by Charles Jay
The Western Conference of the WNBA is strong, and three of the teams that will be fighting it out for a chance to go to the championship round will be active as Thursday’s WNBA betting action gets underway. In the Hoosier State, the Indiana Fever plays host to the San Antonio Silver Stars, while the team San Antonio recently dispatched, the Minnesota Lynx, visits the Los Angeles Sparks for a matinee in Tinseltown.
The Lynx, favored to win the league title, is the road favorite in L.A.:
Minnesota Lynx (13-2 SU, 8-7 ATS) at Los Angeles Sparks (10-6 SU, 7-8-1 ATS)
Thursday, July 5 – 3:05 PM ET
Staples Center – Los Angeles
Minnesota Lynx -6.5
Los Angeles Sparks +6.5
Over 164.5 Points -110
Under 164.5 Points -110
The Lynx-Sparks game is a showdown of sorts, with one of these two teams a strong possibility to wind up in the WNBA Finals. Right now the smart money would have to be on Minnesota, which is listed as the -125 favorite to win the league title in the WNBA betting odds at BetAnySports.com.
The Lynx won their first ten games before being upended by a resurgent Seattle crew, and on Sunday they fell at the hands of San Antonio.
On May 24 they met up with the Sparks, and in a game where both teams were able to hit the mark with great accuracy (Minnesota shot 53.1%, Los Angeles 49.2%), the Lynx came outscored Los Angeles 26-14 in the fourth quarter to secure a 92-84 win. Seimone Augustus was scintillating, with 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting, and Minnesota held a 44-36 advantage in points acquired in the paint.
Los Angeles coach Carol Ross has tried to stress defense, and indeed it seems to have improved over that of last season’s club that failed to make it to the playoffs, but the Sparks are still in the lower half of the league, allowing foes to convert on 43.6% of their field goal attempts. They’ve lost three games in a row, but the bright spot is that they are 6-1 straight-up at home.
Coach Cheryl Reeve was upset with her Minnesota team’s defensive effort in San Antonio, as the Lynx is the only team yielding less than 40% from the floor. The Silver Stars, however, made 13 of 25 shots from beyond the arc, and that is a sizzling percentage for a team that was hitting a little less than 37% for the season.
Those same Silver Stars hit the road on Thursday as they will visit the Indiana Fever, and Dan Hughes’ team is a hot squad, having won six of its last seven and looking to threaten the Lynx and Sparks in the Western Conference. In fact, San Antonio is only a half-game behind the second-place Sparks, and has posted three wins over Los Angeles.
Indiana, however, is laying some points at home:
San Antonio Silver Stars (8-5 SU, 10-3 ATS) at Indiana Fever (8-5 SU & ATS)
Thursday, July 5 – 7:05 PM ET
Banker’s Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis
Indiana Fever -7.5
San Antonio Silver Stars +7.5
Over 154.5 Points -110
Under 154.5 Points -110
If the Silver Stars were to come away with a victory, it would be the franchise’s longest winning streak (five) in almost a four-year period. This won’t be easy, though; Indiana came out of the blocks quickly, winning its first four games, then slowed down, and may be picking up momentum once again, with three wins in the last four. Last time out, the Fever got a season-high of 18 points from Shavonte Zellous and beat Chicago the day after losing in Atlanta. Indiana is just a game and a half behind Connecticut, and if they’ve got an edge in their favor, it’s that they have so far played fewer home games (five) than any other WNBA team.
The Silver Stars were red-hot from the outset against Minnesota, making their first nine shots en route to taking a 35-21 first-quarter lead against the first place team in the West. After beating the Lynx, they got ice cold from the arc, hitting just five of 30 against Phoenix, and had to rely on burly (240-pound) center Danielle Adams’ season-high 24 points off the bench to edge past the Mercury just a couple of nights ago.
These teams have not met as of yet during the regular schedule, but they played twice in the pre-season, with Indiana winning both meetings.
Indiana is a favorite in the BetAnySports.com money line on this game, priced at -295 (San Antonio is +248 on the takeback).
It’s hard to tell who has the true scheduling advantage here, because you can look at it either way. San Antonio, as mentioned, just played on Tuesday night, and they have had to make this road journey. Meanwhile, Indiana, after playing back-to-back games on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week, has not played since. They’re rested, for sure, but are they rusty?
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