BetRivers, DraftKings First To Market In NCAA Women’s Futures In Michigan

Posted By Derek Helling on March 19, 2021 - Last Updated on March 22, 2021

DraftKings Sportsbook said it had more betting markets on the 2021 NCAA Division I women’s basketball tournament coming, and the book has delivered.

BetRivers Sportsbook is in on the action as well, as both Michigan sportsbooks have Michigan futures live on their apps.

It’s uncertain whether — and how soon — other MI sports betting apps will follow, and whether those two books will have lines for individual March Madness games later in the tourney. What’s certain is that if Central Michigan, Michigan, or Michigan State win a championship in women’s basketball, it will make for a nice payout for bettors who play now.

Taking a look at Michigan NCAA Women’s Tournament futures

The odds are identical at both BetRivers and DraftKings right now. That’s because both books contract with Kambi to provide their lines. That may not stay the case as the tournament moves forward, though.

Stanford is the consensus favorite, sitting at +150. Following them closely are UConn (+250), Big Ten Conference tournament champion Maryland and South Carolina (+700), and Big 12 Conference powerhouse Baylor (+800).

You’ll find the first in-state team in the Wolverines, currently sitting +10000. The Spartans are twice the long shot, with odds of +20000. The Chippewas represent the last MI option at +30000.

Does the potential path for any of these three teams suggest a possible payout? That depends on whether you think the chalk will prevail this year. The road to a title is filled with power-ranking toppers for all three.

MI teams’ paths to an NCAA championship

The scheduling is convenient for MI basketball fans, even if the brackets in San Antonio aren’t favorable. The Chippewas and the Wolverines are both in the River Walk Region and are potentially set to face each other in a regional final. The Spartans are in the Mercado Region and could possibly play the winner of that game in the Final Four.

Here are the game times and pairings for the Round of 64 for all three teams:

  • No. 12 Central Michigan vs. No. 5 Iowa, noon ET, Sunday
  • No. 6 Michigan vs. No. 11 Florida Gulf Coast, 3 p.m. Sunday
  • No. 10 Michigan State vs. No. 7 Iowa State, 6 p.m. Monday

It doesn’t get any easier for any of the three should they advance. For example, UConn might await Central Michigan in the Sweet 16, while Michigan might see Baylor in the same round. Michigan State could face Southeastern Conference regular-season champion Texas A&M if it prevails over the Cyclones, with top seed North Carolina State looming on the other side of the Mercado Region bracket.

Does that mean there’s little hope for any of these teams to bring a title back from San Antonio? That’s for you to judge. But there are reasons to believe in these MI teams, despite their long odds.

Remember, these are futures bets

The difficult paths suggest that a good approach to these lines is “taking a flier.” That betting strategy involves staking a small wager, fully expecting to lose. At the same time, you put yourself in a position to get a great return if the upsets happen.

If you stake just $5 on the Chippewas at +30000 and they do the unlikely, you would profit $1,500. However, if you’d rather keep that $5 and use it to make a bet that has better odds of paying out, that’s just as sound of a strategy for your bankroll.

The elevator pitches on these three teams read like classic Hollywood underdog stories. Central Michigan enters the tournament with five consecutive wins, including running through the Mid-American Conference tournament. Additionally, assistant coach Gail Goestenkors took four teams to the Final Four when she ran the program at Duke.

For the Wolverines, this is the highest the program has ever been seeded. This season was historic for another reason, as Michigan started 10-0 for the first time in program history. If they can regain that form, they could be dangerous.

The Spartans have been inconsistent, but tournaments are all about who gets hot at the right time. Michigan State has had a late revelation in first-year player Kendall Bostic. Bostic’s double-digit outing in MSU’s final game of the Big Ten tournament gives them some depth, and this team recently showed its potential by knocking off then-No. 9 Indiana in the league tourney.

It would be hard to argue with anyone passing on these lines. But given the unique nature of this year’s tournament and the fact that no team is head-and-shoulders above any other, if there were ever a year to take some fliers, this might be the one.

Photo by Carlos Osorio/AP
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a freelance journalist who resides in Chicago, IL. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law. Recently, he has written about the expanded gambling industry in Michigan, including online sports betting, online casinos, and the cornerstone land-based casino market.

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