Women’s basketball is on the rise thanks to a handful of stars ushering in the next generation of the sport. The parity in the WNBA may be its calling card, as five of the league’s 12 teams have won championships from 2010-18. Three others have at least made an appearance in the Finals.
Similar to the NBA, WNBA wagers consist of typical point spreads , moneylines and over-under point totals. If the Seattle Storm are hosting the Minnesota Lynx and are -200 to win the game outright, a bet of €200 would yield €100 in winnings. Likewise, if the underdog Lynx are +150 to pull off an upset, a wager of €100 would net winnings of €150.
In that same scenario, the Storm might be -5.5 against the spread (and, thus, the Lynx are +5.5 against the spread). Spreads usually cost bettors between -105 and -115, and are determined as winner or losers based on the final score, plus (in Minnesota’s case) or minus (in Seattle’s case) the spread.
Over-under point totals follow the same costs as spreads. If the Seattle-Minnesota game has an over-under of 164.5, bettors can wager that similar -110 cost that the combined points will go over or under that total. Individual player proposition bets are also typical and follow this same pattern.
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Though there is a certain “team” feel to the WNBA when compared to the isolation-heavy NBA, with just 12 teams it helps to have star power.
Most Valuable Player candidates constantly find themselves in the hunt for the league’s best record while playing deep into the postseason. And while we likely won’t see anything like what the Warriors in the NBA put together in adding Kevin Durant, stars want to play together.
Also, with just 34 regular-season games players have more staying power. Unlike the NBA, where stars are playing upwards of 90 games (postseason included), the wear and tear of WNBA stars is less; many players play overseas in the offseason, but the point remains.
Finding the team with the best player in a certain matchup is usually a good place to start when considering a wager.
The talent pool isn’t as great in the WNBA as it is in other professional leagues, meaning there are opportunities for rookies to make instant impacts. As we mentioned, there’s tremendous parity in the league.
Part of that comes from franchises finding talent with the top picks in the draft and seeing them turn around fortunes of a team. This can be especially important early in the season before oddsmakers have adjusted their own projections.
If a young rookie is trending upward, chances are better in the WNBA than other leagues that it will yield immediate results.
Naturally, with just 12 teams in the league – and even with a 34-game schedule – these teams are rather familiar with each other. Playing all 11 teams at least three times in about a three-month span mean trends are more significant and less an aberration.
Perhaps this means games are closer because there’s less of an advantage, similar to other leagues and divisional opponents. In a sense every team is a divisional opponent.
The WNBA postseason is incredibly unique. Eight of the 12 teams advance to the playoffs, with the top two seeds receiving byes all the way to the league semifinals. The third and fourth seeded teams receive byes to the quarterfinals.
So when considering championship title odds, there is a huge advantage for the top and second-seeded teams in the regular season. The first two rounds of the postseason are one-game, winner-take-all “series.”
There’s zero room for error. When the semifinals roll around it becomes a best-of-five format. So a top-two seed needs to earn six total postseason games to win it all.
Like all professional sports, home teams have a distinct advantage. The fact that teams are playing as often as they are in such a short timespan can make travel hectic. Oddsmakers will account for home teams like they do in all professional sports, but it can tip the scale if a bettor is leaning one way or the other.
Coaches coach to their roster’s skill set. The WNBA has continued the trend in all basketball of relying more on 3-pointers. That increases point totals, but so too does the pace a particular team plays at. A more defensive-minded team will want to slow pace. A more athletic team may want to get up and down.
Looking at a team’s specific pace – and whether a bettor believes that team will control the pace – can make a significant difference when considering an over-under point total bet.
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