Regarding the amount of dollars that sports bettors wager each year, nothing compares to NFL betting in the US. Sportsbooks in Illinois should be no exception to this rule.
With the Chicago Bears calling Illinois home and nearby Kansas City Chiefs and Indianapolis Colts, the NFL handle should be robust every year. Illinois sports bettors should have a lot of ways to bet and a lot of available promos.
Before each season begins, there are futures markets to consider. During football season, there are moneylines, props, spreads and totals bets for each game. And, while the game is in progress, there is live betting.
Common promotions include odds boosts, guarantees against lost bets and profit bonuses. With so many ways to get in on NFL betting in Illinois, new bettors may have a lot of questions.
We will try to answer them here.
In July 2019, the Illinois Legislature legalized sports betting. Since then, a number of legal online sportsbooks have gone live in the Prairie State. Those are:
If you’ve been to East St. Louis, you’re familiar with the Casino Queen. It is the facility partner with DraftKings Sportsbook in Illinois, as the casino bears the DraftKings name as well. Many in the Prairie State were already familiar with DraftKings through playing daily fantasy sports (DFS). The company plans to expand its dominance with its online sports betting option as well.
Par-A-Dice Casino in East Peoria is where you’ll find the FanDuel retail sportsbook. Sports bettors around the state will likely access FanDuel Sportsbook on their computers and phones. Just like DraftKings, it brings robust marketing power into the Prairie State.
This is an Australian-based company but you don’t have to travel farther than your nearest Hawthorne Race Course to find PointsBet Sportsbook‘s brick-and-mortar components. PointsBet is best known for its unique betting strategy in which Illinois bettors can essentially set their own lines for events, appropriately called “pointsbetting.”
This operator is one of the OGs of the legal sports betting industry in the US. William Hill is approaching its ninth decade of business with no signs of slowing down. Through its facility partner Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin, William Hill Sportsbook includes Illinois in its long list of jurisdictions where people can wager legally.
Operating under the master license of Rivers Casino in Des Plaines, this brand is the first legal brick-and-mortar and online sportsbook in Illinois. It has a strong presence in the Chicago market, so expect it to be a contender for market share for the long haul.
Yes. Illinois legalized sports betting in July 2019 and the first legal sportsbook launched in March 2020. As long as you’re at least 21 years or older and physically within Illinois state borders when you make your wager, it’s perfectly legal. You do not have to be a legal resident of the state.
To place bets online, however, you will have to register your account at the facility partner associated with the online sportsbook you wish to use. It’s a one-time visit. In some places, you can register without even getting out of your car.
The in-person registration requirement should expire in late 2021. Actually, Gov. JB Pritzker has suspended the mandate because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Being able to tell whether you’re using a legal sportsbook is relatively easy.
You will see a disclaimer denoting registration with the Illinois Gaming Board on the app or website near the bottom of the page. If the sportsbook you’re using does not disclose that registration requirement, it’s an offshore sportsbook.
There aren’t any explicit regulatory or statutory restrictions on NFL wagers in Illinois, so sportsbooks are essentially free to take any NFL bets they feel comfortable accepting.
Some types of bets are much more common than others, however.
The odds that most bettors are most familiar with are also the lines you’ll see when you first open up the NFL section of your favorite sportsbook. It’s simple once you understand the jargon.
In these markets, you’ll see just two pieces of information: The teams playing in the game and a set of corresponding American odds. They will look like this:
In these types of markets, you’re simply betting on who you think will win the game. How many points the teams score and the winning team’s margin of victory are both completely irrelevant.
Tips for reading NFL moneyline odds:
This type of bet is often referred to as the spread. In these markets, the sportsbook is sharing with you its prediction for the difference in the score between the losing and winning team in the game. The lines will look like this:
It’s common to see a half-point in football spreads. This is called a hook, and acts to prevent bets from ending in a push (neither the house nor you win the bet), as it’s impossible to score just half of a point in football.
The odds after the spread tell you what your payout will be if you win. It’s also common to see identical odds on both sides of these markets.
Your task in betting this market is deciding whether or not you agree with the sportsbook’s assessment. Essentially, this example says the sportsbook expects the Chicago Bears to win this game by at least 10 points.
If you agree, then you would bet Chicago -9.5. If the Bears win this game and by at least 10 points, you would win. If the Colts were to win the game by any margin or the Bears win but by less than the spread, you would lose.
If you think the book got it wrong, then you would bet Colts +9.5. If Indianapolis wins by any margin or Chicago fails to cover (wins by less than the spread), you would win.
In a similar fashion, this is often just referred to as a total. It’s a market on the amount of points that both teams will cumulatively score in the game.
New bettors should note that it’s not how many points one team or other will score, but how many points that both teams combined will account for in the game. The markets look like this:
The first number is how many points the sportsbook believes both teams will combine to score in the game. The hook (that half-point) prevents a push (neither the book nor you winning the bet). The last number is the payout if you win.
In these markets, you have to decide whether the sportsbook was too generous or not generous enough.
If you think the two teams will score more points than the book predicts, you’d bet the over. If you think the book’s total is too high, you’d bet the under. Which team wins the game or how many points the teams score separately mean nothing in these markets.
Proposition bets can be on a wide array of facets of an NFL game.
These can include player or team statistics, specific events within a game, and/or which team will be the first to achieve a particular part of the game. Some examples are:
This type of betting is also often referred to as in-game betting because the odds move as the game progresses. Typical examples of live bets for NFL games include:
As technology improves, the frequency, variety, and volume of these wagers will increase. At some point, you may be able to legally wager on the result of each play in an NFL game.
The NFL futures market provides bettors the chance to stay involved with the game they love all year round. Futures are wagers on outcomes that won’t be known until later, sometimes months down the road.
