Phoenix Mercury guard Skylar Diggins-Smith (4) controls the ball as teammate center Brittney Griner (42) sets a pick for Minnesota Lynx guard Crystal Dangerfield (2) during a WNBA basketball game, Friday, May 14, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/Hannah Foslien)
- The Sky and Mercury meet as the WNBA’s marquee matchup on Tuesday, June 1st at 8:30pm EST on ESPN
- Candace Parker’s Sky are small 1.5-point home favorites
- See game odds, preview and best bets on the game within the story below
Now entering the June portion of the 2021 WNBA campaign, the third week of the new season will begin with a quartet of games airing on ESPN networks on Tuesday, June 1.
The game that will be the highlighted game on the national stage is the Phoenix vs Chicago contest, which will be on primetime on ESPN. And the game should make for a back-and-forth, close contest between two playoff-caliber teams who are dealing with injuries to key players.
Mercury vs Sky Odds
|Team||Spread at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Phoenix Mercury||+1.5 (-106)||+106||Over 162.5 (-114)|
|Chicago Sky||-1.5 (-114)||-130||Under 162.5 (-106)|
Odds as of June 1st
2021 WNBA Championship Odds Tracker
Mercury Missing Taurasi, But Still Dangerous
Last week, Phoenix found out it would be without a big piece to the rotation when it was announced that Diana Taurasi would miss at least four weeks after suffering a chest injury.
Even though that is a huge loss for the Mercury, they are still a dangerous team without the legendary guard and will give Chicago all it can handle on Tuesday night.
OFFICIAL: Diana Taurasi to miss at least four weeks with chest injury. pic.twitter.com/i9cIQZVPaT
— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) May 25, 2021
Without Taurasi, Brittney Griner and Skylar Diggins-Smith will once again be relied upon to carry the load for Phoenix – which is something the duo has tried to do even when Taurasi is on the floor with them.
If Candace Parker and Allie Quigley are unable to return for Chicago on Tuesday, look for Griner and Diggins-Smith to have big games for the Mercury, who are sitting at 3-3 overall on the season and are coming off of a road win over the Dallas Wings this past weekend.
Two Key Absences Have Hurt Sky
Chicago, viewed as one of the top teams in the WNBA entering the season after bringing in Parker this offseason, began the year undefeated through the first two games while sitting atop the league standings at 2-0 overall. Since then, the Sky have struggled and have lost four straight contests going into Tuesday’s game against Phoenix.
One of the biggest reasons for those struggles has been due to injuries, mainly to Parker (ankle) and Quigley (hamstring). Both have played in just one game this season, on May 15th.
According to Chicago, Parker is listed as questionable for the game, while Quigley has already been ruled out. If Parker returns, that will no question boost the Sky while battling against Griner and company with Phoenix.
Injury Report powered by @UChicagoMed for tomorrow’s game vs. PHX
Candace Parker (ankle) – QUESTIONABLE
Allie Quigley (hamstring) – OUT pic.twitter.com/khVRCg7PVq
— Chicago Sky (@chicagosky) May 31, 2021
Without Parker and Quigley, look for other Sky players like Kahleah Copper, Diamond DeShields, Courtney Vandersloot and others to try and continue to lead the charge for Chicago on Tuesday.
Best Bet and Prediction
If this matchup were to take place with both teams fully healthy, it would be an incredibly entertaining game between two teams who many believe will be in the top half of the WNBA standings by the end of the year. Injuries have impacted both sides, as it has to many teams throughout the league.
This game should still be an entertaining one despite injury concerns. If Parker does indeed play for the Sky, that could impact things a decent amount, not only in terms of predicting who will win but also the betting odds. If the former MVP misses yet another game, look for Phoenix to be able to edge Chicago and take its second straight game on the road on Tuesday.
This game should still be a close, back-and-forth contest and could be a playoff preview that might take place later on in the season. It is a bit surprising to see the Sky favored by 1.5 points, but you have to remember this game is in Chicago and the close spread means odds makers expect this game to be close as well. For the best bet of the night, go with the Mercury being 1.5-point underdogs leading into the game.
- Best pick: Phoenix +1.5 (-110)
Mitchell has over seven years of experience in journalism, marketing, communications and digital fields, having covered sports teams and leagues on all levels. He has spent more than five years covering the WNBA and NBA, among other sports. You can follow him on Twitter @M_Hansen13.