We’ve all heard it a million times before. This is the greatest thing ever! This is the best thing since sliced bread! Too often we hear these claims only to find out that the referenced “great thing” is really just a reboot of something old or not that exciting. Today is different, though. We can CONFIDENTLY say that live betting is, in fact, the latest and greatest when it comes to advancements in sports betting!
Live betting offers players the ultimate experience in entertainment, betting flexibility, and money-making opportunities. Available mainly online due to its highly technical nature, live betting allows players to become light-years more immersed in the action with thousands of new betting options. If you’ve never heard of the concept before or are looking to learn more, sit back and buckle up because we are going to walk you through every aspect of live betting. By the end of this article, you will be an equipped expert ready to get in on the action and hopefully prove your knowledge and make some money.
What Is Live Betting?
Historically, the only time that you were able to make bets on a game was before the game started. Once the action was underway, you were locked into the bets you’ve made, and that was the end of your betting until the next game. Sportsbooks realized though that they could make a much better experience for bettors if they developed a system to allow players to make additional wagers during the game based on how things were going. Welcome to live betting!
Live betting, sometimes called in-game betting or betting in running, is the ability for bettors to make additional wagers AFTER the game has already started.
Sometimes these wagers are offered between quarters or periods, and in some cases, they are offered after every single play or drive. Basically, you are able to bet on a multitude of different things at any point during the game. The number of different betting types and the frequency at which they change is all dependent on the technological capabilities of where you are betting.
Live sportsbooks and casinos will have the fewest and sometimes no options for live betting as it is more difficult for them technologically speaking to keep up with the action. Online sportsbooks and casinos will have the most options and the most variety of betting options as they have the technological resources to keep up with the games and handle all the changing action. The joy of this technology is that it makes everything easier on you the bettor. You also don’t ever run the risk of your bet changing before you are able to get it in because you never have to wait. We will discuss the differences between the betting options later and discuss the pros and cons of each.
Types of Live Bets
The types of live bets offered are going to vary greatly depending on the sport and depending on where you are betting. As we discussed earlier, it takes a great deal of manpower and technology for a sportsbook to run live betting operations. They have to set new lines in real-time and don’t have days or weeks to get prepared as they do for normal bets. For all of these reasons, the types of bets offered are going to vary. Let’s take a look at some of the more common types.
The same bets that were available before the start of the competition are also going to be available after the event starts, except the odds are going to change in real-time to depict what has happened in the game. For example, let’s say you are live betting on a football game. At the beginning of the game, the Dallas Cowboys are favored to win at -200. When the game starts, let’s say their quarterback breaks his leg on the first play and the other team immediately scores a touchdown. Obviously, the Cowboys are not as big of a favorite anymore and are actually probably underdogs. They are already down a score, and their star quarterback is out of the game. You would be insane to bet the game at -200 now.
With live odds, this will be reflected, and you can then make a more reasonable wager if you think the Cowboys are still going to win. The odds might change to +150 or something like that giving you a much better price to bet the Cowboys. If you had bet $100 before the game, you would get $50 for a Cowboys win. If you took the in-game bet and the Cowboys win with their backup, you would get $150. You would get three times as much as the sportsbook now thinks the Cowboys are going to lose based on what is happening in the game.
You’ll have your standard “who will win bets,” and you’ll also have your other bets like your over/under (totals) and such.
All of your prop bets will also be available for in-game wagering if the sportsbook or casino has the technology to keep them up to speed. These include your for fun prop bets as well as your skill based prop bets like how many touchdowns or goals a player will have or how many field goals a kicker will make. You can typically find a lot of good value with these bets if you think a player is a slow starter or is not getting the ball for a reason that is about to change.
For example, let’s say you take the prop bet that Rob Gronkowski is going to score over 1.5 touchdowns in a game. Let’s say Gronk is kept to zero catches and zero touchdowns through the first half. It now looks a lot less likely that he is going to make it to over 1.5 touchdowns, so the odds of that happening are going to go through the roof. This means that if you take this bet at halftime and win, you are going to get an extremely high payout. Remember that the higher payouts almost always mean a bet that is less likely to occur. You’ll see later that at times this is less true with in-game wagering than it is with traditional wagers that are placed before the game.
In-game wagering sometimes gives you the option of turning your single bets into parlays if you want to. Let’s say you bet on a trend that you think is going to happen and you think it’s going to continue to happen. You could add an additional bet onto your original after the game has started to try and capitalize on your correct prediction. Many sportsbooks will also let you create brand new parlays with in-game wagering which is the ultimate rush.
Benefits of Live Betting
The reason we’re so excited about live sports betting is that there are so many great benefits and reasons to play that didn’t exist before. A lot of the benefits are similar to those you get from traditional wagers but are amplified with this new style. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular reasons that so many people are getting involved and loving live sports betting.
