Live Betting Guide

The concept of in-play betting (also called live betting or in-running betting) is very simple. Most online bookmakers nowadays offer this option, where you are given the opportunity to place a bet while a sporting event is unfolding in front of you.

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Before computer algorithms were used to update sports betting lines, people in Las Vegas would rush to the sportsbooks after work to bet on Monday Night Football games. If you did not make it to the window before kickoff, you were out of luck until they posted the halftime lines.

That was then, and this is now. Nowadays, the best online sportsbooks have the technology that they need to update the odds as the game is unfolding. You can place wagers at any juncture while the game is underway, and this has proven to be a very popular innovation.

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In-Play Betting Tips

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What is Live Betting?

Live sports betting is an effort to hit a moving target because you are trying to anticipate a completely uncertain trajectory of events. You may say that it is much easier to make an intelligent wager after you get a feel for the flow of the game, and this is true in some cases.

However, we have all seen games that are “a tale of two halves,” but the point of bifurcation is not necessarily the beginning of the second half.

Sharp bettors know that the vast majority of games have twists and turns, and the following scenario serves as a demonstration.

A quarterback on a visiting team that appears to be dominating throws an interception on a first and goal play that turns into a 98-yard pick six.

When the defense comes back onto the field, the crowd is going wild. The home team starts to ride a new wave of fresh momentum, and their opponent starts to press. All of a sudden, the team that was reeling seizes the upper hand, and it’s a new ballgame.

In-play betting should be viewed as one of the tools in the sports bettor’s toolkit. You can get in on the action at any time, and it can give you a strategic edge under some circumstances. This is all well and good, but you should always remember that the tide can turn, and it often does.

How does Live Betting Work?

The live or in running betting options are the same as the pre-game bets with some potential variations. You will see the staples like updated moneyline odds, points spreads, and totals.

There are also in-play odds posted for special propositions of all kinds. Some of them are team props, like the winning margin or a live bet on the next team to score. In-play odds are posted on player prop bets as well, like the next touchdown scorer or home run hitter.

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How to read Live Betting Odds

Understanding how the odds work and the different odds formats is crucial. There are three different odds formats that are used for sporting events: moneyline odds, decimal odds, and fractional odds. The online sportsbooks that offer live sports betting in the United States use the moneyline or American odds.

This is an example of the moneyline-based in-play wagering odds for a football game between the Chicago Bears and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

NFL LIVE LINES POINT SPREADS MONEYLINE TOTAL
Chicago Bears +7 -112 +260 O 39.5 -115
Pittsburgh Steelers -7 -108 -320 U 39.5 -105

The first number to the right of the teams is the amount of the point spread. In this case, the Bears are the visiting underdog, and they are getting 7 points. If they win the game outright or lose by 6 points or less, a bet on the Bears is a winner.

Pittsburgh is laying 7 points, so a Steelers bettor wins their wager if they beat Chicago by 7 points or more. If the favorite wins by exactly 7 points, the bet is declared a “push,” and supporters of both sides get their money back.

There is a moneyline attached to the point spread bets , and in this matchup, it is -108 on the favored Steelers. This means that you have to bet $108 to win $100, and you would wager $112 to win $100 on the Chicago contingent.

A straight moneyline bet is a wager on which team will win the game outright. It is statistically very likely that a 7-point favorite will win the game, so you have a significant negative payout of -320. If you bet the Bears and they pull off the upset, you win $260 for a $100 bet.

A totals bet is a wager on the total points that will be scored by both teams combined. You can opt for live betting on the over/under, and there is a moneyline that goes along with it.

Is live betting available on my mobile device?

The real money US sports betting sites know that people want to place bets when they are on the go, so they all have mobile betting apps. They are available for iOS and Android devices, and they are completely safe and secure.

All of the betting markets for different sports are offered, and the user interfaces are completely intuitive. After you click on the in-game betting link, you are greeted by a sporting event menu with the matchups listed in chronological order along with the in-game odds for each type of bet.

You simply tap the button for the wager you want to make, and it will be transferred to a bet slip. There is a field where you can enter the amount you want to wager, and you enter the bet.

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Live Betting Strategy

Live bets can be very effective as part of a sophisticated wagering strategy, and under the right circumstances, live betting can ensure a guaranteed profit. In a real sense, this is a numbers game that is being played between you and the gambling site odds compilers.

