Iowa sports betting is set to boom now that the Iowa Hawkeyes are one of the hottest teams in America heading into the NCAA Tournament.
“We knew this team was destined for greatness,” said forward Keegan Murray after a victory over Purdue in the Big Ten Conference Tournament championship. “We changed the direction of the Iowa program.”
With an entire state of bettors rallying behind them and a path to the NCAA championship game, excitement over Iowa’s program is at the highest it’s been in a while.
Iowa Looks to Make Noise
The Hawkeyes were a #2 seed in last year’s tournament but suffered an 80-95 loss to #7 Oregon in the Round of 32 and were forced to book early plane tickets home; but where Iowa was considered to be a weak two seed last year, they are now a strong five seed and underdog pick to make the Final Four, if not win the entire event.
The afore-mentioned Murray has been dominant all year, posting averages of 23.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 2.0 blocks per game. He is backed up by Jordan Bohannon and Patrick McCaffrey, both of whom average at least 10 points per game and are great off-speed pitches on offense.
Iowa is proficient shooting the ball from the field, free-throw line, and beyond the arc, and although its defense is not a strong point, they have athleticism that can shine through in important moments. They also head into the tournament as winners of 12 of 14 and have tons of momentum to ride.
Impact on Iowa Sports Betting
Having a local team advance to a massive stage in sports always inspires an uptick in betting numbers— the most recent example of this is the Cincinnati Bengals, who elevated Ohio’s betting profile tremendously during the most recent Super Bowl.
This spike in wagered dollars spilled over to Louisiana, which had famous former LSU Tigers Joe Burrow and Ja’Marr Chase on the frontline of Cinci’s attack.
Iowa sports betting finished 2021 with a $2.04 billion handle and $113.89 million in revenue, per the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission.
February’s individual handle reached $215.92 million which was slightly down from the end of 2021, but there can be an expected increase in handle and revenue during March Madness.
Pre-tournament estimates from 2021 suggested that over $3.1 billion would be wagered on the big event; now that even more states have legalized sports betting and the visibility has increased, this figure too should be exceeded.
The longer that Iowa can survive in the tournament, the more revenue the Iowa sports betting is going to earn; such is the way of having a local representative still competing.
Path to Glory
Iowa starts its tournament with a match against #12 Richmond, the postseason Atlantic 10 Conference champions. From there, they will play the winner of Providence and South Dakota State University.
The big-name schools in Iowa’s region are Kansas, Auburn, and Wisconsin. The Hawkeyes did not face any of these opponents during their regular season campaign.
Iowa will be looking to reach its first national title game in school history. It has made the Final Four in four prior occasions, the most recent of which came in 1980, when it was defeated by Louisville. Two players on that roster— Ronnie Lester and Bob Hansen— went on to play in the NBA.