Phoenix Mercury begin their quest for the WNBA Championship against the New York Liberty.

Phoenix Mercury Start WNBA Title Chase Against NY Liberty

For the first time since the introduction of sports betting in Arizona, bettors are now able to place wagers on the WNBA Playoffs.

In the 2021 postseason, the fifth-seeded Phoenix Mercury will take on the eighth-seeded New York Liberty in a single-elimination game to start the playoffs.

The game is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. local time on Thursday at Grand Canyon University Arena in Phoenix. Viewers across the nation can watch the live broadcast on ESPN2 starting at 10 p.m. EST.

In June, Bally’s grabbed attention for its innovative 15-year collaboration with the Mercury, making history as the first gaming company to sponsor a professional women’s sports team. However, despite this milestone, Bally’s has not yet released its sports betting app, Bally Bet, in the state.

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Phoenix Mercury are the favorites on Thursday.

Arizona sports betting apps are optimistic about Phoenix’s chances.

FanDuel Arizona predicts the Mercury will win by 9.5 points in their game against the Liberty on Thursday night. DraftKings Arizona and BetMGM both have the Mercury as a 10-point favorite for the upcoming matchup.

The condition of veteran guard Diana Taurasi’s ankle could be a deciding factor in the Mercury’s quest for a championship.

The WNBA All-Star, who has been chosen for the All-Star game 10 times, is currently struggling with an ankle injury and may not be able to play in Thursday’s playoff opener.

BetMGM Arizona now has the Mercury’s odds of winning the 2021 WNBA Finals at +900, making them the fifth most likely team to win. This marks a notable improvement from their seventh place ranking in August.

Phoenix last won the WNBA Title in 2014. If they win on Thursday, they will go on to face the defending champions, the Seattle Storm.


Who to keep an eye on during Thursday night’s event

Brittany Griner’s remarkable performances mark the beginning and end of the show for the Mercury, showcasing the veteran forward’s larger-than-life skills.

This season, the seven-time All-Star has been a dominant force in the paint, ranking second in the WNBA for points per game (20.5) and field goal percentage (.575).

Griner is the WNBA’s leader in blocks per game at 1.9, giving head coach Sandy Brondello a standout player to anchor her offense.

The Liberty’s offense revolves around the talented pair of guards Betnijah Laney and Sabrina Ionescu. Laney is the team’s top scorer, averaging 16.8 points per game, while Ionescu leads New York in rebounding with 5.7 RPG and assists with 6.1 APG this season.

Ionescu holds the third spot in the league for free throw percentage with an impressive .911, while her teammate Sami Whitcomb is ranked third in three-point percentage, shooting at .425 for the season.


What is the future of the Phoenix Mercury?

Should the Mercury emerge victorious on Thursday night, they will advance to the second round of the WNBA Playoffs to face the fourth seeded Storm in Seattle in a single-elimination game.

Following the contest, the winner will compete against the top-seeded Connecticut Sun in the semifinals in a best-of-five series.

The 2021 WNBA Finals will consist of a best-of-five series between the winner of the Sun series and the champion of the series involving the second-seed Las Vegas Aces and one of the following teams: Minnesota Lynx, Chicago Sky, or Dallas Wings.

Following each round of the playoffs, the teams will be re-seeded. The top seed will compete against the Aces, while the lower seed will go up against the Sun.

The outcome of the Mercury’s playoff opener at Grand Canyon University on Thursday night will be crucial in determining their status as one of the top teams.

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Author

Peterson Christopher

Peterson Christopher, with over seven years of experience covering sports and sports betting in Arizona, now holds the position of lead writer at yengols.com. His work has been featured on ArizonaSports.com, the Tucson Weekly, and the Green Valley News.

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