These are bets that require a long-term perspective, but they can be quite lucrative when you make the right call. Futures odds become available during the NFL offseason.
The biggest markets will be unveiled right after the current year’s Super Bowl is in the books, while others will be sprinkled in between then and the start of training camp. Here are some of the most popular NFL futures you’ll have to choose from:
Odds for NFL futures are typically listed in descending order with favorites up top, long-shots on the bottom and all other choices somewhere in the middle. The key is to find the selections that you’re interested in at the best possible price.
For some bettors, that means placing bets soon after the odds are released and waiting to the end of the season. Other handicappers take a more active approach and remain engaged with futures constantly as they hunt for the best prices and opportunities.
The futures market also makes for a handy research tool as you get set to tackle another NFL season. Regular season win totals can give you a good overview of what to expect in the coming campaign, a tidbit that can be helpful for handicapping the early part of the season.
In a typical season, each NFL team will play four preseason games and 16 regular-season games. That calendar usually runs from August through late December.
Regular-season games are typically played on Thursdays, Sundays and Mondays. Each team plays a game in all but one week for 17 weeks of the regular season. The off week is a bye week that occurs at some point during the season.
The winners of the eight NFL divisions plus the two nondivision winning teams in each conference with the best winning percentages qualify for the playoffs.
They play a single-elimination tournament that culminates in the Super Bowl on the first Sunday in February each year.
As NFL games are some of the most essential live sporting events for advertising purposes, many broadcast channels and streaming platforms carry them.
If you have a cable, livestreaming or satellite subscription, you can check your channel guide for NFL games during the appropriate times.
In the wild card round, ABC adds to this mix. The other three wild card games are shown on CBS, Fox, and NBC. All AFC divisional and conference championship round games are shown on CBS while all NFC divisional and conference championship round games are on Fox.
The coverage of the Super Bowl rotates each year between the aforementioned broadcasters. Super Bowl LV in February 2021 will be shown on CBS. If you don’t pay for any streaming or TV service, you might be able to pull in games on broadcast ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC channels. In Illinois, those are:
Illinois is home to the Chicago Bears. The Monsters of the Midway have loyal and passionate fans across Illinois, and they also have quite the national following. The franchise also holds the distinction of being one of the league’s oldest teams, with roots that trace back to the early days of the NFL. Here are the Chicago Bears, by the numbers:
Some of the greatest players in NFL history have suited up for the Bears, a list that includes names such as Walter Payton, Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus.
While the club has just one crown in the Super Bowl era, the Bears claimed nine NFL championships in the years preceding the AFL-NFL merger.
The team snapped a lengthy postseason drought in 2018, but failed in a quest to return to the postseason the following year. Here are the details on where you can catch the Bears in person:
The Bears make their home in the NFC North division. They share residence in what has been nicknamed the “Black and Blue” division with the following:
These three clubs are the biggest rivals for the Bears. Each of the clubs plays the others twice per season — once at home and once away.
That translates into six divisional affairs over the course of the 16-game NFL regular season, and some of the biggest highlights of the Bears’ season. On a historical basis, here’s how the Bears have fared against these three teams through the 2019 season:
The Bears and Packers are viewed as having one of the best rivalries in the NHL. Historically, this is also the most-played matchup in league history.
Following the AFL-NFL merger, the teams were assigned to what was known as the NFC Central division. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers joined the party in the 1970s as an expansion team. The league realigned to its current configuration in 2002. The division makeup has remained the same since that point.
Here’s a look at which squads have racked up the most NFC North crowns over that span.
Hundreds of players who were born in Illinois have made it to the NFL. Choosing the five best of all time is a little challenging as a result, but here are our choices for some of the leading NFL players to come from Illinois.
In many ways, betting on NFL games is just like betting on any other sporting event. It’s important to realize that the sportsbook has worked its “juice” (its interest in offering the market) into the odds. The operators base odds on the results of decades of data and proven algorithms.
That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to win, however. As the old saying goes, that’s why they play the games.
Sportsbooks don’t randomly put up odds with no logic behind them. The aim is to keep your money. If you want to take the book’s money, you’ll have to make informed decisions. Before placing a bet on a Bears game, you should, at minimum, answer the following questions for yourself:
That’s partially up to the operator, but none will let you bet on credit. Outside of that restriction, online sportsbooks will accept most of the following:
Of course, retail sportsbooks will accept cash. You can use many of the same payment methods to withdraw your winnings as well.
The simple answer is there is no simple answer to this question; it depends on a myriad factors. You’ve probably seen the stories of the people who staked $2 on an 11-leg parlay and won thousands of dollars.
It does happen, but the odds of successfully doing it are astronomical. That’s because with each leg you add, your risk doesn’t just increase, it multiplies. In many cases, you would be better off betting each leg as its own wager.
A good rule of thumb for considering a parlay is to gauge your potential payout if you bet the same amount on each prospective leg as its own bet. If parlaying them together doesn’t produce a substantially better potential payout than that, it’s not a wise move.
American odds tell you the profit if you win a bet.
There are two components — either a plus or minus sign and a three-digit number. If the odds start with a plus (like +150), that means the numbers that follow are what your profit would be if you bet $100.
If the odds start with a minus (like -110), that means the numbers that follow are how much you need to wager to make a $100 profit on your bet. Almost all the time at IL sportsbooks, these are the types of odds you will see.
The 2021 NFL draft is currently slated for April 29-May 1 in Cleveland, Ohio. It’s unclear right now whether the league will allow spectators at the event.
Later this season, fans will get a better idea of where the Bears will pick. Of course, like always, trades could change that on a moment’s notice.