HomeNHL betting in Illinois

NHL betting in Illinois

If you want to bet on the NHL in Illinois, there are plenty of sportsbooks to choose from. Each of these offers different features and betting options. In this guide, we will dive into all you need to know about wagering on ice hockey.

Table of contents

Best NHL betting sites in Illinois

1 DraftKings
(4.5) DraftKings review
in Bonus Bets
21+ and present in IL. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
2 Caesars
(4.5) Caesars review
in Bet Credits
21+ and present in IL. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
3 BetRivers
(4.5) BetRivers review
in Free Bets
21+ and present in IL. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
4 FanDuel
(4.5) FanDuel review
in Bonus Bets
21+ and present in IL. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Yes, betting on the NHL is legal in Illinois. After a lot of struggle, the sports betting law was pushed through as a bill in 2019. In fact, Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law in June of that year. Despite Covid shutting things down and slowing things up, the first sports bet was taken in March 2020.

Since then, sports betting in the state of Illinois has only grown and is now available in both physical and online forms.

Illinois sportsbooks where you can bet on the NFL

There are a number of different sportsbooks in Illinois offering NHL betting. Each one has something different to offer, which makes it very important to take a look at their specific features on offer. Have a look at the top betting sites here.

  • Barstool - Not as widespread as some of the other sportsbooks, Barstool still offers an excellent betting platform. You can place a variety of bets on the NHL here as well as claim a number of excellent bonuses and promotions as a new player. It's also got a great betting interface where you can bet on both the desktop site and its Illinois mobile betting app.
  • PointsBet - An Australian betting site, it's quickly gained a lot of popularity due to the fact that it offers some more unusual bet types, including ones you can place on the NHL. For instance, you can do PointsBetting or even request a bet if it's not found on the site. You can access the sportsbook from your mobile or desktop too, which makes it incredibly accessible.
  • BetMGM - A big name in the online sports betting world, BetMGM really has a lot going for it. The site is very easy to use, offering an intuitive user platform that's available on both mobile and desktop devices. Additionally, you can find a wealth of different sports, including ice hockey and the NHL.
  • DraftKings - This site started out life as an online fantasy sportsbook. But, once the US repealed PASPA, the site soon added a regular sportsbook into the mix. This means that you can use DraftKings to bet on the NHL through their website or mobile app.

Different types of bets in ice hockey

If you want to get started with betting on the NHL, then you need to know what the different bet types are. Below are the most common bets placed on ice hockey:

  • Middle bets - This is actually a betting strategy where you essentially hedge your bets. You place a bet on the same event but on two different lines. Ideally, both bets will come through and pay out. But if only one of them does, you still should break even.
  • Point spreads - Instead of just simply betting on the winner, the spread means you have to take into consideration the overall points scored in the game. The bookie will set a total they think is accurate for both teams in the game. Then, you simply bet on which will win. However, if the spread is +7, then that team has to win by more than 7 points for the bet to pay out.
  • Live betting - Also called in-play bets, this is where you can place a variety of wagers on a game while it is playing out. This means that you can also adjust your bet or even cash out early depending on how the game is going. It's a lot of fun watching and betting in real-time, just be aware that the odds are lower for this type of bet.
  • Prop bets - This bet doesn't focus on the final outcome. Instead, this is all about the events within the game. You can bet on which player will score first and so on.

Which NHL teams in or around Illinois can you bet on?

While there is only one NHL team in Illinois, there are a number of other ice hockey teams in the surrounding states that can also be bet on. Here are some of the top NHL teams in the area for you to bet on:

  • Chicago Blackhawks (in Illinois) - Known as the Hawks, this ice hockey team players in the Central Division of the Western Conference. Impressively, they have won 6 Stanley Cups over the years. They're one of the six founding teams too and were established back in 1926.
  • Minnesota Wild - This Minnesota ice hockey team is also in the same division and conferee as the Hawks. They're a very new team though, and were founded in 2000. They have yet to win anything major.
  • St. Louis Blues - This team plays in the Western Conference and was founded in 1967. Over the years they have seen some success but have only won one Stanley Cup in 2019.
  • Detroit Red Wings - Another founding team from 1926, the Red Wings have had impressive success over the years winning 11 Stanley Cups and numerous Conference and Division titles.

