The most important thing for novice gamblers to understand about odds is that the figure immediately after the plus sign is how much money you would win on a $100 wager. You may mathematically calculate the breakeven point of such bets by dividing the amount wagered ($100 in this example) by the amount returned ($100 plus any profits).
The breakeven ratio would be 100/500, or 20 percent, for a team with +400 odds, which would return $500 on a $100 wager (the $100 returned and the $400 gains). The implied probability states that a bet must have a chance of winning at least 20% for it to be considered reasonable.
Now let’s get to the central part.
DRAFTKINGS, SOUTH CAROLINA, +225 (30.8% IMPLIED PROBABILITY)
These are just some of the various incidents of bookmakers failing to cover women’s sports, as demonstrated by the fact that nothing changed when Missouri’s Lauren Hansen destroyed the Gamecocks last month. However, one may counter that South Carolina didn’t need to go up as it had already distinguished itself from the competition to the extent that most people, including AP Poll voters, still consider them the best in the country.
Even while the best team isn’t usually the best wager, the +225 odds here are difficult to refuse. Remember that the last time the winner wasn’t a No. 1 seed was the No. 2 seed Texas A&M in 2011; this hasn’t happened in more than a decade. To identify the most recent winner that wasn’t the No. 1 overall seed, you even had to travel back four years to Arike Ogunbowale’s 2018 Notre Dame club.
It’s hard to see South Carolina’s end-of-season credentials undeserving of a top seed after they successfully navigated the comically challenging non-conference schedule Dawn Staley put together (pending the upcoming UConn rematch). The Missouri game demonstrated how much parity in this sport has increased, but it has not yet achieved the point where the nation’s top squad must endure early-round contests. A one-in-three probability that South Carolina cuts down the nets is all that is required for this wager to be worthwhile.
CONNECTICUT, +600 AT POINTSBET (IMPLIED PROBABILITY: 14.3%)
Like South Carolina, Stanford could keep its No. 2 position after losing to the Gamecocks and avoid sliding in the AP Poll. Like South Carolina, this squad appears to be headed for a No. 1 seed.
Questions emerged about the departure of point guard Kiana Williams and if this year’s squad had what it took to overcome it after an early-season run in which the Cardinal was only a few baskets away from a 2-4 start. It reminded the country that Tara VanDerveer’s Princeton approach doesn’t necessarily depend on a pure point guard once it begins clicking by their subsequent double-digit victories against top-ten foes Maryland and Tennessee.
But Stanford’s defense has been its most potent weapon in the making up for the absence of a floor general. Especially in recent seasons, VanDerveer has often been happy to let opponents make 3-pointers. The four Cardinal teams, which finished outside the top 200 in 3-point rate allowed, have allowed opponents to make more than 30% of their attempts from beyond the arc.
Preventing triples from rising in the first place is a terrific formula for a long tournament run since draining triples is often the most excellent approach to pull off a massive shock. Although it’s not the best gamble on our list, +600 is acceptable enough to give some value. VanDerveer has adjusted her defense this season and sought to force shooters off the line, which has resulted in an opponent 3-point percentage of only 21.7 percent — good for 12th in Division I.
+1500 AT ALL THREE BOOKS FOR NC STATE, 6.3% IMPLIED PROBABILITY
The last time NC State failed to pass the Sweet 16, they were defeated by Texas and Ariel Atkins in the second round. Atkins is no longer under contract as a rookie with the WNBA. The Wolfpack haven’t advanced past the Elite Eight, though, in the years after that defeat in 2017.
It’s past due. Even though past squads were excellent, Wes Moore’s current team in Raleigh is arguably the greatest. Since they began the season with a single-digit loss at the hands of the club at the top of this list, the Wolfpack have only suffered one defeat, which needed a Sarah Ashlee Barker miracle.
After thrashing previously unbeaten opponent North Carolina last week, it’s clear why NC State is ranked third in both the Her Hoop Stats ratings and the Massey ratings. When Elissa Culnane is on the court demanding attention in the post, this squad becomes nearly hard to stop since almost the whole rotation shoots above 40% from the 3-point range.
Given the implied chance of 1 in 16 at +1500 odds, this bet is automatically profitable if NC State avoids missing the Sweet 16 for the first time in Culnane’s career. All teams would have a 1-in-16 chance once we reached the Sweet 16, and it is reasonably clear that NC State will be among the stronger teams there. At some time, this line should go bel ow +1000. I believe this to be the best wager available, so act before it’s too late.
1.5% IMPLIED PROBABILITY FOR IOWA STATE, +6600 AT POINTSBET
Three teams tied for the highest odds, Iowa State, Kentucky, and Tennessee at +6600, complete PointsBet’s list of 18 teams. The Lady Vols have held the top spot among the three teams for most of the season, but my money is on the Cyclones.
Jordan Nixon occurred last season just as Ashley Joens and company were ready to get to the Sweet 16; virtually the whole rotation from that squad returned. Nobody has attempted or made more 3-pointers than Iowa State, and if recent trends continue, the two Iowa State teams from 2020–21 and 2021–22 will be among the nine in NCAA history to average over 81 percent from the foul line. That may be relevant in the last moments of a close tournament game in March.
The only imperfection on the record is a nine-point loss to LSU, but given how Kim Mulkey’s squad is performing right now, the setback seems much better than it did at the time. The Cyclones are ranked in the top eight by Her Hoop Stats and Massey, and according to Charlie Creme’s most recent bracketology, they are the second seed. This projected chance of 1.5 percent will seem absurd if those spots persist.
Following its matchups against Texas and Baylor the following week, we’ll know much more about Iowa State. As things stand, the Cyclones appear to be a solid threat to break Baylor’s dominance of the Big 12. It’s worth what many in the betting industry would refer to as “lunch money,” so manage your wallet wisely and wager less on this than on a great team like South Carolina.