As interest in women’s basketball continues to grow, so does the WNBA and college basketball betting market. This was on full display historically for the 2022 NCAA Women’s Tournament.
This year’s women’s tournament has taken more bets and money than ever, according to at least two sportsbooks. With a standalone slot on ESPN on Sunday night, the national championship game between South Carolina and UConn was the highest-bet women’s game ever on BetMGM and PointsBet.
South Carolina entered the tournament as the +180 favorite and took a 64-49 win, easily covering the 4.5-point gap.
It wasn’t just the national championship that sparked interest, but the tournament as a whole set records from a betting perspective. The amount of individual bets on the NCAA Women’s Tournament increased by 71% on PointsBet. The total amount of dollars wagered was 488% higher than last year, PointsBet Trading analyst Michael Korn told Action Network.
The final game featured everything you could ask for as a fan. There was star power on the court with Paige Bueckers and Aliyah Boston, two well-known coaches in Geno Auriemma and Dawn Staley and the top programs in the country. But the tournament was full of special players and highlights.
In the Elite Eight, UConn needed a heroic effort from Bueckers to top No. 1 seed NC State in double overtime. That was after NC State passed Notre Dame in the Sweet 16 with a miraculous fourth-quarter comeback.
A pair of underdogs made runs with No. 10 South Dakota falling just short of the Sweet 16 against Michigan and No. 10 Creighton advancing to the Elite Eight.
Taylor Van Lith has become a star for Louisville. Defending champion Stanford was stopped by UConn in a Final Four classic. But in the end, no one could match South Carolina, the undisputed best team in the country all season.
The betting market records are undoubtedly impacted by the increase in legal sports betting options across the country. However, the increase in ratings continues the trend of recent years.
Last year’s league game was the most watched title game since 2014. UConn’s Elite Eight win this year over NC State was the most watched women’s football at 16. Overall, Elite Eight’s viewership grew by 29%, according to Nielsen estimates.
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