Sports betting options abound at legal, regulated sportsbooks in Illinois. The NBA is one of them, as the high-scoring league is the second-most bet on sport behind the NFL.
There’s a lot to love for NBA betting, and people in Illinois are starting to get in on the action. Legal sports betting in the state has been a real game-changer. You can bet on NBA games, player props, futures and a whole lot more.
Our complete guide to NBA betting covers the entire court. From the ways you can wager to betting tips, it’s all right here. Let’s not forget our hometown Chicago Bulls. Let’s get to it.
Check our feed below for live NBA point spreads, moneylines and totals odds directly from top Illinois online sportsbooks. Use the drop-down menu to navigate between odds boards. Click on any odds directly to jump right to the sportsbook, claim your bonus and lock in your bet.
On the second tab find the current NBA futures odds at Illinois online sportsbooks. These include odds for the 2021 NBA Finals, Conference champions and individual player awards including MVP, DPOY and more. Click on the odds to open a new account and lock in your bet.
Yes, retail sports betting in Illinois went live in March 2020 with the online and mobile rollout in June.
For years, the only option for legal sports betting in the US was in Nevada. The story changed in 2018 when the US Supreme Court effectively left the decision to the states.
To bet on the NBA and other sports, you must be 21 years or older. For online and mobile wagering, Illinois bettors must be physically within state lines when betting. Operators use geolocation technology to ensure compliance.
You’ll have all types of NBA betting opportunities, including on the outcome of individual games, player performances and how the season as a whole will shake out. Let’s take a look at how to start betting on the NBA.
You can be up and betting quickly on NBA games in the new legal and regulated environment here in Illinois. However, it’s a good idea to tap the brakes and get a handle on things first. Here are some details you need to know:
For each NBA game, there are several wager types to consider. You can even take a step back and bet on how the entire season will play out. Here are the most popular betting types on the NBA:
All the bet types are straightforward. However, it may take some getting used to the advanced wagers. Just like anything else, practice makes perfect.
Overall, the lay of the land is similar for NBA betting at online sportsbooks and apps. That said, there may be some quirks here and there. It’s good practice to take the time to review the house rules.
You can typically find the rules within the help section at the legal and regulated sportsbooks. Some sites have dedicated sections on how to bet that are broken down by sport. Here are some of the most common rules as they pertain to NBA sports betting:
As mentioned, there are standards across the industry for how betting action is handled, but there may be some slight variances here and there. To that end, we’ll reiterate the importance of becoming familiar with the terms and conditions at the book you are playing on to avoid any surprises.
There are plenty of ways to get in on the action with the NBA. Beyond betting on the games, you can make your calls on how the entire season will play out. You can also take a deep dive into the games and focus on specific performances.
Futures are wagers you can place on things that won’t be decided until months later. Some of the biggest markets will attract betting interest all year. NBA betting odds are released in the offseason and will move from that point. Here are some of the most popular offerings:
Props are like side wagers or game-within-the-game bets. You can find the available offerings by clicking through on the individual game listings. Many of the available opportunities will revolve around player performance metrics:
You’ll also find props that are on team performance or game circumstances. Examples include which side will have more turnovers in the contest or whether overtime will be needed. Props are a great way to find additional betting action on the games you already pinged.
For every slate of games during the NBA season, sportsbooks will release odds for each contest. The lines usually come out either the night before the game or later in the morning. Here’s what a default game listing looks like:
|Detroit Pistons||+2.5 (-110)||+140||O 204.5 (-110)|
|Chicago Bulls||-2.5 (-110)||-120||U 204.5 (-110)|
Next to the two team names are odds for the main bet types: point spread, moneyline and total. In this matchup, the Bulls are favored by 2.5 points and slight favorites on the moneyline in a game that’s expected to be relatively high-scoring.
Once the odds are released, the betting public can weigh in on the lines. That can lead to some movement in the odds, especially if the betting action is swinging heavily in one direction. For example, the spread could tighten or the total could rise or fall while the moneyline odds fluctuate as sportsbooks tweak the numbers to find the right mix.
It’s important to remember that the odds won’t always be the same at every sportsbook. You can shop around to find the best price for the games. Our live NBA odds feed is a great tool to use.
