What to Look for When Picking an NHL Betting Site
Reputation is everything when looking for the best NHL betting sites in IL. In hockey betting, you want to make sure there is a wide range of bets available. Does the site have player proposition bets? Are there over-under bets available for the score in each period? Does the sportsbook pay immediately? Is there a cashout option on your existing, in-game bets? Is in-game betting available? You also want to get the best NHL betting bonuses Illinois sportsbooks have to offer. These are a few things to look for when searching for the right operator.
Types of NHL Bets Allowed in IL
In the old days of NHL betting, you pretty much had three options in placing bets for a game: moneyline (whichever team wins the game), puck line (win by two goals or more) and the over-under on total goals in a game. Now, whether it is a game in October or in the Stanley Cup playoffs, you have a lot of options to make NHL bets a sportsbooks like FanDuel Illinois! And with your phone, it's easy to participate in NHL betting online.
Now, bets can be placed on things such as over-under on the number of goals in a period and prop bets on player goals, assists and total points. Which team will score first? There's a bet for that. You can make a parlay bet simply and easily. There is also in-game, live online betting. The odds are changing almost every minute.
NHL Betting Lines and Odds
When sports betting became legal in several states, there were fewer limitations on how to bet on sports and where to bet on sports. That means more sportsbooks and more, and varied, odds from which to place bets. Hockey bettors have been beneficiaries of that.
One sportsbook might have the Boston Bruins at -140 on the moneyline to win a game against, say, the Buffalo Sabres. But another sportsbook might have the odds at Bruins -130. If you take the Bruins at -130 and they win, you just won more money. So, it's good to have several online sportsbooks at your disposal from which to choose and compare odds and make your NHL betting choices. It's also good to have several Illinois sportsbook options because you can take advantage of free first matching bets.
NHL Bonuses and Rewards
Another perk of today's online operators is all of the bonuses and risk-free bets that are out there, especially for first-time bettors at particular sportsbooks. For example, the Unibet IL promo includes a $1000 risk free bet.
These sportsbooks want your business, and with so much competition, they are going to offer some sweet sign-up deals. That means lots of risk-free first bets. Every sportsbook offers them now. Let's say you just signed up with a major sportsbook. Your first bet you essentially can't lose. Say you make an NHL bet of $200 on the Bruins to beat the Sabres on the moneyline. If you win, you collect your winnings instantly into your account. But if you lose that NHL bet? Fear not, the sportsbook is going to throw that $200 back into your account. There's your risk-free, matching first bet.
Sportsbooks regularly offer other bonuses, even to veteran NHL bettors. You might get an NHL odds boost on a game specially designed for you. You might see $10 added to your account from sites — just because. Many sites regularly have promotions for particular games or events ("Bet $50 on any NHL game this weekend, get $50 in free matching bets"). These sportsbook sites know they have to keep making it more enticing to customers to place bets because there is so much competition for your money.
In Illinois, NHL hockey betting can be made on any legal operators. Sports bettors can make their choices wherever they are in the state, any time of the day, on mobile or desktop.
That's why it's important that online betting sites have smooth, easy-to-understand user interfaces. You'll find out that some are easier to use than others. We've done reviews on all the major online sportsbooks already, so you can get some ideas of which are easiest to use and which need to do a little more work. The question for most users of NHL betting sites is, how easy is it to not only place your bets but collect on wins? For the majority of hockey betting sites, the answer is very easy. Some can seem to make it a bit more of an obstacle course, but chances are those are the sites that aren't fully regulated and approved by our panel of experts, or just flat-out not legal. But to be legal operator in the state, the site must have passed a rigorous set of regulations, so there's little to worry about here.
All good operators should have the NHL betting line on Illinois games listed clearly, with nice bright numbers and letters. There should be ample space to place your fingers on the betting boxes, and there should always be a double confirmation that you actually intended to place the bet in the betting slip or at "checkout." All the betting options for an NHL game should be listed clearly, such as player props or "other available bets" portals. The legal sites are always trying to update their user interfaces to make things easy as possible for the hockey betting enthusiast. If things are too hard for the average person to understand, they won't be back.
Deposits and Withdrawal
As a betting enthusiast, you want to know how easy it is to get your money. Fortunately, it's very easy. The best hockey betting sites in Illinois are going to be part of a larger overall sportsbook that has uniform deposit and withdrawal procedures.
