How to Bet On Sports In Illinois: A Guide For Beginners

By Adam Warner
Fact Checked by Lawrence Hollyfield

Welcome to the world of online betting in Illinois. We’re going to go over how to bet online, what different types of bets you can make and some general ideas on how you can help make your sports betting a profitable and fun endeavor. 

Top-Ranked Sports Betting Sites In Illinois

Bettors have more than a handful of great options for placing sports bets online using the best Illinois betting apps.

Types Of Sports Bets

There are many ways to bet on sports. Preferences vary, so it's great to have as many options as possible. Here is a rundown of the types of bets you will see on Illinois wagering sites.

Moneyline

A moneyline bet is a wager on who will win the game. Negative odds are expressed in the amount you must risk to win $100. Conversely, positive odds show how much you win on a $100 bet. For example: Chicago Bulls -150 vs Charlotte Hornets +130. If you want to bet on the Bulls, you need to risk $150 to win $100. Likewise, a correct $100 wager on the Hornets nets you $130. You do not need to bet in $100 increments; some operators will let you wager as little as 10 cents. You can get more information on NBA sports betting here.

Live Betting

A live bet is a wager placed on a game in progress. Say you’re watching Cubs-Dodgers and it's scoreless in the fourth inning. And let's say you think the Cubs are about to have a big inning. Maybe your sports gambling site has a betting line on the Cubs to win at +130. You can go on your book and lock in a bet literally between pitches, even on wagers such as who will score the next run.

Parlays

A parlay bet is one in which you combine two or more bets. To win the parlay, all of the “legs” within the parlay must cash in. You can create a parlay out of any combo of straight bets, moneylines, totals, props – anything that has a line on it. And you can parlay across sports. All legal sportsbooks in Illinois will give you a price, and payouts depend on how many legs are in the parlay and on the individual odds of each leg. A bonus that pops up: Operators will refund your money if you miss only one leg of a complicated parlay.

How To Reading Betting Lines

When you turn on a sporting event, the betting odds at the bottom of the screen show point spreads, moneylines, totals and so forth. That’s thanks to legalized sports betting sweeping the land.

If you see the Chicago Bears -4.5 over the Lions, or the Chicago Bulls -150 moneyline favorites at your online bookmakers, you will know each is expected to triumph. Even if you don’t want to wager a penny, it provides context to the matchup. And if you do place some sports bets, it might make that seemingly one-sided game rather interesting if it's hovering near the over/under.

 

Wagering Amounts

The size of your sports bet should reflect both personal preference and your tolerance and ability to absorb losses. Quite simply, the saying “bet with your head, not over it” is crucial. If you are looking to wager actively, the most important metric is your return on investment. How much are you winning or losing per $100 you wager.

Sports bettors will hit hot and cold streaks, but over time it will revert to your average, and hopefully, that average is positive. Don’t bet so much that the cold streaks knock you out of the game. The type of bets you make will impact your payouts. Straight bets pay out slightly less than 50/50. Odds bets can pay out much more cash, but the wins are much less frequent.

Choosing A Betting Platform

Choosing betting sites is of the utmost importance. The more accounts you can comfortably open, the better. That’s because point spreads and odds vary slightly and it's important over time to get the best price on your wagers. But that’s not always possible. So if you need to choose, here are some things to look for, in no particular order:

  • Tightest Odds

    Betting sites generally quote straight bets at -110, meaning you must risk $110 to win $100. They vary more on wagers like moneylines and futures, so if a book is consistently giving the best price, that’s a good spot to bet.

  • Promos And Odds Boosts

    Illinois betting promo codes produce cash in your account or free bets, once you have signed up and deposited money. They also offer boosts on odds. Look for books that are generous with these offers as they all bump up your bankroll. BetRivers Illinois and Caesars Sportsbook Illinois are two legal Illinois online bookmakers known for their promo codes and odds boosts.

  • Easy To Use

    Make sure you are comfortable with the interface on your sports betting sites. Speed and intuitive design are both very important, especially if you plan on live betting.

  • Variety Of Offerings

    All wagering platforms cover the major sports well. But if you are looking to bet on more esoteric sports, be certain that the operator you choose has lines there. BetMGM Illinois is an industry leader when it comes to its variety of offerings.

  • Ease Of Withdrawals

    All online bettings make it simple to deposit money, but they vary on how easy they make it to withdraw money. Make sure your book has a system that will get your funds back quickly and in a form you like.

How Sports Betting Works In Illinois

If you enjoy watching sports on TV or in person, you'll likely have a great time when placing a small wager on the game. When done sensibly and within your means, it adds an extra layer of fun to the event. “Skin in the game” can make any game that much better.

Contributors

Adam Warner, author of "Options Volatility Trading: Strategies for Profiting from Market Swings," is a former financial writer for Schaeffers Research and freelance writer for streetinsight.com. Previously, Adam was a market maker on the American Stock Exchange. He is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University.

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