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WNBA Betting: How to Bet on the WNBA

ByQueen Ballers Club|@queenballers| November 15, 2021If you buy something from a link on our site, Queen Ballers Club may earn a commission.
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Nneka Ogwumike and the WNPBA said, it’s time to “Bet on Women.” So today’s the day to learn all about WNBA betting, and how to bet on the WNBA. We’ll share the steps to get started, common betting terms to know, and what WNBA betting platforms there are. Then, we’ll dive into some WNBA tips, and places to look for the latest news and expert predictions. And maybe soon, this will be you.

“If the pandemic showed us anything, it’s that people are going to bet on just about anything. I remember I was listening to a podcast, and they were saying people were betting on darts, which I didn’t even know was a thing.” said former Washington Mystics No 2. WNBA draft pick Marissa Coleman

“So I think the W and women’s sports as a whole should really lean into sports betting. It’s a way to bring visibility, to perhaps get a new audience that otherwise would be untapped.” she continued.

How to bet on the WNBA

First up, you can find out if sports betting is legal in your state with this handy map. If it’s legal in your state, up next, just pick a platform. Many are online or have apps.

WNBA betting platforms

Sports betting platforms that currently have partnerships with the WNBA are PointsBet, FanDuel, and BetMGM. And in July of 2021, Bally’s signed a 15-year deal with the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury to become the team’s exclusive sports betting sponsor. 

You can bet the WNBA on DraftKings, Unibet, William Hill, and 888sport as well. We’ve found FanDuel’s interface to be the most user friendly and easy to use.

To place bets at any sportsbook, just select the WNBA from their menu and search for the game or market you want to bet. From there, select the wager to add it to your bet card and enter the amount of money you want to risk. After that, you’ll get a receipt or e-ticket for your bet, showing you the odds you bet and the amount you can win.

WNBA betting lines

You can see current WNBA odds and betting lines across a ton of sportsbooks here. There are three main ways to bet on a single basketball game that nearly every sportsbook offers for the WNBA.

1. Money line

For this bet you pick the winner of the game. Moneyline bets on favorite teams are much more likely to win than those on underdogs. Because of that, the favorite’s odds have a minus sign. The underdog’s odds occasionally also have a minus sign if the game is expected to be close, but generally they have a plus sign.

The way the odds (the pluses and minuses you see in a sportsbook) work for moneylines also applies to almost all other types of bets. A minus number means that you have to bet that amount to win $100. Plus odds work the opposite way — you have to bet $100 to win that amount.

These odds work proportionally, so you don’t need to bet that exact amount. Instead of betting $100 on a team to win $200, for example, you can bet $1 to win $2 or $1,000 to win $2,000.

2. Point spread betting

The point spread is popular to bet because it levels the difference in skill between the two teams. The point spread is the number of points that a team is predicted to win or lose by. Basically these are bets on a certain team to win after a handicap is applied to their point total.

The sportsbook sets a line, which is the number of points the better team is favored to win. Then, you can bet on that team to win either by more than that many points, or by fewer than that many. The favorite team get the negative value, and the underdog has the positive value.

The amount of money returned for these bets is determined by the odds attached to them. And unlike with money lines, the odds are typically the same for both sides. It can vary but by far the most common odds for ATS bets are -110. 

When neither team covers the spread the result is a push. A push is the result of a tie between the bettor and the sportsbook, and basically just means you’ll get your money back.

Still confused? Learn about the point spread here.

3. Point totals (over/under)

This is a bet on the total number of points scored between the two teams. The sportsbooks will set a number as the “over/under” for the game, and you just pick whether the final score will go over or under that number.

Sportsbooks will attach odds to both the over and the under to determine how much the bets will pay out, and also like ATS bets, these odds are typically around -110 each way.

There are also parlays. Parlays are when you string together bets to increase winnings. In order to win your parlay, you need to accurately make multiple winning picks. By combining several bets into a parlay, the chances of winning are less, but the rewards are much greater if you pick correctly. Since there aren’t as many betting types offered by sportsbooks for the WNBA as other sports yet, this option will probably be a bit less common for you.

How to bet on the WNBA Draft

Lots of folks enjoy betting on the WNBA Draft too, which is upcoming in April. Here are a few ways you can participate.

1. Prop bet on No. 1 pick

As always, there will be a lot of speculation about who goes number one. You can throw your hat in the ring on this one by picking your favorite player to head to the Mystics this year. Typically you can do these types of props for picks 1-5.

2. Over/under on forwards/guards drafted in Round 1

For this prop you’re just deciding how many players in each position will be drafted in the first round. Keep in mind the first round has just 12 picks total.

How to bet on the WNBA Finals (futures)

There are also a few types of bets specific to certain series or games in the WNBA, such as the WNBA Commissioner’s Cup, the All-Star Game and the Finals. Here are a few terms to know.

