We’re about a quarter of the way through the WNBA season. There’s data to work with this year, along with new tools from Unabated in the form of a WNBA Odds Screen and WNBA Prop Odds Screen to find some summertime edges to complement your MLB betting.
If you’re an NBA or college basketball bettor looking to dip a toe in WNBA waters, Galin Dragiev – a WNBA DFS superstar who joined Unabated to help develop our tools – has five WNBA betting tips for men’s hoops prop bettors jumping into this market.
1.) These Are Softer Markets
WNBA sides and totals aren’t bastions of liquidity. These are less efficient markets and it’s what makes WNBA an attractive target for sports bettors looking to pick up the low-hanging fruit.
“There’s no book out there that are taking big action on WNBA,” Dragiev said. “I just don’t think there’s incentive for quote-unquote sharp groups out there to like go out and solve WNBA.”
If the mainline markets are less efficient, that means the prop markets are going to be even more beatable.
The downside here if you’re trying to approach WNBA betting from a top-down perspective is the market-making for the league is less defined than in a sport like the NBA or college football. Our Unabated Line for WNBA can be a great source of truth for sides and totals, but when it comes to props, there isn’t a true market-maker to be found.
2.) You Can Use NBA as a Jumping-Off Point
That means that projections are going to rule the day here. And when you’re building your WNBA projections, start with your NBA process and change your inputs from there.
“It’s still basketball,” Dragiev said. “The inputs are going to be different, but in terms of actual projections you could basically assume that they’re the same in a lot of ways.”
WNBA games only run 40 minutes, but one key difference to account for is coaches tend to leave players in longer in a blowout compared to their NBA counterparts.
These are shorter games in a season that runs half as long. Load management isn’t going to come into play nearly as often.
“There are very few back-to-back (games),” Dragiev said. “In general, coaches are way more likely to push players in blowouts. You can be more aggressive in minutes (played).”
3.) WNBA Betting Starts With Minutes
The good news for anyone starting to collect data is you have excellent resources to work with at sites like Basketball-Reference.com or WNBA.com where you can source stats.
If you’re not coming from a math or modeling background, you can get started by trying to project minutes, and working out from there.
“Specifically in the WNBA, you can project minutes really well,” Dragiev said. “Have an educated guess on per minute rates like points, rebounds, et. cetera and I think you can get to a decent number.
“I’m not saying you can go out and do this and it’s going to win immediately. I think there’s going to have to be some intuition. If a team is playing the worst team in the league, going off of the per-minute number might not be that good. But if you’re just starting off, if you do a good job of projecting minutes and looking at per-minute rates, I think some of the markets can be beatable just from that.”
Or, if you’d prefer to use the projections Dragiev helped develop, you can choose the “Unabated Projections” on the WNBA Prop Odds Screen and run your simulation against those numbers.
4.) It’s Easier to Get Value on News
Player news can cause ripples to move through the market in minutes, if not seconds when there’s a breaking story in the NBA. That doesn’t always hold true for WNBA betting.
Dragiev said one book last year had a player listed in its props for two weeks after she tore her ACL.
It’s not just individual players who are affected though. Markets can be slow to adjust to how it affects the rest of the squad.
“A lot of the spots where I end up seeing big value is when a player is out and other players are getting a boost in their usage. In the NBA that’s much tougher because I think the market reacts to that pretty well,” he said.
5.) Don’t Overreact to Market Moves
Because you don’t have a sharp source to work off of, your own projections are of paramount importance.
It’s one thing to hold a Bills -3 ticket and see the market move to -2.5 a day after you bet. You’re perfectly justified in having that sinking feeling in your stomach. With WNBA betting, it’s not going to take as much to move the markets.
“When you’re looking to bet props I would value the market number way less than I would in the NBA,” Dragiev said. “If I’m betting something and every single book is three points higher, I would have some reservations betting into that, whereas in the WNBA, I would have zero reservations.”
The numbers have been more fluid this year, with more movement than they have in years past. It’s potentially a sign that more people are paying attention to the league and injecting more liquidity into the market.
But that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily approaching it well. Dragiev still sees past performance having an outsize effect on prop lines.
“If in the last three or four games a player has a really hot shooting streak,I think their point totals lean up way more than they would in the NBA,” he said.
If you’re ready to jump in, check out our WNBA Prop Odds Screen which features the same in-line simulator you’re familiar with on our NBA, NFL and MLB prop pages. Or use the full WNBA Props Simulator to get granular in your forecasting. And to kick it all around with the community, jump into the Discord and tackle these props with your fellow bettors.