How to bet on the WNBA: Moneylines, props, futures and more

How to bet on the WNBA: Moneylines, props, futures and more

The WNBA’s popularity has been growing rapidly in recent years. After a successful 25th season and a renewed push to bring a team to Canada, you may be wondering how to bet on the WNBA.

When looking to place a bet on the WNBA, you’ll notice there are many different markets made available by the oddsmaker. Almost all operate like their NBA counterpart, which you can read about in our NBA betting guide.

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How to bet on the WNBA

There are three active Canadians in the WNBA—Kia Nurse, Bridget Carleton and Natalie Achonwa. If you wanted to wager on their teams, how many points they would score, or even place an MVP futures bet down, there would be markets for that.

We’ll go through all the possible WNBA betting options here, as well as the best ways to wager on them, starting with the moneyline bet.

Moneyline

Moneyline betting is the most straightforward way to place a bet on the WNBA. All you have to do is pick the winning team, and if you’re right, your bet will cash.

One team will be designated as the favourite, with a minus (-) sign attached to its odds, and one team will be an underdog, with a plus (+) sign.

Lots of factors are involved in the designation of a favourite, including injuries, matchups, team trends and rest, but typically it revolves around who has the better players.

For example, the Las Vegas Aces would surely be sizeable favorites (-450) at home against the Atlanta Dream, while the Seattle Storm could be a small favorite (-110) on the road against the Chicago Sky.

The odds tell you how much you would profit depending on the stake you wagered and the implied probability of each team winning.

Here are some more examples:

-110: Bet $110 to win $100 (52.38% implied probability)
-450: Bet $450 to win $100 (81.82% implied probability)
-1000: Bet $1000 to win $100 (90.91% implied probability)
+175: At $100 bet wins $175 (36.36% implied probability)
+250: At $100 bet win $250 (28.57% implied probability)

When wagering, it’s probably not the best idea to take heavy favorites (-1000) on the moneyline, as the return on investment generally isn’t worth the risk of an upset.

Great teams, like the defending champion Chicago Sky, often have little value on their moneyline odds.  Photo by Paul Beaty/AP.

If you really believe a team will win and they are sitting around -200, that’s still a heavy price tag, but it’s far more reasonable from a value standpoint.

When betting on heavy underdogs, it’s advisable to wager in smaller amounts — you’re more likely to lose, but the ROI is high.

Against the spread (ATS)

Want to bet the Aces against the Dream but without the -450 moneyline? That’s where betting against the spread can help.

Each favorite is given a number of points they have to win by in order to cover the spread. This allows for bettors to wager on uneven matchups at even odds, as spread bets are typically -110 per side.

Let’s assume the Aces are 7.5-point favorites (denoted as -7.5). That means they’d have to win the game by eight or more points in order to cover the spread. If you bet on the Dream, as 7.5-point underdogs (+7.5), they could lose by seven or fewer points — or win straight up — to cover.

You can also bet on the first-half spread, which is based on the margin of a team’s lead or deficit at halftime. Using the Aces-Dream example, the first-half spread would likely sit at around -4.5 for Las Vegas. If the Aces went into halftime with a 45-40 lead, they’d cover the first-half spread.

There are also options to choose alternate spreads, which allow you to buy or sell points back to the book. For the hypothetical Aces-Dream matchup, if you think Vegas will blow out Atlanta, you could change the line to -11.5 — selling four more points for longer odds but the potential for a greater return.

Then again, if you think it’ll be a close game, consider shifting the line down to -4.5. In this case, you’d be buying three points for shorter odds. Alternate spreads would look something like this:

Standard Spread: Aces -7.5 (-110) vs. Dream +7.5 (-110)
Alternate Spread #1: Aces -11.5 (+250) vs. Dream +11.5 (-175)
Alternate Spread #2: Aces -4.5 (-150) vs. Dream +4.5 (+160)

Totals

If you aren’t comfortable picking a game’s winner, consider betting on the game’s total points (also referred to as the over/under, or O/U).

Each game will be assigned a point total, and you’ll be tasked with predicting whether the actual total will fall above or below that line.

