I’ll start off this article by saying that I believe live betting is one of the most underutilized tools in the sports bettor’s box. Of course, there is additional risk involved.
With all of that being said, not all live bets are created equal. Some are too unpredictable, and some don’t have the necessary value. In this article, I’ll go through the four best sports to live bet, and rank them accordingly.
1. NBA Basketball
When it comes to comebacks, the modern NBA game has created the potential for a team to erase a twenty-point deficit within just minutes. The prevalence of the three-point shot, along with the number of players on the court who are capable of knocking one down…
If you’re not familiar with the world of live betting, you’re essentially looking to find a situation where two things are true: the team that is losing has a reasonable chance to come back and win, and the value provided by the live betting odds make it worth taking that chance.
I won’t get into the data specifically to support my claim that NBA comebacks happen with startling regularity, but that’s only because there are so many examples that it speaks for itself. This is especially true if the team that is losing at the time of your bet has a player like Steph Curry, Durant, Lillard, Trae Young, or a number of others who have shown they can fill it up from deep.
On any given night there are double-digit comebacks happening across the league at all stages of the game. Keep in mind that if you’re watching a matchup with the intention of live betting, it’s crucial that you actually, well, watch the game. In many cases you’ll find that a team will go on a hot streak that’s unsustainable, meaning you’ve found the perfect opportunity to bet on the comeback happening.
At the end of the day, live bets are all about timing and the NBA is no exception. If you want to maximize the potential value of your pick, it’s imperative to have one eye on the game and one eye on the odds. They change on a minute-to-minute basis and placing your bet at the wrong time could mean sacrificing a significant amount of value.
2. NFL Football
Most American sports bettors wait all year long for the start of football season. In fact, there’s probably only one other group of people who look forward to the season more than handicappers of all bankroll sizes and ability levels: the sportsbooks!
One of my favorite bets in all of handicapping is the “NFL favorite falling behind early” play. As the name suggests, it’s a live bet that is placed when a superior team (yes, “superior” is subjective, but for the sake of this point, we’ll say that being the favorite checks the box) gets behind early, leaving plenty of time for a comeback.
The downside to the situation I laid out above is that the sportsbooks aren’t clueless, and they know that the Chiefs falling behind by a touchdown in the first quarter against the Jets doesn’t mean that the Chiefs are now going to be looked at as the live bet “underdog.” But if the Chiefs had a -220 moneyline to start the game and it’s now at -130, you could argue that it might be worth betting it at the reduced price.
I don’t want to make it seem like every time the favorite falls behind early you should hop on your preferred sportsbook’s website and lock in a live bet. At the same time, I believe the end result would be a plus for your bankroll. Sometimes the underdogs hang on to an early lead and end up victorious, but as a bettor, the odds will essentially make your decision for you.
3. Major League Baseball
This might be a bit of a generalization, but major league baseball is, in my opinion, the most under-valued sport for casual handicappers. The sheer volume of games might be overwhelming, and often times it seems pointless to try to break down a game when it’s just one of 162.
If you’re going to be live betting a game, it’s critical that you wait until the right moment (as with any live bet) as the odds can change dramatically from one batter to the next. But it’s safe to say that the vast majority of the time the team that’s losing will have plus-money odds, with the only exception being if they’re currently threatening to score with multiple runners on base.
Another reason that I consider baseball one of the premier live betting options is because scoring, especially late in games when a team’s bullpen is called upon, is much less predictable than with football. For example, if a good NFL team is down 7 points in the first quarter, the sportsbooks know that there’s a good chance a comeback is imminent. The same cannot be said for baseball, where nothing is even close to guaranteed.
If you’re someone who has ignored baseball’s live betting potential in the past, I suggest giving it a try the next time you watch a game. You’ll be surprised at how profitable it can be once you get the hang of it.
I’m including soccer on the list because I’ve observed an alarming trend (if you’re a fan of the team in the lead) that seems to be happening more and more often: teams that go up 1-0 have a tendency to play “not to lose” rather than playing to win. This means the team that is behind can take advantage and even things up.
American sports fans might dread the idea of rooting for a draw, but when you’re getting paid double what you had to risk, the idea of a tie might not seem so hard to stomach after all.
Live betting has tremendous potential for those who utilize it at the appropriate times. As long as you’re keeping value front and center in your mind, you’ll be able to come out ahead even if you lose more than half the time.
As every sports fan knows, games are wildly unpredictable on a regular basis. Sometimes a bet on the “crazy” thing happening isn’t such a bad idea.