Women’s College Basketball

  • The exclusion of offshore sportsbooks and state restrictions contribute to a lower 2024 tournament betting estimate compared to 2023.
  • State regulations on college teams and player prop bets limit local sportsbook action.
  • The lack of women’s March Madness tournament betting odds helps show there could be even more money bet on college basketball.

PHOENIX – For 2024, the AGA estimates that $2.72 billion, excluding brackets and casual bets with friends, will be wagered on March Madness. A 55% increase over Super Bowl betting, this is also the 6th year in a row that the number of states with legal sports betting increased from the last iteration.

Past AGA March Madness Betting Estimates

Year American Adults Betting Amount Wagered (in billions) Key Findings
2023 68 million $15.5 billion A quarter of American adults plan to wager. Growth in betting driven by bracket contests and legal online wagering
2022 45 million $3.1 billion Greater share (76%) of bets placed through non-bracket channels.
2021 47 million Data not provided Dramatic increase in Americans wagering with sportsbooks. 3x more wagering via online sportsbooks compared to 2019.
2019 47 million $8.5 billion $4.6 billion wagered on 149 million brackets by more than 40 million people

But, why is the 2024 estimate so far off from the 2023 estimate?

This is because the AGA also excluded offshore sportsbooks from their estimates for the first time. Evident from the strong drop off compared to past years, the local books seem to only take in about 15-20% of the action compared to legal online sportsbooks.

The numbers drop even more due to several states prohibiting bets on college games featuring local teams, or on player prop bets in general. While Connecticut, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Vermont make exceptions for local team betting during the tournament, the focus on collegiate betting scandals has regulators rethinking.

While none of these restrictions carry with online sportsbooks, we can expect the amount bet on March Madness 2024 to be closer to $18 billion throughout the US.

Following The Personalities

Some also look to the lack of an identity as the reason for the decline. Unlike women’s basketball which has a four-year requirement, the new faces of the NCAA men’s bracket haven’t been sold as much as the women.

Notable names like Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese drew almost 10 million viewers to the women’s final last year – the most ever.

This women’s basketball season, the most minutes were watched (2.6 billion) on ESPN and Clark’s Big 10 Championship game saw 3 million viewers, peaking with a higher crowd once overtime started (4.45 million).

The shift in focus to women’s college basketball isn’t too much of a surprise based on the last two years, but legal sports betting operators haven’t caught up.

Legal sportsbooks online offer dozens of props bets for every men’s game, futures wagers, conditional bets on where teams will finish, who will be the tournament scoring leader, and much more. But, the women’s tab at sportsbooks only holds futures odds on who will win the women’s bracket this year.

Hard to find, there are also special wagers for betting college basketball… but the focus on them is a joke compared to the men’s side. While the men’s props focus on team head to heads, the number of wins by conference, and how many buzzer beaters there will be, the sole women’s tournament prop bets focus on something outside of the game.

To Attend Any Iowa Hawkeyes Tournament Game

  • Travis Scott -200
  • LeBron James (LAL) +120
  • Jake From State Farm +200
  • Tom Brady +200
  • Jason Sudeikis +200
  • Patrick Mahomes +240
  • Joe Biden +250
  • Donald Trump +325
  • Mila Kunis +400
  • Brittney Griner (PHX) +400
  • Caitlyn Jenner +500
  • Drake +500
  • Alex Morgan +500
  • Amy Schumer +500

Until sportsbooks can create more prop bets on Caitlin Clark like when she hits three-pointer number 538, we can expect sportsbooks to be leaving money on the table.

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