The Caitlin Clark Effect: Women’s Basketball Games See Boom In Betting

, , ,
Written By Giovanni Shorter | Last Updated
Caitlin Clark Sports Betting

It is no secret that Caitlin Clark is one of the biggest names in women’s basketball. The star guard was just drafted first overall to the Indiana Fever in the WNBA and is already a heavy favorite to win WNBA Rookie of the Year. A recent study done by Optimove shows how her star power has affected betting lines. During the March Madness tournament games featuring Caitlin Clark saw major betting increases.

Caitlin Clark Leads To Women’s Basketball Betting Boom

The study reviewed wagers for women’s basketball, beginning with the Elite Eight and ending with the March Madness NCAA Championship game. The game that saw the least amount of wagers was the Oregon State vs. South Carolina Elite Eight matchup. This game was used as the baseline, set at 100%.

We have already seen a natural increase in women’s sports popularity alongside the growth of sports betting. But what the study shows is that Clark’s star power attracts even more bettors. Even with women’s basketball already seeing a steady increase in wagers, games where Clark played saw a 540% increase on average in the number of bets.

The game that saw the most wagers was the Championship game between Iowa and South Carolina, with a 620% increase in bets on the night. Games without Clark saw an increase of 195% over the baseline. Sports betting activity increased throughout the tournament.

How Women’s March Madness Betting Compared To Men’s

Even with the overall increase in activity and the star power driven by Caitlin Clark, the Men’s March Madness tournament dominated sportsbooks. Take a look at the Championship game for both men and women. The women’s game had an average TV viewership of 18.7 million. The men’s game had an average of 14.8 million viewers. Despite more fans tuning in for the women’s game, the men’s championship saw three times the number of wagers.

The Iowa vs. LSU Elite Eight game saw 39% of the wagers compared to the average Elite Eight men’s game. The women’s Final Four matchup between Iowa and Connecticut saw 37% of the average men’s Final Four wager. When comparing the women’s tournament to the men’s at online sportsbooks, it’s clear the men’s game still dominates sports betting fans, even with the Caitlin Clark effect.

Can Clark’s Star Power Translate To WNBA Betting?

With Clark now on the Indiana Fever, the question arises: can her star power translate to the WNBA? Thus far, Clark is already seeing an influx of wagers from fans. The Indiana Fever had the worst record in the Eastern Conference during the 2023 season. Heading into the 2024 season, the Fever sees the highest ticket percentage at BetMGM.

The boom in bets has led to the Indiana Fever’s Championship odds shortening as well. The Fever are BetMGM’s biggest liability.

BetMGM WNBA Insights: Championship

Highest Ticket%

  • Indiana Fever 45.8%
  • Las Vegas Aces 17.8%
  • Chicago Sky 11.8%

Line movement (Open to Current)

  • Aces +115 to +100
  • Liberty +250 to +225
  • Fever +2500 to +2000

Clark is also seeing 68.1% of the tickets and 74.5% of the betting handle to win MVP and is the biggest liability for that award.

Looking towards today’s opening game between the Indiana Fever and the Connecticut Sun, BetMGM reveals that there are three times as many wagers on this matchup as any other WNBA game today. Caitlin Clark’s Over 20.5 points is the most wagered player prop today for both the WNBA and the NBA.

More Notable Insights For Caitlin Clark

  • Caitlin Clark OVER 3.5 three-pointers (-140) 80% of bets are on the OVER
  • Caitlin Clark OVER 6.5 assists (-125) 74% of bets are on the OVER

Clark’s impact on sports betting has already been shown to translate to the WNBA. Tonight’s opening game is seeing eight times the amount of betting tickets compared to last year. Time will tell if this trend continues and the WNBA sees a permanent increase in betting activity going forward.