Technically, the odds on all bets are supposed to always be correct, or accurate to what you are betting on. The sportsbooks spend lots of time and money hiring professionals or setting up computer systems to help them set the perfect odds on a game. If they happen to set a line incorrectly, they stand to lose a lot of money if bettors can jump on it before they catch it. This becomes fairly easy and straightforward for the sportsbook when they have weeks and days to prepare and research their lines ahead of time.
This luxury goes out the window when it comes to live sports betting. The sportsbook is required to change odds and make predictions in real-time, and they don’t have time to second guess themselves because they have to stay up to pace with the game. What does this mean?
There are two ways that a sportsbook might set in-game odds. The first is through a team of “brains,” or smart bettors that have the task of setting lines. These guys and gals are the best in the business and rarely mess up. The second way they do this is through complex computer systems that take all the available data into account and spit out new lines and odds in real-time.
The problem for the sportsbook is that both of these systems are not perfect, especially in a time crunch. Human error is inevitable which could result in odds that are too far skewed one way. Computers are only really able to analyze quantitative data and are not able to analyze qualitative data. If those are new terms to you, quantitative data is data that has a numerical value with it, something that can be counted. This would be like how many points the team scored, how much time is left, how many fouls players have etc. The other is qualitative data. This would be things that can’t be measured like team morale, signs of injury, etc. Computers are really not capable of catching these types of qualitative things.
The human errors and technological implications mean that it is much more likely that you are going to find an incorrect line put out that you can jump on. What is an incorrect line?
It is not a guaranteed win or anything like that, but it is a payout that does not match up with the likelihood of that event happening. For example, here’s an insanely exaggerated example. Let’s say Mike Tyson is fighting a baby penguin. The oddsmakers put out a line of Mike Tyson + 200 to win. If we saw this line, we would put every penny we had in the world on this bet. Clearly, the sportsbook made a mistake thinking that Mike Tyson would be an underdog against a cuddly penguin in a boxing match. Yes, this is an exaggerated example, but milder versions of this do occur, and they occur more often in live game betting.
Let’s look at a more realistic example here. Let’s say there is a prop bet that Julian Edelman will catch over 5.5 passes and you’ll get paid -110 if that happens. Let’s say Edelman comes out and catches two passes in the first drive. The odds are going to shift to something like this for in-game betting.
Odds at start of game
Edelman to catch over 5.5 passes -110
Edelman to catch under 5.5 passes -110
After his killer first drive, the odds might shift to this.
Edelman to catch over 5.5 passes -310
Edelman to catch under 5.5 passes +290
Obviously, the sportsbook thinks it is way more likely that Edelman is going to get the over on the passes here and is now going to pay way less if he does it but way more if somehow he does not do it. Technically, these odds are going to be close to correct based on a lot of data and computer calculations.
But we’re going to add something new to the mix. At the end of the last play, Edelman bashed his knee and hobbled to the sidelines off camera. The computer and the brains did not pick up on this, but you did. Clearly, there is a chance that he is hurt and will never get his over 5.5 passes as he is favored to do now. In the old days before in-game betting, this would have meant nothing to you. In the new days, though, you would slam a bet down as fast as you could on Edelman to catch under 5.5 passes. If you bet $100 on this, you would stand to possibly win $290 in profit just for being more observant than a computer.
Does this mean that you are guaranteed to win your bet? Of course, it doesn’t. There’s still the chance he’s just a little banged up and comes right back in and gets 10 catches. But, you are getting the opportunity to win more than you really should be offered if the computer had seen his potential injury. If the sportsbook catches wind of his potential injury, they might immediately move the odds back to -110 on the under 5.5, but your bet is already locked in. Realistically, you should be getting the -110 price and only get a profit of $90.90, but because of your quick action, you now stand to win an additional $200 on the same bet.
If you wanted to be fancy, you could even then bet $100 on the under (against yourself) after the bets are adjusted to reflect the potential injury which would pay $90.91. You’re now GUARANTEED to almost break even with a freeroll to make some money.
If Edelman gets over 5.5 catches, you win $290.00 in profit from your bet after the two catches but before they noticed the injury that you noticed. Subtract the $100 you bet against yourself after they discovered the injury and you get a total profit of $190.00.
If Edelman gets under 5.5 catches, you win $90.91 on the bet you put after they discovered the injury. Subtract the $100 you bet after the two catches but before they noticed the injury that you noticed, and you get a total loss of $9.09.
Basically, the worst you can do is lose $9, but you have a free shot to win $190! That to me sounds like a winning situation all thanks to live betting!
