For the first time in several years, Illinois fans will turn the calendar to November with multiple football teams within the state playing meaningful games with far-reaching implications. The Fighting Illini are 6-1—including 3-1 in the Big 10—and could reach 8-1 before playing a final tough stretch that includes Purdue, Michigan, and in-state rival Northwestern.
NFL fans aren’t left out, either. Second-year sensation Justin Fields is leading a Monsters of the Midway revival, guiding a dominant rushing attack to within two games of the division lead with home games against NFC North rivals Green Bay and Minnesota looming later in the season.
In addition to watching meaningful football games, Illinois football fans can try to turn a profit while watching their favorite sports teams. Betting online in IL has been legal since 2019 and many bettors are taking advantage of this unique opportunity to have more than pride on the line when their favorite teams take the field.
For those fans who haven’t already picked a sportsbook this season—or fans looking to join another—here are five things to consider when selecting a sportsbook in Illinois.
Bettors should review multiple sportsbooks for each game to take successful wagers to a higher payout. Signing up for multiple sportsbooks allows the bettors to shop the lines for each game, especially for the underdog.
For example, one sportsbook may list the moneyline for Northwestern at +300 odds (meaning a $100 bet for Northwestern returns a $300 profit) in their season-ending home game against Illinois. Another sportsbook may list the Wildcats at +350 odds instead, giving the bettor an additional $50 in profit for correctly selecting Northwestern to win their rivalry game.
Almost every sportsbook in Illinois offers new customers a sign-up bonus. After completing the registration and either linking a bank account or making an initial deposit to their sportsbook account, the bettor will receive either a “risk-free” wager or a matching deposit as a reward.
The “risk-free” bet promises to return an equal amount of money into their sportsbook account for non-winning bets. Note that some sportsbooks have different names for these, such as FanDuel Illinois which calls it a “No Sweat First Bet.” Meanwhile, matching deposits can potentially double the initial amount in a bettor’s sportsbook account.
The important part for bettors to realize about the sign-up bonus is how the bonus payment will be made. Some sportsbooks offer the payment in actual cash for winning bets while others will pay out credits that individuals exchange for cash bets.
Even still, realizing how long those credits last—as some have very limited-time restrictions placed upon them—is essential to keep from losing the sign-up bonus.
Daily, sports betting companies will offer promotions to entice bettors to their sportsbooks. A popular promotion multiple companies offer is a small wager ($5-10) that if successful pays out over 20-50x the original bet. Other promotions may offer new bettors 3-5 risk-free bets that occur over multiple days.
Beyond enticing bettors, sportsbooks offer boosts daily. This is a specific bet of the company’s choosing that individuals can bet at increased odds. For example, Illinois sportsbooks may offer +500 odds for Illinois, Northwestern, and Northern Illinois to win games on the same day. Choosing these three teams in a three-leg parlay would have decreased odds, and the boost is meant to induce bettors to place additional wagers.
Mobile App/Website Usability
The usability of the mobile app or website for a sportsbook is equally as important. Easy-to-use and easy-to-understand interfaces are important as bettors do not want to nor should need to worry about misplacing a bet of any amount.
While all sportsbooks offer traditional betting options (spread, over/under, moneyline), not all sportsbooks have allowed micro-betting: live, in-game betting on particular moments or outcomes that do not affect the final outcome of the game. Those features require sophisticated software, and several sportsbooks are not advanced enough to offer these types of bets.
Before you deposit money into the sportsbook, it’s important to understand what types of deposit options exist for Illinois sportsbooks. From traditional bank wires, debit or credit card funds, or PayPal accounts, users can load money into their sportsbook account effortlessly with most funding options.
Withdrawals, however, are not as seamless. Sportsbooks allow users multiple options for their withdrawals, including bank deposits, checks, and bank wires. While those methods can take up to seven days to be received by the bettor, individuals looking for the fastest payout method should consider PayPal as users can receive their withdrawals within 48 hours.
Featured Image Credit via BroBible