Big Hopes For Maryland Women’s Basketball, But Betting Opps Could Be Scant

Posted on October 29, 2021 - Last Updated on February 16, 2022

The Maryland women’s basketball team should run roughshod through the Big Ten and claim a No. 1 seed in March Madness in 2021-22. Anything less than that, barring a rash of injuries, would represent a disappointing performance given the enormous talent on the roster.

While that’s the floor, the Terrapins will have to determine their own ceiling in the 2022 NCAA D1 women’s basketball championship tournament.

There should be some opportunities in Maryland sports betting on the Terps, though probably not as many as will be available for the men’s squad.

Previewing 2021-22 Maryland women’s basketball

The University of Maryland team that led the nation in scoring in 2020-21? All five starters are back for 2021-22. That with a year of experience of playing together. Maryland actually had six players average double figures last season, which ended with an upset loss in the Sweet 16. All six players now return for another title run.

Head coach Brenda Freese has a contract extension that could ensure her place in College Park through 2025. In addition to returning their top seven scorers from last season, sophomore Angel Reese is fully healthy after being limited as a freshman.

Scouts ranked Reese the second-best prospect of the 2020 recruiting class. Additionally, among the incoming freshmen is Shyanne Sellers, ESPN’s No. 22-ranked player in the incoming class.

Up and down the 11-woman roster are players who would start for most other Big Ten teams.

Speaking of the Big Ten, the move to the conference has been amazing for Maryland’s winning percentage as far as women’s basketball goes. Since leaving the ACC ahead of the 2014-15 season, the Terrapins have won nearly 90% of their conference games.

In six of the seven seasons since moving, the Terps have won at least a share of the regular-season Big Ten title. In five seasons, they followed that up by winning the Big Ten tournament. Big Ten coaches and media expect them to do the same this season.

If there were active legal online sportsbooks in MD right now, you probably couldn’t get in on what would be very short odds for the Terps to meet those expectations, however. Most books’ markets for women’s college basketball are, unfortunately, quite paltry in comparison to men’s hoops.

Legal markets focus on conference, national tournaments

If legal online sportsbooks in MD launch before late February, you could find some game lines and futures for the Big Ten women’s tourney there. However, you might not want to bet on the books going live in time.

The latest word out of Annapolis is that it could be another year before the state is ready to let online betting commence. If that’s the case, Terps faithful would have two choices to seek such markets: travel out of state, or (hopefully) hit up a brick-and-mortar sportsbook in MD.

The markets and odds at retail books are usually identical to those available online. Therefore, if an operator has decided to offer action on an event, accessing those markets in-person or online usually makes zero difference. Physical sportsbooks at Maryland casinos could still go live later this year.

In fact, five of the six casinos in Maryland have preliminary approval to start taking bets. It’s uncertain when regulators will give final nods, but it could be soon. That means a retail BetMGM Sportsbook, Caesars Sportsbook, and FanDuel Sportsbook are hanging in the balance right now.

Currently, none of those three have any futures available for the 2021-22 NCAA D1 women’s basketball season. The same goes for lines on individual games. At all/any of the three, however, you can bet on futures for the men’s game.

Unlike neighbors Virginia and Washington, DC, Maryland has no prohibition on wagering on in-state college teams. Thus, when books go live, they will have the option to offer markets on this loaded Terrapins squad.

Don’t expect them to do so until the Big Ten tournament nears, however, and even then, it could only be available in person.

Photo by AP / Terrance Williams
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Derek Helling

Derek Helling is a lead writer for PlayUSA and the manager of BetHer. He is a 2013 graduate of the University of Iowa and covers the intersections of sports with business and the law.

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