Lost in all the chaos surrounding Game 4 of the NBA Finals was the fact that last night was the WNBA All Star Game.
Granted it’s not the best plan to hold your All Star game the same night as the NBA Finals, but the game actually ended about 2 minutes before tip off so it worked out perfectly. Channel flipping like you read about.
Two things happened that were unforgettable. First, from a gambling perspective, something incredibly, something absolutely historic, happened. And second, it’s a great reminder why EVERYONE should be gambling on the WNBA.
Oh, and the game was maybe the best All Star game ever played.
First things first.
Circa Sports is a Las Vegas sportsbook serving mostly professional gamblers. The kind of book known for their “sharp lines.” Matt Metcalf is the director of Circa and early Wednesday morning, in a move to try and “set the line” he put out the Over/Under on the WNBA All Star Game at 248.5.
Doesn’t seem that crazy at first glance. The last WNBA All Star game they played in 2019 saw 255 points scored. The 2018 game saw 241 points, the 2017 had 251 total.
What’s the problem?
What Matt didn’t take into account was the format for this year’s game, which saw WNBA All-Stars playing against Team USA which means it was a game in which the U.S. Women’s National Team would be playing against… players that didn’t make the US Women’s National Team. The last players cut, in fact.
A revenge game. Bad blood and extra juice. This was never going to be a walk and chuck three-point contest like normal. This was going to be a GAME.
What was Matt Metcalf thinking? He wasn’t, apparently. He said: "At worst, I didn’t think this was more than 15 points off. That's as bad as I think it could be. I didn't think it would be the worst number ever."
As it turns out, it was.
Smart bettors actually took the over on their first bets. Why? So that they would bait other sportsbooks into matching or exceeding the line. Which, of course, they did. Other sportsbooks put the line as high as 252.5, which is when the gamblers went full on shark mode. Blood in the water. They hammered the books on the under to the point that the line was dropping almost by the minute. One book dropped the line a surreal 32 TIMES before tip, moving from 251 all the way down to 197 at tip.
People were marveling at it in real-time.
No one interviewed can remember a line EVER dropping like this. As ESPN writer David Purdum noted:
"In the past when some bookmakers have posted bad point spreads or totals resulting from a typo or mistake, the sportsbooks have voided the bets on those numbers, claiming "palpable error." Metcalf emphasized that this wasn't the case with his WNBA total: "I made a horrific number, hung it and took bets, however this might be the worst ever in sports”
And of course, the game was electric in large part because the defense was intense. How intense? The WNBA All Stars who didn’t make the Olympic team put the CLAMPS on and the intensity was off the charts the entire game. The final score was WNBA All Stars 93 US Women’s National Team 85, which if you’re a math major you know is 178 points.
She was also live tweeting from the game as an aside
She put up 26 and went 5-10 from three and then said:
Back to the line. Not only was the revised line off by 21 points, but the Opening Line was off by 70.5 and the peak line off by a staggering 74.5 points.
This is a perfect example of why I love gambling on the WNBA. The women’s game never gets the same level of scrutiny or love (because you know, women don’t dunk) which leads to WILD ASS lines that if you actually follow the sport closely, you can exploit, for your own benefit and wallet. It also is entertaining to watch Vegas be wrong because they rarely are and anytime they're that wrong, I know that a bunch of people are taking some of the establishment's money. So if you were one of the sharp gamblers that followed closely, you could have made a shit load of money.
As I always say, if you don’t let these women make money for you, you’re a fool.
What’s that old saying? Oh yeah.
A fool and his money are soon parted.