Live Sports Betting


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Now that it is one the most exciting and popular types of betting options, live sports betting has become a more and more common fixture inside the sportsbooks. Live (or in-game) sports betting is wagering on games while they are happening. This unique style of wagering allows the opportunity to capitalize on momentum swings and predict new ones. When sizing up an in-game bet you certainly will want to consider all of the usual factors like you would for a pregame bet, but since you get to see the event unfold, this opens the door to possibly exploit sportsbooks in a way you never could before.

The sportsbook has to release in-games line very quickly as they are constantly generated throughout the game. The book essentially has to decide what the line is as fast as you can bet it. This inherently reduces a bettor’s disadvantage because normally sportsbooks have anywhere from one day to a couple weeks to come out with the perfect line. Now that they have to make some split-second decisions, they are only more apt to make a mistake. That said, they wouldn’t be doing this if they didn’t know it was still profitable, so make no mistake that this new avenue of sports betting can never be too predictable.

Standard Vig vs. Live Betting Vig

If you are going to make a traditional pregame bet on the point line (spread), the standard juice is -110. Meaning you must bet $1.10 for every $1 you want to win. The vig for live betting tends to be upwards of -115 for the reasons listed above, because edges just aren’t easier to find for the bettor without added vig in play.

Live Betting Strategy by Sport

Each sport has varied live bet types in addition to who you think will win the game or cover the spread. Since live betting is very much a prop bet in its own right, it allows you to bet on other props. For instance, in baseball you can live bet on things like the outcome of the next plate appearance, total pitches thrown in a half inning, as well as total strikeouts. 

Some of the props you can bet on in other sports before the game starts can also be made live. Like in live basketball betting, you can bet on an over/under prop of combined points, assists, and rebounds from a specific player. And as the game moves along so too will the total based on how the player is performing. You’ll see this in football as well. You might see an over/under for total receptions by a wide receiver. If it at halftime he still hasn’t caught a pass, the over/under won’t move. Only the odds depending which side you want to bet.

Baseball

Types of Live Baseball Bets: Total runs, moneyline
Types of Live Baseball Prop Bets: Next play, inning score, total hits in game, race to X runs, lead after X innings, total strikeouts thrown in a half inning, total pitches thrown in a half inning, 3 way handicap, margin of victory, will there be extra innings? Props regarding performances by specific players i.e. hit, home run, strikeout, stolen base, total base totals

In addition to the live betting types listed above, baseball offers a wide variety of live betting props. You can bet on the total number of hits between the two teams. While you can bet this prop before the game, it might be wiser to see how things start out.

Suppose you know a starting pitcher tends to get hammered his 3rd time through the order and that the bullpen has been overtaxed lately and could use some rest. If the starter has been shutting them down and the hit total is still low, that means the price on the over is going to be high. And because you know the manager is likelier to try and stretch his starter, jumping on the over could be very profitable.

The same goes for betting on the over/under for hits in the next half or full inning. If the lower part of the batting order is coming up, you would figure the payout to be lower for the under since it’s more likely to happen. But if some of those batters perform well against that particular pitcher, that could be an opportunity.

Other options are live betting on a race to X number of runs. Whether it’s 1 or 6, once again, strategizing this bet begins with the starting pitchers. Some pitchers get off to rocky starts before settling in while others start strong and finish weak. This might leave you inclined to bet on a team that may have the overall weaker pitcher but is more effective early than his counterpart, thus giving you a good price for betting the underdog to win the race to, say, 2 runs.

Betting on the total number of runs in the next half or full inning is another interesting scenario. Suppose a starter has been getting knocked around the first few innings but started to show signs of settling down against the last couple batters. A line may be set that has it looking like he’s going to continue to get hit especially if he’s facing the toughest part of the lineup, but if he is about to get it together, you can capitalize by taking the under. The whole advantage to live betting as a whole is there are more ways to discover which player or side is currently over or underrated.

You can also live bet the handicap line, available specifically at Bet365.com. This entails betting on a team either -1 run (must win by at least 2), +1 run (must win by at least 1) or the handicap of +1 meaning that team must lose by exactly 1 run.

