Handicapping the Women's National Basketball Association
While John McEnroe gets beat up this week apologizing to all females for his version being honest about women vs. men's tennis, something more profound came to mind. How do we assess the greater challenge of handicapping the "skill of "betting" on NBA basketball vs. the WNBA (Women's National Basketball Association)?
Any dope could have put a bundle back in November at -160 on the Warriors to win the NBA Championship. But who you like in this Saturday night's New York Liberty-Atlanta Dream WBNA match-up? Should we lay -4.5 on the Dream at home, who always seem to play their best in Atlanta? But be cautious as these ladies seem to play better as a dog. Oops...didn't want to insult any talented, athletic ladies by insinuating that anybody on the team is a dog. Like McEnroe, you can get in big trouble saying anything in comparison here.
Stats are Available
The good news is reliable wagering WBNA statistics are available on numbers powerhouse website StatFox. And at first glance, they don't look any different than NBA numbers with against the spread figures, Over/Under totals, player field goal percentages, free throws, etc. Therefore, if you come up with winners based on fact, not on happenstance you can brag and take some satisfaction from doing your homework here. I'll bet you didn't know the Washington Mystics make an incredible 87.7% of their free throws. That's impressible at any basketball level, male or female.
Defensive statistics are also available as are comprehensive stats on StatFox dating back all the way to 1997. But honestly, if you're investing time doing this you're likely also comparing Super Bowl coin flips and Home Run Derby history.
Profile of a WBNA Bettor
Likely one piece of information that does not exist in life is WHO is betting WBNA basketball.
Once the NBA and NHL season is completed, there truly is a void in the market until traditional NFL and NCAA football wagering begins in September. It seems that daily Major League Baseball wagering can be either too dull or one-dimensional to satisfy all players. Are men starting to turn to the WNBA as a temporary alternative or are some women gaining interest in wagering here?
All preferred offshore sportsbooks feature WBNA wagering and interest has steadily increased over the last few years. You can bet WBNA point spread, money line or Over/Under Totals at major books like BetOnline, Bovada, Diamond Sports for two months or so up until their championship finals in mid-September.
What I really want to know is are men secretly screaming at their televisions watching WBNA games, rooting for their team to cover? Not simply win the game and defeat their opponent. Do they openly admit they do this with their close friends or their wives? Hey, as Seinfeld used to say, "not like there's anything wrong with it".
Perhaps I should elicit the first WBNA wagering survey for the league to unearth all this interesting information and key data. The biggest problem will be no doubt finding an ample number of guys to sign up. The ratings on ESPN 2 are starting to reasonably climb. Are those results coming from loyal female fans or "closet male bettors". Or perhaps women interested wagering on WNBA basketball but not upon other U.S. sports. This could be the hidden secret evidence and enhanced information the American Gaming Association could utilize to convince the government to overturn PASPA toward legalizing U.S. wagering. Hmmmm.
"Integrity" of the Game
Another unquestioned difference of the WBNA game is the honesty and credibility of its players. No multi-million-dollar contract or endorsement deals here. And I wouldn't dare believe anyone would suspect any power forward or point guard could be "bought" for a price. Just not enough wagering money at stake (yet) and more important, no one would dare believe any woman could be lured into any illegal organized wagering activity versus a potential NBA male counterpart. Wow, wouldn't that make for an incredible movie?
Wise Advice for Wise Guys
The most amazing aspect of WBNA betting could be the line itself. Like any other sport, the principle inventing each game's line is the intention to best balance wagering for both sides and lay the foundation so neither team is at an obvious advantage. Also of course balancing action on Totals wagering.
Since Nevada and top online sportsbooks do not receive a large amount of wagering dollars on the WBNA and have much less historical action to count upon, it is a much greater challenge establishing an opening betting line. That could be a huge, huge advantage to any bettor with a keen eye and talent for exploiting this unique opportunity. Certainly not enough to make a killing, but a nice pool flying under the radar screen until true kick-off time in September.
I say let's support the very competitive 12 team WBNA and all do our small part to increase interest by wagering a few dollars on the outcome. It makes a lot more sense than betting NFL pre-season, which has zero historical logic nor any individual team incentive to win. Yes, I know Major League baseball is still around in July and August but the Yankees and Cubs don't need any new fans or more support. And we all just might be under appreciating the WBNA game. Just don't try to convince McEnroe.
Glenn Greene covers the games from a betting angle every week exclusively at OSGA.com. For weekly betting insights, inlcuding previews and picks from Glenn, click here.