Caitlin Clark’s Historic Season Fuels Rush of Bets on Women’s College Hoops

Posted on: March 6, 2024, 12:44h. 

Last updated on: March 19, 2024, 08:35h.

Caitlin Clark has become the all-time leading scorer in NCAA Division I basketball history for men’s and women’s hoops. Her impact this season has been felt by the U.S. gaming industry, where sportsbooks have reported a massive increase in bets on women’s college basketball.

Caitlin Clark women's basketball betting
Caitlin Clark celebrates after breaking the NCAA women’s all-time scoring record on Feb. 15, 2024. Clark’s dominance in women’s college basketball propelled a surge in betting activity on the sport this year. (Image: NCAA)

Clark, the six-foot-tall guard for the Iowa Hawkeyes, is a Des Moines native. During her final regular season game on Sunday, Clark surpassed “Pistol” Pete Maravich to become the highest-scoring basketball player in NCAA Division I history.

Clark is foregoing her final year of eligibility in favor of declaring for the WNBA Draft on April 14, where she’s pretty much a lock for the top pick. She finished her storied regular-season college career with 3,685 points.

Clark has shot more than 38% from behind the arc during her career, making 509 of her 1,332 three-point attempts. She’s shot 86% from the foul line, making 762 of 890 free throws. Her regular-season career averages concluded with more than 28 points a game on 46.5% shooting, with seven rebounds and eight assists.

Betting Benefit

Dubbed the “Caitlin Clark Effect,” women’s college basketball witnessed a surge in interest this year amid the 22-year-old’s record-setting final season at Iowa. Viewership is up and tickets for Iowa games soared into the thousands of dollars.

U.S. sportsbooks revealed this week that the media hysteria surrounding Clark resulted in a surge in bets on women’s college basketball.

“We’ve seen massive growth in betting on women’s college hoops this year,” said BetMGM Senior Trader Seamus Magee. “Caitlin Clark has been a catalyst.”

Tipico Sportsbook, which is live in Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey, and Ohio, told it incurred an 18% year-over-year increase in betting handle (total money wagered) on women’s college basketball. Wagers on Hawkeyes’ games, a Tipico spokesperson said, accounted for 55% more money than in 2023.

Unfortunately for sportsbooks, as the NCAA March Madness women’s college basketball readies to tip-off, player prop bets, like how many points Clark will score, are prohibited in most legal sports betting states. Player props in college sports have recently come under scrutiny for possibly jeopardizing the safety of student-athletes.

Such wagers on a college player’s performance are now allowed only in Kansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Wyoming, and Washington, D.C. North Carolina sportsbooks are also likely to include college player props when they go live online on March 11.

Maryland and Ohio recently amended their sports betting rules to prohibit player props on college athletes. Tipico Sportsbook Head of Trading Sunny Gupta isn’t concerned about the reduced availability of those bets.

“College basketball player props represented less than 1% of the college basketball handle in 2024 when player props were allowed in Ohio. I anticipate our overall handle targets to largely be unaffected,” Gupta said.

NCAA Favorite

Clark’s Iowa Hawkeyes are ranked No. 3 in the nation after finishing the regular season 26-4. South Carolina (29-0) is the unanimous AP No. 1.

DraftKings has Iowa at +800 to win the 2024 NCAA Division 1 Women’s Basketball Tournament. A $100 bet and a Hawkeyes title would net $800.

Iowa’s championship odds are the second-shortest behind the Gamecocks at -115. LSU is also at +800.