Greetings and salutations basketball fans. Welcome back to our coverage of the WNBA playoffs.
One of the games on Friday’s slate features the No. 2 New York Liberty taking on No. 3 seed Connecticut Sun. Here is a look at which team has the edge going into this pivotal Game 3 and why.
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- When: Friday, September 29, 2023 at 7:30 PM ET
- Where: Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, CT
- TV: ESPN2
New York Liberty vs. Connecticut Sun – Season Recap and Betting Trends
The New York Liberty swept the season series between these teams 4-0. But that dominance was not on display in the series opener as Connecticut came away with an impressive 78-63 victory. This 63-point effort was a season-low for New York. Not only that but the Liberty shot just 33.8 percent shooting from the floor and 29.6 percent from the 3-point line.
With their season on the line, New York knew it would need a better effort to avoid going back to Connecticut in a 0-2 hole. The Liberty led 59-57 through three quarters. But thanks to a 13-5 run to start the final frame, New York managed to hold on for an 84-77 victory, tying this WNBA semifinal series at one game apiece. Sabrina Ionescu led the Liberty with 21 points, five steals, and two rebounds.
Betnijah Laney chipped in with 20 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Courtney Vandersloot added 19 points, three rebounds, and four assists. Breanna Stewart – who recently won the league’s MVP award for the second time in her career – finished with a double-double that included 11 points, 11 boards, five assists, five blocks, and two steals. It will be interesting to see if the league MVP can get back on track in Game 3.
The New York Liberty opened as a consensus 5.5-point favorite in this contest. The line has moved to (-4). Let’s look at the trends that support why going with the home team to cover is a smart bet.
- New York is 2-5 ATS in their last seven games against teams with a winning record.
- The Liberty are 2-7 ATS in the last nine instances they played on two days of rest.
- New York is just 1-5 ATS in their last six games overall, and 2-5 ATS in its last seven road games against Connecticut.
- Connecticut is a perfect 5-0 ATS in their last five games following a straight-up loss.
- The Sun are 4-1 ATS in their last five outings overall.
- Connecticut is 6-2 ATS in the last eight times they played on a Friday.
- The Sun are 7-3 ATS in the last 10 times they faced an opponent with a winning record.
- In its last 13 games against Eastern Conference teams, Connecticut is 10-2-1 against the spread.
- Lastly, the Sun are 16-5-1 ATS in the last 22 times they have played on two days of rest.
Prediction: Connecticut Sun (+4)
The projected over/under total for this contest is 159.5 points. The two teams have eclipsed this threshold three times in their last six head-to-head matchups. Let’s look at why going with the UNDER could be the way to go.
- The UNDER total has prevailed four times in the Liberty’s last five games they played on a Friday.
- The UNDER total is 5-2 for New York in its last seven games against teams with a winning record.
- In Connecticut’s last 12 games against Eastern Conference opponents, the UNDER is 9-3.
- The UNDER total has hit for Connecticut 10 times in its last 14 semifinal games.
- In the last 14 meetings between these teams, the UNDER is 10-4.
- The last 20 times these teams have played in Connecticut, the UNDER is an impressive 13-6-1.
Prediction: UNDER 159.5 points
Player Prop Bet
My key player to watch in this contest is New York Liberty forward, Breanna Stewart. She currently has -115 odds of scoring more than 21.5 points and -115 odds of scoring less than 21.5 points.
Stewart was recently named the league’s most valuable player for the second time in her career, and she averaged a career-high 23 points per contest during the regular season.
However, the newly-crowned MVP has been struggling during the postseason. In the two-game set against the Washington Mystics in the opening round of the playoffs, Stewart averaged 18.5 points on 29.3 percent shooting from the field.
Through the first two games of this semifinal series against the Sun, Stewart is averaging 15.5 points on 26.3 percent shooting from the floor.
Despite the recent trend, I fully expect Stewart to bounce back in Game 3 because big-time players have a knack for showing up in big games, and I expect nothing less from the league’s most valuable player.
Prediction: Breanna Stewart OVER 21.5 points
Spread: Connecticut Sun (+4)
Over/Under: OVER 159.5 points
PPB: Breanna Stewart OVER 21.5 points