Posted on: July 10, 2024, 02:02h. 

Last updated on: July 10, 2024, 02:53h.

Indiana Fever rookie Caitlin Clark is already one of the most visible players in the WNBA and that recognition is clear in the world of sports wagering, as data confirm games in which she plays draw more bets than the average WNBA tilt.

Caitlin Clark
Indiana Fever star Caitlin Clark (left) in a recent game. She’s driving a surge in WNBA betting. (Image: Michael Ainsworth/AP)

In a new report, Optimove, a provider of customer relationship management (CRM) tools for iGaming and sportsbook operators, said that it studied “over 15 million bets placed on 43 WNBA games,” confirming that Clark prompts elevated levels of engagement among WNBA bettors, and to a significant extent at that.

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Data confirm Caitlin Clark is driving a surge in WNBA betting. (Image: Optimove)

“Optimove, conducted a comprehensive analysis of betting behavior for WNBA games in May 2024. The results reveal that games featuring Caitlin Clark and her team, the Indiana Fever, saw an average 380% increase in bets compared to the baseline game,” according to the technology provider.

The largest increase in handle for a game involving Clark was a clash between the Fever and the Connecticut Sun, but Optimove didn’t specify which contest it was. The two teams have played three times this season, with the Sun winning each time.

Caitlin Clark Carryover Effect from College

The WNBA is increasing in popularity and much of it has to do with highly visible new stars such as Clark and her college rival Angel Reese. Reese, an LSU product, plays for the Chicago Sky.

Speaking of college women’s hoops, the effect Clark is having on WNBA betting is a carryover phenomenon from her playing days at Iowa when that team’s contests drew significantly more bets than the typical NCAA women’s game.

The 2024 title game between Clark’s Iowa squad and eventual winner, South Carolina, drew “a 620% increase in bets over the baseline game,” according to Optimove, while the average college game in which Clark played saw the total number of wagers surge 540%.

The tech firm’s “analysis of the 2024 NCAA March Madness tournament for women and the WNBA games played in May reveals that individual players can significantly influence the betting landscape.”

Even Without Clark, WNBA Betting on the Rise

While Clark is getting most of the credit and some is flowing to Reese, among others, WNBA recognition and visibility in the betting community is increasing even without the league’s new-found star power.

Even before the arrival of Clark and Reese, data indicated WNBA betting was on the rise, helped by the success of teams such as the Las Vegas Aces and the New York Liberty. That much is apparent this year as games in which Clark isn’t playing are still seeing a significant increase in total number of wagers placed. That’s consistent with a theme seen during the 2023-24 college campaign.

“Games without Caitlin Clark still experienced a 162% increase over the baseline,” concluded Optimove.

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