NCAA Betting in Illinois

NCAA betting is finally coming to Illinois albeit with a catch: no bets on college teams based in the state.

Illinois approved a major gambling expansion in June 2019 that legalized in-person and online sports betting across the state. Along with allowing new sportsbooks to be set up in locations like Wrigley Field and Soldier Field, the law allows you to place bets online if you register in person with the sportsbook. Online-only sportsbooks will be allowed to launch after 2020.

This means there will be countless ways for you to bet on NCAA games but the law does prohibit any wagers on Illinois colleges. So while you can bet on nearly every NCAA game, you won’t be able to bet on Illinois, Loyola, or Northwestern.

NCAA betting is expected to arrive by the beginning of the 2019-20 season so here is a quick primer on how to wager on NCAA odds.

NCAA Betting

Basketball and football bets typically use a point spread, which denotes the margin of victory the favorite (the team denoted with a minus sign) must win by in order for your bet to win. For example:

Ohio State -4.5
Michigan +4

In this scenario, the Buckeyes must win by 5 or more points for your bet to win. On the other hand, Michigan can lose by up to 3 points and your bet will still win.

You can also bet on basketball and football using a moneyline, which is also the more popular way to bet on hockey and baseball games. The moneyline does not require the favorite to win by any margin. It simply shows the ratio between your bet and the payout. The more likely a team is to win, the lower the payout. For example:

Notre Dame -165
Minnesota +145

In this case, you would have to bet $165 on Notre Dame in order to win $100. Since Minnesota is the underdog, your $100 bet would win you $145 if they pull it out.

How to Bet on NCAA Games Online

The new Illinois law will allow you to bet online once you have registered in person with a sportsbook. You will be able to place countless pre-game bets, as well as in-game and prop bets which allow you to bet on nearly any single-game event. Many sportsbooks also offer futures betting, which allows you to wager on season-long events like who will win the Heisman trophy or who will win the College Football Playoff.

The law does ban betting on schools that are based in Illinois, that means you won’t be able to bet on games involving Northwestern, the University of Illinois, Illinois State University, Northern Illinois, University of Chicago, Loyola, DePaul, Wheaton, or any other schools in the state.