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Guide to Live/In Play Betting

Live Sports Betting

The gambling industry has changed drastically over the past twenty years. While some things have stayed the same, everything else is almost unrecognizable compared to the way it was before. We have the internet to thank for that. We can confidently say that most of the changes in the gambling industry are a direct result of the world wide web.

The simple fact that we can use the internet to gamble for real money is obviously a huge development. It might not mean as much to those of you who can’t remember a time BEFORE the internet, but to the rest of the world, this is remarkable. Even though online gambling is relatively new, it has seen significant growth in the past couple of decades.

The online gambling experience has improved substantially. Gambling sites weren’t even close to the same standard or quality they are today even just a few years back. There have been lots of other developments too, many of which have really benefitted gamblers in one way or another.

Out of all these developments, there has been one in particular that has proved to be incredibly popular among those who enjoy wagering on sports. The introduction of in play betting, or live betting as it is also known, has completely changed the way that many people place their sports wagers.

Given the notable impact that this form of betting has had, it might surprise you to learn that the basic concept is extremely straightforward. It simply allows us to place our wagers on sporting events AFTER they’ve started. We can compare this to traditional sports betting, where wagers must be placed before an event starts.

This simple difference has opened up a whole new range of betting opportunities. Live betting is a great way for sharp bettors and sports enthusiasts to try to get an advantage over the bookmakers. And, more importantly for some, it’s extremely fun and very exciting.

If you like sports and enjoy betting on them, then you’re almost certain to love the experience that live betting has to offer. It brings a whole new dimension to sports gambling. Whether your primary goal when placing a wager is to make money or just simply have fun, this is something that’s worth checking out. There’s something very appealing about watching the action and trying to make quick decisions about what’s going to happen next.

Before you do, though, be sure to read through this article. We explain exactly how live sports betting works and discuss the advantages it has to offer. We also provide information on the best sites for in play betting, and some strategies you can use too.

Live/In Play Betting Explained

Live betting is very simple, so we don’t really have much to explain. We already mentioned in our introduction that it involves placing wagers on sports events while they’re actually taking place. That’s pretty much all there is to it. It’s fundamentally the same as traditional sports betting in every other way. You have a range of wagers and betting markets to choose from, and you have to pick your selections based on what you think will happen. You take fixed odds at the time of placing a wager. If your selection is correct, you get paid out. If it isn’t, you lose your stake.

There are two subtle differences with live betting that we feel are necessary to address. First, there are some additional types of wager on offer. Second, the odds are constantly changing. Let’s explore these differences in more detail.

Additional types of wager

Many of the wagers that you can place during a sports event would not be possible with traditional betting. Take goal scorers in a soccer match for example. With traditional betting, you can wager on which player will score first. Once the first player scores, that market is settled.

With live betting, you can place wagers on which player will score NEXT.

When betting on the next player to score, the market is settled as soon as a player scores. Immediately after ones closes, another one opens for the next player to score. This process repeats throughout an entire match, every time a player scores.

This is just one example of a live betting market. There are countless others too. Here are some more that you’ll find when betting on soccer.

  • Next team to score
  • Time of next goal
  • Next player to get booked
  • Time of next booking
  • Form of next set piece (throw in/free-kick/goal kick/corner kick)
  • Team to win next corner

While you’ll be able to find similar markets for other sports, there are also a wide variety of different markets available too. In football, for example, you can wager on things like how long an upcoming drive will be, and whether that drive will end with a field goal, a touchdown or a turnover. In tennis you can wager on which player will break serve next, or which player will win the next set. In cricket you can wager on which bowler will take the next wicket, or how many runs will be scored in the next over.

Honestly, we’d be here forever if we tried to list all the different live betting markets for all the different sports. So we’re not going to do that. Just realize that there are A LOT of options. To highlight this, take a look at the following screenshot. It shows the various different live betting markets that are available for a single tennis match.

A screenshot illustrating the amount of betting options when live betting.

We should also point out that most of the pre-event betting markets are available during an event too. When it comes to soccer, for example, betting on the winner of the game or the final score is still an option with live betting. The only difference is that the relevant odds change during the event, based on how the action is going.

