Shane Lambert looks at the WNBA and he likes the Phoenix Mercury to win at least 16 games this season.
The Phoenix Mercury haven't gotten off to all that hot of a start at all this season. Through 10 games they are just 4-6, however there is definitely a trend within that trend that is worth paying attention to. The Mercury are 4-2 in their last six games as they look to fade four straight losses to start the regular season.
The Mercury are a team that were among the pre-season favourites to win the WNBA title. It's always interesting from a betting point of view when a touted team, that starts off slow, starts to get things together over the longer term. Not all teams blossom quickly, even talented ones, and sometimes a team that is going to be a major contender kind of goes below the radar during a temporary slump. Phoenix might certainly be like that this season.
On Sunday, the Mercury defeated the Chicago Sky with Diana Taurasi and DeWanna Bonner leading the way for scoring. Next up the Mercury play the undefeated Los Angeles Sparks on Friday. That could be a tough one to win however after that the Mercury have a good patch of games to get back to .500 basketball with.
I don't really like Phoenix when it comes to the WNBA ante-post. Their best price is 8/1 with Betway on outrights and it doesn't appear to be a good time to take that line. The Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx could potentially make major headlines soon as they are both undefeated. The Lynx, for example, could set the record for most wins to start a season on Tuesday night. That kind of publicity might cause their odds to shorten with implications for the other teams being odds lengthening.
However, Ladbrokes have a pretty straight forward bet on Phoenix when it comes to total wins. The OVER/UNDER is set at 15.5 (5/6) for wins in the 34-game season. Currently Phoenix are 4-6 and needing to get to at least 16-18 on the year. Mathematically, their current winning rate would not suffice however if they can win 2 of 3 consistently, as they have been the last couple of weeks, then they would make it over the next 24 games.
Playing in the west, Phoenix are in the difficult conference and that means a tough strength of schedule. That's a fair reason to curb the size of your bet. However, I still think a firm 2-point recommendation is in order here to take the OVER line. I project Phoenix to go 19-15, which gives some margin for error. At any rate, I think all who are familiar with betting would have to agree that it's a little odd for a team to be 4th favourite to win the title outright and have their bar set so low for total wins on the season.
Something is definitely wonky about the WNBA markets right now and I think it's the Chicago Sky. They are the second favourites to win the title, despite being just 5-5 on the season so far - keeping in mind that 10 games is a huge volume in the WNBA's short season. You could take the UNDER on them for wins this season at 19.5 (5/6), but that line looks close to me. I feel more comfortable with Phoenix on the OVER right now.
2-pt bet on Phoenix to win at least 16 games in the WNBA regular season at 5/6 with Ladbrokes