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Iowa-South Carolina Sets Women’s Sports Betting Records

SPORTS HANDLE (April 8, 2024) – All eyes in the sports world turned to Cleveland on Sunday afternoon, as millions watched South Carolina complete an undefeated season with a national title game victory over Caitlin Clark and Iowa.

Sunday’s women’s college basketball national championship game caught the eye of bettors, setting sports betting records at numerous sportsbooks. It was the most bet women’s sporting event ever at BetMGM and FanDuel, surpassing last week’s Final Four game between Iowa and UConn.

The game was the most bet of any women’s college basketball game ever at Caesars Sportsbook, DraftKings, Fanatics Sportsbook, and ESPN BET. Fanatics Sportsbook and ESPN BET are both relatively new operators, while Caesars Sportsbook and DraftKings have years of women’s college basketball betting data.

“We could only imagine the handle if the game was given a proper primetime slot,” Caesars Sportsbook’s Vice President of Trading Craig Mucklow said.

Inside the Numbers

Compared to last year’s national championship game between LSU and Iowa, there was a 155% increase in handle and 205% increase in bet count on this year’s title bout at FanDuel.

ESPN BET saw a 20% increase in wagers on the championship game compared to Iowa-UConn’s Final Four matchup days prior, which set betting records. FanDuel saw a 22% increase from the Final Four game to the championship. At Caesars Sportsbook, Sunday’s betting volume doubled Friday’s Final Four clash.

Sunday’s matchup was a spectacle, and South Carolina bettors cashed in their wagers. The Gamecocks trailed 27-20 after a quarter, as Clark dropped 18 first-quarter points. The Gamecocks rallied throughout the final 30 minutes and prevailed 87-75. Clark finished with 30 points, scoring just 12 over the final three quarters of play.

The Gamecocks were 6.5-point favorites across most betting apps. They covered that spread thanks to a superb final three quarters.

Caitlin Clark’s Impact

Clark’s dazzling scoring ability and 3-point shooting spearheaded a surge in betting interest in women’s college basketball this season. Fans flocked to arenas to watch her play, and bettors were locked into the women’s season in large part due to Clark’s stardom.

“I want to personally thank Caitlin Clark for lifting up our sport,” South Carolina head coach Dawn Staley said postgame. “She carried a heavy load for our sport, and it is not going to stop here on a collegiate tour. When she’s the No. 1 pick in the WNBA Draft, she’s going to lift that league up as well.”

Clark is expected to be drafted first overall in next week’s WNBA Draft, joining the Indiana Fever. Sports betting operators anticipate her entrance into the WNBA will increase betting interest in the league.

Assuming she’s drafted by the Fever, her WNBA debut will come on May 14 against the Connecticut Sun.

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