NBA Finals Wagering Is Cooling Off, But Options Abound During Dog Days Of Summer Betting In Illinois

Written By Joe Boozell on July 19, 2021 - Last Updated on July 21, 2021
bet on sports in illinois summer

Game 6 of the NBA Finals takes place on Tuesday night between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns. If the Bucks win, they will be the NBA champions.

Currently, Milwaukee is a 5-point favorite to win Tuesday at Illinois sportsbooks. The Bucks have won the last three games of the series.

But once the NBA Finals end, we’re in the sports betting doldrums. Illinoisans bet $154.3 million on hoops in May, the most of any sport. Baseball betting in Illinois was second at $126.1 million.

So, what else could drive sports betting handle in Illinois in July and August? Here are some of the main sports and events you can bet on in Illinois this summer.

Bet on Chicago baseball: White Sox a World Series contender

As mentioned above, baseball was the second-most popular sport to bet on in Illinois in May. The same will likely be true once the June revenue report comes out.

But in July, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Chicago baseball betting take the top spot in the Land of the Lincoln. That’s mostly a function of fewer NBA playoff games as more and more teams are eliminated. Volume matters and baseball has plenty of it.

White Sox odds validate that the Southsiders are currently the best team in the American League. Chicago is 20 games over .500, and only the San Francisco Giants have a better record in MLB.

You could watch the Sox play the Minnesota Twins the next few days at home.

On the other side of town, the Cubs are trending in the opposite direction and are now a game below .500. They will likely sell at the trade deadline, so there may be less enthusiasm with Cubs betting than we saw in the first few months.

It’s a similar story for the Cardinals, a team with plenty of fans in downstate Illinois. With that said, the Cubs and the Cardinals kick off a four-game series on Monday, which should draw a solid handle due to double local interest.

Bet on the Tokyo Olympics this week

For the first time since sports betting became legal in Illinois, you can bet on the Olympic games. We have a full breakdown of what you can and can’t bet on here.

To summarize, IL sportsbooks are offering action on plenty of Olympic events. You can bet on anything from basketball to soccer to beach volleyball to rugby.

For some sports, you can bet on individual games. For others, you can bet on specific athletes to win. There are also various prop bets that are country-related, such as which country will win the most gold medals.

It will be interesting to see how much betting handle the Olympics bring in as we are in uncharted territory. Since July is typically a down month, so perhaps the Olympics will add some juice to the market.

Bet on preseason NFL games

Obviously, the NFL is king when it comes to betting. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that preseason football betting is quite popular.

The first preseason game of 2021 is on Aug. 5 between the Cowboys and Steelers.

Bears play three preseason games this year, the first of which is on Aug. 14 against the Dolphins. Illinois sportsbooks have a multitude of Chicago Bears betting options, including Justin Fields props and Week 1 lines:

This year’s preseason should draw a ton of eyeballs in Chicago. That’s because it will be fans’ first chance to see Fields suit up in the orange and blue. Even though Andy Dalton figures to be the regular-season starter, Fields should see plenty of preseason action.

The Bears will also take on the Bills in the second preseason game. Of course, old friend Mitchell Trubisky is now the backup quarterback for Buffalo, so he should get a lot of snaps against the team that drafted him.

With Illinois bettors starved for football, expect to see big interest in betting on the NFL preseason in August.

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Joe Boozell

Joe Boozell has also been a college sports writer for since 2015. His work has also appeared in Bleacher Report, and Growing up, Boozell squared off against both Anthony Davis and Frank Kaminsky in the Chicagoland basketball scene ... you can imagine how that went.

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