Operatorts should allow for several deposit and withdrawal options — be it from your checking/online bank account, or PayPal or a credit card. Let's say you want to bet $20 on the Tampa Bay Lightning to win on the moneyline for a game that night against the Pittsburgh Penguins. On your sportsbook app or desktop site, once your account has been set up, you simply enter "$20" in the bet slip box, select where you want the funds to come from and click "place bet."
If you lost the bet? Hey, better luck next time. The sportsbook now has your $20. But if you win, at say +100 odds? You will soon see $40 in your account, probably at the top of the screen (your $20 back, plus another $20 based on +1oo odds). That's the gist of all Illinois hockey betting.
Your preferred site is going to have a box named "withdrawal" and if you want your $40 deposited into your bank account, you simply click there, enter $40, and click on the option to have it withdrawn to your bank account or other funds account set up beforehand, and it'll soon be in that account.
How soon? That depends. Some sportsbooks are a bit quicker than others, and that's where it comes in handy to read all our reviews.
Most sportsbook betting apps for IL hockey games offer live chat options if you have questions on anything. A real, live person will greet you and, hopefully, satisfactorily answer your questions. Some online sportsbooks have quicker, more helpful live chat staff than others, so read our reviews on that.
You can also send emails to customer support staff, and they are almost always quick to reply. If you don't get a response in a reasonable amount of time, you want to stay away from those online hockey sites. You can also call their customer support lines and talk to a real person. Yeah, the wait might be longer for some than others, but you'll usually get through.
Illinois NHL Betting Apps
Let's face it; almost everything we do now is on our phones. From banking to hailing an Uber to placing a bet on some hockey games. So, it's crucial for sportsbooks to have their mobile user interface experience easy to use and understand.
For all Illinois NHL hockey betting enthusiasts, a good app is crucial. Let's say you're a San Jose Sharks fan and you want to place an NHL futures bet on them to win the Stanley Cup playoffs. But what if your betting app-only offers game bets, such as a puck line bet or a moneyline bet and the over-under and that's it? For the savvy NHL online bettor in IL, that's not enough. Any app worth its salt should have a futures bet section to click on and place, say, a $100 bet on the Sharks to win the Stanley Cup. A good site should always be able to accept wagers on a futures bet like that.
If you're an NHL fan in IL and want to place bets and gamble responsibly, you want your sportsbook app to have a friendly feel to it. You don't want to feel like pressing the wrong button could cost you money. There should always be a two-step confirmation process in making a bet, where it is clearly laid out how much money you've wagered, how much your potential payout will be and when your winnings can be expected to hit your account.
On most sportsbook apps, hockey is still at the back of the bus, so to speak, meaning you might have to scroll a bit to find the bet options. But once you're there, you should have a wide range of choices on which to wager.
Is Betting on NHL Games Legal in Illinois?
Yes, it is. You must be 21 years of age to legally wager on NHL betting sites in Illinois. Your online bets will be tracked using geolocation security technology. In other words, you must be physically in the state of Illinois at the time of making an NHL hockey bet or any other sports wager.
How to bet on the NHL Online
So, you want to start wagering on hockey at Illinois sportsbooks? Let's face it, it's a much easier experience doing it on your mobile device rather than driving to a physical sportsbook and making your bets there. Still, a brick-and-mortar sportsbook is a great place to hang out and watch games with your friends. But for pure betting purposes, it's tough to beat the phone for ease of use.
Getting set up with a gambling site in Illinois is pretty easy. You'll be asked your age and will probably have to show a copy of your driver's license or enter the information in the sign-up process. You'll be asked where you live and to provide information on the financial institution you want your money to be withdrawn and deposited.
As a new user, you'll be given your free first matching bet, usually between $300 and $500, but some sportsbooks offer up to $1,000, such as Unibet Illinois, as a risk-free first bet on NHL games. The key things to remember are deposit and withdrawal. The money you put into your account on the sportsbook app is your deposit. The money you make from a winning bet — and which you move back into your bank account — is the withdrawal. Those are the basics of the business of online sports betting.
Most Popular NHL Bets
Probably the wager placed most by NHL betting types is the moneyline bet, where the outcome is decided by the winner of the game. If you bet the Boston Bruins on the moneyline, the Bruins just have to win for you to collect.
