in the paint than Atlanta so far this year and the Storm struggled to limit teams on the glass this season. While Russell and Magbegor should help in that area, I'm hesitant to pick against the team with the league's second-highest rebounding rate when the Storm looked so vulnerable against bigger opponents.
Even with my projections showing minimal value on the spread, I do still expect Seattle to win this matchup as the Storm emerged victorious in the team's last six games against Atlanta. The Dream also turned the ball over more than any team in the league, which should lead to plenty of transition chances for the Storm. Seattle averaged the second-most points off turnovers and third-most fast-break points while allowing the fewest opponent points off turnovers this season.
It's not an official play from me but I took a parlay of Seattle and New York to win at odds of +145. Good luck with your bets, and enjoy the WNBA action tonight.