For example, if the total in a Minnesota Lynx vs. Connecticut Sun game is set at 176.5, a game total of 177 or higher would cash the over, while 176 or lower would cash the under. WNBA totals feature smaller numbers than the NBA because the games are 40 minutes long, comprised of four 10-minute quarters.

Several factors go into setting totals, such as team pace stats, offensive efficiency, shooting percentage and recent form, among others. Odds on the over/under are usually set at -110 per side, which means neither outcome has the upper hand for implied probability.

If you believe one team is going to score a lot of points while the other won’t, betting on team totals could be a better option.

Using the Lynx-Sun example, let’s assume Connecticut is a 5.5-point favourite. The Sun’s team total may be set at 91.5 points, while the Lynx’s would be at around 85.5, to account for the spread. If you want to bet the over on the Lynx team total, they would have to score 86 points or more for the wager to cash.

Much like betting against the spread, there are options to choose alternate totals. You can move the line up or down to your liking, which will change the accompanying odds.

How to bet on WNBA props

Betting props in the WNBA is a way to bet on specific outcomes within any game. For this section, we’ll focus on player props.

You can bet on the number of points Breanna Stewart will score, the number of rebounds Tina Charles will collect, or the number of assists Sue Bird will dish out. Many other options exist, too, including 3-pointers made and double-double props.

Prop lines will be set according to how a player is performing recently and won’t necessarily have even odds associated with it. If Stewart was on a tear, the over for her points total may be -140, while the under could be set at +120.

Player props, such as how many assists Sue Bird will record in a game, are a big betting market.  Photo by Matt York/AP.

There are options to bet alternate prop lines as well. Let’s use Bird’s assist prop as an example.

The original line could be set at: Over 4.5 assists (-115) / Under 4.5 assists (-105). If you believed Bird was going to have a big game you could tease it up: Over 6.5 assists (+280) / Under 6.5 assists (-300).

Parlays

Parlaying is a way to combine multiple bets into one ticket at longer odds. The benefit of a parlay is it allows the bettor to mix moneylines, props, spreads and totals into one ticket.

For a parlay to cash, the bettor has to hit each individual event (known as a leg) of the parlay. If one leg loses, the entire parlay loses, too. As more legs are added to a parlay, the chances of winning decreases while the potential payout increases.

Sue Bird over 4.5 assists (-115)
Seattle Storm -6.5 (-110)
Sparks/Mystics over 174.5 (-110)
New York Liberty moneyline (+220)

This bet would have +2080 odds, meaning a $100 wager would have the chance to lead to $2080 in profit. But the implied probability is only 4.59%.

Parlays can be tantalizing, but it’s important to not get wrapped up in the possibility of a large payout.

How to bet on WNBA futures

Futures betting allows you to place a bet on an outcome that will occur down the line. The two most common future markets are WNBA Finals winner and league MVP.

As of March 2022, the Connecticut Sun are favored at most sportsbooks to win the WNBA title at +350 while the Indiana Fever hold the longest odds at +8000. The reigning champion Chicago Sky sits at +425 to defend their title.

Futures markets are open from preseason up until the Finals begin. The odds can drastically fluctuate based on trades, injury, team form and more.

If the Fever somehow started the season off 10-0, their odds would certainly drop from +8000 to a much lower price.

Live betting

Live betting is a way to wager on a game that has already begun. Odds will swing dramatically as a contest progresses. A team that opened as a 6.5-point favorite could be a moneyline underdog if it fell behind early.

If you believe that team will make a comeback, you’ve now got a prime opportunity to back it in a live betting market.

Similarly, live totals change based on the pace of scoring throughout a game. If a total opens at 180.5 points, but the score is 40-31 at halftime, the live total might be adjusted to around 149.5.

You can live bet other markets, too, such as player props, and make in-game parlays as well.

PA

Avery Perri writes about sports betting for NorthStar Bets. NorthStar Bets is owned by NordStar Capital, which also owns Torstar, the Star’s parent company. Follow him on Twitter: @AveryPerri

Disclaimer This content was produced as part of a partnership and therefore it may not meet the standards of impartial or independent journalism.

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