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LSU-Iowa most-bet women's game of all time

Written by 
Published in Breaking News
Tuesday, 02 April 2024 15:54

The highly anticipated rematch between LSU and Iowa in the Elite Eight of the NCAA women's basketball tournament lived up to expectations Monday night.

It also raised the bar for betting handle in women's sports.

The contest, which saw the Hawkeyes avenge their 2023 championship game loss to the Tigers, was the most-bet women's game of all time at sportsbooks across America, including ESPN BET, DraftKings, FanDuel, BetMGM and Caesars, they all confirmed to ESPN.

ESPN BET said the game took more than double the number of bets as Iowa's Sweet 16 matchup with Colorado on Saturday, previously the book's most-bet women's game ever (ESPN BET launched in November). Other books said Monday's game exceeded the mark set by the LSU-Iowa championship game last April, with FanDuel saying this one garnered a 28% increase in handle to be its most-bet women's sporting event of all time.

Monday's LSU-Iowa showdown more than held its own against incumbent betting sports.

At ESPN BET, the game was Monday's most popular event and drew more bets than any NHL game and all but one MLB and NBA game in the last week. DraftKings, FanDuel and BetMGM similarly reported that the big game drew more bets and handle than any other event on the Monday night sports slate.

"It was a special night for the game and for the sportsbook as we saw record handles in both pregame and live in-play action," BetMGM trading manager Seamus Magee said.

Aside from the publicity, the heavy handle likely benefited the betting public more than it benefited the sportsbooks. The Hawkeyes largely attracted the majority of bets and handle for the contest, ultimately covering their 1.5-to-2.5-point spread as favorites with a comfortable 94-87 victory. Iowa's run through the tournament continues to be a liability in the futures market.

While the starpower of Caitlin Clark and Angel Reese is difficult to match, UConn's Paige Bueckers and USC's JuJu Watkins proved to be a decent betting draw for Monday night's other regional final.

ESPN BET said that showdown was the third-most-bet game of Monday night -- behind the NBA's Phoenix Suns-New Orleans Pelicans contest -- but that was still good enough to make it the book's second-most-bet women's college basketball game of all time. BetMGM reported it was a top-three women's game of all time for betting, while DraftKings said that it did better numbers than any other game Monday night, adding that both women's games put up comparable handle to some NFL contests.

For as unprecedented as LSU-Iowa was for the betting world, it could be a short-lived record. Friday's UConn-Iowa matchup in the Final Four and a potential Iowa-South Carolina rematch in the national championship game could both surpass it.

"Iowa and Caitlin Clark attract plenty of attention, as does UConn," Magee said. "While we can't say with certainty that it will eclipse the historic numbers of the LSU-Iowa rivalry, we do expect that it will be an extremely popular matchup that will see a lot of activity for the books."

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