Different Types of Sports Bets

Sports betting has been legal in Illinois since a supreme court ruling in 2019. The first legal sports bet in the state was taken in March 2020. Only a few months later, mobile sportsbooks went live, making Illinois a fully legal state.

Sports betting is when a wager is placed on a specific aspect of a sports match. You can wager on several different things in sports. This article will explain some of the different wager types available to sports bettors in Illinois.

Common sports bets explained

There are many different types of sports bets available to bettors. While some are more specific and niche than others, this section will break down some of the most common types of sports bets.


A moneyline bet is the most simple type of wager in sports betting. When wagering a moneyline bet, a user chooses who will win the match. Nothing matters except who the outright winner of the game is. Because of this, the odds can be worse/better than other types of bets in sports.

Moneyline bets always have a favorite who is represented by unfavorable odds. They also always have an underdog, which is usually represented by favorable odds.

For example, favorite (-210) vs. underdog (+180).

The odds will never be even in moneyline bets. The favorite will also always have worse odds than the underdog.

Point spread

Point spread bets are designed to make matches fairer between favorites and underdogs. Point spread betting isn’t concerned as much about the outright winner, but focuses more on points scored.

Point spread bets still have a favorite and an underdog, but the odds are set evenly, usually at -110. Instead of changing odds, point spread wagers remove points from the favorites and add points to the underdogs. This is to make matches more fair. The number of points taken from the favorite will always be equal to those added to the underdog.

For example, favorite -8 (-110) vs. underdog +8 (-110).

In this example, for the favorite to win for bettors, they would need to win by more than eight points. For the underdog to win, they would have to lose by fewer than eight points.


Totals betting is another popular form of betting. This type of bet has nothing to do with who wins the match, though. Totals betting is only concerned with total points scored in a game.

Totals bets allow users to wager on matches without having to choose a winner. These types of bets usually have a set number, and bettors decide if the match’s total score will be over/under that number. The odds are also typically set evenly, just like in point spread bets.

For example, total 58: under (-110) vs. over (-110).

In this example, for the under to hit, the total number of points scored by both teams would need to be lower than 58. For the over to hit, the total number of points scored by both teams would need to be greater than 58.

Live betting

Live betting has become a popular form of gambling, especially on mobile sportsbooks. Live betting allows users to wager in the middle of games. This enables you to watch the match and get an idea of how things will go before placing your wager.

With live betting, odds change depending on how the match goes. The odds also change constantly. It is important to note that live wagers can typically only be placed during timeouts/commercials. With live betting, you can place almost any type of bet that was possible before the match.

Prop bets

Prop bets are quickly becoming some of the most fun wagers in sports betting. Prop bets typically do not focus on winners or points, but instead on individual stats and other fun aspects of games.

Prop bets cover a wide range of scenarios in all sports. For instance, you can wager over/under yards in a game, who will win tip-off, first to score, etc. Prop bets typically work in the favorite/underdog method of wagers, as shown above. Sometimes when there are several options for a single wager, like picking a player to score first, every option will have favorable betting odds.

Futures bets

Futures bets allow users to place wagers on events that will happen relatively far in the future. These types of sports wagers typically offer great odds, as they are high-risk. For instance, futures bets allow users to wager who the champion will be for that season before the season even begins.

Futures bets have a cut-off before the actual event occurs. The odds for futures bets will change as the season progresses. While typically offering all favorable odds in futures bets, some athletes/teams will be favored over others. The worse the odds, the more favored the athlete/team is to win.

Futures bets are offered on a wide variety of sports scenarios, so be sure to check with your preferred sportsbook to see its offers.

Popular types of multi-bets

In addition to the more common straight-bets, there are also multi-bets that can be a lot of fun. Multi-bets allow you to combine two or more straight-bets into a single wager. Here are some of the most popular multi-bets:


Parlays are the most popular type of multi-bets available. A parlay allows you to combine two or more straight-bets (moneyline, point spread, totals, props, etc.) into a single wager for increased odds. One risk of parlay wagers is that if even one play loses, the entire bet will lose. It is important to note that while the more wagers you add to a parlay increase your odds, your risk also increases.


Teasers are like parlays but are more strict on the type of wagers that can be added. In teasers, you may only mix totals and point spread bets. This is because in a teaser, you tease points. For instance, if you have a six-point teaser, all matches add six points in favor of your wagers.

For example:

  • original: favorite -8/over 47
  • teaser: favorite -2/over 41

If you were to place a six-point teaser using these two bets, then it would add six points in your favor in each bet. Teasers typically have preset odds that vary depending on the number of plays and the number of points teased.

Like parlays, if one play in a teaser loses, then the entire wager is a loss.

Round Robin

Round Robin bets are more complicated than parlays and teasers. Round robin bets allow you to place several parlays independently from each other. Round robin bets usually consist of three to ten plays and create as many two-play parlays as possible. For instance, if you had a three-team round robin, it would have three two-play parlays.

For example:

  • favorite -218/under 37
  • favorite -218/underdog +10
  • under 37/underdog +10

In round robin bets, each of these parlays is independent of one another. So if one parlay loses, it does not affect the other parlays. It is important to note that the amount you wager on a round robin is the amount you wager on each individual parlay. So if you wager $100 on the example above, you are actually risking $300.

Top tips for successful sports betting

Whether you are a new sports bettor or a veteran, it is always essential to have an edge on the sportsbooks. These are some helpful tips that will help anyone make the most out of their sports bets.

1. Research

Research is by far a sports bettors’ best friend when placing wagers. You should never wager based on your gut/heart. Proper research of plays is the only way you will find long-term success with sports betting. When researching, you should analyze stats, look at past performances, and injury reports. Anything that could impact a match should be researched. It is also recommended to watch the sports you want to bet on; this will help your overall understanding of the game.

2. Smart parlays

Parlays are some of the most enticing wagers for sports bettors due to the great odds. These are also the bets that users lose the most money on. A smart parlay includes not selecting more than three teams and not placing huge wagers. Research says that your odds of hitting a parlay decrease significantly after a fourth play is added. Your odds of hitting a parlay are already lower than hitting a straight-bet, so you should never place more money on a parlay. If you want to be smart with your money and want to place parlays, you should only play smart parlays.

3. Never chase your bets

Chasing your bets is a fast way to deplete your entire bankroll. Chasing bets is also something that new and experienced bettors alike seem to do frequently. An example of chasing bets would be, if you lose two games in a day, you wager on two more so you can try to get back to even. Never chase your bets. If you want long-term success, you need to accept your losses and wait for the next researched plays.

What sports can I bet on in Illinois?

Illinois allows sports betting on all professional sports. This includes all professional leagues in the US and around the world. Illinois also provides wagering on collegiate sports. The only exception is sports bettors cannot place wagers on collegiate teams based in Illinois. Users may also not legally wager on any K-12 sporting event.