The long-term profits can add up if you use the betting strategies that have been developed and refined by the sharp bettors.

Find the In-Play Betting Sites with the Best Bonuses

Legalized sports betting has created a very competitive market in the United States. All of the live betting sites are competing for your business, and they offer sign-up bonuses for new players that can be quite juicy.

The risk-free first bet is one of the most common welcome offers, and the bonus amounts typically range from $100 to $5000. To take advantage of this promotion, you have to make a deposit and place a wager with your own money.

Let’s say that you are capitalizing on a $1000 risk-free bet offer, and you bet $1000 on the Bears in our hypothetical matchup. The live odds are +7, and they lose the game by a field goal, so your risk-free bet was a winner.

Your real money winnings will be deposited into your account, and you are free to withdraw the money if you choose to do so. If you lose a risk-free $1000 bet, all the money would be refunded to your account in the form of site credit.

You would be able to withdraw it after you have wagered that amount. The legalized sports betting sites that offer this promotion will allow you to make the bets incrementally in any denomination that you choose.

Some of the sports gambling sites will dangle free bets for new players. You do not have to put up any of your own money to place the bet, and you can keep your winnings if you win, with no strings attached.

There are also deposit match bonuses, and this is self-explanatory. The betting site will match the amount of your initial deposit up to a certain amount. You can find 100% deposit matches, and lesser percentages are offered at some sites that take in-game wagers.

Shopping for Odds

You certainly want to take advantage of free and risk-free bets as part of your live sports betting strategy, and we are using the plural for a reason. After you make your initial sports bet and snag your bonus at one of the in-game betting sites, you don’t have to stop there.

Why not take advantage of multiple different opportunities to win money without taking any risks? In-the-know bettors will establish accounts at several different sites to rake in all of the bonus money that is sitting on the table.

There is another reason to establish presences on multiple sites that take in-play bets. The live betting odds are constantly changing, and each book makes its own decisions. The odds offered on the first site you visit may not be the best odds, so you should shop around to find the best value.

Hedging Your Pre Game Bets

A hedge bet is a wager against your original bet that is made to yield a guaranteed profit. When you know how live betting works, you can use in running bets for hedging purposes.

Let’s look at a hypothetical scenario that may compel you to hedge your bet.

You have a $200, 7-team, 7-point NFL teaser that is going to culminate with the Monday Night Football game. Your six picks for the Sunday games were correct, and you will collect if the Chiefs cover in the MNF game.

On your teaser, you have the Chiefs -1 because they were 8-point favorites when you made the bet. Without a doubt, you have a great chance to win, but it is certainly not a guaranteed profit. Under these circumstances, you have a great hedging opportunity with a large “middle.”

This is a $200 bet that would pay $1000 if you win, so there is a potential profit of $800. You can make a $400 hedge bet on the Jags +8, and you will definitely walk away with a $400 profit.

The value of this is self-evident, but there is another angle. You can actually win both bets because there is a 6-point middle. If the Chiefs win by 2-7 points, you will collect on each wager.

A pre-game hedge bet on the Jaguars would be a possibility but live betting can be very useful for hedging purposes. You can monitor the lines continually to be on the lookout for hedging opportunities that provide middles.

This is just one example, but you can hedge a wager that you make in any of the betting markets when the circumstances are favorable.

Risk Free Bet up to $1,000

Final Thoughts

This is an exciting time for sports fans because of the legalization of sports gambling. The legal sports betting sites in the US will offer live wagering to augment standard pregame bets, quarter, period, and halftime bets, props and futures.

Some people bet for pure entertainment without doing a lot of research, and there are others that put in the work to gain a competitive advantage. Handicapping the games can actually be a labor of love, and it can become a hobby that keeps you occupied during your spare moments.

Winning any bet will put a smile on your face, but it is especially gratifying when you research a game and the outcome is consistent with your expectations.

You will find a lot of free gambling information on our site, so you should bookmark the page and come back and visit us often. We have betting guides of all kinds, and we share all of the breaking US sports betting news on our blog each and every day.

Which sports can I bet live on?

There are live lines posted for all four of the major pro sports that are the most popular in the United States, and the books take in-play wagers on major college sporting events. This probably comes as no surprise, but in-play wagering is also offered for other sports that fly under the radar.

