Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:03 AM

Cheat Sheet - First Round

The first round of the WNBA playoffs begins on Tuesday Aug. 21 with a single-elimination format. The winners of these games will travel to either No. 3 Washington or No. 4 Connecticut for second round matchups on Thursday.

Those games will be single-elimination as well with the winners advancing to the semifinals against either No. 1 Seattle or No. 2 Atlanta for a five-game series before the WNBA Finals, which is also a best-of-five matchup.

(Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS, Over-Under - O/U)

No. 8 Dallas at No. 5 Phoenix (ESPN2, 8:30 p.m. ET)

-- The Mercury went 2-1 both SU and ATS versus the Wings this season.

-- The pair only met once in Phoenix, which occurred on May 18 and the Mercury captured an 86-76 win over the Wings as a 5 ½-point home favorite.

-- The ‘over’ went 2-1 in the three encounters and the totals ranged from 160 ½ to 171.

-- The Wings are the lowest seed in this year’s playoffs and have been horrible for bettors down the stretch.

-- Dallas closed the regular season on a 1-10 record both SU and ATS.

-- During this season, the Wings went 0-6 both SU and ATS on the road and that contributed to their overall dismal mark away from home (5-12 SU, 7-10 ATS).

-- The Wings watched the ‘over’ go 11-6 away from home. Bettors should note that the club allowed 88 points per game on the road, which was the second worst ranking in the WNBA.

-- The Mercury weren’t very consistent at Talking Stick Resort Arena this season, posting a 9-8 SU and 7-10 ATS record.

-- However, Sandy Brondello and company did close the season with five straight games at home and they posted a 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS mark in those games.

-- The lone loss came by five points to a quality Washington squad while the wins were by an average of 12 PPG.

-- Phoenix surrendered 85.2 PPG at home this season, the fourth worst effort in the WNBA. They did average 86.9 PPG at home, which was ranked third overall. Those numbers helped the 'over' go 10-7 at home. 

-- The Mercury closed the regular season on a 7-1-1 ‘over’ run.

-- Since the Wings moved from Tulsa, they’ve played in one playoff game and that occurred last season when they dropped an 86-76 decision to Washington in the first round.

-- Since the WNBA created the first and second round elimination matchups in 2016, the Mercury have been involved each of the last two seasons.

-- Phoenix has gone 4-0 in those games, going 2-0 at home in the first round and 2-0 in the second round. Unfortunately for the club, they’ve been swept in both semifinal matchups in 2016 and 2017.

No. 7 Minnesota at No. 6 Los Angeles (ESPN2, 10:30 p.m. ET)

-- The Sparks captured three of four matchups from the Lynx this season, including both contests at Staples Center.

-- Los Angeles hammered Minnesota in the most recent meeting, 79-57 to easily cash as three-point favorites on August 2.

-- The lone victory by the Lynx over the Sparks came at Target Center on July 5 by an 83-72 count as 3 ½-point favorites. Minnesota won in spite of Maya Moore shooting 2-of-13 from the floor and finishing with eight points.

-- This is a surprising first-round matchup as the Lynx and Sparks have met for the WNBA title each of the last two seasons with each team winning once. Minnesota has reached the WNBA Finals in six of the previous seven seasons, winning four times, but never picking up consecutive titles following a championship last season.

-- In spite of a 3-6 SU/ATS finish, Minnesota closed the regular season by knocking off Washington as short home underdogs, 88-83, while snapping the Mystics’ seven-game winning streak.

-- Minnesota owned the second-worst ATS record in the league at 13-21, while failing to cover its first seven games of the season.

-- The Lynx won nine of 17 games on the highway this season, including underdog victories over Phoenix twice and Washington.

-- Minnesota has never played in the one-game knockout round since its inception two seasons ago, as the Lynx are opening against an opponent on the road for the first time since losing at Phoenix in the Western Conference Finals in 2014.

-- Los Angeles is not playing its best basketball of the season as the Sparks have dropped four of their last five games, while the only home win in this span came as a 13 ½-point favorite against New York.

-- The Sparks began the season by posting an 8-1 record at Staples Center, but suffered through a five-game home skid in July. L.A. is currently riding a three-game home winning streak, which included the 22-point blowout of Minnesota in early August.

-- Los Angeles has failed to cover in six of the last eight opportunities in the favorite role, including recent losses to Phoenix and Atlanta.

-- The Sparks have drilled the 'under' in four straight home contests, while the Lynx have hit the 'under' in 11 of the past 12 away games.

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