HomeIllinois College Sports Betting

Illinois college sports betting

On this page, we'll go through all you need to know about college sports betting in Illinois. Learn more about its legal status, how to make a wager & other useful tips.

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Yes, you can legally bet on college sports in Illinois. The only stipulation is that you must visit a retail sportsbook in order to bet on in-state college teams, it is not allowed to wager on them using an online betting app in Illinois.

How to bet on in-state college teams in Illinois

Legally wagering on in-state Illinois college sporting events must be done in person at one of the 12 retail sportsbooks located throughout the state. These are the steps you will need to follow once you have found your preferred location:

  1. Physically present yourself at the counter or kiosk, fill out the betting slip, head to the counter, and tell the ticket writer what you would like to bet on.
  2. Once the bet is made, double-check the ticket to be sure it's accurate because once the bettor leaves the counter, the bet is considered “live”.
  3. Winning tickets are then taken to the cashier window or cage, and losing tickets should be torn up and thrown in bins located throughout the casino.

Illinois has 13 instate D1 sports programs. Some participate in all the major US sports, while others offer a few sports programs to their students.

  • Bradley Braves - The Peoria, Illinois-based Braves compete in the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC), and Bradley has all the major men’s and women’s sports except for football. The Braves are a basketball school and reached two NCAA Finals, three trips to the Elite Eight, and four Sweet 16 appearances.
  • Chicago State Cougars - The Cougars are an Independent team competing in 15 D1 men’s and women’s sports and, as recently as 2022, were part of the Western Athletic Conference. The Cougars are best known for their college Swimming, and Track and Field teams but Illinois sportsbook operators don’t usually offer those markets.
  • DePaul Blue Demons - DePaul offers six men's and seven women’s college athletic programs and competes in the Big East Conference. The men’s basketball team has reached two NCAA Final Fours under former Head Coach Ray Meyer and is located in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Eastern Illinois Panthers - The Panthers have 10 men's and 11 women’s sports programs and are members of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Panthers have won three National Track and Field Championships and one NAIA soccer title and are based in Charleston, Illinois.
  • Illinois Fighting Illini - The Champaign, Illinois-based Fighting Illini is the most popular college team in the Land of Lincoln, offering 10 men's and 11 ladies' D1 sports programs. The Fighting Illini are members of the Big Ten Conference. Illinois has won over 25 National Championships in various sports and offers highly competitive football and basketball teams.
  • Illinois State Redbirds – The Normal, Illinois-based Redbirds offer eight men’s and 11 women’s D1 athletic programs and have won 160 MVC titles. The Lady Redbirds basketball team reached the 2022 NCAA Tournament, and the football team was runner-up in the 2015 FCS National Championship game.
  • Loyola Chicago Ramblers - The Ramblers reached the 2018 Final Four. Its seven men’s and eight ladies' college teams formerly competed in the MVC until 2022 but now are part of the Atlantic 10 Conference. Loyola discontinued its football program in 1930 but still offers most of the popular US sports.
  • Northern Illinois Huskies - The Dekalb Illinois-based Huskies offer seven men’s and 10 women’s varsity college sports programs and compete in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). The men’s basketball team has reached the NCAA Tournament three times, and the football team is a five-time MAC champion.
  • Northwestern Wildcats – The Evanston, Illinois-based Wildcats have eight men’s and 11 women’s teams competing in the Big Ten. The women’s tennis team has reached a record 21 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances, including two doubles national championships.
  • Southern Illinois Salukis – The Salukis hail from Carbondale, Illinois, and its eight men’s and women’s teams are members of the MVC. The Salukis men's basketball team reached six consecutive NCAA tournaments (2002-2007), and the football team has remained in the FCS Top-25 college coaches poll for 54 straight weeks.
  • SIUE Cougars – The Edwardsville, Illinois-based college has eight men's and women's teams competing in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC). The women’s college tennis team won four consecutive from 1996, and the Cougars don’t offer football to its students.
  • UIC Flames – The Flames are another team hailing from Chicago, Illinois, with eight men and 11 women's teams participating in the MVC. The Flames don’t offer college football, but the men’s soccer team has had some success, reaching the Elite Eight in 2007.
  • Western Illinois Leathernecks - The Macomb Illinois Leathernecks have eight men’s and nine women’s teams competing in the Summit League, although the football team is part of the MVC. The women's softball team is the most successful, reaching the College World Series eight times, most recently in 2002.

