UConn-Iowa will be most-bet Women's game ever: 'will eclipse handle records'

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Monday’s IowaLSU showdown — and, for that matter, the UConnUSC clash that followed — made for a dream evening of bookmaking in the women’s March Madness odds market.

“We witnessed two tremendous games, with many of the college superstars going against each other in prime time,” Caesars Sports vice president of trading Craig Mucklow said. “It came as no surprise the level of interest in the Iowa-LSU rematch. After a record final last season, the rematch would certainly challenge handle records.”

That it did. 

Caesars and many other sportsbooks reported that the Hawkeyes’ 94-87 victory over the Tigers was the most-bet women’s college basketball game ever in terms of ticket count and money wagered.

But that record could be topped in the Final Four and, with the right matchup, in the championship game.

Mucklow shared his insights on what’s next in Women’s March Madness betting.

Let’s dive into the action.

From One Showdown to the Next

As noted often this season, Caitlin Clark is the big driver in the rise of women’s college basketball betting. The Iowa-LSU rematch — pitting Clark against standout Angel Reese — brought that rise to a peak, and Clark delivered with a 41-point performance.

“Although driven by Caitlin Clark’s historic season, the schedule on Monday couldn’t have been scripted any better,” Mucklow said, noting that UConn’s 80-73 win over USC also had strong numbers at the betting window.

Now, on Friday night, at 9:30 p.m. ET, it’s another showdown of standout players: Clark vs. UConn’s Paige Bueckers.

“Again, we have women’s college hoops superstars going head-to-head in prime time,” Mucklow said. “Caesars is already seeing twice the [money] on the Iowa-UConn matchup than the NC StateSouth Carolina matchup. That’s partly because the spread makes the moneyline prohibitive in the NC State-South Carolina matchup.”

Indeed, the undefeated Gamecocks (36-0) are 11.5-point favorites. So on the moneyline — a bet simply on which team wins the game — South Carolina is a hefty -800. 

That means it takes an $800 bet to win $100, for a $900 total payout.

In contrast, Iowa is just a 3-point favorite and -160 on the moneyline against UConn. So, for those who wish to eliminate concern with the point spread, it takes only a $160 bet on Iowa moneyline to win $100. 

That’s far more appealing.

For that matter, it’s more appealing to bettors who like underdog UConn, as well, whether at +3 on the spread or +135 on the moneyline.

“As usual, when spreads are close, we see more two-way action on the games,” Mucklow said.

How the Caitlin Clark effect raises economic pressure on WNBA for future stars

More Records Anticipated

No doubt, it was a great storyline to have Iowa and LSU meet in the Elite Eight. Last season, the Tigers beat the Hawkeyes 102-85 in the National Championship Game. 

So Iowa got a measure of revenge Monday night.

But Friday’s Iowa-UConn game has a storyline that’s as good and perhaps better for bookmakers and bettors: UConn’s tremendous history — coach Geno Auriemma has guided the Huskies to 11 national titles — collides with Caitlin Clark’s history-making season. 

And if Iowa advances to face South Carolina in Sunday’s title game, more betting history could be made.

“I fully expect Connecticut vs. Iowa will eclipse handle records, as will Iowa vs. an undefeated South Carolina in the final,” Mucklow said.

Patrick Everson is a sports betting analyst for FOX Sports and senior reporter for VegasInsider.com. He is a distinguished journalist in the national sports betting space. He’s based in Las Vegas, where he enjoys golfing in 110-degree heat. Follow him on Twitter: @PatrickE_Vegas.


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