Betting Advice and Analysis For NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament
Recently, women's college basketball has seen an influx of parity. It’s no longer Connecticut at the top and then everyone else.
No longer is it a foregone conclusion the Huskies will reel in all of the top recruits. The overall game has also improved through the years.
There are more talented players across the country than there has ever been as the game has continued to grow, resulting in the competitive landscape we see in the sport now.
These factors have contributed to a power shift in women’s college basketball. Now, it’s South Carolina that’s seen as the juggernaut while perennial powers such as defending champion Stanford and Baylor are also legitimate contenders once again.
UConn hasn’t won a title since 2016 when it won its fourth consecutive national championship. The Huskies are one of the favorites again but come in with more uncertainty because of Paige Bueckers’ injury.
To help you with your sports betting on the women’s tournament, here’s an overview of the top two favorites and my pick to win it all.
South Carolina +185 FanDuel Sportsbook
South Carolina is the best team in the country. The Gamecocks have one of the best front courts in the country and suffocate its opponents defensively.
Aliyah Boston is likely going to garner multiple player of the year awards. She averages 16.8 points, 12 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game and set an SEC record with her 20th straight double-double on Feb. 24.
Boston then closed the regular season and SEC Tournament with four more double-doubles to extend her record-setting streak to 24. If it wasn’t for a 78-39 blowout win over Elon on Nov. 26 where she only played 21 minutes, her streak would likely be longer.
At 6-foot-5, Boston has the strength and athleticism to overpower her opponents in the post. Her footwork is sound, too, and she can finish with either hand.
South Carolina has the luxury to throw it to her in the post for an easy score or draw a double to find an open man. She was at her best during a 73-57 win over UConn on Nov. 22 when she had 22 points, 15 rebounds while making 10 of 19 shots.
The Gamecocks also have one of the best backcourts with Zia Cooke and Destanni Henderson. Both have an explosive first step and create and score off the dribble. Cooke scored 17 in the win over UConn, while Henderson added 15.
But it’s on the defensive end where South Carolina is at its best. The Gamecocks have the best defense statistically, limiting opponents to 51.7 points per game — fourth-best in the country.
South Carolina has the country’s best defensive field goal percentage, only allowing its opponents to make 33% of its shot attempts. The Gamecocks also lead the country in blocks per game at 7.8. USC is a distant second at 6.3.
I can’t blame anyone if they want to back South Carolina to win it all. The team has no discernible weaknesses, but at +185, it’s hard to get excited for a futures bet at those odds.
South Carolina is coming off a 64-62 loss to Kentucky in the SEC Championship game. It was just the second loss for the team this year.
The common denominator between the defeat to Kentucky and losing to Missouri? Three-point shooting. Kentucky made 6 of 14 attempts from beyond the arc, including the game-winning score.
Missouri converted on 7 of 15 shots from 3 when it pulled the upset. If South Carolina is going to lose, its opponent may have to get hot from the perimeter.
UConn +350 FanDuel and DraftKings
It’s been an abnormal year for the Huskies. For the first time since 2006, the program lost at least five games before the NCAA Tournament.
One of those was a 72-69 loss to Villanova, which snapped the Huskies’ 145-game regular-season conference winning streak.
The Huskies’ dominance stretched to March 2013 and was the longest streak in NCAA women’s basketball history. Including the conference tournament, the streak was 169 games.
The biggest storyline for UConn is the health of Bueckers. One of the most highly-touted recruits, as a freshman, Bueckers averaged 20 points, 5.7 assists and 4.9 rebounds as she was given the 2021 Naismith Trophy, annually awarded to the top player in college basketball.
But this has been a trying season for Bueckers. On Dec. 5, she went down with a knee injury during the final moments of a 73-54 win over Notre Dame. She did not return until Feb. 25 and has yet to play more than 18 minutes in a game this season.
UConn will need a fully healthy Bueckers to contend for a national title, but it remains uncertain if she can get to that point.
Since Bueckers has returned, UConn has been dominant. The team is 5-0, winning each game by an average of 41.2 points.
UConn’s closest margin during that span was a 71-51 win over Marquette in the Big East Tournament semifinals.
The Huskies then routed Villanova 70-40 in the Big East title game to avenge the earlier defeat and put themselves in position to earn the No. 2 seed in the Bridgeport regional.
The Huskies are in great form right now, and playing without Bueckers for a stretch could pay dividends in the tournament after forcing other players to step up. But for now, there’s too much uncertainty with Bueckers for me to willingly back UConn.
Iowa +4000 FanDuel
This is all about Caitlin Clark. The most exciting player in college basketball since Steph Curry is good enough to bring the Hawkeyes a national title. She’s the best player in college basketball right now and is doing things that have never been done before.
In January, she became the first college player to record back-to-back triple doubles while scoring 30 points or more in both games. Currently, she’s averaging 27.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 7.9 assists, making her the first woman to lead the country in both scoring and assists.
With Clark, Iowa has the second-leading scoring offense, averaging 84.5 points per game. The Hawkeyes also shoot the best field goal percentage in the country (50.4%).
Clark’s logo 3s are impressive but it’s her passing that really transforms Iowa into one of the most efficient offenses in the country.
Whether it’s in the pick-and-roll or drawing multiple defenders before kicking, Clark’s vision and ball skills regularly set her teammates up for open looks on the perimeter or for layups.
This leads to plenty of looks from 3. Iowa is 34th in the country in 3-point percentage (35%) but can go nuclear from deep. In the 104-80 win over Michigan, the Hawkeyes made 16 of 29 attempts from beyond the arc.
The 3-point volatility could lead to a boom or bust type of run for Iowa, but given the team’s recent form, backing Iowa at +4000 on FanDuel Sportsbook is worth it.
The Hawkeyes won seven games to close the season, including the Big Ten Tournament championship. Iowa defeated a top 5 Indiana team three times during that stretch and No. 6 Michigan.
The victory over Michigan was the complete Caitlin Clark experience. She hit multiple deep 3s and finished with 38 points, including 8 of 11 from 3-point range, and tallied 11 assists. In the Big Ten semifinals against Nebraska, she also went off for 41 points.
At +4000, give me the team with the best player and biggest upside in the tournament.
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