WNBA Best Bets: Monday, September 6

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WNBA fans get a rare Monday matchup tonight as the Phoenix Mercury head to Indiana to take on the Fever at 7:00 pm ET. PointsBet Sportsbook lists the Mercury spread at -9.5 with the total set at 159 for this game. My only bet went 1-0 last night to move my WNBA picks record to 11-8 since the break. Let’s look at both teams to try and find value for the Labor Day WNBA matchup.

Phoenix Mercury vs. Indiana Fever

The Phoenix Mercury will ride an eight-game win streak into this matchup with the Fever. Phoenix (17-10) is currently in the fifth seed while Indiana owns the worst record in the league at 6-20 this season.

These two teams faced off on Saturday for the second time this season, with the Mercury winning both matchups. Indiana jumped out to an early lead and took a four-point advantage into halftime of Saturday's game before the Mercury dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Fever 36-9 in the period to take a 23-point lead into the fourth quarter.

A second-half run has been common for Phoenix this season, as the team owns a -3.5 net rating in second quarters this season but outscored opponents by 2.9 points per 100 possessions in the third quarter and an impressive 10.1 points per 100 possessions in fourth quarters.

The Mercury owned the WNBA's second-worst three-point percentage before the break. However during the current eight-game win streak, the team has the second-best percentage from beyond the arc while also leading the league in field goal percentage, points per game and rebounding during this stretch.

On the other end of the rankings is Indiana. The Fever rank in the league's bottom four in scoring, assists, field goal percentage and three-point percentage over the last eight games. The full-season stats are even worse for the Fever: the team ranks 11th in points per game, 10th in both field goal and free throw percentage and last in efficiency from beyond the arc.

Danielle Robinson is Indiana's top perimeter defender and would usually be the primary defender on Skylar Diggins-Smith, but Robinson is listed questionable after missing Saturday's matchup with an ankle injury. Robinson is in the top-10 for steals per game this season and the Fever will need her against Diggins-Smith. The Mercury point guard played like an MVP candidate since the break, averaging 18.9 points on 57.5% shooting from the field and 53.6% from beyond the arc over her last eight games.

No WNBA duo is playing as well as Diggins-Smith and Brittney Griner in recent weeks. Griner missed one game with an injury but in seven games since the break, she averaged 21.1 points, 8.6 boards and 1.9 blocks per game on 57.1% shooting from the field, including going 1-of-1 on three-pointers after a deep shot against the Fever on Saturday.

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Diana Taurasi, the WNBA's all-time leading scorer, took on more of a distributor role with her teammates hot over the last eight games. While she averaged 15.4 points per game on only 12.8 field goal attempts, she's fifth in the league during that span with 5.6 assists per game.

Indiana's leading scorer is Kelsey Mitchell and the Fever guard averaged 16.7 points on 41.3% shooting from the field this season. The Fever also boast center Teaira McCowan, an imposing post player who's averaging 11.1 points and 9.3 boards this season and leads the league with 3.2 offensive boards per game. McCowan had one of the most impressive individual games of the season as she nearly out-rebounded the Sparks team by herself with 15 points and 19 rebounds in Indiana's win last week.

McCowan is a difficult matchup for any opposing frontcourt, but few teams can match the Phoenix duo of Griner and Brianna Turner. Turner is on a tear since the break, averaging the second-most rebounds per game and is top-ten in the WNBA in blocks over the last eight games. Turner is often overshadowed playing next to Griner in the post but she ranks second behind McCowan in offensive rebounding since the break and both Phoenix interior players rank top-12 in the league for average points in the paint.

This should be another win for the Mercury, as McCowan can’t deal with both Turner and Griner over a full game and Phoenix should be able to wear the Fever down inside throughout the game. The spread at +9.5 is too big for me to back the Mercury in this game, but I will be watching throughout for live betting opportunities and plan to take Phoenix spread if it gets down to -3 or -4 in-game.

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