WNBA As Popular As Ever Ahead of Aces vs. Liberty
Chris Marion/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: The official Wilson basketball at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
The two best teams — and two most important markets — in the WNBA face off on Sunday afternoon from Brooklyn.
And amid a historically popular betting season for the WNBA, this game in particular figures to set wide and vast records across the landscape.
Aces vs. Liberty — set to tip off at 3 p.m. on Sunday — is well on track to be the 23rd contest this calendar year with at least $1 million in total handle at the nation's most popular sportsbook: FanDuel.
Prior to 2023, the sportsbook only hosted seven total games with $1 million or more in total bets on a single WNBA game, a FanDuel spokesperson told the Action Network. FanDuel has been live since 2018.
Overall, the number of bets on the WNBA has more than doubled since last season, the FanDuel spokesperson told the Action Network. Individual bets on the marketplace is up 114% year-over-year.
And WNBA handle is up 47% year-over-year.
Away from betting, viewership is up big on the WNBA, too. Views on ABC, CBS, ESPN and ESPN2 is up about 67% year-over-year.
Despite increased popularity across the board, limits remain low for WNBA lines. SuperBook — the online sportsbook for the famous Westgate in Las Vegas — reports that their book generally employs a $1,000 limit on the spread and $500 limit on the total compared to a roughly $5,000 limit on the spread and $1,000 limit on the total in the NBA.
Meanwhile, FanDuel's limits are typically about 4x less for the WNBA on same-day bets compared to, say, MLB.
While the increases in handle across sportsbooks indicate more eyeballs from casual bettors, sharps have made a living off of the WNBA.
With limited liquidity across the marketplace, there tend to be more inefficient lines in the WNBA compared to a higher-limit sport. So, sharps pounce at opening odds, when sportsbooks are more likely to post mispriced lines.
Hence the reason why online books only post WNBA lines 18 to 24 hours before the start of the game. Some even stretch that margin to six hours before game time, on occasion.
Compare that to the NFL, where lines for games in 2024 have already been posted. And those games' limits, despite being five months out? The same as your typical WNBA game.
"The limits are so low that if you get the sharp play on it you just quickly move and adjust off it — you'll find that settling point without having too much liability," said Jake Sherman, the vice president of risk management at SuperBook. "But there's more eyes on the WNBA now with the television coverage that has expanded. Each year [sportsbooks] get sharper and sharper and more difficult to beat."
The Action Network's Chase Howell contributed to this report.