Constantly changing odds

The odds for a traditional betting market often move as it gets closer to the start of the event. Sometimes this is due to a significant change in circumstances. For example, let’s say the New England Patriots are about to play the Buffalo Bills. A couple of days before the game, the moneyline market might look something like this.

New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills

If you’re not familiar with American style odds, the decimal equivalents here are 1.40 for the Patriots and 3.30 for the Bills.

As of right now, the Patriots are pretty comfortable favorites for this game. But now let’s imagine that it was announced that Tom Brady (their star quarterback) and Rob Gronkowski (their superb tight-end) were both going to miss the game due to injury. We might see the market move to something like this.

New England Patriots vs Buffalo Bills

The decimal equivalents here are 1.50 (Patriots) and 2.80 (Bills).

After the recent news was released, we can see that the Patriots are still the favorite, but not by nearly as much. The new information that’s come to light has changed the bookmaker’s outlook, and they’re now giving the Bills a significantly better chance of winning the game.

Bookmakers also adjust their odds based on the amount of money that they’re taking. They reduce the odds for selections that have gotten a lot of action on, and lengthen the odds for selections that aren’t seeing much action. They do this frequently though, so the adjustments are typically quite small. We don’t tend to see big moves in the odds like in the example above.

When new information comes to light, however, you can expect to see those big moves. In this case it was a couple of pre-game injuries that would obviously affect the likelihood of the Patriots winning the game. Now, think about how much happens DURING an event that can affect the likelihood of the various different outcomes. It’s a lot, right? So, as you’d expect, the odds for live betting markets are frequently changing as an event progresses.

Most betting sites hire specialists to watch over each event and make constant adjustments to their prices, depending on what they see. So if a tennis player is starting to miss his serve, for example, they’re probably going to increase the odds on him winning his next game. The odds on the final result would probably change too. These ever-changing odds are one of the main advantages of live betting, as we’ll discuss in more detail later.

In terms of the basics of how live betting works, we’ve covered pretty much everything you need to know. Let’s now take a look at the different sports and events that offer live betting.

Sports & Events for Live Betting

When live sports betting was first introduced, it was typically only available for major events in the most popular sports. These days, however, the biggest betting sites offer in play betting for a wide range of different sports and wide range of events. There’s a truly incredible amount of options available.

The following sports are the most popular for live betting.

  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Basketball
  • Ice Hockey
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Golf
  • Horse Racing

Every sport offers a wide variety of events to bet on. Take football for example. Most US betting sites will offer live markets on every single NFL match, and many college football games too. Some may even cover the Canadian Football League. Then there’s soccer. There are very few professional soccer games that you CAN’T bet on in play these days. The biggest sites cover virtually all of them, even those in obscure leagues and competitions.

When it comes to basketball, every NBA game is covered. For ice hockey, every NHL game is covered. Every match in every ranking tournament is covered for tennis, and most professional golf tournaments are covered too. Cricket matches all over the world are covered, and any significant horse race is covered too.

As far as popular sports are concerned, your options for in play betting are almost limitless. Our list of sports is not the be-all end-all either. A lot of sites cover less popular sports, including motor racing, mixed martial arts, boxing, snooker, rugby, darts and more.

Not convinced that live betting is worth your time? Take a look at some of the other advantages to sports betting.

Advantages of Live Betting

We’ve already covered two of the big advantages of live betting. The fact that we can bet on so many different sports and events is one, and all the additional wagers is another. These two advantages alone give us an even greater number of betting opportunities to consider. With more opportunities to consider, we have an even greater chance of finding wagers that offer good value. Trust us when we say that this is a VERY good thing.

The constantly changing odds also represent a major advantage. Bookmakers are extremely skilled at setting their odds very accurately, making it hard for us to find value. But with live betting they have to make adjustments to their odds very quickly based on the action they are watching. They don’t have the time to put as much thought into these adjustments, so they’re not quite as tight as normal. This makes it a little easier for us to be able to find value.

