Atlanta Dream vs. Washington Mystics Prediction, Preview and Odds - 9/10/21

A pair of teams from the Eastern Conference on the outside looking in at the WNBA playoff picture take the floor in the nation’s capital. The Atlanta Dream are on the road as they travel to face the Washington Mystics Friday night. Atlanta was edged 76-75 at home by Phoenix in their most recent contest Wednesday night. Washington was crushed 105-71 on the road by Seattle in their latest action Tuesday night. The Mystics have won eight of the last 10 meetings between the teams though they split two previous matchups this season. It was Atlanta rolling to a 101-78 victory at home on June 13 before Washington picked up a 96-93 home win in the most recent matchup on June 17.

Atlanta Dream Fighting to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

Atlanta battled to the wire but ended up falling short against Phoenix at home, depriving them of a chance to win their second straight game. The Dream entered Thursday 7-21 on the year and stood 11th in the WNBA playoff picture, 3.5 games behind the Liberty with four to play. On Wednesday night, Atlanta led almost the entire way before seeing things fall apart in the closing seconds. The Dream scored the game’s first six points, were up 11 after the opening quarter and held a 16-point lead with 1:07 to play in the first half. Atlanta still held a 14-point lead at the half, a six-point advantage after three quarters and an eight-point lead with 2:49 to play. The Dream were outscored 12-3 the rest of the way, giving up three free throws with 3.8 seconds to play to end up with the loss. Atlanta shot 47.1% from the field, including three of 13 from three-point range, but went six of 10 at the free throw line to Phoenix’s 16 of 18 showing. Courtney Williams led the Dream with 20 points, 14 rebounds and five assists in the loss.

The Dream is 8th in the league in scoring offense coming into this contest as they average 79.5 points a game this season. Atlanta is 9th in the league in rebounding (33.9 boards a night) and stands 9th in assists with an average of 18 per game. The Dream are 11th in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 85 points a contest this season. Tiffany Hayes is one of four players for the Dream scoring in double figures as she puts up 13.9 points a night. Chennedy Carter contributes 14.2 points plus 3.3 assists per contest. Odyssey Sims, Crystal Bradford, Tianna Hawkins, Elizabeth Williams, Monique Billings, Courtney Williams (16.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 4.3 assists), Aari McDonald, Cheyenne Parker (10.2 points, 4.5 boards), Candice Dupree and Shekinna Strickland are other key rotation pieces for coach Darius Taylor. The Dream are 9th in field goal percentage as they shoot 41.5% from the floor as a team. Atlanta stands 10th in threes per game (6.3) and 11th in three-point percentage as they hit 31.7% of their long-range attempts. The Dream is 12th in the league in free throw percentage as they shoot 71.6% from the stripe as a team this year. Carter is suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team during the game against the Aces July 4. Parker is out for the year as she announced she was pregnant last month. Bradford (foot) was ruled out for the remainder of the season on August 31. Hawkins (foot) missed the last three games and is questionable here.

Washington Mystics Trying to Climb Playoff Ladder

Washington lost their third straight and their eighth in the last 10 games as they were walloped on the road by Seattle Tuesday night. The Mystics entered Thursday 10-18 on the season and stood ninth in the WNBA playoff picture, half a game behind the Liberty for the final playoff spot with four games to play. Washington’s lone lead on Tuesday night was at 3-0 before things unraveled. The Mystics gave up a 14-0 run to trail by 11 and never recovered. Washington was down 10 after the opening quarter, by 15 at the half and by as many as 37 in the second half en route to the loss. The Mystics shot 39.3% from the floor, including nine of 33 from beyond the arc, and allowed the Storm to shoot a scorching 59.1% from the field in the game. Shavonte Zellous led the Mystics with 17 points in the loss.

The Mystics are seventh in the league in scoring offense with an average of 79.8 points per contest this season. Washington comes in 11th in the league in rebounding (33.1 boards per game) and is 7th in assists by handing out 18.4 dimes a night. The Mystics are 10th in the league in scoring defense by allowing an average of 84.2 points a contest. Tina Charles leads the Mystics with 23.9 points and 9.3 rebounds per contest this season. Ariel Atkins is one of two other players scoring in double figures as she puts up 15.7 points a night. Erica McCall, Myisha Hines-Allen (13.8 points, 7.3 boards), Natasha Cloud, Theresa Plaisance, Sydney Wiese, Stella Johnson, Shavonte Zellous, Leilani Mitchell, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough and Megan Gustafson are key pieces for coach Mike Thibault. Washington is 11th in the league in field goal percentage as they shoot 40.6% from the floor as a team. The Mystics are second in the league in threes per game (nine) and stand 10th in the league in three-point percentage (32.5%) on the year. Washington is in the middle of the pack at the charity stripe as they are sixth in the league by sinking 81.1% of their chances this season. Elena Delle Donne made her season debut against the Storm August 22 after recovering from offseason back surgery. She has missed the last four games after leaving a contest August 26 early and is doubtful here. Hines-Allen (illness) will miss her third straight game here. Atkins (personal) has been ruled out for this contest and Sunday’s tilt with the Sky.

Pick: Washington Mystics

Both teams are dealing with serious personnel issues, taking several key pieces out of their rotations at this point in time. With that said, Atlanta has dropped 19 of their last 21 games and are minus two of their top four scoring options. While the Mystics are minus key pieces like Delle Donne, Hines-Allen and Atkins for this game, the fact remains that they still have Charles to shoulder the load offensively. The home team has prevailed in both meetings this season and four of the last five contests between the teams. Give the upper hand to Washington as Charles does enough offensively to give the Mystics the win.

Total: Over

We’re looking at a matchup of two teams that are defensively deficient in this contest. Atlanta is the second-worst scoring defense in the league while Washington is right there with them as the third-worst scoring defense in the league. Both meetings this season have gone over the mark, as have seven of the last nine meetings. Certainly, things could be slowed a bit by the missing pieces on both sides but the fact remains that these teams pile up points when they face one another. Given the way that both teams are awful defensively, this one ends up being another up-tempo contest that goes over the total.

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Chris King

Chris King has been immersed in the world of professional and collegiate sports for more than three decades. Whether it's playing pickup games or being involved in organized sports to being a fan, he's checked all the boxes. From the NFL to arena football, the NHL to the KHL, the NBA to the WNBA to college hoops, and even MLB to the KBO. If it's out there, he's covered it and bet on it as well, as Chris has been an expert bettor in his career. Before joining Winners and Whiners back in 2015, his work appeared around the internet and in print. He's written books for Ruckus Books about college basketball, the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, golf, and the World Cup. If you're looking for the inside track on hitting a winner, do yourself a favor and read what Chris has to say.