1. Half and quarter score totals moneyline

Quarter betting: Prior to each quarter, bettors can wager on reduced game total odds plus which side will win each frame with reduced point spreads and moneylines. 

Halftime betting: Bettors can wager on the first-half results prior to a game and all bets are settled when the contest reaches halftime. While the opening half plays out, and during the intermission, sportsbooks offer live odds based on second half results only. Again, moneylines, totals and point spreads can be bet on.

2. Series money lines

This is when sportsbooks offer moneylines on the series winner. For example for the series winner of the WNBA Finals. Some books allow you to cash out your bet for the current value partway through.

3. Finals MVP

You can bet on who will be chosen as Most Valuable Player before the season even begins –  typically in the week leading up to the regular season. Basically sportsbooks offer money lines on the league MVP. WNBA MVP odds adjust each week throughout the regular season.

4. Total games played

Total games played during the Finals is just another over/under. The bettor is simply wagering on the number of games played.

5. Even more

Sometimes sportsbooks will open up even more ways to participate such as odd or even score, winning margin, or number of games until victory. They also might list player or team prop bets. Such as the first player to hit a field goal or last team to score.

Some more key WNBA betting terms to know:

  • Action: A bet or a wager.
  • Favorite: The team favored to win a game.
  • Futures: Futures bets are long-running betting markets focused on overall results for a team or player. Basically this is a wager that won’t be decided for a long time.
  • Handle: The total amount of money wagered on a WNBA game.
  • In-game wagers: Bets made after a game started.
  • No action: A game that is no longer taking bets and all wagers are refunded.
  • Push: A push is the result of a tie between the bettor and the sportsbook, and basically just means you’ll get your money back.
  • Sportsbook: The place where you can bet on the outcome of the WNBA game/s.
  • Underdog: The team not favored to win a game.
  • Wager: A bet placed at a sportsbook.

You can use OddsSharks’ odds calculator tool to find out how much you could stand to win and the payout you’d receive.

WNBA betting tips

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you bet the WNBA.

1. Bet with “the public.”

Don’t bet against popular public opinion recommends Action Network. While this strategy can work for other leagues, it does not work as well in the WNBA because there are not enough casual bettors to influence the line.

2. Bet the under if both teams just beat the total.

Bet the under, when both teams have gone over the total in their previous game. This has proven to be profitable for the WNBA.

Via Action Network

However, certain WNBA teams in the past have tended to continue hitting the over for extended periods. For example, the Seattle Storm went over the total seven times in their final ten games en route to winning the 2020 WNBA Championships, reports SportsBettingDime.

3. Find value on underdogs.

Big underdogs have historically been undervalued in the WNBA and perform remarkably well against the spread, especially when playing on the road, reports SportsBettingDime. This presents an opportunity to buy low.

4. Stay on Twitter right until tip off.

Because players can and will be pulled from the starting lineup all the way up until the actual start of the game, it’s important to know the line up. Pay attention to social media to catch the journalists tweeting coming out of pre-game press conferences. You can follow our Twitter here. And here are some great reporters:

5. Know the WNBA schedule.

Be aware when teams are on the road and in a series. Players can be tired from travel or team’s being short-handed, and excessive playtime can directly impact the outcome of a game. Pay attention to scheduling, travel distance, and home/road advantages.

6. Know the refs

Because referees significantly impact games’ outcomes, specifically the Over/Under totals, it’s a good idea to try to find out who’s assigned to which games. You can follow referees with one-sided tendencies to the Over and Under, as some refs will call more fouls than others. Those whistles result in foul shots, which means teams are scoring points with the clock stopped – a big boost for Over backers, says Covers.

7. Narrow it down to the last 3 games

Sports betting expert Hakeem Profit on WagerTalk TV says for someone who’s newer to capping, it might be easier to cap the WNBA because there’s less teams. He recommends you look at how teams are doing recently, and narrow it down to the last 3 games. Look at how teams are doing road and home splits. Trends last 5 games, last 10 games. Have a lot of issues with travel or have to take the bus so follow the beat writers to get the inside information.

8. WNBA MVPs tend to spend time in a “big” position

The MVP award has historically most often been given to forward/center players. The only point guards to win are Cynthia Cooper and Diana Taurasi. Also no player representing a team with a regular-season losing record has ever been named MVP.

Discover WNBA betting experts

Great resources beyond Queen Ballers Club to inform your WNBA betting predictions include these expert sources:

Explore WNBA betting forums

Here are a few forums where you can find helpful information for WNBA betting:

  • WNBA Twitter: These are some passionate W reporters and fans who share the latest breaking news and articles.
  • WNBA Reddit: With 11K followers, this community shares the latest articles and videos about the WNBA.
  • WNBA is Life: This Facebook group has frequent updates about the latest league happenings. Fans share anything and everything celebrating the love they have for the W.