It should also be noted that the adjustments the bookmakers make are based largely on their own opinions of how an event is turning out. As skilled and knowledgeable as they are, their views are not ALWAYS correct. By watching the action ourselves, it’s entirely possible that we’ll be able to make better judgments than the bookmakers every once and awhile. In order for this to be made possible, we need to have a solid understanding of both the sport and the teams/players involved.

Many sports bettors believe that they can gain a real edge of the bookmakers because of this.

Gaining an edge over the bookmakers is usually very, very hard. And it’s not exactly EASY when betting in play. Regardless, we definitely agree that live betting does give us more opportunity to gain an edge than traditional betting does.

Believe it or not, we aren’t done listing the advantages of live betting yet. Live betting can provide us with excellent opportunities to hedge our existing wagers in order to manage risk. We can use hedging strategies to cut our losses when things aren’t turning out as expected, or to lock in some guaranteed profits when things are going well. To help you understand how this can be implemented, let’s take a quick look at the following examples.

Example 1

Let’s say you’ve backed a tennis player to win a match, and after half an hour you don’t feel like he’s playing as well as you expected him to. You can place another wager backing his opponent to offset some or all of the original wager. In this situation, you’ll probably end up being forced to take a loss no matter what happens. Sometimes it’s better to take a small loss when your outlook changes instead of risking an even bigger loss.

Example 2

Now let’s say that the match played out a little differently. The player you backed was easily able to take the first set of the match. You could now place a small wager on his opponent to make a comeback, creating a situation where you’re guaranteed a profit no whatever happens. If your original wager wins, you’d be forfeiting some of your profit. Overall, though, covering both potential outcomes for a guaranteed profit can be considered good risk management.

Top Tip

Combining in play betting with the use of betting exchanges can make it a lot easier to use the methods we’ve outlined above, and other useful techniques too. If you want to take full advantage of the opportunities these two forms of betting offer, you can change your position multiple times during a single event to maximize potential profits and/or manage risk.

The final advantage to mention here is that live betting is an enjoyable experience. Those who prefer to bet primarily for entertainment will appreciate this advantage. No one can deny that live betting makes watching sports more appealing. There are lots of people who really enjoy placing a few small wagers, just for fun, while watching the action unfold. Remember: gambling on sports doesn’t ALWAYS have to be solely about making money.

Recommended Live Betting Sites

In order to try live betting, you’ll have to sign up at a suitable betting site. Just a few years ago, finding a site that offered live betting was extremely difficult. Now that live betting is in such high demand, this isn’t exactly a challenge anymore. Almost every site offers some form of live betting. What can be hard, however, is finding the RIGHT site.

You don’t want to sign up at some random site that just happens to offer in play betting. You might not get a great experience at all. It’s fair to say that some sites are a lot better than others when it comes to the quality of their live betting platforms. Some platforms are very well designed and easy to use, while some are not. There can also be big differences in terms of the number of sports and events covered, and the variety of wagers on offer.

There are other factors to consider too. It’s important that you choose somewhere that’s reputable and trustworthy, for example, and you also want somewhere that consistently offers good odds. Decent bonuses and rewards are preferable too.

How do you go about picking the right site?
With our help, of course.

At we rank the best sports betting sites in a variety of different categories. One of those categories is live betting sites. We’ve done extensive research into the various options, tested them all, and ranked them based on their quality and what they have to offer. The following are some of our top recommendations.

Tips & Strategy Advice for Live Betting

Much of the strategy that applies to traditional sports betting also applies when betting in play. There are some strategies, however, that are specifically designed to help people with their live betting. Most of these are relatively straightforward, but they can really improve your overall chances of winning some money if you learn how to use them effectively.

Here are a few examples.

  • Hedging existing bets
  • Backing losing favorites
  • Betting against momentum
  • Finding arbitrage opportunities

We’ve already touched on the first strategy in our list, but there’s a lot more to explain than we covered earlier. It’s something we expand on in the following article. We also detail several other useful strategies, and offer a range of additional tips and advice.

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