Tips when betting on the NHL in Illinois

Below is a walkthrough of our best tips when betting on the NHL in Illinois:

Moneyline Sport

The National Hockey League is a moneyline sport, and the moneyline is the most common wager Illinois bettors make when betting on hockey. Oddsmakers set a number, and the Illinois sports bettor decides which team will win and bets on that team.

The most important thing to remember when betting the moneyline is to never wager on a favorite over -150 and never bet on an underdog of +150 or higher.

  • Chicago Blackhawks -150
  • Detroit Red Wings +130

A bet on Chicago -150 will cost the Illinois sports bettor $150 to win $100. That is 1.5 units in standard 100-unit bankroll management. While winning a few of these bets are terrific, the inevitable losing streak could significantly reduce the bankroll, and that is why we advise not to play favorites of -150 or higher.

Illinois bettors are encouraged to wager on the underdog whenever possible, as a $100 wager on Detroit to win this game pays $130. Prairie State NHL bettors should also remember that favorites generally win and refrain from betting on underdogs over +150.

Goaltending matters

Goaltending is the most important thing when considering which NHL team to back. Solid goaltending knowledge can make or break an Illinois sports bettor, and we have some tips to help Praire State punters choose the correct goaltender.

  • Save Percentage is much better than goals against average as it paints a clearer picture of how a goaltender performs against shots faced and not based on the strength of the blue line. Advanced analytics are terrific, but the save percentage is an excellent place for an Illinois sports bettor to begin their research.
  • Blue Lines matter in hockey, and the better the blue line usually means fewer shots on goal. Illinois sports bettors should consider any injuries to the defense and the +/- stats of each defenseman and look for defenses with the most positives.
  • Recent form should also be a consideration when choosing a goaltender. Some goaltenders are streaky, and a bad night could lead to more bad nights. Illinois sports bettors shouldn’t rely on past reputation but on how the goaltender is currently playing.

Favorites generally win

The NHL favorite wins roughly 60% of their contests, which means the favorite loses 40% of the time. Look for favorites on short winning streaks of 1-2 games with their top goaltender in action and try and attack teams with injuries to their blue line.

Illinois sports bettors should remember the higher the favorite, the more risk is involved, and NHL bettors should avoid favorites of -150 or better.

NHL away underdog

Unlike most sports, NHL home teams have a 54.5% win rate, which means the away team has a realistic chance of winning 45.5% of the time.

This is sometimes an excellent spot to find a profitable away underdog. The Illinois sports bettor should look for an away underdog playing well against a home team with either a backup goaltender or injuries to its defense.

Rested road favorites

Sports bettors love the home team, but as we’ve seen, home teams don’t win as often in the NHL as in other sports, and sometimes an Illinois sports bettor can get a reasonable price on an away favorite.

Prairie State sports bettors should always consider a rested road team with a winning away record against NHL teams with either mediocre or sub-.500 home records.

Line shopping

Betting on NHL contests is about finding the best price. To get the best moneyline odds, sports bettors should have betting accounts at each of the legal Illinois sportsbooks.


Which NHL team is most popular to wager on in Illinois?

As is to be expected, the most popular NHL team to wager on in Illinois is the state's own Chicago Blackhawks. They have been one of the staples of Illinois sports for years and is one of the sporting prides of the state.

How old do you have to be to bet on the NHL in IL?

You have to be 21 or older in order to bet on the NHL in IL. If you are younger than this, signing up for an online sportsbook won't work as they require ID to prove you are who you say you are when verifying your account.

What taxes do you have to pay on NHL wagering winnings in IL?

You have to pay a flat rate of 4.95% on any NHL wagering winnings in IL. Currently, gambling winnings are seen as personal income in the state. Make sure that you work out your calculations correctly, as any infringements can lead to penalties.