Which types of bets can I place on college sports?

Illinois players can stake several types of bets on fixed odds college sporting events:

  • Moneyline – This is a wager where the bettor chooses who will win the game based on the odds set for a favorite (-) and underdog (+)
  • Spread – This is a wager where the bettor decides how many points a college team will beat their opponents based on the oddsmakers' number.
  • Over/Under – Or total is where Illinois college sports better decides if a college contest will end Over or Under the oddsmakers number.
  • Parlays – These are wagers where an Illinois college sports bettor plays at least two or more wagers and combines them into one bet. All “legs” or games must win for the ticket to be graded as a winner.
  • Same-Game Parlays – Are the same as parlays, except a same-game parlay allows correlating picks from the same game to be combined into one bet, and all legs must win otherwise, the gambler loses the stake.
  • Prop Bets (instate Illinois college teams prohibited) – Illinois bettors can’t make prop bets on individual college players' performance. Still, they can make prop bets either online or at a retail sportsbook on games involving teams outside the Land of Lincoln.

Tips when betting on college sports in IL

Why are you betting on college sports, and what are you hoping to gain? Those are two questions every player wanting to be successful must figure out, and once that’s done, here are four ways to help make that happen:

Manage your bankroll

There isn’t a successful sports bettor who doesn’t practice some form of bankroll management, and the same applies to college sports. Bankroll management is the most widely overlooked and important tool in the college sports bettors' arsenal. Even the best lose 43-45% of their wagers, and a solid bankroll management system will take that into consideration and keep the bettor in the game during a losing day, week, or even months-long losing streak.

Example: Better “Flash” has a bankroll of $1000 dollars he can afford to lose without losing sleep. To do this, Flash must break this $1000 down into units, and he’ll divide $1000 by 1% equalling $10 per unit. Flash would then wager $10 on every bet he makes until he either reached $1500 or falls to $500 and would adjust accordingly.

Don’t pay social media touts for picks

Paying for picks is usually a recipe for disaster, and the Illinois college sports bettor would be best served not paying social media touts for wagering picks. That’s not to say that all people selling picks are bad guys because there are also some good ones.

Rather than point to the bad, I will show you how to find the good ones. A good social media handicapper will have their picks tracked by a 3rd party such as Betstamp. Betstamp acts like a sportsbook in that once the handicapper places the “wager,” it is automatically recorded and can’t be deleted. Spreadsheets or betting slips are meaningless as both can be altered.

Avoid parlays

Illinois sportsbook companies make a killing on parlays because these low-risk high, reward plays can sometimes have life-altering winnings for the lucky winner. There’s a reason why the odds are long; a 3-leg parlay at -110 has +600 odds to win, and just trying to hit one three-leg parlay can quickly bust a bettor's bankroll.

Parlays would include teasers, same-game parlays-accumulators, and round robins. These tickets are generally at reduced odds than a true parlay with the same implied probability.

Don’t drink and gamble

Anything that can impair one's judgment is not a good mix with gambling on sports, which means refraining from alcohol while betting. Impaired Illinois bettors are likelier to chase bad bets and wager more of their bankroll than a sober bettor would.

Those are two big no-nos and total bankroll busters. There’s nothing wrong with kicking back with friends and some drinks while watching ball games–just don’t bet on the games while doing so. This will avoid some bad judgment bets made on emotional rather than logical responses and save dollars over the long haul.


Can I bet on college teams outside of Illinois using online sportsbooks?

Yes, you can bet on college sports teams outside of Illinois using online sportsbooks. It is only prohibited to gamble on in-state teams through the internet.

How old do I need to be to bet on college sports in IL?

Illinois residents and guests of the state need to be 21+ to wager on college sports in the Land of Lincoln legally.