One of the coolest new ways to bet on sports is live betting. Sometimes referred to as in-play betting, in-game betting, and holy moly you’re crazy betting, the format of wagering has come about with the growth of online sportsbooks. You see, outside of the obvious convenience perks online betting has to offer, it also has the ability to utilize technology to offer some different ways for bettors to make money and get in the action. We introduce you to live game betting!
So, before we get into the strategies you need to dominate live betting, we need to make sure everyone understands exactly what it is. Live or in-game betting is when you are able to place wagers on a game after it has started. Traditionally, all action was closed as soon as the game began. We did see brick and mortar sportsbooks start introducing halftime bets (lines put out at halftime that reflects action in the first half) which was the first move towards in-game betting.
Now, it’s gone full-on wild! Some sports betting sites will let you bet at random points during the game, while some will go as far as letting you place wagers after every single play! As you can imagine, this creates a lot of opportunities to win big. It also creates a lot of opportunities to lose big if you don’t know the right strategies to come out on top.
Where on Earth are you going to find those strategies? Oh, look! Here they are. Come on, we think we’re funny at least a little? Anyways, our team of betting experts has compiled a huge list of the most important in-game betting strategies that you need to come out on top. While it’s still always going to come down to your ability to pick winners and find value, these strategies will help point you in the right direction and give you the framework you need to win big.
If you’re ready to learn how to dominate in-play betting, let’s get started.
Why There Is So Much Value in Live/In-Game Betting
One of the first things that you need to understand in order to beat in-game betting is why there is so much value in it. By understanding why the value exists, it can give you some insight into exactly what you’re looking for and what is important to pay attention to. Let’s take a look.
When sportsbooks put out their opening lines on games, they have a big advantage on their side – time. They have several days where they can do their homework, run their algorithms, consult the experts, see what every other book is doing, and ultimately put out a pretty accurate line. This means that the opportunities to find bad lines that are way off are going to be limited. They are not impossible (in fact, they happen a lot), but they’re able to heavily minimize these bad lines.
What happens when you take that time away? Well, it decreases the accuracy of the sportsbook’s lines. When they’re forced to set a line in the blink of an eye, they have to rely on their computer algorithms which are certainly not perfect. They don’t have time to have a team of experts pour over the data to see if they’re making a mistake or not.
This is exactly what in-game betting does. It takes away the time that the book has to make sure they aren’t making any mistakes. But, that’s not all. When they’re forced to rely on computer simulations and algorithms, they’re unable to analyze the intangibles of the game. If you see something like an injury that hasn’t been reported yet, or the flow of the game shifting, or the crowd playing a bigger role than expected, or anything like that, you’re going to have the edge over the computer.
Not only does in-game betting take away time and make for potential bad lines, but it has a huge impact on the people that are betting. One of the reasons sports betting is so profitable is because the betting public is not very smart. They tend to bet more with their heart than their head and shift lines incorrectly creating value opportunities for you.
When do you think bettors are more emotional, before the game or in the heat of the action? If you guessed the latter, you’re correct. In-game betting tends to attract these impulsive bettors due to the nature of the format. These bettors have a tendency to fire with their heart or chase their losses which creates a lot of bad line opportunities. Let us rephrase that; it creates A LOT of bad line opportunities. We felt the need to put that in caps because of how often you’re going to see it.
Put all of this together, and you have a pretty awesome opportunity to make some killer money betting on sports.
An Interface Can Make or Break You
The absolute biggest difference you will see between online sportsbooks these days is the quality and efficiency of their live betting platform. We’d seen some on one end of the spectrum that looks like they spent 10 years masterfully designing it with the user in mind. On the other hand, though, we’ve seen some live betting sites that look like they were made with duct tape, a 12 pack of beer, and a plan to make people angry.
Why is this included in our strategy section? It’s because a bad user interface cannot only frustrate you, it can cost you money. Here’s the thing. Bets come at you lightning fast when you’re betting in game. Lines are always changing, and new opportunities are coming and going at the drop of a hat. Because of this, you’re going to need all the help you can get to see these changes so you can quickly evaluate them and decide if there is value that you want to jump on.
Additionally, we want to see some sort of indicator that pops up letting you know that a line has changed or become available. The best that we’ve seen are sites where they will highlight the bet in red or green to indicate a better paying line or a worse paying line. This ensures that you don’t miss anything, and you’re aware of changes as they happen.
We also are looking for speed within the interface. The lines are going to be changed in real-time, and they are not going to wait for the site if it is slow. Yes, even though the site is making their own lines, they still aren’t going to wait for themselves if the server is running slowly. They would rather you have a bad experience than give away a bunch of money with a line that is too slow. This is why a betting site that has proper technological resources backing the product is important.
