The 2021 NCAA Tournament officially begins on Thursday with the First Four, and the full action commences Friday.
It’s the first time you can legally wager on March Madness in Illinois, and IL sportsbooks are rising to the occasion.
Unfortunately, Illinoisans can’t bet on Illinois or Loyola-Chicago due to state rules.
However, every other game should be playable. Here are some of the best promotions and offers from Illinois sportsbooks.
Please note, we’ll continue to update this as more roll in.
Illinois March Madness sportsbook promos
DraftKings, the Illinois market leader, is giving new users the chance to bet $4 to win $256 for the tournament.
The offer is available for first-time DraftKings depositors. You must deposit at least $5 into your account.
From there, you can bet on any lower-seeded team to win the moneyline. If they cash, you’ll turn that $4 into $256.
For example, you can choose a 9-seed to beat an 8-seed or a 10-seed to top a 7-seed.
This promotion is available through the end of the games on Saturday, meaning that all First Four and Round of 64 matchups are eligible.
The offer excludes live bets, parlays, free bets, cash out bets and voided bets.
FanDuel is offering its signature “Spread The Love” deal for the Michigan State vs. UCLA First Four matchup on Thursday.
Here’s how it works: New and existing users can bet Michigan State on the spread. For every 2,500 people who bet on the Spartans, FanDuel will move the spread one point in UCLA’s favor, creating an advantageous situation for the bettor.
The maximum bet is $50 at -110 odds, which would be a payout of $45.45.
And the spread is already on the move. Without this promotion, Michigan State is currently favored by 1.5 over UCLA.
But as of Monday morning, Michigan State is already a 20.5-point underdog thanks to the promotion. We’d expect that number to go even higher before Thursday’s tipoff once more people become aware of the offer.
PointsBet is offering a March Madness “Let It Rip” promotion featuring former Detroit Piston and Chicago Bull Richard “Rip” Hamilton.
It is possible to earn $1,999 in free bets by betting on games through the end of Monday games.
We should note that you’d need to bet quite a bit in order to unlock the full $1,999 in free bets. Always bet responsibly, and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.
The Let It Rip promotion features a tiered reward system. So, for instance, if you bet a total of $100 on games between Thursday and Monday, you will unlock $50 in free bets.
Bet $500 total, and you will unlock $100 in free bets. And so on.
BetRivers’ March Madness offers are pretty straightforward.
New and existing users can get one 50% matched free bet on any team to win the national championship. The maximum free bet would be $50.
BetRivers Sportsbook is also offering a 20% profit boost for any live bet for the First Four games.
Illinoisans may miss out on betting March Madness IL showdown
Illinois is a 1-seed in the NCAA Tournament, while Loyola-Chicago is an 8-seed.
In the same region. That’s right: The Fighting Illini and the Ramblers could square off in the Round of 32 in an all-Illinois matchup.
Unfortunately, Illinoisans wouldn’t be able to legally bet on the matchup, though they could if they were in Indiana or Iowa.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other enticing games to wager on. It’s great to have March Madness back.