A trip to the WNBA Finals is on the line when the Chicago Sky host the Connecticut Sun for a deciding Game 5 tonight at 8:00 PM EST. The Sun dodged elimination earlier this week with a convincing home victory but the PointsBet Sportsbook lists Connecticut as four-point underdogs as the series shifts back to Chicago. I looked at the spread and prop markets to find value on this postseason matchup.
If you followed my advice in the series preview, you should have a +350 ticket on the Sky to win the series in five games. I wouldn't be opposed to hedging with Connecticut's moneyline if you want to lock in some profit, but I expect the reigning champions to win at home.
Chicago is on a four-game winning streak when facing elimination, a stretch that includes two wins in last year's playoffs and two victories over the New York Liberty to avoid elimination in the 2022 first round.
The Sky led the league with a 28.0 net rating in the clutch this season so I expect the favorites to win if the game is tight down the stretch. Tonight's matchup should see a reduction in the team's series-high turnover total from Game 4, which was uncharacteristic of a team that led the league in assist rate during this year's regular season and postseason.
I'm staying off the spread since I expect a tight game, but I'll be targeting Chicago for a live moneyline bet if Connecticut jumps out to an early lead. If you can get the Sky at a moneyline price of -110 or better, I'd back the favorites to advance to a second consecutive WNBA Finals.
Parker leads all players in scoring this series with 17 points per game and she averaged more than 20 points in four regular-season matchups with Connecticut. I expect the future Hall-of-Famer to play plenty of minutes with a WNBA Finals berth at stake so I'm confident in taking the over on Parker's points prop.
CP3 is one of the greatest playoff players in WNBA history due to the way she elevates her game in the postseason and adds new wrinkles to her game each year. Parker posted up on 16.9% of her offensive possessions during the regular season and ranked in the 66th percentile with 1.03 PPP on post-ups. So far this postseason, Parker posted up on more than 20.4% of her possessions with a stellar 1.17 PPP that grades in the 100th percentile according to Synergy.
Connecticut ranked among the W's bottom three defenses in defensive efficiency (0.98 PPP)against post-up plays and that's been an even bigger weakness in the postseason as opponents averaged a league-high 1.06 PPP on post-ups against the Sun.
Parker knows when her team needs her to step up and is at her best when it matters most. I expect CP3 to maximize her advantage posting up and pace Chicago in scoring again tonight.
EDGE: Candace Parker Over 16.5 Points -104 (FanDuel)
The 2021 Finals MVP is among the most dynamic transition scorers in the game, as she ranks atop all players in transition points per game and transition efficiency (min. 10 total possessions) this postseason. Fast breaks have been the first-time All-Star's bread and butter all year. Copper scored 24% of her points in transition in the regular season, which led all WNBA players with at least 10 starts.
While Copper should play a key role in keeping up with the Aces offense if the Sky win this game, Connecticut poses a far more difficult matchup for Copper on the defensive end. Opponents averaged the second-fewest fast-break points against the Sun during the regular season and Connecticut ranks second in fast-break defense so far this postseason.
WNBA teams scored just 9.1 fast-break points per game this postseason, which is down from the league average of 10.3 during the regular season. Postseason basketball generally results in a heightened focus on half-court offense as elite defenses lock down transition opportunities. Chicago averaged 19.3 fast-break points against the Liberty as Copper dominated the first-round series, but Connecticut limited the Sky to just 7.8 fast-break points per game so far in the semifinals.
The Sun grabbed 30.8% of the available offensive rebounds so far this series, which is nearly double Chicago's postseason-worst 16% offensive rebound rate. After being demolished 15-1 in second-chance points during Game 4, I expect the Sky to focus on keeping Connecticut off the offensive glass rather than running in transition.
That could lead to a quiet game for Copper, who averaged just 13.5 points in Chicago's two wins this series. I'm willing to lay the -132 price on Copper to go under her points total, especially considering the same prop is listed at -138 on FanDuel.
EDGE: Kahleah Copper Under 16.5 Points -132 (BetRivers)