The last things we like to see are the little things that make the experience smoother and much more efficient. First, we want the buttons and betting to be well laid out. If the buttons are too close together, hard to understand, or anything like that, it puts you at risk of making an incorrect bet in the heat of a game. That can get really expensive quickly.
Here’s the takeaway. Do a little homework before you get into live betting and find a site with a great interface. Don’t settle for second rate because it’s going to cost you money when you’re in the middle of betting. To help you out, we wanted to include a few recommendations of sites that we know have amazing in-game platforms. You certainly don’t have to use these, but they’re pretty awesome.
Look for Hedging Opportunities
One of the coolest things that you can look to do with in-game betting is lock up profits from your pre-game bets. Now, whether you want to do this or not will be completely up to you as some people might say you’re giving up value by doing it. But, for a lot of us, we would prefer to lock up a guaranteed win even if it lowers the potential we can make. Let’s explain a little more what hedging is and look at a real-world example. This will make what we’re trying to say a lot clearer.
Hedging is when you bet on the other side of the game to lock up a potential profit. Here’s a real-world example from a recent baseball game from one of our staff members. The Milwaukee Brewers were playing against the Colorado Rockies. Our staff member chose to bet $50 on the Brewers to win at (-145). This means that if the Brewers were to win (as they were the favorites), they would receive $34.48 in profit.
Around the 5th inning of the game, the Brewers were up 2-0. Our staff member checked the in-game betting lines, and you could bet the Rockies to win the game at +616. This was an opportunity to hedge our staff member chose to jump on because they thought this line was way too high.
They chose to bet $8.50 on the Rockies in game. The profit on this bet would have been $52.36. Why did they do this? Well, let’s look at the two possible outcomes of the game now and what it would do to their profit or loss.
If the Brewers won, our staff member would get $34.48 in profit from their initial bet. But, they would lose their $8.50 Rockies. This would give them a total profit of $25.98.
If the Rockies won, our staff member would lose their initial $50 bet on the Brewers. But, they would win their Rockies bet for $52.36. This would break them just about even with a slight profit of $2.36.
So, no matter who wins the game now our staff member is a winner! Sure, they’re still rooting for the Brewers to win so they can turn a profit, but if they happen to lose, oh well. Yes, they were giving up $8.50 of potential profit on the Brewers bet, but for them, it was worth it to lock up a complete freeroll.
Hedging is going to be a personal preference choice for you. If you like the opportunity to lock up guaranteed wins, go for it! You can also use hedging to lower your risk. You don’t have to always bet the amount that breaks you even on the other side of the bet.
If our staff member just wanted to limit their risk a little bit, they could have bet something like $4 on the Rockies at +616 which would pay out $24.64. Now, if the Brewers win, they are still getting over $30, but if they lose, they’re only losing about half of their bet ($25).
It’s up to you, but if you’re someone who likes a sure thing and is willing to sacrifice a few dollars of profit for it, you should keep your eyes open during in-game betting. The more likely your bet looks to win, the higher the payout on the opposing squad will be. You probably don’t want to do this every single game, but if you happen to find a line that is way too high, it could be a good opportunity to jump on it. Had it only been the Rockies +250, it might not have been such a great deal. You’d have to bet $20 to get a payout of $50, which means you’d only be playing for $15. But, you’d still be locking up a win, so that’s up to you.
We can run what-ifs all day. The bottom line is that it’s up to you what you want to do. Just be aware that live betting affords you these opportunities.
Scout Out the Bets You’re Going to Watch Prior
If there is one word that we can use to accurately describe in-game betting, it is fast. The bets and the numbers come at you fast and if you aren’t prepared, you’re going to find yourself behind the ball and missing out on a lot of value or the bet you want completely. The best way to get ahead of this is by scouting the bets you’re interested in beforehand and having a plan of attack.
Obviously, you aren’t going to be able to see what the lines are before the game starts. You’re only going to get those number when it’s crunch time. But, you know what types of bets are going to be offered, and you can have a plan of attack. The best way to do this is to operate in if/then statements.
This allows you to be ready for certain instances where you think you’re going to be able to find value. Let’s take a look at a few potential examples of how you might scout out a bet and prepare yourself for a game. You might even find potential opportunities where you choose not to bet before the game but wait for the chance of something more lucrative in-game.
Let’s say you’re going to be betting on the Cleveland Browns vs. the New York Jets. Let’s say that the opening line is the Browns (-3). Let’s also say that you want to bet $50 on the game and you decide to take the Browns. But, here’s something you might try doing that a lot of sports bettors like. You run the risk of missing out on value, but you also have the risk of getting a really awesome opportunity. You can bet $25 on the Browns before the game and save $25 to bet on them in game if a certain opportunity arises.
