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Clark, Iowa break betting record again, steal spotlight from Knights

Caitlin Clark and Iowa not only beat Connecticut in the most-bet women’s basketball game ever Friday night, but they also knocked the Golden Knights off center stage at Las Vegas sportsbooks.

The Hawkeyes-Huskies Final Four matchup was the main game shown with audio at the Westgate SuperBook, Station Casinos and South Point sportsbooks at the same time as the Stanley Cup champion Knights jockeyed for playoff position in a game at Arizona.

“The fact that we had VGK playing last night and in the middle of the playoff stretch and our guests were asking, ‘Are we going to have the women’s game between Iowa and UConn on the bigger screen with audio?’ — there was tremendous interest on watching and wagering on the game,” Red Rock Resort sportsbook director Chuck Esposito said.

South Point sportsbook director Chris Andrews posted an image of his book on X with the caption “A full room, standing room only, in the South Point sportsbook for women’s basketball. Featured with sound on two of our four big screens. Whoda thunk it.”

The amount of tickets and money wagered on Iowa’s 71-69 comeback win over Connecticut broke the record betting handle on a women’s basketball game that was set Monday in Iowa’s 94-87 victory over Louisiana State in the Elite Eight.

Nationally, the game was the No. 1 betting event on FanDuel Sportsbook, ahead of all NBA, MLB and NHL games. South Carolina’s 78-59 rout of North Carolina State in the other women’s semifinal was the fifth-highest betting event of the day at FanDuel, which does not operate in Nevada.

The Iowa-Connecticut game averaged 14.2 million viewers on ESPN, making it the most-viewed women’s basketball game of all time.

The unbeaten Gamecocks (37-0) are 6½-point favorites over the Hawkeyes (34-4) in Sunday’s NCAA championship game. The matchup is a rematch of last year’s Final Four upset win by Iowa, which is +225 on the money line.

SuperBook vice president of risk Jeff Sherman expects the title game to break the record handle for a women’s game.

“This should definitely be the most-handled women’s game we’ve ever done, as far as tickets and money,” he said. “You couldn’t ask for a better final from a booking standpoint. Every other matchup, Iowa would be the favorite, but now the betting public gets the chance to take Iowa as an underdog.

“We know they’ll be ample Iowa support, and with what South Carolina has done with their dominance, we expect to see South Carolina support as well.”

The SuperBook took a $3,150 wager to win $3,000 on Iowa +6½ moments after it posted the line. The book is offering a 10-cent line (-105 on each side) on the game.

Clark, the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer, had 21 points, nine rebounds and seven assists in the win over Connecticut. Iowa failed to cover as a 3½-point favorite after erasing a 12-point first-half deficit.

The Huskies had the ball in the final seconds with a chance to take the lead, but Aaliyah Edwards was called for an offensive foul while setting a screen with 3.9 seconds left.

South Carolina, which saw its 42-game win streak end in last year’s 77-73 Final Four loss to Iowa, covered as an 11½-point favorite over the Wolfpack after leading by only one at halftime.

“You’ve got South Carolina, who’s undefeated, and Caitlin Clark in back-to-back championship games. This will be her last game before she turns pro,” Esposito said. “It really is going to be must-see TV, and my guess is the crowd in the book, the atmosphere, the money bet and the ticket counts will all be off the charts.”

Contact reporter Todd Dewey at tdewey@reviewjournal.com. Follow @tdewey33 on X.

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