Altogether, baseball is going to be one of the tougher sports to successfully live bet because there is so much variance. The very best teams don’t even necessarily win 60% of the time because of how many hard hit balls can go for outs or be foul by 2 inches, as well as how many broken bat jam shots can fall in to knock in game winning runs.

Basketball

Types of Live Basketball Bets: Total points, moneyline, spread
Types of Live Basketball Prop Bets: Player scoring races, team scoring races, margin of victory, odd or even game totals, quarter winners, halftime winners, player scoring/assist/rebound totals, double result (picking the leader of each half), overtime (yes/no)

In basketball, like baseball, you can bet on team scoring races along with player scoring races. In strategizing these bets, you want to be aware of how players and teams tend to perform at which junctures of the game.

If you’re betting on a race with Kevin Durant and Lebron James, it’s good to know how each does per quarter. You’ll also want to be savvy about how they do against whatever defense is being used against them. Whether it’s a certain player or a zone style. In addition to that, you’ll want to know how much of the scoring that player is likely to do in any given game. If one of their star teammates is out, then that means a higher burden will likely be placed on them. However, there’s always other variables and this goes for team scoring races as well. Did they have a game before or a game tomorrow? Overall, how have they been performing lately? Did they have to fly across the country?

Since basketball is such a fast-paced game and has by far the most scoring, it’s important that you stay up with the action. Basketball is a game of momentous runs, and since you can bet on quarter and individual half scoring, you can strategize your picks based on which team is currently doing the damage. Maybe a team is getting 10 points for the game and will lose 3 of the 4 quarters, but if you jump on them during the 5 or 6 minutes when you can see they’re in command you can thread the needle. The lines frequently change making this form of live betting extremely high variance. But note the line comes off the board when play resumes and is updated during commercial breaks and when the whistle blows. This is designed to prevent you from betting a side after a basket has been scored but before the new line is posted.

Football

Types of Live Football Bets: Total points, moneyline, spread
Types of Live Football Prop Bets: Total on field goals by either or both kickers, interceptions, fumbles, sacks, rushing yardage, passing yardage, receiving yardage, first downs, touchdowns. Yes or no props-Will there be overtime? What will the next play be?

Other than baseball, football is the only sport that can be affected by the weather, but unlike baseball football is played in extreme conditions. As mentioned, prop bets can be made throughout the course of a game and if the weather is supposed to turn ugly in the 2nd half, you certainly may want to consider this when betting on a prop. But the weather overall is a total wildcard. It can turn a defensive game into a shootout as much as the other way around.

Other factors when betting the spread or moneyline in-game is being aware of who will receive the 2nd half kickoff as having that extra possession can be the difference. Another strategy (which can also be applied to basketball) is just being aware of how each has performed against the spread. The teams don’t care about the spread like bettors do, but as teams over and underachieve every season, you want to keep yourself up to date with who’s been surprising the public.

This applies to every sport but in football especially–you must be aware of injuries. Football, being the full contact sport that it is, can be greatly affected play to play, even practice to practice. A guy might be fine early in the week, but if he gets banged up in practice, by the end of the week he may not be himself. This makes it important that you follow each team closely as not every little injury is announced on SportsCenter. Also, sometimes guys will play through injuries when they shouldn’t. Live betting lines are always impacted by injured players who exit the game, but not by those who stay in. This is another area where the human can eye notice something a computer never could. The computer assumes if Tom Brady is playing, then he is going to be Tom Brady, but this is simply not always the case for everyone playing hurt.

The most common football live bets are on the score and the total, but in football, like baseball, the pace requires a break in play before betting is allowed. This allows the option of betting on the outcome of what the next play will be. Will they pass or run? Will they score? Will they get the first down? Other in-game prop totals are the number of field goals by a kicker. Maybe a game is 0-0 after 1 quarter, but if you can tell it’s going to be a defensive battle you still might like the over on the field goals by either 1 kicker or combined as certainly the price will be up with a quarter already in the books.

Hockey

Types of Live Hockey Bets: Available for all 1st and 2nd period intermissions are total goals, moneyline, handicap line
Types of Live Hockey Prop Bets: Total goals and assists by team or player, total power plays and power play goals, total penalties and penalty minutes, total hits, total shots by team or player, total blocked shots, total saves, total fights, period winners, overtime (yes/no), shootout (yes/no)

You can bet on the outcome of the moneyline or the total after the puck drops, but it doesn’t seem to be offered anywhere during whistles and commercial breaks like in basketball. Only during the 1st and 2nd intermissions. And with all the stats available as to how well everybody does once they’re up or down a goal, you may be better off waiting to see who scores the first goal before making a bet.

