The Phoenix Mercury are no strangers to thrilling playoff games.
That was apparent Wednesday night at the Footprint Center in a critical Game 2 against the Chicago Sky in the WNBA Finals.
After being down in the fourth quarter, Phoenix rallied to take the lead, only to surrender that advantage as the Sky forced overtime. The Mercury’s “Big 3” took over in the extra period to give the Mercury a 91-86 win and even the championship series at one game apiece.
Now the series shifts to Chicago. A seesaw battle for the championship is taking place on the court. Meanwhile, Arizona oddsmakers now view this matchup as a virtual toss-up.
WNBA Finals Game 3 betting odds: Mercury slight underdogs on road
With the series tied at one game apiece, the winner of Game 3 will put themselves in prime position to take home the championship. In that regard, Arizona sports betting apps are giving the Sky a slight edge.
|DraftKings AZ||Phoenix Mercury +135|
Chicago Sky -155
|Phoenix Mercury +3||167|
|FanDuel AZ||Phoenix Mercury +128|
Chicago Sky -158
|Phoenix Mercury +3.5||166.5|
|WynnBet AZ||Phoenix Mercury +130|
Chicago Sky -150
|Phoenix Mercury +2.5||167|
The Mercury’s Game 2 victory shifted the odds on who will win the championship. According to DraftKings Arizona, Phoenix is now +105 to win the title, compared with Chicago, which is still favored to win the series at -125. Oddsmakers believe the Sky have a better shot to close out the series, especially with two games in their home building coming up.
To be honest, sportsbooks don’t always have the best read on WNBA games. So while many consider the Sky favorites at home, the stats show something that should have bettors liking the Mercury’s chances.
On the road again: Mercury shine away from home
“Road warriors” may be the perfect term for this season’s Mercury squad. During the regular season, the team went 12-4 in road games. Not to mention that in the early portion during this Finals run, they played their home games away from the Footprint Center due to scheduling conflicts.
A concert pushed the team’s first-round game against the New York Liberty to Grand Canyon University Arena, while a Disney On Ice show moved Game 3 of the semifinals to Arizona State University’s Desert Financial Arena.
They’ve also won several big games outside of Arizona. Phoenix went to Seattle and knocked off the Storm in a single-elimination second-round matchup. The Mercury also won two games on the road in the semifinals against the Las Vegas Aces, including in the decisive Game 5.
Meanwhile, Chicago does not play their best basketball in front of their home fans. The Sky went 6-10 at home during the regular season. That said, it is important to note that Chicago’s star player Candace Parker did not play in six of those home losses.
Brittney Griner making early case for WNBA Finals MVP
Phoenix came through in the clutch to even the best-of-five championship series. No one played bigger than the Mercury’s Brittney Griner.
She was the best player on the floor all game long. She scored the first 10 points for Phoenix, including two on the first dunk in WNBA Finals history. Griner finished the night by tying a playoff career-high with 29 points. She’s gone over 20 points in both Finals games so far, and it doesn’t appear that the Sky have any means of slowing her down.
The other two members of Phoenix’s “Big 3” played big when it mattered most. Franchise player Diana Taurasi hit two big 3-point shots in overtime, including one that resulted in a four-point play. Skylar Diggins-Smith put the game away with a sweet crossover and drive to the basket for a layup.
These two teams have proved that they are better than their low seeds and are evenly matched. Game 3 should be a fun show.