What you might be waiting for is the Jets to score first. If the Jets get the ball first and put points on the board, you’re going to be able to get an awesome adjusted spread on the Browns (something like even/pick em) or a much better payout on the (-3). You might get it at something like +150 instead of (-110). This means your $25 bet will now yield $37.50 instead of $22.73 like your before the game bet.
Now, this obviously only works if the Jets score first and the public starts to fire hard on them. But, it can be a good opportunity to take a little chance. The worst thing that happens is that the Browns score first and you don’t get to make your second bet, but your first one is off to a really good start.
You can also make contingency plans based on how certain things appear to be working or not working in the game.
Let’s say that you think a particular football team is going to win if they come out and just hammer the ball on the ground, but you think they’re going to lose if they try to stick with the passing attack. Well, you can elect not to make a bet before the game and wait to see what approach they are taking in game.
You’ll have to be quick to get a bet in if they are going with the run (because you don’t want to wait until after they score), but you can get a pretty similar to opening line and have the information you were looking for.
The possibilities are really endless as to what you can prep for when it comes to in-game betting. The point is that you need to be doing some preparation and looking for opportunities that you think might present themselves. Don’t forget to calculate out what types of lines you’ll take given the particular opportunity. In-game lines can be all over the place, so just because what you want to happen happens, doesn’t necessarily mean that there is going to be a great value opportunity.
Always Select the Better Odds Button
This is a very short tip that should be common sense, but we’re going to point it out anyway just to be sure. Something that is going to happen a lot to you is that the odds are going to change while you’re in the process of making your bets. This does not mean you’re doing anything wrong, it’s just the nature of how it all works.
Most in-game betting platforms are going to give you the option to take a bet no matter what the odds are or take if the odds got better. One of these is awesome, and one of them is terrible. Taking any odds is just bankroll suicide. The lines don’t just move a tiny bit in the world of in-game betting. They can shit by several hundred points in a matter of seconds. NEVER under any circumstances select to take any bet regardless of the odds.
What you do want to select, though, is to take any odds that are better than the ones you initially selected. Why would you ever not want to take better odds? If anyone can think of a logical answer to that question, we would love to hear it and will gladly amend this guide.
Don’t Lose Sight of Where You Are
This is the first of our laundry list of “Don’ts.” These are the things are probably going to be the most important because they explain some of the big differences between traditional betting where people can get tripped up and give away a lot of value and potentially lose a lot of money. Let’s get started.
In-game betting happens quickly (yes, we’ve said that a million times). But, this creates opportunities for you to fire off a lot of different bets very quickly without even realizing how deep you’re into a game for. For example, let’s say that you usually bet $20 a bet. Let’s say that you put $20 on a game before the start of it and decided you’re going to keep an eye on in-game. Well, 30 seconds in the other team scores on a lucky break and you see the line shift heavily in your favor. You can’t pass up that value, so you fire off another $20. 10 more minutes into the game you see one of the opponent’s key players go down, but you don’t see the line change at all. Another great opportunity that you have to jump on, right?
Well, you’re now in this game for $60 which is 3 times what you normally like to bet on a game. We’ve seen a lot of people end up much deeper in, literally hundreds of dollars into a game without even realizing it.
Well, there is no ticker that pops up and tells you how much you have bet on a game already. All you see are the bets you are currently making. $10 or $20 here and $10 or $20 there might not seem like a lot, but it can add up really quickly.
We’re not saying to skip out on value opportunities. What we are saying is that you need to make sure that you’re sticking with your bankroll rules. Keep a running tally somewhere highly visible of how much you’re into the game for and how much you’re comfortable betting. You can be tempted in the moment to bet more than you normally would allow yourself to because you see value that is “too good to be true.” Remember, there are no sure things in sports betting, and that includes in-game betting.
Don’t Bet Against Yourself
One of the biggest no-no’s that you can do in any format of sports betting is betting against yourself (unless you are purposely hedging). While this is pretty easy to avoid when you are betting before the slate of games starts, it can actually be an issue with in-game betting.
The situation and story we always hear from people is the same. You’re betting a lot of games at once. You see this amazing line pop up that seems so wrong it’s not even funny. You quickly fire off a bet only to realize 10 minutes later that you actually just bet against an existing bet that you already had placed going the other direction.
As you can surely imagine, this is not a great move for your bottom line. You’re going to end up “breaking even” on your bet usually and just paying the juice to the house. Every now and then you might find that you lucked into a hedging opportunity, but that’s going to be few and far between.
Pay attention to what you are betting and know what you already have action on. Yes, we know that it’s important for you to jump on great lines quickly. But, you don’t want to do this at the expense of your existing bets. Sports betting is all about fighting for every single dollar that you have in play. If you’re accidentally trashing bets, that can ruin your profit for the day.
