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Betting money for the WNBA is pouring in on Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever

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LAS VEGAS (AP) — The betting public is throwing money on Caitlin Clark and the Indiana Fever as the WNBA prepares to open one of the more-anticipated seasons in league history.

A Fever championship would have bookmakers sweating. They are the biggest liability at BetMGM Sportsbook, with nearly half the betting tickets on the Fever, who open the season Tuesday at the Connecticut Sun.

Indiana is second in money wagered at 29%, behind the two-time defending champion Las Vegas Aces at 41.5%, also a popular public team that additionally draws action from many professional bettors.

The heavy money on the Fever caused them to go from +2500 to win the championship to +1800. Las Vegas edged from a +115 favorite to even money.

“Caitlin Clark drove record handle on the women’s NCAA Tournament, and the interest from bettors has carried over to the WNBA,” BetMGM Sportsbook trading manager Seamus Magee said. “We expect Fever games to be the most bet throughout the season and for Clark’s player props to be popular with bettors.”

The story is much the same at Caesars Sportsbook.

Indiana, which went 13-27 last season and put the Fever in position to land Clark with the No. 1 overall pick, is tied with the Sun at Caesars with the fourth-best odds at 15-1.

The Aces at +100, last year’s runner-up New York Liberty at +240 and the Seattle Storm at +800 are favored to win the title.

“I think we’ve definitely seen an increase in the handle at this time last year,” Caesars basketball oddsmaker David Lieberman said. “It makes sense with the hype around (Clark).”

That buzz also has pushed Clark into the group of favorites to win the MVP award. She has received 68% of the wagers at BetMGM Sportsbook to receive the league’s top individual honor, which at +1000 it’s a strong value bet.

Las Vegas’ A’ja Wilson of Las Vegas at +120 and New York’s Breanna Stewart at +550 are the two favorites. Both are two-time winners, with Stewart beating out Wilson and the Sun’s Alyssa Thomas last season in a close vote. Wilson used that perceived snub as fuel in last year’s WNBA playoffs.

Clark also is third in the MVP odds at Caesars at +850, behind Wilson of Las Vegas at +100 and Stewart at +550.

There is almost no betting value on Clark to win Rookie of the Year. She is -750 at BetMGM Sportsbook, which explains why 22% of the wagers have gone to her and the Chicago Sky’s Angel Reese has garnered 43% of the action with a much higher payoff at +3000.

“I would argue there’s no value betting the Fever or Caitlin Clark MVP right now,” Lieberman said. “The odds are probably a little lower than they should be. It’s probably mostly public action there. I don’t think there are any sharps (pros) lining up to bet something that’s obviously a little lower than it should be at this point.”

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AP WNBA: https://apnews.com/hub/wnba-basketball

By MARK ANDERSON
AP Sports Writer

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