How to get into WNBA betting

By Andrew D

October 27, 2022

How to bet on the WNBA

A brief history of the WNBA

On April 22, 1996, the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) came into being. The first competitive games happened the following year in 1997. New York Liberty travelled to face the Los Angeles Sparks in California and history was made.

Penny Toler was the first player to score points in the league and cemented her name in the history books in the process.

WNBA regular season games are played from May to September. The WNBA Finals take place at the end of that time, running until the start of October.

In the beginning, there were just 8 WNBA teams involved. They were:

Eastern Conference:

  • Charlotte Sting

  • Cleveland Rockers

  • Houston Comets

  • New York Liberty

Western Conference:

  • Los Angeles Sparks

  • Phoenix Mercury

  • Sacramento Monarchs

  • Utah Starzz


There had been women’s basketball leagues before the inception of the WNBA but none had received the full support and backing of the NBA.

Although interest was low at first, high-profile sponsors were attracted to the proposition. The recent Olympic success of the women’s basketball team in 1996 did not hurt this at all and raised the profile of the women’s game significantly.

That first game was shown on national television via the NBC network. The league also had deals with Disney, ESPN/Lifetime, and Hearst Corporation. Not a bad start for a seemingly inauspicious venture…

The WNBA went through a sequence of radical changes and relocations before reaching its current incarnation. It currently consists of 12 teams. There have been a total of 18 franchises in WNBA history.

The only franchises that remain from the league’s opening season are the Las Vegas Aces (previously Utah Starzz, then San Antonio Silver Stars), Los Angeles Sparks, New York Liberty, and Phoenix Mercury.

By 1999, there were now twelve WNBA teams in the league. Five of them have direct NBA counterparts and share an arena with the men’s team. They are:

  • Indiana Fever - Indiana Pacers

  • Los Angeles Sparks - LA Clippers/ Lakers

  • Minnesota Lynx - Minnesota Timberwolves

  • New York Liberty - New York Knickerbockers

  • Phoenix Mercury - Phoenix Suns

The remaining teams that make up the league do not share arenas but some share markets or play in the NBA G League stadiums owned by the wider franchise.

  • Atlanta Dream (Go Dream!)

  • Chicago Sky

  • Connecticut Sun

  • Dallas Wings

  • Las Vegas Aces

  • Seattle Storm

  • Washington Mystics

The first years of the WNBA were dominated rather heavily by the Houston Comets and the Los Angeles Sparks. Houston took four WNBA championships and Los Angeles took two. Detroit snuck in there for a while during the period from 2003-'06 when Shock secured a couple. 

This set the scene for change and the league saw the emergence of superstar players like Cappie Poindexter, Sue Bird, Diana Tausari, Lindsay Whalen, and Tamika Catchings. 

These positive influences paved the way for other rising stars to follow. The league saw the emergence of a new era of stars and has never looked back.

The other significant change was that WNBA teams went from playing 28 games per season to 36. 

Betting on the WNBA

The fundamental elements of strategy and method for betting on the WNBA don’t really differ from when betting on the NBA or even college basketball. But focussing on the women’s league does come with some unique advantages.

Because the levels of wagering on the WNBA are minuscule compared to NBA and college basketball betting, there is much less focus on the markets from the online sportsbooks.

They’re not fools and it will still take time and effort to find discrepancies and value in their offerings, but it is statistically more likely. The majority of the bookmakers’ focus will be elsewhere, so occasional mistakes and opportunities that you can exploit are more common.

Overall, the most likely form of success will still be in betting on point spreads. But it’s another case of doing your homework and staying on top of the game if you want to really make a go of it. There is value to be found in the occasional moneyline bet. It is also worth keeping an eye on the over/under and any player and team props markets.

It is probably true that most people will shun doing enough research to have a really solid idea about the state of play in the WNBA. This in itself makes it different from the NBA.

When lines move in the most popular sports from a betting perspective, the idea is not to follow them. Moving lines in the NBA or NFL mean that the general public is probably flooding that side of the betting.

We all know how idiotic the general public is. They will bet on a result simply because they like the colour of the jersey. They follow their hearts and bet drunk. Ignore the past and bet on their own team no matter the opposition. Create huge, impossible parlays and use no common sense whatsoever.

In short, we don’t want to be like everyone else

The smart money tends to ‘fade’ the public and bet in the opposite direction. Not always a guarantee of success, but a solid tactic.

When we look at WNBA odds, the situation is reversed. Because the amounts are so insignificant compared to the major sports, when a WNBA line moves, it usually signifies that there is smart money behind the movement.

Very few random punters are dropping their hard-earned dollars on WNBA bets. They’re just not. How many times have you gotten together with a group of friends and thrown away $10 each on a spontaneous bet on women’s basketball?


