The last time the Chicago Sky reached the WNBA Finals, the league’s all-time rebounding leader Sylvia Fowles was on the roster.
On Sunday, Chicago will try to oust Fowles and the rest of the Minnesota Lynx from the postseason. The game presents more interesting Illinois WNBA playoffs betting angles than that, though.
The Sky put on their best performance in weeks in their first-round victory over the Dallas Wings on Thursday and the two regular-season meetings between these teams produced a couple of the season’s highest totals. With both teams healthy, Sunday’s contest could turn into another “track meet.”
Illinois WNBA playoffs betting odds for Sunday at Minnesota
After Thursday’s win over Dallas in which Chicago easily covered the five-point spread, it looked like the Sky’s struggles with energy to end the regular season was but a faint memory. Illinois sportsbooks have Minnesota dampening that vibe, though.
|BetRivers Sportsbook||Chicago +4 -112|
Minnesota -4 -114
|Over 165.5 -113|
Under 165.5 -113
|Caesars at William Hill||Chicago +4 -110|
Minnesota -4 -110
|Over 165.5 -110|
Under 165.5 -110
|DraftKings Sportsbook||Chicago +4.5 -115|
Minnesota -4.5 -105
|Over 165 -115|
Under 165 -105
|FanDuel Sportsbook||Chicago +4.5 -114|
Minnesota -4.5 -106
|Over 165.5 -105|
Under 165.5 -115
|PointsBet Sportsbook||Chicago +4 -105|
Minnesota -4 -115
|Over 165.5 -110|
Under 165.5 -110
The game tips at 4 p.m. CST on ESPN2. In order for Chicago to reach the semis for the first time since 2016, the Sky will have to replicate their earlier performance on the Lynx’s home court this season.
Split season series produced massive totals
As further evidence that home-court advantage meant little during this past WNBA regular season, the visiting team won both meetings of these two championship contenders. On June 15, Chicago produced its second-highest point total of the season in Minnesota.
The Sky got six players into double-figures, including 23 from guard Allie Quigley off the bench. As a team, Chicago went 12-for-26 from 3-point range in the game to win by 16. The total game to 194 in that contest.
Then, on Aug. 21 at Wintrust Arena, the Sky suffered a six-point loss despite scoring 95 points. The total in that game surpassed the earlier meeting by two points. The statistical difference in the results came down to Chicago’s defense and the gap in rebounding.
In the earlier meeting, the Sky held the Lynx to 45.7% shooting from the field and were -2 in total rebounds. The later meeting saw Minnesota shoot over 54% from the field and out-rebound Chicago by 10.
The biggest difference that should jump off the page to anyone looking at these results was the absence of one of the Sky’s best players in the August game. Her play in Sunday’s contest thus could produce a superior result for the Chicago faithful.
Candace Parker’s significant presence for the Sky
In June, Sky forward Candace Parker scored 12 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and made seven assists. Over the course of the entire season, Chicago only recorded one win without her in the lineup. While her impact is visible in the aforementioned Sky defensive numbers, she affects every aspect of the game.
With Parker in the lineup in June, Minnesota’s starting bigs posted plus-minuses of -19, -20, and -25. Without her on the court in August due to injury, the same contingent of Lynx players finished at +10, +10, and +3.
Parker showed she is in playoff form Thursday, coming three assists short of a triple-double. If she and the rest of the team can maintain that energy and Parker can have her usual impact, bettors on the Sky moneyline could enjoy a nice payout with more chances for the same on the way.
What happens if Chicago wins Sunday?
As previously mentioned, the Sky would be in an actual playoff series for the first time since 2014. The WNBA reseeds each round of its postseason and the top two seeds get a double-sky straight to the semifinals.
This season, those teams are the Connecticut Sun and Las Vegas Aces. As the top seed, Connecticut faces the lowest surviving seed from the second round. As Chicago is already the lowest seed still playing, that means Uncasville is the Sky’s next destination should they prevail over Minnesota.
It would also guarantee Chicago at least one more home playoff game, at which Illinoisans could sideline bet. Sunday’s action should still be enjoyable regardless of the distance from the Windy City.