The puck line, or spread betting, is very popular, too. Most NHL betting websites for IL bettors have a puck line — or spread — of 1.5 goals for every game in the NHL season. Let's say you want to bet the Vegas Golden Knights on the puck line against the Toronto Maple Leafs. For you to collect, Vegas has to win by at least two goals. Puck line bets are popular because they have higher odds and, therefore, better payouts. Many NHL games are finished by empty-net goals, which are manna from heaven for puck line bettors.
Futures betting are also popular.. If you believe this is the year the Toronto Maple Leafs will win the Stanley Cup, then a futures bet is for you. The payouts on futures bets are always good because there are 31 NHL teams (soon to be 32) and only one can win. In-game betting is very popular because things happen quickly in a hockey game and bettors want to react accordingly. NHL parlays are becoming more and more popular, too.
Over-under NHL odds bets are less popular in IL, and the U.S. as a whole, because most games usually feature an average of five to seven goals. Almost every over-under betting line available is going to range from 5.5 to 6.5 goals.
A moneyline wager on is a bet on which team will win. It doesn't matter if the win is by overtime or a shootout either. A win is a win on a moneyline bet. The odds are always lower on the favorites on a moneyline bet, but that's fine for the conservative player who likes to bet favorites. Underdog wins are lucrative to the moneyline bettor. If you bet $100 on the Vegas Golden Knights as a +235 moneyline underdog and Vegas wins, you just collected $335 (your $100 back, plus $235). Its important to make sure you understand how to read odds before placing any bet!
Parlays are popular with many bettors because the payouts are always higher because the chances of success are lower than bets on just one team. A parlay is betting on two or more teams to win that night. You can have a two-team parlay or a 15-team parlay.
A two-team parlay means, for example, you're betting on the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vegas Golden Knights to win that night. Your payout will be larger than if you just bet on the Maple Leafs alone. Some bettors will do parlays involving every NHL game on the night, so if there are eight games, they'll try to pick the winners in all eight. These are usually lower-dollar, "what the heck" bets, but the payouts can be huge. We've seen some nights where savvy bettors bet, say, $5 on a 15 "leg" parlay and hit on all 15 games to win real money.
A puck line is where you're betting on a team to win by at least two goals. In hockey, where scoring is lower than in different sports, the puck line is almost always set at 1.5 goals. If you think the Boston Bruins are a lock to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs by two goals, then you'll place a puck line bet on Boston. The payouts on puck line bets are higher than moneyline favorites because so many games are decided by one goal.
In NHL totals betting, you're usually wagering on how many goals will be scored in the game, on the over-under. If the over-under is set at 6.5 goals and you think that's too high for a combined total for both teams, you're going to bet the under. If you think that's too low, you're betting the over. There are totals bets available for Illinois' NHL bettors as props for the total number of goals scored in one period, too.
You can make totals bets on how many goals you think one team will score as well.
On the Illinois NHL betting apps, there should be a futures section in which to place bets. Futures bets most often are made on teams to win the Stanley Cup, and the odds are always most favorable before the season starts, as they will fluctuate during the season and playoffs according to how teams are doing.
A good app will also have futures bets available for things such as player awards and not just the Stanley Cup or one NHL team. Who will win the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP? There is an NHL futures bet available for that. Free bets are often used for these, as the payouts are greater and if you lose, at least it won't be real money.
Let's say you think Patrick Kane will score a goal in tonight's game for the Chicago Blackhawks and you want to bet real money that he will. There is a bet for that — or should be — and it's called a proposition bet, or prop bet as it's more commonly known.
The betting odds for such bets are usually in the plus numbers, meaning the payouts are much higher than more regular bets. It's not an easy feat, scoring a goal in an NHL game, so even though Kane is a premier scorer in the league, chances are he's only going to score a goal once in every two or three games or longer, not every game. There are a lot of other bets available too, such as how many points a player might get in a game, if the game will go to overtime, whether each team will or won't score goals in a particular period, which period will feature the most goals, and so on. These are also good on which to use your free bet bonuses from IL sportsbooks.
Grand Salami betting is not common at legal US sportsbooks, but you should know what it is in case you encounter it. Simply put, you are wagering on the total goals scored combined across all games on a given day.
