The WNBA opens its 18th season to thunderous applause this Friday. Well, maybe not thunderous. And, maybe not applause. More like a slow sarcastic clap.
Most often, the league serves as a better punchline than entertainment but like all sports – popular or not – a little wager can quickly make you a die-hard fan. And as ridiculed as the WNBA is, it has quietly become the secret weapon of sharp bettors each summer.
Due to the lack of exposure and coverage, plenty of WNBA news, trends and tidbits fall on deaf ears, which means those with their head to the women’s hardwood have a distinct advantage over the public and even the sportsbooks.
We asked some of Covers Experts’ sharpest minds – those that actually admit to betting on the WNBA – why they love the “Dub” and what they look for when handicapping lady hoops.Study pays off
“The sportsbooks delegate their resources to the sports that generate the most betting. WNBA lines are generally softer than you will find in, say, college and NBA basketball,” says a handicapper for Doc’s Sports. “As a result, someone that invests the time and effort into their research can have a strong advantage betting on a sport that is off most people's radar. The bottom line is that the cold, hard cash won betting on the WNBA is worth the same as money won betting on any other sport.”Lack of depth
“I essentially handicap the games same as I would any other sport, but find that because the public and oddsmakers aren't as up on it, that you can often find very advantageous lines,” says Covers Expert Bryan Power. “One key difference between it and most men's leagues is that there is a real lack of depth as far as talent goes, so the top two and three teams end up being much better than the rest of the field.”Value on the dogs
“I generally look to go against the public and stick mostly to underdogs and totals -usually unders,” says Covers Expert Sean Murphy. “That's where I've found the most value, particularly in the summer when a lot of recreational bettors and action junkies come out of the woodwork and pound the favorites. The lines certainly aren't as sharp as we're accustomed to seeing in the other major sports, at least in my opinion.”
Here’s a look at the WNBA futures heading into Friday’s season opener:
Minnesota Lynx +130
Los Angeles Sparks +400
Chicago Sky +500
Phoenix Mercury +800
Atlanta Dream +1,200
Seattle Storm +1,600
New York Liberty +1,800
Washington Mystics +1,800
Connecticut Sun +2,000
San Antonio Silver Stars +2,200
Indiana Fever +2,500
Tulsa Shock +5,000The WNBA is where sharps jump on soft lines. Cash in big with our Covers Experts’ regular season package for just $149.