Three Wins Away: Phoenix Mercury Enter WNBA Finals As Favorites Against Chicago Sky

Written By C.J. Pierre on October 10, 2021

It all comes down to this. The Phoenix Mercury survived three win-or-go-home situations to make it to the WNBA Finals. The road to the championship round had some twists and turns, but in the end, Phoenix pulled it off.

Now the squad is only three wins away from a championship.

It won’t be easy. The fifth-seeded Mercury will be going up against a battle-tested No. 6 Chicago Sky team that also had to win scratch their way through the first two rounds before knocking off the No. 1-seeded Connecticut Sun. Meanwhile, Phoenix won a decisive Game 5 on the road Friday against the second-seeded Las Vegas Aces.

It’s a matchup that no one was expecting. You have the 5-seed Mercury going up against the 6-seed Sky. Both were heavy underdogs going into the semifinals and had long odds of even winning the championship. The Sky is the lowest-seeded team to make the Finals under the current playoff format, which has been in place since 2016. No team seeded lower than third had ever reached the Finals before.

But here we are, two teams led by all-time legends going head-to-head.

Arizona oddsmakers favor Mercury in best-of-five WNBA Finals

Across sports betting apps in Arizona, the hometown team is the favorite. Phoenix came into the postseason with the fifth-best odds to win the championship. Now, sportsbooks expect them to take home the title.

TeamDraftKings ArizonaBetMGM ArizonaCaesars SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook
Phoenix Mercury-130-135-145-135
Chicago Sky+110+115+125+115

Phoenix will have home-court advantage in this best-of-five series. The Mercury were 19-13 in the regular season, compared with the Sky’s record of 16-16. Their combined regular-season winning percentage of .547 represents the lowest combined win percentage in a WNBA Finals matchup in league history.

How we got here, players to watch

It was a thrilling first three rounds of the WNBA playoffs. The Mercury faced their fair share of drama. They were almost eliminated in the first round and needed a last-second free throw from Brianna Turner to beat the New York Liberty. Then, they escaped with an overtime win on the road over the Seattle Storm in the second round. And finally, they eked out a Game 5 win on the road to defeat the Aces 3-2.

While Diana Taurasi is the franchise for the Mercury, it is Brittney Griner that makes this engine go. She has been a matchup nightmare in these playoffs. During the postseason, she leads the Mercury in points per game (21), rebounds per game (9.7) and blocks per game (2).

For the Chicago Sky, all eyes are on the hometown hero Candace Parker. In the offseason, she returned to the city where she was a high school phenom because she wanted to bring the Sky their first title. Like Taurasi, she may not score loads of points, but her impact can be seen all over the court and her leadership and past Finals experience will be even more critical at this stage.

Phoenix Mercury enter Game 1 as AZ sports betting favorites

Seemingly for the first time in these WNBA playoffs, the Mercury head into a series with the backing of mobile betting apps in Arizona.

SportsbookMoneylinePoint spreadOver/under
DraftKings AZPhoenix Mercury -135
Chicago Sky +115
Phoenix Mercury -3166.5
BetMGM AZPhoenix Mercury -145
Chicago Sky +120
Phoenix Mercury -2.5167.5
FanDuel AZPhoenix Mercury -144
Chicago Sky +118
Phoenix Mercury -2.5166.5
WynnBet AZPhoenix Mercury -155
Chicago Sky +135
Phoenix Mercury -3167

While only a slim edge, Phoenix readies for Game 1 of the WNBA Finals as the team to beat. And potentially set the tone as the Mercury strive for the franchise’s fourth league championship.

(6) Chicago Sky at (5) Phoenix Mercury – Game 1
Date: Sunday, Oct. 10
Time: Noon MST
Location: Footprint Center – Phoenix, Arizona
TV Coverage: ABC

Photo by Dreamstime
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C.J. Pierre

CJ Pierre is a multimedia journalist currently residing in the Phoenix-Metro Area in Arizona. He has been covering news and sports for over a decade for both online and TV broadcasts. He was born and raised in Minneapolis and an alum of Minnesota State University: Moorhead. CJ has experience as a reporter and videographer and has covered high school, college and professional sports throughout his career. Most notably following Arizona Cardinals, Phoenix Suns, Minnesota Vikings and North Dakota State University football.

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