Cyclones, Hawkeyes Both Make Women’s Tournament Field, But Will Iowans Get To Bet On Them?

Written By Derek Helling on March 16, 2021 - Last Updated on January 31, 2022
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The 2021 iteration of women’s March Madness is mere days away. While Iowa hoops fans are probably pleased to see both the Iowa Hawkeyes and Iowa State Cyclones get at-large bids into the field of 64 teams, whether they’ll be able to wager any money on those teams this year remains to be seen.

That will partially depend on how far both teams advance in San Antonio. Both teams have a tough road ahead of them in chasing a national championship this year.

Cyclones, Hawkeyes get into women’s March Madness

The 2021 NCAA D1 women’s basketball tournament bracket came out Monday night.

The Hawkeyes are a 5-seed in the River Walk Region, facing Central Michigan at 11 a.m. Sunday, March 21. The Cyclones got the seventh seed in the Mercado Region. Thus, they will play Michigan State at 5 p.m. Monday, March 22.

That sets up a potential all-Iowa national semifinal. Of course, both teams would have to earn their places in that game. Neither has an easy road to that potential matchup.

Should both/either prevail in their opening-round games, that’s where the path forward gets challenging. Iowa State would likely face Texas A&M, who won the SEC regular-season title and went 23-2 overall. Iowa probably would get Kentucky in the Round of 32, which presents a challenge, but a perhaps even more daunting opponent would await the Hawkeyes in the Sweet 16.

That’s when Iowa could see UConn, in a battle of two of the best first-year players in the country. Third-seeded Arizona is one of the potential opponents for the Cyclones in the Sweet 16.

Will Iowa sportsbooks post markets on any of these games? A potential Caitlin Clark vs. Paige Bueckers matchup might be the start of that.

Sweet 16 could be the start of women’s tournament betting in Iowa

At this point, most Iowa sports betting apps don’t have markets up for any women’s tournament games. The same goes for the championship and other futures. That will probably continue to be the case, at least through the first two rounds of the tourney.

When the field dwindles down to 16, that’s when bettors in Iowa could start seeing action on the women’s bracket. DraftKings Sportsbook and PointsBet Sportsbook are among those to publicly commit to posting more women’s NCAA markets at some point during the tournament.

It will probably be the case whether Iowa and Iowa State are still playing or not. Iowa law does not forbid wagering on in-state college teams like other states’ statutes. It does, however, ban bets on player-based props.

So, you won’t find any markets for: “how many points Clark will score in a game” for example. Team props are acceptable, though. You’ll likely find markets on halftime spreads and totals, for both/either team(s).

It’s just a matter of when and to what extent women’s March Madness betting will be available in Iowa. For Iowa sportsbooks, the handle on the event will likely be better if the Cyclones and Hawkeyes have deep tournament runs.

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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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