Record-Breaking Caitlin Clark Causes Increase in Women’s College Basketball Betting

  • The Iowa Hawkeyes are the second favorite to win 2024 March Madness
  • Caesars has noticed a 190% increase in the number of bets this season
  • Clark will be turning professional after the conclusion of the tournament
Caitlin Clark
The standout performances of Caitlin Clark have led to a surge in betting interest on women’s college basketball games. [Image: / John Mac]

A phenomenon

While men’s college basketball attracts huge interest from bettors, the equivalent women’s games historically have not gotten the same level of attention. That is now starting to change, in no small part because of the mesmerizing performances and personality of the Iowa Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark. The 22-year-old is breaking records left, right, and center while also entertaining fans with audacious plays.

South Carolina remains the odds-on favorite

The Hawkeyes are second in the betting to come out on top in this year’s NCAA Women’s March Madness tournament that begins on Wednesday. The money coming in from casual gamblers has shortened Iowa’s odds to capture the title from 12/1 down to 6/1 with Caesars. Undefeated South Carolina remains the odds-on favorite to take home the trophy. Iowa’s first game in this year’s event is on Saturday against either UT-Martin or Holy Cross.

Sportsbooks licking their lips

Caesars Sportsbook recently highlighted the increase in betting interest in women’s college basketball games, with the number of wagers rising 190% this season and the handle up 153% year-on-year.

Grant Tucker, the head of college basketball trading for Caesars, spoke about how betting interest began picking up toward the end of last year’s regular season and continued to rise during the highly-anticipated March Madness.

We really have never seen a college athlete like this, especially in the women’s game in any sport.”

Iowa made the championship game, falling to LSU, with Clark scoring a combined 71 points in her two Final Four games and garnering nationwide attention. Talking about the point guard, Tucker said, “We really have never seen a college athlete like this, especially in the women’s game in any sport.”

Circa Resort & Casino owner Derek Stevens also noticed a “big upturn” in the interest in women’s college basketball over the past two seasons and puts this down to Caitlin Clark and Iowa.

Sportsbooks like BetMGM and Caesars are planning to offer Clark-specific prop bets during the upcoming tournament. The growing popularity has also led to Caesars offering betting on more women’s games, with the daily options increasing from about five games up to 15 at times. Sportsbooks will be hoping that Clark and her team manage to stay in the competition to keep up the interest.

The last hurrah

Clark is joining the professional ranks after the conclusion of the tournament, which means that someone else will need to pick up the mantle in the women’s college game. The 2024 WNBA Draft takes place on April 15 and the Indiana Fever are expected to select Clark with the number one pick.

The men’s March Madness event garners more attention from bettors than any other sporting event each year in the US; the American Gaming Association estimates that it will attract more than double the number of wagers than last month’s Super Bowl.

Underscoring the Caitlin Clark effect is that every Hawkeyes home game this season was a sell-out and any team hosting Iowa during the regular season also set an attendance record. Television viewership also broke all kinds of records, as people tuned in to see the generational talent at work. Clark became the all-time leading scoring in Division 1 history for both men and women earlier this month.

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