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NFL betting in Illinois

Being able to place bets on your favorite teams can go a long way toward enhancing your NFL-watching experience. This guide to NFL betting in Illinois will give you the full rundown on how fans in the Prairie State can place wagers on the Chicago Bears and other top franchises.

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Betting on the NFL is fully legal in Illinois. Sports betting has been allowed in the state since 2019 and there is no particular section in the Illinois Sports Wagering Act that prohibits wagering on American football.

This means that if you are located in Illinois and at least 21 years of age, you can legally place NFL bets at retail sportsbooks, online betting apps, and other sporting venues.

Best sportsbooks for NFL betting in Illinois

The big question is, which is the best online sportsbook in Illinois for NFL betting? Whilst that is ultimately a personal decision, here is a quick look at some of the best options out there:

  • DraftKings Illinois - Since acquiring a license in 2020, DraftKings has rapidly become one of the most popular sportsbooks in Illinois. They offer a high-quality mobile app, extensive NFL betting markets, and a number of innovative features.
  • FanDuel Illinois - Another operator to join the market in 2020. Since then, FanDuel has been a big hit with NFL fans, largely thanks to their live same-game parlays. This innovative feature allows fans to select multiple markets from the same NFL game, while it is taking place.
  • BetMGM Illinois - One of the biggest names in the US betting industry. BetMGM is renowned for its betting platforms and features. They offer a vast range of NFL pre-match and live betting markets, as well as in-depth statistics on NFL matchups.
  • BetRivers Illinois - As the first online sportsbook to launch in Illinois, BetRivers have enjoyed enormous support from betting fans. Despite other betting companies entering the market, BetRivers have retained a loyal fan base and continue to offer some of the best NFL odds in the state.

What kinds of bets can I place on the NFL?

So what are the different types of wagers you can place when betting on the NFL in Illinois? Here's a little look at some of the most popular options:

  • Totals - NFL oddsmakers give you a figure for a specific in-game metric, and you have to decide whether the actual total will be over or under that amount. The most popular NFL totals bet is for total points. The sportsbook set a total (usually around 45-50) based on the matchup, and you have to bet on the actual total being above or below that figure.
  • Prop Bets - These are wagers that often don't have to do with the actual outcome of the game. The most popular prop bets surround individual player performances. Still, the books also offer props on the actual game, alternative point spread props, and props for how an individual team will perform.
  • Points spread - These betting markets apply a theoretical points handicap to the underdog in an NFL game. To cover the spread and win the market, the favorites need to win the game by more than the value of the spread. Any other outcome means that the underdog has beaten the spread. Oddsmakers set the spread in a way that makes the odds of both teams winning roughly the same.
  • Futures - A futures bet requires you to predict a long-term outcome in the NFL. The most popular option in this area is betting on the winner of the Super Bowl. You can also bet on the winners of individual divisions or conferences, as well as the end-of-season player awards, such as Rookie of the Year, and League MVP.
  • Live betting - Also known as in-play betting. This involves placing bets whilst an NFL game is ongoing. These betting markets are largely the same as pre-match markets, but the odds change rapidly as the game situation evolves. Live betting requires fast thinking and instant decision-making.

Whilst there is only one NFL team in Illinois, there are a few other franchises located in neighboring states. Here is some key info about those teams:

  • Chicago Bears - One of the oldest and most storied NFL franchises. The Bears began life in 1919 and have won nine NFL titles and a Super Bowl. Only the Green Bay Packers have won more NFL games in the history of the league.
  • Green Bay Packers – The Packers are the 3rd-oldest franchise and have won the most championships in NFL history (13). Green Bay is the only major league American sports franchise to be a non-profit, community-owned team, and its 28 former players enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is second to Dallas (30).
  • Kansas City Chiefs - One of the most successful franchises of recent years. The Chiefs are perennial Super Bowl contenders and have one of the most passionate fan bases in the entire league. They won the Super Bowl in 2019 and have a total of 13 AFC West divisional titles to their name.
  • Indianapolis Colts - As the only NFL team in Indiana, the Colts have a large and loyal fan base. They were founded as the Baltimore Colts in 1953, before moving to Indianapolis in 1984. The Colts have two Super Bowl titles to their name, most recently in 2007.

FAQ

Is it popular to bet on the NFL in Illinois?

Betting on the NFL is highly popular in Illinois. As is the case in many states, the NFL is one of the most popular sports to bet on in Illinois. Every year, there is a huge spike in betting activity during the NFL season. For example, in 2022, the state’s overall betting handle rose by around 40% at the start of the NFL season in September.

Are there any sportsbook promotions or bonuses for NFL betting?

Yes, you can claim sportsbook bonuses and promotions to bet on the NFL in Illinois. However, most of them are general promotions that you can use on any sport, including American football. DraftKings, FanDuel, and Caesars are all since 2021 official partners of the NFL, so you might find occasional promotions on these betting apps that are eligible for specific NFL games.

How old do I need to be to bet on the NFL in Illinois?

You have to be at least 21 years old to legally bet online in Illinois, and this is also the case to wager on the NFL. This age limit applies to both online and in-person betting. There are a few states in the US that allow anybody over the age of 18 to place bets, but at the time of writing, Illinois is not one of those states.