Connecticut Sun +3 at Chicago Sky*
The headlining game of the day is between Connecticut (13-6) and Chicago (13-5), the two top teams in the Eastern Conference. The action curiously tips off at noon EST, so if you agree with the logic deployed below, you’ll want to hop on board sooner rather than later.
I’m rolling with Connecticut to cover the +3, I was expecting closer to a pick ‘em today given how close these teams are.
When looking at net-ratings, Chicago is ranked second from the past ten games while Connecticut slots in at third. In just the past five games, the Sky top the WNBA in net-rating and the Sun are right behind them at No. 2.
So why opt for Connecticut? It’s clear these teams are close in quality, but a look into their strengths and weaknesses has me thinking the Sun keep this game close or win outright.
Points in the Paint
I’ve found points in the paint (PITP) metrics to be a solid predictor of how a matchup will go. Chicago is quite intertwined with PITP, they both rely on avenues in close to do their own scoring, and they’ve struggled to stop opponents from getting buckets inside.
In the past ten games, Chicago is allowing the most PITP per game to opponents. Connecticut is well-equipped to take advantage of this, averaging the fourth-most PITP in the past ten games, with 45.5% of their scoring coming from the paint.
As mentioned, the Sky do well in the paint when on offense, but I’m seeing a potential reliance that could be derailed this afternoon. Connecticut has stifled PITP of late, particularly the past five games, allowing the third-fewest PITP per game.
The Sun’s biggest defensive weakness in their past few games has been their perimeter defense. Luckily for Connecticut, Chicago doesn’t score much from deep. Chicago averages the fourth-fewest percent of points from threes in their past ten games.
A deeper look at these teams advanced ratings
As we mentioned above, Chicago is above Connecticut when you look at recent net-ratings, but this is worth more of a look.
Chicago’s place among the league’s best is powered by an elite offense; they own the top offensive rating in the past ten games and the second-highest from the last five.
I say this not to take away from the Sky, but it’s worth noting that the Sun are not that far behind from an offensive standpoint.
Where Connecticut has a demonstrative edge is on the defensive end of the ball. Connecticut owns one of the best defenses in the league, with elite play powering their past five games. The defensive disparity between these two teams is stark in this recent stretch: CON (93.8) vs CHI (101.2).
While the Sky’s offense may give them a slight edge overall, it isn’t a 3-point edge, which is why we’ve settled on the spread in this one.I’m betting Connecticut to cover the +3*, available on DraftKings at -110 at the time of writing.
*Connecticut Sun ML @ +110