Let’s break down tonight’s matchup.
Washington Mystics vs. Los Angeles Sparks
Tuesday, July 12, 2022 – 10:30 PM EDT at Crypto.com Arena
The WNBA All-Star Break isn’t that long and while I don’t think rust will play a huge factor in this game, it may come into rear its ugly head earlier in the game rather than later. For the favored Mystics, this is the time of their schedule they have to take advantage of.
With 12 games remaining in their regular season, the Mystics open a stretch tonight where they play five straight games against teams that currently rank seventh or worse in the standings.
Mystics Playing for Playoff Seeding
While the Mystics likely won’t catch up to the first or second spot to secure a bye, this stretch of schedule will go a long way in determining their playoff seeding.
Washington is probably looking ahead at eight of their final 12 games being against lower-tiered teams as their chance to stay on the heels of the league’s top four teams.
Sparks Fighting for Playoff Contention
For LA, the goal is just to stay in playoff contention. The Sparks are 10-12 SU and tied for 6th in the playoff standings this season with two other teams.
Since firing Derek Fisher, things have started to turn around for this team. They have won four of five and five of their last eight games SU and during that stretch, their offense has looked much better than it did under Fisher.
The problem for this team continues on the other side of the ball though. The Sparks’ defense has been exploitable all season and it hasn’t gotten any better over the last month.
Mystics vs. Sparks Betting Analysis
It’s precisely the defense the area we will want to exploit tonight as well. While I’m worried about rust a little, I’m more concerned about it affecting an already bad LA defense. I feel like a broken record every time I talk about the Sparks this season but a key in betting their games has been to fade them in the first half.
Overall this season, the Sparks have a net rating of -10.9 points per 100 possessions in first halves and it’s because they have allowed 108.1 points per 100 possessions in the first 20 minutes.
Recipe for a Play on the Mystics
Against a team like the Mystics that thrive in slowing and grinding down fast paced offenses; it’s a recipe for a first-half play on the Mystics.
Washington owns the league’s second-best first half defense this season, allowing 91.1 points per 100 possessions. Most of that has come at home, but they are still second on the road in first half defense as well.
The Sharp Pick
I expect some rust from both sides and with the Sparks mostly healthy and at home, it won’t be easy. However, the Mystics’ offense is good and diverse enough to really cause the Sparks some problems early in this game, especially after the break.
Chennedy Carter is still out for LA, but Chiney Ogwumike, Brittney Sykes and Kristi Toliver will all be back tonight for the Sparks.
That could cause some defensive breakdowns early in the game as those three get reacclimated into the rotation. This favors the Mystics for our WNBA picks tonight.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.