Soccer betting is finally coming to Illinois and fans are expected to even be able to bet on the Chicago Fire right from their stadium.
The Illinois gambling expansion approved in June 2019 legalized sports betting, allowing existing gambling venues to immediately start taking bets. The law even allows for sportsbooks to be set up in sports stadiums like SeatGeek Stadium, Wrigley Field, and Soldier Field. The law does require you to register in person with a sportsbook but after you have done that, you can start placing all the bets you want right from your desktop or mobile device. The law will eventually allow online-only operators like DraftKings and FanDuel to launch after 2020.
This means there will be countless locations and ways for you to bet on Chicago Fire games. If you are unfamiliar with soccer odds, here is a quick primer on how to bet on soccer.
Soccer odds are different from NFL odds because the scores are much lower, as are the margins of victory. While the NFL uses a varying point spread, which denotes the margin of victory the favorite must win by in order for your bet to win, MLS uses a “goal line” which works the same way but is rarely used. The goal line may look like this:
Chicago Fire -1.5
New York Red Bulls +1.5
In this case, the Fire would have to win by 2 or more goals to “cover,” or win the bet. The Red Bulls can lose by up to 1 goal and your bet on New York would still win.
The spread is rarely used in soccer. Instead, most bettors use the moneyline, which is simply the ratio between the bet and the payout and is not reliant on any margins of victory. For example:
LA Galaxy +135
In this case, you would have to bet $140 to win $100 on the Fire while a $100 bet on the Galaxy would net you $135 if they win.
Stadiums are expected to add sports betting operations so you will be able to place a bet as you attend the game. Once you have registered in person, you will also be able to place bets online or from your mobile device.
Your options are not limited to whether the Fire will win or lose. Sportsbooks allow you to place in-game bets, which let you bet on any single-game event like whether C.J. Sapong will score a goal or what the score will be at the half. You can also bet on the over/under, which lets you wager on whether the final combined goal total will be lower or higher than the projected total by the sportsbook. Futures bets allow you to bet on season-long events like which team will win the Eastern Conference or which player will win the Landon Donovan MVP award.