Los Angeles Sparks vs. Atlanta Dream Prediction, Preview and Odds - 9/16/21

A pair of teams on the outside of the WNBA playoff picture take the floor in an interconference tilt down in Hotlanta. The Los Angeles Sparks are on the road as they travel to face the Atlanta Dream Thursday night. Los Angeles comes in off an 81-53 home victory over Seattle Sunday night in their most recent contest. Atlanta picked up an 85-78 victory at home over Indiana in their most recent game Tuesday night. The Sparks have won seven straight meetings between the teams, including an 85-80 overtime win on August 17 and a 66-64 triumph on August 19 in the two matchups this season. Both of those meetings came in the City of Angels.

Los Angeles Sparks Trying to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

Los Angeles snapped a six-game skid as they rolled over the Breanna Stewart-less Storm at home Sunday night. The Sparks improved to 11-19 on the season and entered Wednesday tied for ninth in the WNBA playoff picture, one game behind the Mystics for the final playoff spot. Against Seattle, Los Angeles used an early 7-0 run to take a 9-4 lead and never let Seattle even again. The Sparks led by 11 after one quarter, by 18 at the half and by as many as 30 in the second half en route to the win. Los Angeles shot 48.4% from the field, including six of 13 from three-point range, and controlled the boards 37-28. Te’a Cooper led the Sparks with 19 points off the bench in the win.

On the season, Los Angeles is 12th in the league in scoring offense as they average 72.3 points per game. The Sparks are last in rebounding (29.2 boards per game) and 12th in assists (15.3) this season. Los Angeles is 2nd in scoring defense as they give up an average of 77 points a night. Nneka Ogwumike leads the team with 14.3 points plus 6.1 rebounds a game this season. Chiney Ogwumike (seven points, 4.1 boards) and Kristi Tolliver (9.4 points) are solid secondary scoring options. Derek Fisher hopes to get more from role players like Brittney Sykes, Nia Coffey (8.5 points), Erica Wheeler (13.4 points, 4.7 assists), Te’a Cooper (8.4 points), Amanda Zahui B. (9.3 points, 5.2 boards) and Arella Guirantes. Los Angeles is 12th in field goal percentage on the season as they shoot 40.6% from the field as a team on the year. The Sparks are 9th in three-pointers per game (6.6) and 9th in three-point shooting as they convert 32.9% from beyond the arc this season. Los Angeles is 11th in success at the charity stripe as they cash in 76.7% of their attempts on the year. Jasmine Walker was lost for the season with a torn ACL that she suffered against Las Vegas May 21. Chiney Ogwumike is out again as she has missed 23 games with a knee injury this season. Toliver (hand) has been ruled out for this contest: she is expected to be out until late September.

Atlanta Dream Looking to Play Spoiler

Atlanta won for just the fourth time in 24 games after starting the season 4-2 as they dropped Indiana at home Tuesday night. The Dream have been eliminated from playoff contention as they are 11th in the standings, four games behind the Mystics for the final playoff spot with two to go. Against Indiana, Atlanta trailed by five after the opening quarter, by as many as 11 in the second quarter and by four at the half. The Dream outscored the Fever 27-18 in the third quarter to take a five-point lead and never let the lead drop below that the rest of the way. Atlanta shot 47.8% from the field, including seven of 16 from three-point range, and limited Indiana to 42.1% shooting in the contest. Tiffany Hayes led the Dream with 31 points and six rebounds in the win.

The Dream are 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 (34.1 boards a night) and stands 9th in assists with an average of 17.8 per game. The Dream are 11th in the league in scoring defense as they allow an average of 84.6 points a contest this season. Tiffany Hayes is one of four players for the Dream scoring in double figures as she puts up 14.8 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 (16.6 points, 6.8 rebounds, 4.2 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 8th in field goal percentage as they shoot 41.9% from the floor as a team. Atlanta stands 10th in threes per game (6.3) and 11th in three-point percentage as they hit 31.8% of their long-range attempts. The Dream is 12th in the league in free throw percentage as they shoot 71.5% 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 five games and is questionable here. Sims (personal) is questionable for this contest as well.

Pick: Los Angeles Sparks

This is a battle of two teams with little going for them down the stretch of the season. Atlanta has been eliminated from playoff contention this season as things fell apart after a promising start, so they have nothing to play for here. Los Angeles is part of a three-team conglomeration battling for one final playoff spot along with the Liberty and Mystics. That at least gives the Sparks something to play for here, though they are banged up at this point in time. Still, when you factor in how poorly the Dream have played on the defensive end of the floor and the fact that Los Angeles has won seven straight meetings, you have to give the advantage to the visitors in this contest.

Total: Under

We have seen the teams combine for 165 points in an overtime game, followed by a dismal 130-point output in the second game of the set two days later. Los Angeles has seen the under hit in a whopping 70% (21 of 30) of their games this season, including each of their last five. Atlanta has seen the under go 16-14 in their games despite the fact that they are the league’s worst team in scoring defense. While one of the two meetings this season went over the total, it’s important to note that eight of the last 10 matchups between these teams have fallen short of the total. With the Sparks’ dismal offensive showing all season and with both teams banged up, this one stays under the number.

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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.