The Phoenix Mercury are the biggest underdogs on the #WNBA three-game board Tuesday night, set +8 for their trip to the Atlanta Dream. However, the SBIA model is high on the Mercury with the potential return of star Diana Taurasi from a toe injury. If she is cleared, that spread may drop. The total is set 161 points, and the model’s lone full unit play for this game (three half-unit plays) is on that number.
Taurasi is officially questionable after missing the past two injured but that she already hasn’t been ruled out is a hugely positive sign because she wasn’t close to playing the previous two. In addition, Phoenix released Ashley Joens on Monday, which could be a hint that Taurasi will return. The WNBA legend, who earlier this year became the first player in league history with 10,000 career points, is averaging 16.6 points, 4.7 assists and 3.7 rebounds per game. The 10-time All-Star has been the WNBA's all-time leading scorer since June 18, 2017.
The #ValleyTogether are last in the WNBA with a 9-25 record, have dropped five straight and been eliminated from playoff contention. They also have the league’s worst point differential at -6.9. Sophie Cunningham and Shey Peddy remains out due to concussion protocols. There was one bright spot in Sunday’s 77-74 loss to Dallas as All-Star and leading scorer Brittney Griner had 19 points in her first game since Aug. 13 (health and safety protocols).
The league's longest active playoff streak (10 straight seasons) ended as Phoenix was eliminated with Sunday's loss. The last time the Mercury didn't go to the postseason was 2012 when Taurasi played only eight games due to injury; the next year, they drafted Griner No. 1.
Atlanta is 16-19 and in good shape to earn a playoff spot despite a three-game skid – the Dream are 9-8 at home but 7-11 away. Cheyenne Parker comes off her seventh double-double of the year for Atlanta with 24 points and 10 rebounds in Sunday’s three-point loss at Indiana. Parker topped 20 points for the second straight game and the third time in four outings. The Dream are just 2-8 this month.
These teams have split two regular-season meetings, each winning by double digits at home. The #atlantadream are 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings overall. The total has gone under in eight straight meetings in Atlanta and that’s where the model is leaning.