Check out Covers for ongoing WNBA season trends.

Free Agency predictions

Gaming Society shared that Liz Cambage’s current odds are super telling because her odds were the only ones that did not favor a return to her current team!

Odds: Los Angeles Sparks +130 (bet $100 → $130), New York Liberty +160, Seattle Storm +500, Las Vegas Aces +600, Field +350 

WNBA Championship odds

Here are a few key trend insights from SportsBettingsDime to consider for WNBA Championship futures:

  • In 24 years of competition, only four WNBA teams who finished as a championship runner-up have gone on to win it all the next year.
  • Seven of the past ten WNBA champions finished the regular season at the top of the league.
  • Of the past 12 WNBA seasons, the Western Conference has been dominant, winning ten of the available championships.
  • Only one team has won their first WNBA title in franchise history over the past eight years: the Washington Mystics in 2019.

The 2022 WNBA draft lottery’s impact on WNBA Championship futures: While there wasn’t a huge shift after the draft lottery, there was a reflection of that fact that DC and Mike Thibault are looking to win a Championship this year, while being awarded the No. 1 WNBA Draft pick. The Mystics opened the day with odds ranging from +1800 at Caesars Sportsbook to +3000 at FanDuel Sportsbook, Bet-Her reports. Those odds were either the seventh-shortest or tied for the seventh-shortest at all books. Within hours of Natasha Cloud landing the top pick in the 2022 draft for Washington DC, FanDuel moved its line to +2500. DraftKings updated its odds to +2500 later in the day.

Prior to the season starting, here are FanDuel’s 2022 WNBA Championship odds:

WNBA championship odds

We’ll take just one as an example (FanDuel) and break it down for you so you can decide which bet to make, if any. Basically the rule of thumb is you should place your bet if you think a team’s chances at winning the Title are much higher than the oddsmakers think they are, not just slightly higher.

Also we always pick a standard amount to wager (we typically do $10 for all bets, and occasionally $30 for ones where we feel strongly). But for the sake of this example, we’ll use $100 as our wager.

First, we look at the implied probability. The implied probability is calculated by dividing the bet by the payout (including the return of original bet). So for the Aces, we’re looking at $100/$475. Then we identify the true probability, which can be calculated by dividing the implied probability by the total of the implied probabilities (in this example 117.85%). So for the Aces, it’s 22.2%/117.85%. So you would only want to bet on the Aces if you think they have significantly more than a 19% shot at winning it all.

And here are PointsBets outrights:

PointsBet wnba championship picks

And DraftKings Championship futures:

Draft Kings WNBA futures
WNBA Championship futures picks

Why start betting on the WNBA?

Today sportsbooks are still often neglecting the league to the point where their lines and odds are inefficient and exploitable, reports Just Women’s Sports. But in the next couple of years the tide could turn. In the meantime, for the WNBA, it can still take hours for sportsbooks to account for injury updates.

Players as impactful as Sylvia Fowles, Brittney Griner, and Candace Parker have all had updates to their status at some point without the spread of their game changing for a good chunk of the day. This leaves you with a window to bet on their team if they are declared healthy or to bet on their opponent if they are ruled out.

One infamous example from 2021 was what happened with the WNBA All-Star game.

WNBA All-Star game points spread

The over/under total on the 2021 WNBA All-Star Game moved 53-points, a historic line movement on a number that Matt Metcalf, sportsbook director for Circa Sports, calls the “worst I ever made.” The movement was the largest shift that multiple veteran bookmakers could ever recall.

It wasn’t caused by any attempt at corruption or by a rush of big wagers. Instead, it was a mistake by an oddsmaker who was short on time. Matt said he didn’t take into account that WNBA All-Stars were facing the U.S. women’s national team, which was tuning up for the Olympics and took the game more seriously than traditional high-scoring All-Star Games that are often played with reduced defense.

Can we expect mistakes that big this year? Probably not, but there could still be opportunity.

WNBA betting can grow the game

With more people locked in to happenings in the league because they have a stake in the games, the game can grow. And growing the game is important.

“This is not just about business. This is deeply personal. This is about the kind of world we want to live in. I am an elite athlete. I am an MVP. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a No. 1 draft pick. I am a WNBA player and I am the president of the WNBPA. And I want young female athletes to dream about playing in a vibrant and thriving WNBA. I want them to dream of having it all.” said Nneka.

Up next, learn all about the latest in possible WNBA expansion.

Don’t let professional women’s basketball stories go untold. Would you be willing to send a $5 tip to our Venmo tip jar because it helps support our reporting? @megsterr.

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