Live betting, otherwise known as in-running or in-play betting, involves players having the ability to place bets on a sporting event after it has started and for the duration of it with lines and odds changing constantly as the game or event evolves.
Live/In-Play Betting Explained
Given the development of fast internet and the advancement of online gaming that came with it, it’s perhaps no surprise that the single biggest progression within the world of online wagering has been the advent of live betting.
Long gone are the days of needing to be at an on-track or off-track facility to place a bet in person, we are way ahead of that now, and in fact we don’t even need to have in mind which bets we want to place before a game kicks off anymore.
Life in general now is such that we demand to know the state of play by the minute or even by the second, social media allows us to do that, and the wagering world has jumped aboard and gone along for the ride from the beginning.
Live, in-play wagering has revolutionized the way we now bet and is not just seen as convenient for those who couldn’t get their bets on in time for kick-off, but is now used tactically by bettors who like to see the atmosphere in the stadium, what the players’ body language looks like and how it seems a game may pan out before laying down any cash.
As well as being great fun and perhaps increasing your enjoyment of watching a live sporting event, live betting can also help you get better odds. In soccer for example, a team’s starting odds may be 2/1 but if it is 0-0 after 20 minutes this will be reflected in the live odds, so they may now be 5/2.
So long as we remain confident our team can win, we can take the risk of leaving the bet for a while and waiting until the odds increase which adds a whole new dimension to the wagering world.
Additional In-Game Wagering Opportunities
Essentially the options for in-game wagering are limitless as there is nobody out there telling us what we can and cannot bet on.
For example in a soccer game, alongside the traditional win/draw/win and first goalscorer markets the in-play arena has introduced all sorts of extras such as next corner, next goal, next scorer, next yellow or red car etc etc and so with odds updated constantly the betting action revolves for the full contest.
Unlike with traditional pre-game fixed odds betting, this is made possible due to the fluidity of a live game meaning markets aren’t just updated but also brought in as new markets while the game is ongoing.
An example of this would be betting on who may receive a yellow card or score the next goal. As soon as the first yellow card is brandished or first goal scored, the markets can restart. If a player is substituted into the game then he will enter all relevant markets too.
Live in-play markets on soccer games are the most plentiful, however things are moving in this direction concerning plenty of other sports too. In-game wagering options available on NFL games for example can include:
- Over/under (points)
- Spread alternative
- Winning margin
- First or last team to score
- Total team points
- Next touchtown
- Next turnover
- Plus many more
These markets across various sports evolve exponentially so there is no such thing as a defined list of what in-play action to expect, though take a look inside any sportsbook these days and it’ll be the first thing you see advertised.
Constantly Changing Odds
Even in terms of traditional betting odds are moved around before the starting time, the most obvious example being within horse racing where the numbers move pretty rapidly because of the pari-mutuel system on track.
This is reflected online as more and more news is released on the condition of the horses, how confident the trainers appear in interviews and of course how much money is being traded on the animals in the run-up to the race.
Bookmakers quite simply offer odds on what percentage change they believe a horse, team or player has of winning their particular event with a little profit built into the overall market, therefore these markets have to move as the money swirls around and team news is released.
The live markets move even more as now the bookmakers (and the players) don’t need to rely on information regarding what might happen, they can see how a contest is actually panning out and react to it as and how they feel appropriate.
In a soccer game the live odds can change from 5/4 into 1/2 as soon as the team in question scores a goal, the idea being that there are only an average of around 3 or 4 goals scored in each game so every one of them is hugely important and drastically affects the betting.
Sports and Events for Live Betting
Given the automated systems now used and the fact that the biggest sportsbooks can hire dozens of good traders, the amount of sports and individual markets on offer for live wagering is massive. The most popular live betting sports around the world though are:
- Ice Hockey
Although in the not so distant past we could only expect to find live betting on the very biggest events, such as the Superbowl for example, we can now expect live betting odds listed for every NFL match, every NBA game, every soccer game in the major leagues and a whole lot more besides.
Despite the fact that football and basketball have now joined the party, traditionally soccer and tennis were the most popular sports for live in-play wagering with hundreds of markets offered on soccer games even in the smallest and most obscure of matches from around the world.
More Ways To Win – Advantages of Live Betting
Ask any professional bettor what the most important thing to them is and they will probably say “value”. Even if you like a certain football team, their odds may not be tempting for the win and so for a pro the name of the game over the years has been patience.
These days though, with so many markets in the live in-play section of sportsbooks there is a much bigger chance of finding a value bet that suits your theory surrounding the game.
Say for example you are a major fan of a particular player and know his particular skills, you may see value in something connected to his odds in-play that the bookmakers simply don’t have the time to consider and so have not built into their live odds.
Live odds on major sports can be updated direct from the stadium, so bookmakers can build in a few seconds delay in order for players not to gain an unfair advantage when watching the game live. However, more people out there than just the odds compilers and traders know their sport and can by watching the game live develop a much stronger opinion on how the game may turn out, thus gaining that advantage using live odds.
One last thing we can use live betting for is to hedge our bets, essentially having an opportunity to cover our losses as well as only looking to gain pure profit (see below).
Going into more detail on what we mentioned earlier; imagine you’d backed a soccer team expecting a big performance but then upon watching the game live they are clearly not playing well. You have the opportunity to bet the opposition team in order to hedge your bet and at least lose a little less than you were about to.
We can take this further however. Say the team you had backed go 1-0 up making the opposition now a huge price to win, you may back the opposition at the now very large odds at a small stake, meaning you’re still in profit if your teams goes on to win as expected but you will more than cover losses if there is a surprise comeback.
What is the Cash Out Option? Is it Beneficial?
One of the most recent inventions within online betting is the option to ‘cash out’. This is a rare beast in as much as it can benefit both the sportsbook and the player.
Cash out allows you to take a profit if your bet is winning, or at least get some of your stake back if your bet is not going so well and you can do this at just about any point in the game or contest.
Sportsbooks like you taking a cash out sometimes as it means they have not had to pay out as much as they would if you’d left the bet alone, however there are numerous times last minute plays ruin your bet and so this is still seen as a great option for players.
So, is the cash out option beneficial? Absolutely, yes.
Tips and Strategy Advice For Live Betting
- Use live betting to get better value for money
- Remember to be alive to the opportunity of hedging or covering your bets
- Be quick – have your phone handy when watching games to catch the best of the ever-changing odds
- Use ‘cash out’ often to guarantee profits