Wagering on the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament still dominates March Madness betting.
A quick glance at the Colorado online sportsbook odds offerings reveals as much.
But, just as in other areas, the NCAA women’s hoops tourney is making definite inroads.
This year’s women’s bracket has expanded to include 68 teams — matching the men’s tourney total. And it’s also now sharing the NCAA’s trademarked “March Madness” moniker with the men’s bracket as well.
Lines on the each of the 67 women’s bracket games — from the First Four to the Final Four — can be found at most of the online books. And so can women’s national title and Final Four futures odds.
At PlayColorado’s top-rated DraftKings Sportsbook, Women’s National Invitational Tournament game lines went up Thursday afternoon for contests that night.
This year, Colorado March Madness bettors will see a familiar school on the women’s NCAA bracket.
The University of Colorado women’s team is on the Big Dance card for the first time since 2013.
Buffs favored over Creighton in first round
CU (22-8) is the seventh seed in the NCAA’s Greensboro Region.
The Buffs will face 10th-seeded Creighton (20-9) on Friday in Iowa City, Iowa. The game’s opening tipoff is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. MT on ESPNews.
Coach JR Payne’s CU squad is one of six Pac-12 Conference teams in the field. Defending national champion Stanford, the top seed in the Spokane Region, headlines that sextet.
Creighton, meanwhile, hails from the Big East Conference.
The Bluejays finished third in the league this season and, like the Buffs, earned an at-large bid to the tourney.
Unlike the men’s tournament game lines, women’s game odds are posted closer to tipoff.
As of early Thursday afternoon, the Colorado-Creighton line was only up at a few in-state online sportsbooks, including Caesars Colorado.
There, the Buffs were listed as a 2-point favorite. CU was -135 on the moneyline with the game over/under total set at 128.5 points.
Colorado making 14th NCAA tourney appearance
Overall, this will be CU’s 14th NCAA tourney appearance.
That’s not too shabby considering the women’s hoops tournament has only been around since 1982. With 2020’s COVID-19 cancellation, that means this year’s women’s Big Dance is the 40th edition.
As aforementioned, it’s the Buffs’ first NCAA berth since 2013.
That appearance wasn’t exactly a memorable one for Colorado as the fifth-seeded Buffs were upended on their home floor by 12th-seeded Kansas, losing 67-52.
Still, CU can boast of a rich tournament history.
The Buffs are 17-13 all-time in the Big Dance and have advanced to the Elite Eight three times, the most recent coming in 2002.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame coach Ceal Barry guided CU to 12 NCAA tourney berths in 22 seasons (1983-2005) at the helm in Boulder. That included the three Elite Eight appearances and three additional Sweet 16 runs.
CU’s 13-0 start set tone for season
This is Payne’s sixth season in Boulder, and her team was hot from the outset.
The Buffs won their first 13 games and were the last Division I women’s or men’s team to suffer a loss this season.
Three of Colorado’s eight losses came against Stanford. The third defeat was a 71-45 loss in the Pac-12 tournament semifinals in Las Vegas.
Senior forward Mya Hollingshed and junior forward Quay Miller are CU’s top players.
Hollingshead paced the squad with an average of 14.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. She garnered All-Pac 12 recognition for the second straight year.
Miller, meanwhile, has had a big impact since transferring from Washington during the offseason. She was voted the Pac-12’s Sixth Player of the Year after averaging 10.6 points and 5.1 boards.
Junior guard Jaylyn Sherrod sets the table for CU, averaging a team-most 3.7 assists to go along with a 7.5-point scoring average.
Creighton, meanwhile, finished third in the Big East this season. The Bluejays are dangerous from deep, ranking 11th in the Division I ranks with a 36.8 3-point percentage.
Thanks largely to fifth-year senior starting point guard Tatum Rembao, a Loveland (Colo.) High School graduate, Creighton also leads the nation in assists per game (20.9) and assist-to-turnover ratio (1.63).
Six-foot-1 forward Emma Ronsiek (team-leading 14.9 points, 5.1 rebounds) and guards Lauren Jensen (12.3 points) and Morgan Maly (12.0 points) all average double figures for Creighton.
The Bluejays are making their eighth NCAA tourney appearance and first since 2018. They’ve never advanced past the second round.
Per DraftKings’ odds Thursday to reach the Final Four, Colorado was +7000 while Creighton sat at +10000.