Viewing figures are tiny and the markets are shallow by comparison. There just aren’t that many recreational sports bettors getting involved merely for entertainment purposes.

It follows then, that most of the money dropping is being driven on some level by a strategic, information-based system. If someone is betting on the WNBA, they tend to know what they’re doing.

So, if you have decided to extend your NBA betting strategy to include the WNBA, you could do a lot worse than to follow any line movements. Jump on them early before the sportsbooks catch on and the value is lost.

Final thoughts

As with any sports betting, there are advantages and disadvantages to be found in focussing your bet slip on the WNBA. First and foremost, if it means that you catch a few games then that’s great. You might find them a revelation. They’re certainly a lot cheaper to attend in person.

As always, the most important piece of advice you can heed before embarking on any betting at all is to read our article - ‘How to manage your bankroll in sports betting

The method it will show you is rock solid. We have never met a serious gambler that did not employ this tactic in one form or another. It’s that important.

If you fail to protect the one thing that is keeping you in the game then where do you find yourself? We always recommend that sports betting is done for entertainment purposes only.

You would have to be a sadist or a lunatic to think that you can make a decent living out of it just like that. Are there people that do? Sure. But there are people who have walked on the moon too (allegedly)

That’s not to say that you shouldn’t take your sports wagering seriously. Just because it won’t make or break us financially, doesn’t mean we want to simply hand over our money to the top sportsbooks and go about our business.

We’re in it to win it

Please note: If it will make or break you financially then you are making a mistake. It’s time to step back and reassess. You are in over your head and need to take a serious look at the situation.

Problem gambling is all too real and can take a hold of you and destroy your life before you even realise what is happening. It’s like alcohol or candy or recreational drugs. They’re not for everyone. Some of us (yes, I did say ‘us’) are not able to control ourselves very effectively.

The endorphins that any activity helps to release in our brains are irresistible. Instead of relishing that mouthful of glorious, 18-month-old mature Cheddar and moving on, we need to eat the whole block.

And some activities are more addictive than others. In fact, they’re designed that way. Don't for one moment think that every aspect of your sports betting experience hasn’t been pored over and analysed to see how more money can be wrung out of you.

We are oh-so-easily distracted and entertained by flashy things and excitable website headlines. It is your job to fend away the distractions and wager only as much as you planned to before you began.

Never bet when you are drinking or otherwise ‘altered’. It’s hard enough sober. If you are having a few ‘liveners’ then get your bets in beforehand and stay strong. Do not be tempted to drop more money on the situation if it doesn’t go your way.

Do whatever it takes to make this happen. Give your phone to someone you trust. Designate a gaming enforcement officer and do as you're told. Turn the phone off and leave it at home if you must.

Live betting is a fun, exciting way to stay engaged and entertained. But it is the stuff of madness if you are not in your right mind. Do yourself a favour and keep to this rule.

Never bet more than you can afford to lose. If you are throwing money at the problem in an effort to recoup your losses then you need to stop and take stock. If you have read and absorbed the article about protecting your bankroll then, hopefully, this is not the case. But it so often is…

Always obey the most important rule:

When the fun stops, stop.

When the fun stops, stop

There are millions of individuals with varying levels of issues with sports betting and gambling in general. Never feel that you are alone because there are people you can talk to. If you are lucky enough to have people in your life that you can trust to be honest with you then reach out to them. Ask them straight out if they think you have a gambling problem.

You might not like the answer. But that’s probably because it’s the truth

Denial is one of the major symptoms of any addiction.

I wasn’t lying about that cheese…

None of this is designed to scare you or put you off sports betting. It’s almost our favourite thing to do and it can bring great joy and satisfaction if done correctly. There is nothing we love more than settling down to an afternoon watching two teams thrash it out and making bets on the action as they do. 

But here at The Jump Hub, we take our responsibilities very seriously. If we are helping and encouraging you to risk your money betting on sports then it is our moral duty to warn you of the dangers too. It is all too easy to get carried away and find yourself in a hole that you don't know how to get out of.

Digging harder is never the way…

So, with all that being said, get yourself down to some of your local WNBA games this season. There are some genuinely tight, closely fought matchups and play is no less aggressive or intense than in the NBA. The atmosphere around the court is superb, and you’ll have more cash left in your pockets to get some skin in the game if the mood strikes you.

There are plenty of bookmaker sites that will accommodate your WNBA betting so shop around and find the best prices you can.

If you're new to sports betting then be sure to take advantage of any welcome offers and promotions that you can. Wins from free bets taste even sweeter so get all that you can.

Good luck

PlayUp - Your Best Bet - Leading Australian owned sportsbook

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