WNBA Betting Tips
by Trevor Whenham - 05/29/2009
In terms of public interest and national attention and respect, the WNBA falls somewhere below the Scripps Spelling Bee and the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. The NBA continues to support the league and make it possible, but it failed to grab traction as an entity of its own. From a cultural perspective that's probably not very surprising. From a bettor's viewpoint, though, the lack of attention presents a real opportunity.
Any league or conference that features the combination of readily available information and a lack of attention is one bettors should get to know. The low betting volume means that oddsmakers will spend less time setting the lines. That means that there can be errors for smart bettors to spot. The low volume also means that those errors won't be corrected by the market as efficiently as they will be in bigger leagues. That's why it is generally easier for a astute college football bettor to find success in the MAC or Sun Belt than it is in the SEC or Big Ten.
The 2009 WNBA regular season gets underway on June 6 and carries on until Sept. 13, with three rounds of playoffs following that. This is the 13th season of the WNBA, and it will be played without a familiar team. The Houston Comets were one of the original eight franchises in the league, and they won the first four league championships. They couldn't find effective ownership in recent years, and in December they were taken over by the league and the players were dispersed to other teams. That leaves 13 squads vying for the title this year, and eight of those will make the playoffs.
The league has featured several former NBA stars as coaches including guys like Muggsy Bogues, perhaps the only coach in league history to be shorter than all of his players. Bill Laimbeer is the long-time coach and GM of the Detroit Shock. Laimbeer has led his team to three championships in the last six years, including one last year. He's the most successful executive in the league these days. Former Laker Michael Cooper is the coach of the L.A. Sparks and will remain in that role until he takes over the USC women's team after the season. Cooper has won two titles with the Sparks in two stints as coach of the team.
One storyline will be watched more than any other this season - how fast can Candace Parker make it back into action? Parker was twice named Player of the Year while winning two national championships at Tennessee. She was the first-round draft choice for L.A. last year, and she quickly showed she merited that position - she was named both Rookie of the Year and league MVP in her first season. Parker and her husband, former Duke star and current Timberwolves player Shelden Williams, had their first child, a daughter, on May 13 of this year. Parker intends to play this season as soon as she is able to, and the faster she returns the better the team will be - they were 10-24 the year before she arrived and 20-14 in her first season. Parker has set no timeline for her return, but she will feel pressure to get back as soon as she possibly can. Her teammate Lisa Leslie is a WNBA legend - a three-time MVP and four-time Olympic gold medalist. She has announced that this will be her last season, and she will be eager to go out with a title. That can only happen with the help of Parker.
The most attractive attribute of this league from a betting perspective is simple - consistency. Good teams win and cover, and bad teams don't. Teams that score a lot go over enough to be profitable, and teams that are defensively attentive can be profitable when played on the under. That's more consistently true in this league than it is in most. If you put the effort into getting to know the teams and their areas of focus and strengths then you and your bankroll can both benefit.
To take advantage of the opportunities you need to do two things - do your homework and shop around. The league doesn't get a lot of national coverage, and most of what is available nationally is centrally created by a news service or through syndication. To get the information and stats that you need to have an edge you need to look deeper than you do for higher-profile leagues. That means doing things like reading local papers on the Internet to find better coverage, looking for updated statistics on Web sites, and searching out fan blogs and forums that can give you better information and analysis than is widely available. It only takes a little bit of research and effort to have more and better knowledge than most people playing the league.
Once you have done your homework and you are ready to make picks then the next thing to do is to shop around for the best prices. As with all lower-volume betting opportunities the prices will vary widely between sportsbooks. One book may move their line in response to action, but it could take quite a while for other books to match that movement. Shopping around is always crucial to betting success, but especially so in a case like this.