Don’t Force “Opportunities”
One of the biggest traits that separate skilled sports bettors and amateurs is their ability not to make a bet. Amateurs who love action have an especially hard time walking away from a chance to get more money in play. If you think it’s hard to stay away from opportunities with traditional sports betting, just wait until you get live betting opportunities placed in your hands. You’re going to have hundreds and thousands of different betting opportunities “throwing themselves” at you.
Is this awesome? Of course! But, you need to make sure that you’re not ever forcing betting opportunities just to get more action in play. Sure, this sounds easy now, but you need to make sure that it stays easy while you’re in the heat of the moment. Sports bettors have a bad habit of explaining away bets as being value opportunities when they are really just lying to themselves. If this is something you think you might be guilty of, be careful when you start in-game betting. We aren’t saying to avoid it, but you do want to make sure you don’t end up taking bad lines just to get more in play.
Don’t Use In-Game to Chase Bad Bets or Losses
Speaking of forcing action, let’s talk about something you should absolutely under no circumstances ever do (even though it’s going to be tempting). Do not use in-game betting as a way to try and chase your losses or make up for a bad bet you made on a game. This is a pretty vicious downward spiral that you want no part of. It’s possible you could get away with it once or maybe even a couple of times, but it will eventually catch up with you, and it’s going to hurt.
In-game betting should be something that you only do if you think you’ve found good value on a fresh new bet. The one exception, of course, is if you are hedging a prior bet to lock up some profit or minimize your risk.
This might not sound like something that you would ever do, but you’ll be shocked how tempting it is especially during your last game of the day. Here’s what the scenario looks like. You’re down a little bit going into your last game. The team you bet in the last game gets off to an abysmal start and there looks to be no shot of you ever winning that bet. Do you really want to end the day down? If you just pick out an in-game bet, you can potentially salvage the bad day and end off up, right?
See how easy it is to get into that line of thinking? It’s so easy to convince yourself that you can find value and save the day. But, this is the definition of chasing your losses. With traditional betting, you don’t have the means to chase once the last game has started. With in-game, though, you have the ability to chase all the way up until the end of the game. You need to be aware of this and make sure that you do whatever is necessary to prevent yourself from falling into the chase trap.
Don’t Bet Games You Aren’t Watching
Remember what we said one of the big advantages that you have over a computer is? The fact that you can see all the intangibles and game flow going on that a computer isn’t able to recognize? Well, all of that goes out the window if you’re not actually watching the game. You essentially would be in-game betting based solely on stats, numbers, and lines like the computer is. Who do you think is going to be better at crunching straight numbers, you or the computer? If you ever forget the answer to that question, just take a look at how beautiful and big the buildings are that house sportsbooks.
If you’re going to in-game bet a game, you have to be committed to it. This doesn’t mean just kind of watching. You need to be paying attention. You don’t have to be completely nerded-out and taking notes, but you do need to be focused on what is going on. Even if you don’t pick up an edge on the computer, you’re going to want to try and pick up an edge on the other bettors that are live betting on the game. If you catch something that they miss, you may be able to jump on an incredible line and make a killing.
If you’re not in a position to watch the game or you don’t really feel like “focusing,” then just stay away from in-game betting for that game. You can always make as many pre-game bets as you want and then never turn the TV on without giving up any value. But, in-game betting without watching is certainly a value killer.
Don’t In-Game Bet Too Many Games at Once
The last tip that we have in the “Don’t” category is a piggyback off of the previous tip. Don’t in-game bet more games than you can keep up with. There’s really no way that you can rightfully focus on a bunch of games well enough to be firing off value-friendly sports bets. You’ll be missing things, and you most likely won’t even realize it.
How many games is the right number? Honestly, we recommend putting in as many pre-game bets as you want, but sticking to only in-game betting one game at a time. The absolute most you could do in our opinion would be two. We’ve heard of people doing three or four at a time, but that just seems like too many. The only instance where that might be okay is if you have done extensive planning before each game and are looking for specific circumstances to happen. If you have a lot of the if/then scenarios we talked about earlier lined up to go, then it’s probably okay since you know what you’re looking for. But, you still run the risk of potentially missing something that would make you want to shy away from one of your pre-planned scenarios.
The Wrap Up
The bottom line of this entire guide is learning how to deal with the speed of in-game betting. Everything is going to come at you lightning fast, and you’re going to have to be sharp to be able to respond properly. Here’s advice that might not make a lot of sense based on the last two statements.
In-game betting can be an incredible way to find extreme value on a lot of popular games. Keep in mind that it’s not going to be available on every game, but when it is, you should be looking to see if there are opportunities for you to take advantage of. Good luck out there!