Football live betting

Pro and college football are the most popular sports to bet on by far, and in-play live wagering makes any game far more exciting. The NFL betting board is constantly updated with point spread and moneyline odds on sides and final score totals.

There are prop bets as well, and NCAAF betting options are similar. The action is hot and heavy during the regular season, but it is absolutely scalding when the postseason rolls around.

Super Bowl betting is the pinnacle, and the online sportsbooks go all out with their live betting propositions that are updated while the big game is underway.

Basketball live betting

In-play betting on basketball games is a lot of fun because the action moves so fast. The NBA betting options include sides, totals, moneyline, point spread, and proposition betting. A brand-new season starts when the playoffs begin, and NBA finals betting options are expanded.

Many fans actually prefer college hoops, and NCAAB betting during the March Madness tournament is on another level. The online sportsbooks run special promotions during big events, so you can capitalize on some bonus money and/or free bet deals during the tourney.

Hockey live betting

The online sportsbooks post dynamic live odds for hockey, and NHL betting can make any game interesting. They will take live bets on the outcome of the game, each period, team props, and player props like the next goalscorer or the last player to score a goal.

This is one of the great things about sports gambling in general. It’s easy to be riveted by a game that involves your favorite team, but the same type of excitement simply is not there when you don’t care about the outcome.

Stanley Cup betting can be a profit center for shrewd bettors that can identify weaknesses in the lines. The battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup is another big event that motivates the sports betting sites to offer special bonuses and perks, and this will give you an edge from the start.

Baseball live betting

The baseball intelligentsia has been changing some of the rules over the years to increase the pace of the game to make it more interesting for potential new fans. While they were doing this, they were simultaneously acting as plaintiffs in a lawsuit that prevented the legalization of sports betting.

Now that the suit has failed and sports gambling is legal on the federal level, MLB betting has added a wow factor that the sport was lacking. You can actually make live wagers on the outcome of each at bat, and that is going to keep you on the edge of your seat for nine innings.

Other in-play betting options revolve around the pitchers, like the over/under on the number of strikeouts or pitches thrown in the next half inning. Team props include the first team to score a certain number of runs, total hits in the game, win margin, and total home runs.

World Series betting is the culmination of the long campaign, and the odds compilers are busy updating the live odds during every minute of every game.

Soccer live betting

If soccer betting is your thing, the online sportsbooks have you covered. There are numerous MLS betting options for live bettors, starting with match outcomes and total goals. You will also see odds for corner kicks, side kicks, goal kicks, free kicks, throw-ins, etc.

FIFA World Cup betting is another one of the live betting markets that you will find, and this is one of the most-watched sporting events on the planet. Loyal fans have strong opinions, and if you are one of them, you may be able to turn your passion into cold hard cash.

Tennis live betting

In addition to the betting markets for team sports, there is live betting on events that involve individuals. Tennis betting is offered at the legal sports betting sites, and the focus is on the four majors: Wimbledon, the U.S. Open, the French Open, and the Australian Open.

Golf live betting

Live golf betting can add some considerable spice to your relaxing weekend afternoons. You can bet on the British Open or Open Championships, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship, and the Masters.

Betting odds are posted for tournament winners, individual hole results, daily winners within player groupings, over/under on birdies, and yes/no on a hole in one, just to name a handful.

Horse racing live betting

Being able to bet on a race after the outcome has been determined is the horse player’s dream, but fixed odds betting would be the next best thing. This is very popular in Australia, and as the name would indicate, you get the odds that are in place at the time the made is bet.

Traditionally, a pari-mutuel system is used in horseracing. The odds are constantly adjusted as more bets are made. As a result, you can bet a horse when it is 7-1, and if it goes off at 2-1 at post time, you are stuck with the post time odds.

A law was enacted in New Jersey in August of 2021 to allow fixed odds betting at the New Jersey race tracks . It is not a reality at the time of this writing, but it should go live next year.

If fixed odds horse race betting is successful in the Garden State, it is logical to assume that other states will follow their lead as time goes on.

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Contributors

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Hi, I'm Gary Garry

"Gary Patrick Garry started out in the sports gaming field working for a major sports service in Las Vegas over three decades ago. He has written for a number of different gambling sites over recent years, and he is a regular Gambling.com contributor."

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Reviewer since September 2021

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