Updated: 2020 Sep 23

In-Play Betting Strategy

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In-running betting has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, and is a thriving betting market with a life of its own. Most online bookmakers offer the service, but it is best to understand the basics of live betting strategy before you give it a go. This is because it is a fast-moving, unforgiving environment where one split-second misstep could potentially cost you big time.

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Plan Ahead

While most people approach sports gambling in a casual way – backing your own team at the weekend, having a punt on the Gold Cup for the sake of it -- if you really want to master live betting, you have to put some sort of system in place.

This means several things. Firstly, learn to understand the markets you plan to bet on; football, tennis, horse racing, Formula 1--whatever it is you feel you know most about. When you have decided which areas you will pursue -- maybe one, perhaps three--stick to these; do not start in-running betting on sports you know little about.

Next, by watching how bookmakers alter their odds and other punters vary their own on betting exchanges, you can start to learn at what point in any given scenario will be the best time to open or close your position (i.e. buy or sell odds). This is not an easy skill, but by watching others as games or races unfold, you are sure to learn.

The final part of planning is, like most of these factors, an ongoing exercise. In order to learn from your mistakes – and you will make some – be sure to record every bet you make. Write down when you bet at what odds and at what score or scenario, then assess how events continued to unfold, when you closed your position, your winnings/losses and what you could have done differently.

Don’t Be Greedy

Tied in to formulating a plan, for every bet you make on the exchanges, be sure to set a closing position at which point – however your bet may be looking – you sell on your shortened price.

Similarly, with online bookmakers and exchanges alike, don’t go chasing your losses. New prices crop up all the time and most bets are settled almost immediately, but that doesn’t mean you should try and recoup losses by suddenly spreading a number of wagers across markets you haven’t thought deeply enough about. Live betting can be a hectic environment; try and stay considered at all times – don’t let emotion or greed get in the way of a consistent plan.

Watching the Event

It is vital to remember that if you are watching a race or match live on TV or with live streaming bookmakers, your stream may still be a few seconds delayed.

In that short time, online bookmakers and other punters closer to the action could set odds that seem too good to be true, but which are really the result of an outcome that you haven’t witnessed yet. As such, always try to think ahead of the action – what might happen next etc. – and stay patient.

In-running betting has changed the face of sports gambling forever. It’s as exciting a betting environment as you are going to find. By planning ahead, thinking ahead and staying disciplined, you will give yourself a good chance of consistently making profits.


Hi, I'm Dean Ryan

"A passionate sports betting broadcaster and journalist with over 15 years spent in the gambling industry."

  • Sports Betting
  • Odds Compiling
  • Horse Racing

Reviewer since June 2016

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