Live betting has emerged as one of the most popular offerings at online sportsbooks and sports betting apps. These are bets — also referred to as in game wagers — that you can place in real-time as a game is playing out.
During the average game, you’ll see lots of opportunities come up. The market moves fast, but platforms from leading legal and regulated operators make it easy to stay on top the game action. Offerings will vary, but here are some examples of what you might see:
DraftKings and FanDuel are among the operators who have been crushing it with live betting options. The apps from the two sports betting heavyweights are among the best in the industry. You can watch the game while glancing at your device to stay abreast of betting opportunities that come up.
While the team may be far removed from its glory days of the 1990s, the Chicago Bulls remain firmly entrenched as the most popular NBA club in Illinois. The team is a member of the Central Division in the NBA’s Eastern Conference along with four other squads:
Naturally, these are four of the biggest rivalries for the Bulls. Through the years, there have also been heated battles with clubs like the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers. Here are some of the key details from franchise history:
The club has hit a rough patch and missed the playoffs in four of the last five seasons, but the Bulls remain a popular attraction in Illinois. For those looking to catch a game in person, here’s what you need to know:
The typical NBA season begins with the preseason in the fall and runs straight through to the NBA Finals in June. You can place your bets every step of the way, but keep in mind that preseason games can be pretty unpredictable on the playing time front.
The regular season runs for 82 games, with each club playing an equal number of home and away games. For the Bulls and other clubs, the structure breaks down like this:
The top eight teams in each conference make it to the postseason. The tournament is structured in rounds with teams that win their series advancing. The last two teams remaining on each side face off in the conference championships, with the winners advancing to the NBA Finals.
From a betting perspective, there’s a solid amount of action on each game throughout the regular season, with the marquee national TV games garnering the most interest. Interest intensifies even further throughout the playoffs.
Nearly 300 players who were born in Illinois have made it to the pros. Included on that list are current stars such as Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis, as well as the recently retired Dwyane Wade. For the all-time best from years past, we can look toward these five names, all of whom have been enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
While it’s easy to start basketball betting in the new legal environment, finding consistent success can take some time. There is a learning curve to tackle, but those who stay the course and continually seek improvement should see improvement before too long. Here are some tips you can use to help kickstart things:
Those three tips can help you get off to a good start, but you should also keep in mind some of the mistakes that are completely avoidable for new bettors. At the top of the list are wagering based on rooting interest and betting over your head. If you can avoid those two pitfalls, you’ll have a much better chance of staying on track.
For each NBA game, oddsmakers will install a point spread, which is basically like a projected margin of victory. You can choose the favorite minus the points, which means that side will have to win by an amount greater than the spread to cover. If you pick the underdog plus the points, that team will have to keep the margin under the spread or win the game outright to cover.
This can happen when a game is set with a whole number such as 204. If the final score of the contest was 104-100, it would hit the total exactly. A totals bet that lands on the number is considered a push. Your wagering amount will be refunded in full since there was no winning or losing side. For tracking purposes, you can chalk it up as a tie.
In recent years, there has been a spike in interest on more targeted bets such as on quarters and halves. An NBA second-half bet revolves solely around which side will perform better for that part of the game alone. You may find this included among the game props or while live betting. There are also first-half bets for you to consider that work in the same fashion.
The odds for NBA games are set by sportsbooks and then released to the public. There’s typically a team in charge of setting the numbers, while the person in charge may be referred to as the oddsmaker. The team runs through various data points with the assistance of computers and algorithms, and may implement adjustments as needed. Once the sportsbook likes its line, it releases the numbers so the public can have its say.
The NBA draft lottery traces its roots back to 1985. It was implemented in a bid to prevent the league’s poorer teams from “tanking” — as in intentionally losing in order to secure a loftier draft spot. The lottery is open to all teams that failed to qualify for the postseason, but trades can impact which teams are eligible. The club with the poorest record has the best chance of winning the lottery and the first overall draft selection and so on. The New York Knicks won the first edition of the lottery and used it to select franchise icon Patrick Ewing. The most recent NBA draft lottery took place on Aug. 20, 2020. The Minnesota Timberwolves won the rights to the first selection at the next draft, which is scheduled for Nov. 18, 2020.