NHL diehards can finally bet on Chicago Blackhawks games after Illinois lawmakers approved a gambling expansion that will bring sports betting to the Prairie State.
The state legalized NHL betting in June 2019 as part of a major gambling expansion bill that will bring sports betting to existing gambling venues and online. The bill even allows for sports stadiums like Soldier Field and Wrigley Field to set up betting operations. Only existing physical venues will be allowed to start taking bets at first but online-only platforms like DraftKings and FanDuel will be allowed to launch after 2020.
Though the United Center is not expected to add a sportsbook to its premises, fans will be able to start betting on Blackhawks games in time for the 2019-20 season. If you are unfamiliar with NHL odds, here is a quick primer on everything you need to get started.
NHL odds are different from NFL and NBA odds because the scoring is much lower. Unlike the other two sports, there are no variable point spreads in hockey, though some players do bet on the “puckline.” The puckline is like a point spread but is always set at 1.5 goals. That means the favorite must win by 2 or more goals while the underdog can lose by no more than one goal for your bet to win.
Because pucklines never change, they come with their own moneylines, which is the ratio of your bet to the payout. For example:
Blackhawks -1.5 (-135)
Bruins +1.5 (+180)
In this case, you would have to bet $135 and the Blackhawks would have to win by 2 or more goals for you to win $100. On the other hand, if you bet on the Bruins, they can lose by up to 1 goal and your $100 bet will win $180.
You can also bet on the moneyline without a puckline, which is the most popular route. For example:
In this case, the margin of victory does not matter. If the Blackhawks win, your $145 bet wins $100. If they lose, a $100 bet on the Penguins would net you $125.
For the time being, the Illinois law requires players to register in-person before you can bet on NHL games online. Once you are registered, you can start placing bets on Chicago Blackhawks games using any desktop or mobile device.
You can still find betting opportunities even if you don’t want to bet on the Blackhawks to win. You can bet on the over/under, which allows you to wager on whether the final combined score will be higher or lower than the score projected by the oddsmakers. You can also place in-game or prop bets, which allow you to bet on any number of single-game events, or futures bets, which allow you to bet on longterm topics like who will win the Stanley Cup or whether Patrick Kane will have over or under 100 points.