Live betting is also referred to as in-running or in-play betting and gives the punter the chance to wager on an event once it has started, allowing you to adjust your decisions based on the action as it unfolds.
Whereas previously all bets needed to be placed before kick-off, tip-off or the firing of the starting pistol, thanks to the advancement of technology and the increasing use of mobile betting, you can bet whilst you watch an event at home, in the pub or even live at the stadium or track.
Live bettors attempt to keep ahead of the ever-changing odds to maximise their profit based on the action they are witnessing. Different bookmakers will offer different live markets, so it is best to check which are available in advance of the event of your choice.
Most online sportsbooks dedicate an entire section to live or in-play betting, providing information on the fixtures that are currently underway as well as those that you will be able to follow later on.
You simply pick the fixture you are interested in and select the market on which you would like to bet. Many punters wager on the big sporting events they are also following on TV, radio or online, but many sites like Bet365 display live stats and important information for minor events as well, from Scandinavian handball games to under-21s rugby matches in the Middle East.
You can even watch a stream of certain sporting fixtures so you can look out for signs of players losing confidence, growing tired or any other indicators that you can use to try and find a value bet before the bookies cotton on and shorten the odds.
Once you have found the bet you wish to place, you add it to your slip and input your stake as you would with any other sports bet. The difference between an live bet and most pre-event bets is that you will find out how successful it has been far faster with the latter option!
Danger mode, or the period of danger as it is sometimes known, refers to an amount of time when live bets are suspended temporarily to protect bookmakers. An example of this would be when a penalty is awarded in a football match. The likelihood is that it will be converted, so bookmakers freeze the betting to avoid what would inevitably be a deluge of almost-certain bets on the next team and player to score.
Live betting is a great way of adding some spice to even the dullest of fixtures, as well as allowing you to test both your knowledge of the sport in question and your powers of prediction. The opportunity to observe the action as it happens and formulate your bets on the go is part of the fun, but you must remember the bookmakers are also watching, so you need to make your bets before the odds change, as they do throughout the game.
In a football match, the longer the game continues at 0-0, the more the odds of a draw occurring will shorten. If a favourite’s odds were not to your taste before the game, they may well become more palatable if that team has failed to score after a significant portion of the game has elapsed.
The oddsmakers have a fine line to tread when lengthening or shortening odds in-play. For instance, if the underdog scores early, there might not be as much of a fluctuation in the odds as if they scored late on. The market might still expect the favourites to overcome a one-goal deficit with an hour or so to play, but with just 15 minutes left to find an equaliser and a winner, their odds could lengthen dramatically.
Similarly, the odds on a certain player being booked or sent off would shorten after he has committed a couple of fouls and been lectured by the referee. Your job as an live punter is to spot the warning signs before the bookmakers do.
It is worth noting that, if the odds shifted whilst you were filling in your slip, your bet might not have been accepted. Make sure you receive confirmation of the bet in your player account to be satisfied that it has been placed.
Cashing out is an important part of live betting and can be invaluable if you simply don’t trust your selection to make it over the line. If your bet is winning, you will often be able to accept a reduced return at that moment, rather than face an excruciating wait to see if you receive the full payout.
Perhaps you have money on Andy Murray to beat Rafa Nadal and the Scot takes a commanding two-set lead. All is looking positive, but it is difficult to believe the Spaniard won’t fight back. You could cash out at that point, if your bookmaker provides that option, and although you won’t be celebrating the return you would have banked if you had kept your bottle and Murray had managed to hold on, you know you are guaranteed some sort of winnings even if Nadal storms the following three sets to take the match.
See the cashing out section for more on this fun and useful addition to live betting.