NHL Stanley Cup
The NHL Stanley Cup Finals is the granddaddy of all hockey events and a best-of-seven series for the oldest existing trophy in North American professional sports. Every game means so much and it's just fun for hockey sports wagering. Illinois hockey sportsbooks' odds usually don't fluctuate much from game to game in the Finals, at least on the moneyline in most betting markets and on NHL online apps.
But it's also a fun time for people who bet on games who have a team from a previous futures bet, from the NHL odds, still alive to win it. It's also great for live betting.
NHL Betting Strategy and Tips
It's very important for anyone who wants to bet on NHL games in Illinois to do their homework. These bets are not the same as bets on professional football in IL, for example. You should obviously watch the games, know team personnel and how teams play. You should follow hockey beat writers on Twitter for real-time lineup information and read websites where daily hockey coverage is given. The best sports betting sites, like this one, will have a lot of information on a daily basis.
Here are some other tips to being a sharp hockey bettor:
Bet The Puck Line
If you're betting on a team to win on the puck line, that means either the opponent is terrible or because of new factors.
Maybe the opponent's No. 1 goalie was hurt at the morning skate and now the little-used, lesser-talented backup has to start. Maybe the opponent just lost their entire first line to injuries. Maybe the opponent is playing their fourth game in five nights and you think they'll be just too tired to compete. That's why it's important to be up on the latest team news.
Pay Attention To Line Matchups
In the NHL, home teams have the "last change," meaning they get to see who is on the ice for the other team and get to make line matchups of their choosing. It's one of the advantages NHL teams have playing at home.
If a team has a great checking defensive line, the home team featuring that line is going to be able to match up easier against the visiting team's top line. So, pay attention to those matchups.
Find Bets That have Value
With betting odds, it's important to identify which ones have the best value for your money. If the betting odds for, say, the Boston Bruins to win on the moneyline are -360, it's a lower-value bet. You would have to bet $360 to win $100.
But let's say the Bruins just lost their No. 1 goalie and top scorer, and the bookmakers haven't heard about it just yet and no change has yet been reflected in the NHL lines. Let's say the Bruins' opponent is still listed at, say, +295. That's called finding a bet with good value, and the sharp bettor is going to jump on it.
Get Familiar With The Schedule
It's important to know the rhythms of an NHL season. Having covered the NHL for 26 years, I can tell you that the intensity picks up until after Christmas!
Take a look at a team's longest road trip of the year and make betting decisions accordingly. Games at the end of the long, tiring trip are more likely to be losses for the visitors. Also, the first game back at home after a long trip can be problematic for teams.
Choose Goaltenders On a Hot Streak
Few things make hockey teams and NHL bettors happier than a hot goalie. When a goalie is on a roll, that can help you put real money in the bank. That is especially true of a hot goalie in the NHL playoffs live in Illinois.
A hot goalie makes for good NHL prop bets. Think they'll pitch a shutout? There's a prop bet for that.
Avoid Unlikely Prop Bets
Sure, it looks tempting to bet on the guy who hasn't scored a goal all season, like a defensive defenseman, to score on a prop bet at +1100. A hundred dollars out of pocket could net you $1,110!
Stay away from these. They are "sucker bets." The odds are against it, so bet elsewhere.
What Are NHL Power Rankings and How To Use Them
Power rankings are a pundit's list of hottest teams in the NHL. Illinois hockey bettors shouldn't put too much stock in these.
Illinois NHL Betting FAQ
Absolutely. The more choices with which to look over competitive odds, the better for you as a consumer.
For one, you can usually do live betting with an online sportsbook, which you can't at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook. Everything just moves faster online, and there are more sports betting options.
Most sportsbooks offer every major sport, including NHL betting.
Let's say you think the score will be 1-1 after the first period. There's a prop bet for that, a first-period bet. Let's say you don't think either team will score in the first or that a certain team will score first. Those are first-period prop bets too.
Adrian Dater writes about the NHL for IllinoisBet.com. The longtime NHL writer spent 25 years at The Denver Post, 20 of which as the beat writer of the Colorado Avalanche. He also covered the Avs for BSN Denver and was the lead NHL columnist with Bleacher Report from 2013-16. Dater has written six books, including the best-selling hockey book "Blood Feud: Detroit Red Wings v. Colorado Avalanche, The Inside Story of Pro Sports' Best and Nastiest Rivalry of its Era," and was a regular contributor to Sports Illustrated from 2011-13.