March Madness: Iowa lets down bettors through 2 rounds, but many Hawkeyes title bets alive

If you've done any sports betting at all, you've come across a very old saying: Good teams win, great teams cover.

Maybe this season's Iowa Hawkeyes will end up being remembered as a great team, but bettors aren't feeling it yet.

Iowa underachieved a bit in the first two rounds, in terms of the point spreads at BetMGM. The Hawkeyes didn't cover in either of their first two NCAA tournament games, but that doesn't matter to Caitlin Clark and her teammates. They're moving on to the Sweet 16 and that's what is important.

But bettors who are along for the Iowa ride have taken two losses. And there were a lot of bettors on the Iowa bandwagon.

Hawkeyes were a popular bet

In Saturday's games in the first round of the tournament, Iowa vs. Holy Cross was the most-bet game at BetMGM. Iowa as a massive 37.5-point favorite was the second-most bet side that day. Iowa won 91-65 but never came close to covering the huge spread. At least the over 154.5 hit; that was the most bet over of the day.

Bettors were looking to make their money back on Iowa in the second round. There were more bets and money on Iowa -15.5 against West Virginia than any other side on Monday. Iowa had a close game and pulled away late to hold off the Mountaineers 64-54. Great for Iowa, bad for Iowa bettors. At least there was another consolation: the most-bet prop was Clark over 4.5 3-pointers made at -135 odds. In that market, 99% of the tickets and 99% of the handle was on the over. Clark hit five 3-pointers for the over.

Iowa guard Caitlin Clark led her team to two NCAA tournament wins to advance to the Sweet 16. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Iowa guard Caitlin Clark led her team to two NCAA tournament wins to advance to the Sweet 16. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Obviously all those bets on Iowa are part of the Clark phenomenon. She is a superstar. It's rare to see one player get the type of attention she has, and that trickles down to the betting world.

And there is still a chance Clark's Hawkeyes do very well for bettors.

Iowa has a lot of future bets

This shouldn't be a big surprise, but Iowa is the biggest liability for BetMGM when it comes to bets on who wins the NCAA women's tournament.

At BetMGM, 34.3% of bets made on the tournament winner are on Iowa. No other team has more than 13.5% of bets. Iowa is +600 to win it all and their odds didn't move despite two tournament wins over the past few days.

South Carolina is still lurking in that bracket. While Iowa has taken the most bets, most of the money (36.2%) is on the Gamecocks. South Carolina's odds to win ticked down again and now stand at -155. South Carolina won its first two tournament games by 52 and 47 points. There's good reason they're favored.

There are still plenty of bettors looking for South Carolina to trip up before winning another championship. Bettors were burned by Iowa over the past few days, but it's likely they're not done backing them in the tournament.