Can Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever Overcome WNBA Title Odds?

  • Clark was taken first by the Fever in the 2024 WNBA Draft
  • The Fever have won just 25 percent of their games post-2016
  • FanDuel gave the Fever +11000 odds to win the 2023 title
  • Only four teams are ahead of the Fever in 2024 title odds
Caitlin Clark
Caitlin Clark is trying to lead the Indiana Fever to an unprecedented championship. [Image: / John Mac]

A turning point in sports

Every so often – once a generation, if that – an athlete is able to transcend their duties on the field of play and uplift an entire sport. The signs are early, but the next star to defy the odds appears to be Caitlin Clark, who is about to begin the pursuit of her first WNBA championship.

Clark starred for the Iowa Hawkeyes, setting the all-time NCAA record in points (for men and women) and the Big Ten record for assists. She was drafted with the first-overall pick by the Indiana Fever with hopes of turning their franchise around after they won a pitiful 25 percent of their games since the start of the 2017 season.

The rookie guard accomplished a tremendous amount in her amateur career but is about to begin her most daunting task yet, all while facing the pressure of carrying an entire league on her shoulders.

Early influence

Clark is box-office. That’s a known fact.

Major sportsbooks, including FanDuel, DraftKings, and BetMGM, reported that the women’s March Madness final between Clark’s Iowa and the undefeated South Carolina Gamecocks was the most-bet women’s sporting event ever. 

most-watched basketball game since 2019

ESPN Chairman Jimmy Pitaro confirmed the game also averaged a record-setting 18.7 million viewers and topped out at 24 million live viewers, making it the most-watched women’s basketball game ever and the most-watched basketball game since 2019.

The reigning WNBA champion Las Vegas Aces prepped for their first encounter with Clark and the Fever by moving their first home game from the 12,000-seat venue at Michelob Ultra Arena to the 18,000 seats at T-Mobile Arena. The craziest part about this? They began orchestrating the change in location before the WNBA Draft even began.

Although the Fever’s first game resulted in a 79-76 loss to the Dallas Wings, Clark tied for the game-high in points (21) and made five of her 13 three-point attempts. She had a rough shooting night in her preseason debut in front of the home crowd on Thursday, scoring 12 points but going just 4-12 from the field and 2-9 from three. She did add eight rebounds and six assists, though, and Indiana beat the Atlanta Dream, 83-80.

While Indy has not known much success over the past half-decade-plus, it has a nice stockpile of young talent. Along with Clark, the Fever have the reigning Rookie of the Year and first-overall pick in the 2023 draft, Aliyah Boston, and the 2022 second-overall pick, NaLyssa Smith. The pair averaged a combined 30 points and 17.6 rebounds a year ago. 

2018 second-overall pick Kelsey Mitchell also led the team in scoring a year ago at 18.2 points per night.

WNBA odds for Caitlin Clark, Indiana Fever

According to FanDuel sportsbook, the Fever are fifth in odds to win the WNBA championship at +2300 just a year after they finished 10th in a 12-team league. 

That’s a massive improvement on where they were about this time a year ago. According to FanDuel’s odds from April 28, 2023, the Fever were not only last on the odds board, but they had +11000 odds to win the WNBA title. That equals an implied probability of .77 percent, which is half of what the second-to-last-place team, the Los Angeles Sparks, were given.

The enormous shake-up in betting odds comes before Clark has even played a second of regular-season basketball in the WNBA. However, basketball legend and Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi said during March Madness that “reality is coming” for Clark.

you’re going to come play with some grown women”

“You look superhuman playing against some 18-year-olds, but you’re going to come play with some grown women that have been playing professional basketball for a long time,” Taurasi said to ESPN’s Scott Van Pelt.

The teams above Caitlin Clark and the Fever in WNBA championship odds include the Aces (+100), New York Liberty (+230), Seattle Storm (+1000), and Connecticut Sun (+1200).

Clark will begin her official WNBA career when she and the Fever take on the Sun on Tuesday, April 14. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2 at 7:30pm ET.

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