Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever will head to Chicago on Sunday afternoon for a marquee matchup at 4 p.m. ET on ESPN.

It will be the 3rd matchup between Clark and former LSU star Angel Reese since they turned pro earlier this spring. Clark’s Fever have won both previous matchups — key results the Fever as they battle for playoff positioning.

While Clark has continued to garner headlines as she begins her pro career, Reese has also been very good as a rookie — albeit in a smaller offensive role. Reese has been one of the WNBA’s best rebounders this season as she’s averaged 10.8 boards per game in 14 games so far.

When meeting with reporters this week, Clark downplayed what appears to be a thriving rivalry between Indiana and Chicago.

“I’m pretty sure the only people that view this as a rivalry is all of you (media). Like, for us, it’s just a game of basketball. That’s what it is,” Clark said. “If it’s gonna help move the game forward, absolutely. That’s amazing. That’s what it should be.

Despite Clark’s comments, both of Indiana’s previous matchups against Chicago have featured plenty of intense moments.

Clark has been on the receiving end of a flagrant foul in both of Indiana’s meetings with Chicago so far this season. Clark was blindsided by Sky guard Chennedy Carter in a game earlier this month (which was classified as a flagrant foul only after the league office reviewed the incident). In their most recent game, Reese hit Clark in the head while making a play to block a layup attempt.

Clark is averaging 17 points, 8 rebounds and 7.5 assists across both games vs. Chicago so far this season. She’s shot 11-of-22 from the field and 5-of-16 from 3-point range in those 2 wins vs. the Sky.

Here are 3 picks for Indiana’s Sunday afternoon game against Chicago:

Caitlin Clark over 17.5 points (-114 on DraftKings)

Clark is still exploring her role as Indiana’s lead creator, but has been more consistent over the last few games. She’s averaging 17.3 points per game over Indiana’s last 6 contests, which has results in 5 victories for the Fever. Clark is also shooting an impressive 42.2% from 3-point range over that span, a good sign that her early-season shooting struggles may be behind her.

Clark scored 23 points in her last meeting with the Sky. The first time they met, Clark had an uncharacteristic shooting night where she went just 4-of-11 from the floor, 2-of-9 from 3-point range and only attempted 1 free throw. It resulted in an 11-point performance against the Sky.

Given Clark’s recent hot streak from 3-point range and her propensity to play well in big moments — the crowd in Chicago could be the most hostile she’s played in front of as a pro — I’m comfortable backing her to get to at least 18 points in this matchup.

Here are the rest of Clark’s props for this matchup from DraftKings:

  • Rebounds: Over 5.5 (-140) | Under 5.5 (+110)
  • Assists: Over 6.5 (-125) | Under 6.5 (-105)
  • 3-pointers: Over 2.5 (-190) | Under 2.5 (+140)
  • Points + Rebounds + Assists: Over 30.5 (+100) | Under 30.5 (-130)
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Angel Reese over 11.5 rebounds (-120 on DraftKings)

As mentioned above, Reese has been one of the WNBA’s best rebounders this season. She’s averaging 10.8 rebounds per game in just over 30 minutes of action a night. That production has increased recently as well — she’s recorded at least 12 rebounds in 4 of her last 5 games. In her last 8 games, Reese has reached double figures on the glass in every contest and is averaging 12.8 boards per game over that span.

That rebounding hot streak includes both of Chicago’s first 2 games against Indiana. Reese corralled 13 rebounds in each of those contests — half of which came on the offensive glass.

Indiana’s front court of Aliyah Boston and NaLyssa Smith has been below-average on the glass this season. Indiana ranks 8th in offensive rebounding rate and 9th in defensive rebounding rate so far in 2024. Reese has been particularly effective on the offensive glass as a rookie, making this a good matchup for her skillset.

Chicago Sky money line (-138 on FanDuel)

Despite the previous 2 matchups, I’m taking Chicago to win outright. The Sky are 2-point favorites in this game, but there are some advanced stats that suggest they should be favored by much more. Indiana enters this game with a -9.5 net rating on the season — which is the worst mark in the entire league. Meanwhile, Chicago’s net rating is all the way up at -1.5 — meaning Chicago has been 8 points better per 100 possessions than Indiana has been so far this season.

Indiana has been on the wrong end of some blowout losses, which has certainly had an outsized impact on its net rating. But the difference between these teams has been overwhelming and shouldn’t be ignored as these teams meet in Chicago on Sunday.

Indiana’s issues have come on the offensive end, where they have a defensive rating of 109.7 — by far the worst in the league. Offensively, the Fever have been middle-of-the-pack from an efficiency standpoint, ranking 5th out of 12 teams with a 1.01 offensive rating on the year.

This line was -104 on Saturday night, but I’m still buying at -138 given the disparity in net rating to this point in the season.

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