How do I bet on sports in Illinois?
Illinois law states that:
“Sports wagering includes, but is not limited to, single-game bets, teaser bets, parlays, over-under, moneyline, pools, exchange wagering, in-game wagering, in-play bets, proposition bets and straight bets.”
Therefore, some of the most popular bet types in the state are:
- Moneylines — Beginners often start with moneyline bets. These are simple bets on which team will win a match.
- Totals (over/under) bets — You don’t need to care which team will win with an over-under or totals bet. This is a bet on whether the combined score of both teams will be more or less than a number — the line — set by the bookmaker.
- Spreads — In a spread bet, you bet on whether your team will score more or less than the number set by the bookmaker. The favorite team has points over the line. the underdog has points under the line. If the favorite wins by more than the number of points above the line, the spread is covered and you win, and vice versa.
- Parlays — Parlay bets provide some the best entertainment for your dollar. In a parlay bet, you link several bets together. To win the bet, you must predict all six winners correctly. In parlays you can win a lot of money for a small bet, but the odds are against you.
- Propositions — Propositions, or prop bets, are the catch-all term for any bet that does not fit into one of the categories above. More generally, a prop bet is a wager on events ancillary to the outcome of the game. Any kind of weird bet, combo bet or side bet is usually going to be a prop.
- Live betting — One type of prop bet is quickly becoming one of the dominant forms of sports betting in Illinois. Live, or in game bets are played after a sporting event begins. No longer do bets close at the start of play.
Futures betting in Illinois
One type of wager deserves its own attention. The futures bet, which is a wager on events occurring far down the road, is a bet that is good for all seasons.
Futures bets are the answer for people who want to bet on their favorite sports team, regardless of the season. Even though the Chicago Bears may not be playing, you can still make a wager regarding the team’s chances to win the Super Bowl.
So, even if the Bulls miss the playoffs, there’s always next season. You can always put money on the Blackhawks bringing home the next Stanley Cup.
A futures bet can also be on individual players. If you feel confident that Yu Darvish might win the Cy Young award, there’s a bet for that. If you want to put money on Jose Abreu to win the MVP award, you can.
There are tons of different ways to bet on futures in Illinois. Here are some of the wagers you can make:
What you can’t bet on in Illinois
There are a few restrictions on betting in Illinois by law or rule.
The biggest no-no is on in-state collegiate sports. Unfortunately, Illinois residents cannot bet on the University of Illinois or Northwestern while inside their home state.
Wagers must also be on sporting events only. No betting on awards, elections or any other non-sports event is permitted.
Finally, if you’re involved in a particular sport as a player, referee, coach or other principal, you can’t bet on your sport. Every other sport is fine, but there’s too much of an issue with conflicts of interest for your own sport.
Current legal Illinois sports betting options
Illinois has plenty of locations for placing wagers throughout the state. There are casinos, racetracks, off-track betting sites, and the online sites themselves.
This section should serve as your guide for everywhere you can place a bet on sports in Illinois. We are also including a section on horse betting, even though live and online horse betting exists in a separate realm from true sports betting and has a different legal status.
However, before we get into all the different places to go, let’s discuss the state of popular sports in Illinois.
Popular legal sports to bet on in Illinois
Since Illinois is home to Chicago, the third-largest city in the US, it’s no surprise that there are numerous professional sports teams to follow and games to bet. Below is a guide to all those organizations and their pertinent details.
Most betting types are available for these teams’ games when they are in season. However, the realities of some of the sports, like baseball and hockey, mean that there have to be slight alterations in the typical bets offered.
So, just be aware of the fact that some betting types might not stretch across all sports. Here are the relevant teams in Illinois.
NFL betting in Illinois
Illinois is home to a single NFL team:
- Chicago Bears: Soldier Field, 1410 Museum Campus Drive, Chicago, IL
The Bears are one of the oldest teams in the NFL and one of its most storied franchises. More Bears reside in the NFL Hall of Fame than players from any other team.
Betting on NFL games tends to revolve around the teams, of course, but also some of the statistics unique to football. Bets on stats like a quarterback’s yards or a receiver’s touchdowns are common. The practice of holding numerous NFL games on Sundays means that parlay wagers are also a popular option for betting on football games.
MLB betting in Illinois
Due to Chicago’s size, it is one of the few cities to host not one, but two Major League Baseball franchises. They are:
Both teams have won World Series trophies in the last 20 years, and both are looking to repeat. Although the two teams rarely meet, they enjoy a bitter rivalry with one another. DraftKings struck a deal with the Chicago Cubs to bring a DraftKings Sportsbook to Wrigley Field.
If you want to bet on Major League Baseball, you may find a particular oddity in place of the typical spread bet option. Because of baseball’s low scoring, sportsbooks in IL will use what’s known as a run line. A run line sets the spread at 1.5 runs, but alters the payout to be more like a moneyline than a true spread bet.
NBA betting in Illinois
There is one NBA team that calls Illinois home, but it is a legendary franchise.
The Bulls ascended to heights few can claim in the 1990s. Michael Jordan, the player widely considered to be the greatest to play the game ever, played the vast majority of his career as a Bull and guided the team to six titles during the decade.
Betting on NBA games is fairly straightforward. In fact, because there is so much scoring during NBA games, there are many opportunities to wager on totals, individual props and so forth.
NHL betting in Illinois
Illinois is home to a single NHL team:
The Blackhawks are one of the original NHL teams and one of its most successful in recent years. The 2010s saw the Blackhawks take home the Stanley Cup three times, and the team’s six Stanley Cups place it tied for fourth most Cups in NHL history.
Like baseball, hockey is a low-scoring affair and creates a challenge for Illinois sportsbooks who want to create a spread bet. So NHL bettors will find that they can use a bet called the puck line. It behaves identically to its run line counterpart in baseball.