Football is back, and for Illinois residents, that also means the return of NFL betting.
Gambling has been a strong stream of revenue for the state of Illinois since its legalization in March of 2020, and with NFL betting at an all-time high, the return of football figures to provide a major spike in activity.
In a state with such a large market and a football-heavy city like Chicago, it’s no surprise that Illinois saw a significant increase in revenue once the regular season began last year. The state saw major increases in revenue from September to October of 2020, jumping from roughly $6.8 million to a whopping $42.2 million.
Given how passionate Bears fans are about their team, one can imagine that plenty of them will be monitoring money lines, over/unders, and much more this year.
Going into Week 2, the Bears are currently slight favorites to beat the Bengals. The week began with a spread as wide as three points, but depending on where you look, Chicago is favored by anywhere between 1.5 and 2.5 points to beat Cincinnati heading into Sunday.
Despite having favorable odds, bettors aren’t favoring the Bears to cover; the Bengals are being bet on at a rate at approximately 61 percent. Though Cincinnati has struggled in recent seasons, their passing attack featuring Joe Burrow throwing to the likes of Ja’Marr Chase, Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd projects as a mismatch for a Bears secondary that struggled against the Rams last week.
Nonetheless, the Bears’ pass-rush figures to be a problem for a Bengals offensive line that was among the worst units in the league last season. Strong play from offensive weapons like David Montgomery, Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney could realistically propel the Bears to a win, too.