Shattering NCAAW Basketball Records, Caitlin Clark Betting Effect Enters the WNBA

Caitlin Clark: The name and likeness have become synonymous with women’s college basketball for many sports fans. Even her fiercest competitors celebrated her record-breaking season in 2023-24; her heart-emoji hands have become one of her most recognizable rallying cries.

However, for bettors and oddsmakers, Clark’s presence on the court and in the media has catalyzed a tectonic shift in the sports gambling industry that only a superstar-caliber athlete could create.

Like the eye of a storm, Clark’s career morphed into a focal point for bettors and books, forcing gambling markets to swirl around her and change shape based on how she showed up each night.

Now, the former Iowa Hawkeye superstar guard prepares to tackle the next frontier — the WNBA

With that in mind, we glance at how Clark has impacted sports betting so far and look ahead to how she might impact the W, with insight from BetMGM and Fanatics Sportsbook.

BetMGM: “Unbelievable Amount of Interest”

The betting action that books saw on women’s college basketball last season reflected the newfound excitement that fans and spectators had for the sport. 

“The 2024 NCAA women’s championship broke BetMGM’s record for the most-bet women’s sporting event of all time,” BetMGM Trading Manager Seamus Magee said. “Caitlin Clark and Iowa generated an unbelievable amount of interest, which translated into this being the most-bet NCAA Women’s Tournament in BetMGM history.” 

BetMGM also reported that, from 2022 to 2023, the book saw a 252% increase in women’s basketball futures bets.

For context, the 2022-23 women’s season culminated in Clark and Iowa facing Angel Reese and LSU for the title. Reese and the Tigers routed Caitlin & Co., 102-85. In 2023-24, the Hawkeyes returned to the championship floor but suffered a similar fate, falling to Kamilla Cardoso and South Carolina, 87-75.

Also at GT: How to Bet on March Madness | Indiana Sports Betting | College Basketball Odds

New Sportsbook Reaps Clark’s Rewards

BetMGM has been an established player in the sports betting game for years, so it was easy to illustrate how significantly Clark and other outstanding players have affected sports betting in women’s basketball from one year to the next.

So how does a newcomer like Fanatics Sportsbook measure the influence of new bettors in women’s basketball?

By examining the existing data and recognizing the undeniable evolving trend being established in the space.

“We knew that the women’s tournament would do well if we got the right matchups,” Fanatics Sportsbook Vice President of Communications Kevin Hennessy explained. “The tournament taught us that people love to engage with a good narrative regardless of the sport, and I hope we can continue to capture that.”

Fanatics captured that when it came to the women’s tourney.

Hennessy noted, “Among all sporting events that took place on the day of the national championship, South Carolina-Iowa finished with 34% more handle than the next-closest event (Lakers-Timberwolves) at Fanatics Sportsbook. Outside of Lakers-Timberwolves, South Carolina-Iowa racked up over 2.5 times more handle than any other sporting event.”

He added, “Including parlays, South Carolina-Iowa sits at 53rd in tickets and 12th in handle among all men’s and women’s tournament games” for the 2023-24 season.

Looking Ahead to the Fever, WNBA

As projected, Clark was the No. 1 pick in the 2024 WNBA Draft and will begin her professional career on the roster of the Indiana Fever.

And while we’re still a few days away from the start of the regular season, books are all about Clark fever in Indy.

At FanDuel, bettors can dive into a variety of Caitlin Clark-specific props. Her first-made basket to be a three-pointer (-175), to record three or more triple-doubles in the regular season (+190), and to average 22 points or more during the regular season (-160) are just a few.

Fans, similarly, are all in on the WNBA in 2024. The Las Vegas Aces, for example, had to change the location of their July 2 game to accommodate the ticket sales for when they face — you guessed it — Caitlin Clark and the Fever.

Westgate SuperBook oddsmaker Jeff Sherman told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that they have more tickets on WNBA championship odds than they ever have had at this point compared to previous seasons.

The folks at Fanatics are also bracing for the storm.

“We did not have betting for preseason games,” Hennessy said about WNBA betting at Fanatics, “but we are interested to see how [Caitlin Clark’s influence] will translate into the upcoming season.”


About the Author
Erica Renee Davis

Erica Renee Davis

Erica Renee Davis is a sports betting writer with Gaming Today. She graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in Journalism and Political Science. After cheering as an NFL cheerleader for the Atlanta Falcons, Erica moved to Los Angeles where she became the host of Kevin Pollak's This Week In Football digital show. Since then, she has appeared as an on-air host and sports commentator for NASCAR Digital Media, FOX Bet, Spectrum News 1 SoCal, CNN, HLN, and TEGNA's Daily Blast Live.

Get connected with us on Social Media