Hoop Dreams: Betting On College Basketball Could Surpass Football In Iowa

Written By Derek Helling on October 27, 2019 - Last Updated on December 18, 2019
Iowa college basketball betting

If bettors in the Hawkeye State act similarly to their counterparts on the East Coast of the United States, the college basketball season could actually be the best time of the year for Iowa sportsbooks. Iowa college basketball betting has great potential.

The findings of research by one of the world’s premier sports betting tech companies and increased options for bettors could make action on the hardcourt bigger than the same on the gridiron. That partially depends on how prepared sportsbooks are, however.

Why Iowa college basketball betting has great potential

Kambi, a software provider for online sportsbooks like DraftKings, combed through its data for US bettors in states like New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The findings are interesting.

Kambi determined that basketball, not football, is the sport of choice for US bettors. The wagers included college basketball, FIBA, the NBA and the WNBA.

It’s not wise to assume bettors in Iowa will act like their counterparts on the East Coast in every way. Iowa bettors are unlikely to deviate from their East Coast fellows to a large extent on this point, however.

While the closest NBA and WNBA teams are hours away in Chicago or Minneapolis, college basketball is hugely popular in Iowa. There are three teams that play on the Division I level in Iowa.

The popularity of the Cyclones, Hawkeyes and Panthers isn’t the only reason betting on college basketball could be huge, however. Iowa residents and visitors will have more options at that time as well.

More sportsbook options for bettors in the Hawkeye State

When college football season began, only a few of the state’s sportsbooks were up and running. Even fewer had their mobile products live.

When college basketball season begins, not only will more sportsbooks be accepting wagers, but all the books will be more experienced. More residents of and visitors to the Hawkeye State will be aware of their betting options, as well.

In order to take full advantage of the popularity of college basketball and that awareness, however, sportsbooks in Iowa need to be ready. That includes offering the types of bets Kambi says US consumers want.

Flexibility and variety are key to sportsbooks’ success

Kambi’s research emphasized in-game betting for operators. According to Kambi, one in four first-time bettors opt for in-play wagers.

In-game wagers are further emphasized by Kambi’s findings that two-thirds of all bets were in-play wagers. That means to fully capitalize on the college basketball frenzy, Iowa sportsbooks need to offer an array of such bets.

That’s demonstrated in the basketball numbers. Kambi’s NBA futures research showed that 25% of those who placed futures bets included more than one team. It isn’t crazy to expect college basketball bettors to behave the same way.

Therefore, it’s likely that Iowans will place futures bets on multiple teams to hedge their bets. While the “fanhood” of Iowans may fall strictly upon Iowa/Iowa State/Northern Iowa lines, their bets could involve all three teams.

College basketball season in Iowa could be bigger than football season. If that’s the case, the last few months of 2019 would be good ones for Iowa sportsbooks.

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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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