The timing of a bet can be everything. Odds change based on the most up-to-date information – while it’s always advantageous to hedge bets ahead of any announcements that might affect the state of play, it’s becoming more and more popular to wait right up until the last moment to place a punt.
So when can you start placing a bet? Or rather, when is the best time to make a wager? The following breaks down how close to a match starting can a punter still place a bet on the match because understanding WHEN to make a bet can be just as important as WHAT your wagering on!
You can begin betting as soon as the top bookies release the line, or even before that if you seek a special bet. The better question may be: when can you start betting on an event? It all depends on the type of bet you’re looking to place. For a typical bet, where the wager is on the outcome of a single game or match, you may wish to wait until all useful information about the teams has been made public.
Of course, you can place a bet well in advance of this and hope that with a bit of blind luck, your foresight is fortuitous. Bets that relate to the end position of a tournament league or championship – for example, the position a football team might finish the league in – can be placed long before the end result is known.
Fans often bet on the outcome of the next Premier League champion over the summer, even though the result will not be known until the following May. This usually takes place at the start of the season; the bet is based on the previous season’s statistics and summer signings, before any games have even been played.
Of course, punters may just wish to back their favourite team or player regardless of the detail that later comes to light. But, as the bookmaker has little information to judge the state of play earlier on, punters find themselves with the prospect of much higher odds and a larger return if a bet proves fruitful.
Information that comes out a week in advance of the match may be proven wrong or out of date by the time the event begins, so strategic punters may wish to hold off until the very last minute, or wait for the in-game betting to begin. Ensuring you're punting with all the most up-to-date info can be crucial to pre-match betting.
In-running, live or in-play betting starts the moment the event begins. While not available at all bookmakers, online gambling hubs have the in-play option for multiple sports, including football, tennis, basketball, golf and – more recently – eSports. That means avid gamers can bet on which team will draw first blood at DOTA 2 as they watch the live stream of the multiplayer match.
Live betting appeals to a wide variety of punters because of the sheer amount of sports covered and the bets available within those markets. During a football game you’ll be able to bet on who’ll score next, who will kick the ball out of play, who might take the next throw in, or who will receive the next yellow card.
The amount of choice on offer is both exhilarating and intimidating – the global market means there is nearly always something to bet on live. Novice gamblers may find themselves lost in a constant stream of bets, so it’s a good strategy to set limits on what you will bet on, selecting specific categories or types of live bets.
In certain sports where there are many stoppages and changes, such as golf or American football, the live odds will be frozen until that specific part of the game is finished. The live odds will then re-appear, having already been recalculated to take the previous play into account. This is unique to these sports, though, as other more-paced games' odds never halt.
The difference between the two styles of betting comes down to the odds. By the time play has started on a specific match, bookmakers have a much stronger sense of what is going to happen and will adjust the odds accordingly during the game.
Likewise, punters are able to assess the state of a match and make a decision about whether a live bet is worthwhile. So while the odds may be similar up until the start of the game, once it has kicked off, in-running odds will be constantly updated to manage expectations and keep punters interested.
Another advantage of in-play betting is that punters can often choose to cash in early if the bet meets the criteria. For example, if you’re betting that one team will beat another and your team goes a goal up, you can sell or trade that bet for a smaller amount.
Most major online bookmakers offer in-running odds so missing the start of a match isn't the end of the world but ensuring you place a pre-match punt before the in-play odds are released can equate to hefty returns and more generous odds. Make your next pre-match bet at William Hill today before the next match kick offs!
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