People Are Easily Influenced
This one goes hand in hand with the odds and trying to get lines that are incorrect. Most of the time the sportsbook will put out a line that is correct. However, you have to remember that lines are capable of moving based on how the public is betting. We said that the brains and computers putting out the lines were smart, but we did not say that most of the betting public is smart. The betting public has a tendency to bet way too much with their hearts and not enough with their head. If enough of the betting public bets incorrectly one way, the line will move and the odds will get much better on the other side of the bet. Let’s take a look at an example that will make this clearer.
Let’s say you are watching a football game between Team A and Team B. Here are the moneyline odds at the beginning of the game.
- Team A -110
- Team B +105
Basically, the sportsbook thinks these two teams are pretty neck and neck, and it’s a bit of a toss-up. The first half goes on, and Team A is driving the ball expertly and look on fire, but every time they get down into the red zone, there are some fluky penalties or uncharacteristic fumbles that get returned for touchdowns. The half ends with this score and these odds:
- Team A 3
- Team B 14
- Team A +125
- Team B -110
Now, the betting public might incorrectly look at this and assume that Team B is crushing Team A. Unfortunately, they are only basing that on the score and haven’t been watching the game that closely. Team B is also the fan favorite, so many of the fans want them to win which also influences betting.
In reality, Team A played much better the first half and should be able to get through the flukes and come out with a strong second half. The betting public doesn’t see this though and they slam their money down on Team B. Before the halftime break is over, the line moves to this.
- Team A +200
- Team B -190
This is an amazing time for you to put a bet on Team A. The betting public bet with their hearts and tunnel vision and moved the line significantly giving much higher payouts on Team A. Remember that the sportsbook wants the same amount of bets on each side of a game, so they will make the odds more enticing on one side if there are too many bets coming in on the other side.
Again, this does not mean that you are guaranteed to win this bet. Team A’s awful luck can easily continue, and all the silly bettors can win their bet. But, what you have done here is gotten better odds and a higher potential payout than you should on something happening. Being able to do that over and over is the key to being a long-term successful winning sports bettor.
If you love high-paced action and love constantly looking for edges during a game, live betting was made for you. For those that haven’t had the privilege of experiencing it yet, it truly is one of the most fun times you can have sports betting. Sure, there is plenty of action on traditional sports bets, and for some people, they would prefer to get the bets out of the way and then kick back and enjoy the game. For the rest of us that love the fast pace, it doesn’t get any better than in-game betting. We could tell you over and over again how much fun it is, but your best course of action is just to give it a shot yourself and see what you think.
As you can hopefully see now, this new trend in sports betting is an incredible step forward for the industry. Not only are you able to exploit sportsbook mistakes and exploit bettors who aren’t as sharp as you, but you’re able to do it all while having an absolute blast.
Live Betting Strategy
Since most everyone reading this is probably fairly new to in-game betting, we don’t want to send you out into the wilderness without some strategy tips and advice to get you pointed in the right direction. Ultimately, with the vastly different types of bets and changing odds, you will be making a lot of split second decisions and will have to develop your own winning strategy. These tips and tricks will help you in the right direction and help you to avoid some common pitfalls and not be labeled a sucker.
Start With a Pre-Game Bet
Most experienced in-game bettors like to start off with a pre-game bet as a starting point. This allows you to make sure that you have done your pre-game homework and are in a good state of mind to get in on the action of this game. This is of course never required, but it does give you a lot more options going into the game. In-game betting is great for salvaging bets that are going the wrong way or pressing on bets that are going the right way. This sort of flexibility becomes a lot easier when you have a pre-game bet to start from. Again, this is not necessary but a good starting point.
Know Your Limits
The fast-pace of in-game betting can make it pretty easy to get carried away if you are not on top of things. When you are making multiple bets in real time, you need to make sure that you keep track of just how much action you have on the line. The best way to do this for most people is just keeping a little tally of how much you have bet in the game, and you should be just fine. If you are a more experienced bettor who has a lot of bets going at once, you might want to look into setting up an Excel spreadsheet on your computer to keep track of anything.
Thankfully, the online sportsbooks will handle everything for you, and a lot of them have great interfaces to keep track of all of your bets at once. If you are someone who is going to be placing a lot of in-game wagers, we definitely recommend picking a site that has a great user interface set up. This is true of most of the sites that offer in-game betting, but just check and make sure before you get started.
Make Sure You Are Watching the Entire Game
Surprisingly, this is one that action junkies and new bettors don’t always follow. If you are going to be live betting on a game, make sure that you are watching the entire game. You never know when you might catch something small that will give you an edge over the competition. Remember our Julian Edelman example from earlier? If you have the game off or are watching 10 games at once, you will never catch things like that and will miss out on some potentially easy money. In-game betting is all about getting into the flow of the game and feeling where the momentum is going.
If you are going to bet in-game strictly on the numbers, you will never be able to get an edge over the computer or identify bad lines that move based on heart betting from the public. You’ll be basically going about it the same way they are setting the lines, and they will always be better at it than you.
