It is a half-point that often makes the difference both in deciding whether to place a bet and determining whether it cashes.
“The hook,” as it is known, tends to separate winning from losing because it lands on one side or the other of a key number.
For example, most Illinois sportsbooks are offering the Chicago Bears as 7.5-point underdogs for their Sunday night opener on the road versus the Los Angeles Rams. Since a touchdown and traditional point after conversion count for seven points, bettors sometimes ride this hook to nail-biting victories or soul-crushing losses. For football wagering, spreads of 2.5 points, 3.5 points, 6.5 points, 9.5 points, 10.5 points, 13.5 points, and 14.5 points can also drive bettors to agony or ecstasy by the slimmest of margins.
All six mobile operators in Illinois have had the hook in play for this game throughout the week, raising the importance of line-shopping from book to book. The start of the NFL season also means there will be some promotional plays to consider, so be on the lookout for those while also remembering to read the terms and conditions that apply.
The main numbers
As of 1 p.m. CDT on Friday, only DraftKings had moved off the Bears at +7.5, pushing out to +8 with a -115/-105 split. At +7.5, FanDuel (-108/-111) and the Kambi platform (-109/-112) powering BetRivers and Barstool Sportsbook differ from the -110 in both directions offered by PointsBet and Caesars Sportsbook.
FanDuel also saw some moneyline movement from Thursday night to Friday, with the Bears coming down from +315 to +300 for an outright victory. BetRivers and Barstool shifted slightly in the other direction, ticking higher from +295 to +300. DraftKings still offers the best value on the Bears at +320, with Caesars (+300) and PointsBet (+280) completing the sextet.
FanDuel’s over/under also had notable recent movement, coming down from 47.5 points to 46.5 with a standard -110 offering. The Kambi books moved in the opposite direction, inching up to 47 points with a -108/-113 split, while the other three books held steady at 46.5 and -110.
The prop plays
Only Caesars, PointsBet, and DraftKings had player props available as of 1 p.m. CDT on Friday, and the yardage bands for over/under prop plays were quite narrow. DraftKings and PointsBet were offering Bears quarterback Andy Dalton at 209.5 yards at -115, while Caesars was one yard higher at the same price. Both Caesars and DraftKings had 33.5 yards as the over/under for longest completion at -120/-110, while PointsBet had a +105 play for Dalton’s longest completion to be in a window between 25 to 39 yards.
Running back David Montgomery had 53.5 rushing yards at all three books, with Caesars and PointsBet offering -115 both ways versus DraftKings’ -120/-110 split. Montgomery also has a rushing+receiving yards offering, with Caesars at 80.5 yards (-115) and DraftKings 81.5 yards (-115).
Top wideout Allen Robinson III’s over/under for yards is 63.5 across the board, with DraftKings also offering the -120/-110 split there versus PointsBet and Caesars at -115. One play with plus-money potential is the over/under for Robinson’s reception total, which has been established at 5.5 at varying levels. Caesars has a +110/-140 split, DraftKings matches the +110 for the over with a -145 on the other side, and PointsBet has a +105/-135 play.