Money ball: WNBA gambling is on the upswing

LAS VEGAS — She has been an overwhelming presence on basketball courts the past couple of years, but those who have been riding under lately in Caitlin Clark point totals at the South Point have been rewarded.

The sportsbook has kept 20.5 on the WNBA’s star rookie for Indiana, and May 20 against the Sun, she tallied 17 points. May 30 against the Storm, 20. And last Saturday against the Sky, in a Fever triumph, Clark registered just 11.

The South Point has been offering four Clark categories, but in that trio of games, an over hit only once, with eight total rebounds (5.5 total, over -130) against the Sky.

Chris Andrews, who runs the shop, said Clark’s first season of pro ball, after wildly successful junior and senior campaigns at Iowa, has helped generate 10 times more handle, or overall wagers, than a year ago.

“Still relatively small, compared to other sports,” he said. “That shows you how small it was before, but it’s on a great trajectory.”

Some have wagered $2,000, the South Point’s WNBA maximum. Should that popularity continue, Andrews will expand his prop menu to include other players.

“For whatever reason, this girl has hit a nerve,” Andrews said of Clark. “Sometimes, you just never know how that happens. …Some say race means something, which is probably part of it. But you never know why certain things hit a nerve and others don’t. I can’t explain it. Probably nobody else can explain it, either.”


The Westgate SuperBook has been offering WNBA props, too, but only on the hometown Aces. Executive vice president Jay Kornegay has noticed more interest in women’s hoops.

“I’d guess by about 25%,” he said. “We certainly have seen a spike over past years. The props have been very popular, receiving a lot of attention from the general public.”

In the Aces’ game at Atlanta on May 31, there were points (25.5) and rebounds (11.5) props for A’ja Wilson, points (19.5) and assists (5.5) by Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young’s points (20.5).

At 28 points, Wilson’s over paid at -115, but her nine boards won the under at even money. Under at -110 in points, with Plum, barely cashed when she scored 19, and her assists (over at +110) narrowly paid dividends, too, with six.

Young tallied 15 points, paying under at -115, or risk $115 to win $100.

The WNBA menu at DraftKings is ridiculously deep, but we advise passing on any three-way parlay DK dangles.

On Sunday, it concocted a dozen props for Indiana-New York. For the Fever, Clark had a point total of 18.5 (under -130, over even) and three-pointers at 2.5 (under +120, over -160).

Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu’s points were 17.5 (-115 both ways), and threes at 2.5 (under +135, over -175).

New York won 102-66. Ionescu totaled just 14 points with two made three-pointers; Clark registered nine and one, respectively. A 31.5 combination of assists, rebounds and points for Clark (who had six, seven and nine) cashed -110 under tickets.


The WNBA has actually been a viable betting option, according to second-generation Vegas oddsman Kenny White, since its inception in 1997.

“For a long time, there were certain spots,” he said. “They’d fly like we do, commercially, with the general population. This is the first year of charter flights for them. I go back to John Kelly and the ‘Stardust Line.’ ”

Kelly had hosted that popular late-night weekend sports-betting radio show, whose KDWN signal boosted it to much of the West, for more than 10 years. It ended in the summer of 2006.

“It was the main sport John bet, the WNBA,” White said. “It had a lot of [soft] spots in it that you could bet, and we’ve been betting it for years.”

An official at one book informed me how the father of one now-retired WNBA player has been so successful betting it, higher-ups paid close attention, and adjusted, the games on which he’d wager.

Some, like well-known pro bettor Steve Fezzik, have been turned off by the recent antics and drama involving Clark and, well, pick an opponent. She has certainly received cheap shots, but she’s slammed into some very legal picks, too.

At the box office, Clark’s two games last weekend averaged more than 17,000 spectators, while the seven other games averaged 7,000 apiece.

“I will avoid the WNBA,” Fezzik wrote Sunday on X. “These dumbo players get handed the Caitlin Clark lifeline to boost their horrible ratings/attendance, and they respond with 100% petty jealousy.

“CFL starts in a week. A much better product to watch, IMO.”


We, though, dodge the drama, preferring to cash tickets. Like John Kelly and Kenny White knew long ago, there are situations to exploit in the WNBA.

Twice in her first five games, Clark surpassed that 20.5-point benchmark.

However, she’d done so only once in six games, through Wednesday, according to

In addition, WNBA away teams, through Tuesday, have covered the spread at a 59.8% clip (30-20-1), and away dogs have cashed 62.1% (20-12-1) of the time.

The league’s top two teams, Connecticut (9-0) and New York (8-2), have been 4-5 and 3-7, respectively, ATS. Washington (0-9) and Dallas (3-4) were a combined 9-6-1 ATS. Plus, seven of 11 Fever games have sailed over their totals.

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