Most people fall into the trap of not watching the complete game because they have too much action or bets going elsewhere. If you plan to bet on a lot of games, we recommend placing your bets on those games and then choosing one or two at most games to live bet on. Put that game on your TV to focus on and then just follow the scores on the bottom of your screen for your other bets if you want to.
The idea of live betting is figuring out ways and angles to get an edge. This is near impossible if you aren’t totally immersed in the game and actually paying attention. Don’t worry, we aren’t saying not to have a ton of fun and enjoy the games. We’re just saying that in-game betting does require some attention and TLC (tender loving care) if you plan on being profitable long-term at it.
Use Live Betting for Close Pre-Game Bets
A lot of times we will find ourselves trying to decide if we want to make a bet before the game or not. The line is usually just about where we want it to be, but maybe not quite there. In-game betting can help you to get the line that you want if there happens to be a quick swing early in the game. For example, let’s say that you want to bet on the Dallas Cowboys to win, but the pre-game odds are only -200, and that is just not a good enough price for you.
What you can do is wait for the game to start and see if you can snag a better price early. If the other team gets the ball and scores quickly, that -200 could quickly change to a number much more in your favor. There is the possibility that things start out fast for the Cowboys, and you are never able to get a better line, but you aren’t losing any money in this scenario because you haven’t placed any bets yet. There is also the possibility that the opening drive looks so dominant that you no longer want to place a bet on the Cowboys. The point here is that in-game betting gives you some flexibility and a second chance to make a bet at a potentially more favorable line or save yourself from making a poor bet.
Remember that the odds are going to move to what the brains think is going to happen. The reason we are restating this is we want to make sure you realize that by waiting, the sportsbook is not just magically giving you a better price because they’re nice like that. They are doing it because it has become less likely that the Cowboys will win the game. Something will have to occur for them to move that line in that direction. If you think the first drive or whatever causes the line move is negligent, then take your better price and be a happy camper 🙂
Capitalize on Bad Lines
We discussed this extensively in the odds section above. If you happened to skip through it, we highly recommend going back and reading it as it actually gets fairly heavy into strategy. In recap, we were drawing attention to the fact that with pre-game, traditional bets, the sportsbook has an infinite amount of time to set their lines and research to make sure they are perfect. They lose this luxury with in-game betting and are much more likely to make a mistake or set a line that does not take everything happening into account. There is just too much going on and too many intangibles for them or a computer to keep up. This will result in lines that you can jump on to make some easy money.
We also talked about the fact that the betting public is typically not that smart and likes to bet more with their hearts than their heads. When they do this with in-game betting, the lines can move quickly and can create some favorable situations for you to pounce on. Watch for situations where you think the lines and the bets are too dependent on minor or emotional factors. If you can uncover these situations, you can put yourself in some great spots to make a lot of money.
It’s important to reiterate that just because you find a bad line, it does not mean that you are guaranteed to win that bet. It just means that you have put yourself in a favorable situation where you have the chance to win a higher payout than you should for whatever the bet is. For example, you could find a bet that should be +200 for a team to win, but it is actually listed at +600. This means that if you bet $100, you stand to make $400 MORE than you really should. That being said, you are still an underdog and still supposed to lose mathematically. Putting yourself in enough of these situations is the key to being a long-term successful bettor.
Know the Interface
This should have been number one on our list, but let’s say we just saved the best for last. Live betting interfaces can sometimes look a little different than the traditional odds charts you are used to. They are constantly updating, and the ever-changing numbers can seem a little daunting at first. The best advice we have is to take some time to learn the interface and see where everything and all the options are BEFORE you start betting.
Don’t wait until right before the game to start learning how to make in-game bets and what all the different options are. You are bound to make a mistake or not be able to find something you need to take advantage of a hunch before it’s too late. The numbers and betting lines change rapidly with in-game betting, so you have to be on the ball to be able to get the bets in that you want.
Don’t Start Here
If you are absolutely brand new to sports betting, live betting is probably not the place you want to start. We recommend starting with some basic traditional bets and learning the ins and outs of those first. Don’t worry, live betting will not be going anywhere anytime soon, so you have nothing to worry about. It will be here for you when you are ready to give it a whirl. Trying to push into this too early before you understand the basic types of bets and how they work and payout will just cause headaches and mistakes that will make you have a bad experience. It’s not that it is that complex, but crawl before you walk my friend.
As you can see, live betting is an incredibly fun style of betting that is only possible thanks to several incredible technological advancements. If you’re a sharp better who knows how to analyze games and feel the momentum, you have the potential to be very successful at live betting. Make sure you’ve fully read through this guide and fully understand all the different aspects of live betting and how to do it. Also, make sure you read through the strategy section so that you can attack this as an intelligent bettor poised to make some serious cash. The sportsbooks should fear you now.