Surprisingly, there aren’t hockey props listed at every sportsbook. Goals and assists are the two primary hockey stats. Other hockey stats include hits, minutes played, saves by the goalie, total shots by a player or team, and dare I say fights? Don’t know if that’s a prop we’ll ever see, as fighting seems to be occurring less and less in the NHL. Overtime is another possible, though infrequently seen, live hockey prop bet. Overall, live hockey bets are not as widely offered as they perhaps should be.

Soccer

Types of Live Soccer Bets: Total goals, moneyline, spread
Types of Live Soccer Prop Bets: Parlaying a certain player will score with that team winning, will the game end in a draw? Will both teams score? Will a red card be issued? When you think a player will score (i.e. between the 70th minute and end of regulation), total corner kicks, misc. player props

Soccer makes for an interesting sport to wager in-game because there is by far the least scoring. The ball is difficult to move and the field is huge. The action is constant, substitutions are scarce, and players cannot re-enter. Altogether, the element of a comeback is minimized. So often once a goal is scored it feels like the game is over.

The one major factor for strategizing live soccer bet is that goals are likeliest to be scored in the final 15 minutes. Even though everyone is probably exhausted, the element of fatigue should and does weigh heavier on the defense. This opens the door to betting against the game ending in a draw. If a game is 0-0 after 35 minutes, then of course the likelihood of it ending that way is constantly on the rise. But knowing things are likeliest to go off in the final 1/6 of regulation puts you in a position to capitalize on that. Always do your research though, and see which teams specifically tend to break through even more during crunch time.

Tennis

Types of Live Tennis Bets: Match winner, set total
Types of Live Tennis Prop Bets: Exact game score, exact set score, point betting, race to 2-5 games, next game to deuce, games in current set, games in match, over/under on aces

In terms of feeling out momentum swings, tennis may be the best live betting opportunity of all because the fact it’s a simple 1 on 1 match means minimal variables are involved. And the fewer variables there are then the fewer something wonky to happen. All the other sports are so tough to beat because no matter how well things might be going, with so many competitors out there one random play can be caused by any number of things and throw a wrench into everything.

Not with tennis though. If you like what you see from one player or don’t from another, that can be enough to tell all of where a match is going. Of course, you still have to predict very accurately to overcome the juice, but knowing you always only need to depend on one player is huge.

You can never discount the element of a comeback as everyone you are watching is the best of the best. Meaning no matter how much better one player may seem than another, realistically the difference is always going to be very small. Therefore, no matter how confidently somebody is performing and you can see is feeling, you should only get so caught up in that because overconfidence is the kiss of death in professional sports. And if their opponent hasn’t given up, then it ain’t over till it’s over.

If you’re trying to feel out a player’s psyche, you may be more inclined to try and discern when a player is tight and lacking confidence. Just because your opponent thinks they’ve got it on lock doesn’t mean you’re out, but if you feel overmatched you might as well forfeit. Off the top of my head, keep an eye open for when opponent’s body language and energy suggest they are helpless and can’t defend themselves.

Live Betting in Casinos

Live betting is normal for online sportsbooks these days. At Las Vegas casinos, halftime betting is most available and common, which is very much a live bet even though it’s not considered that is offered everywhere. Some of the Station Casinos also feature live betting along with some of the major strip sportsbook casinos. But in most cases, your easiest and most frequently available option will be with casino apps.

Who Live Betting is For

Since the vig tends to be higher, you need to be that much sharper to find an edge when live betting. As mentioned earlier, perhaps the biggest possible advantage for live betting exists in the fact that the math and computers calculate odds before they begin to account for what the human eye can see in the moment.

Suppose you have a very acute eye for baseball. A star pitcher is out there but today, even though the score doesn’t yet reflect it you can clearly see in his body language that he is not himself. He’s laboring extra hard and it’s one of those days where he’s just not going to fall into an effortless groove. This happens all the time in sports whether it’s because of a subtle injury, or a guy is just simply having an off day, but as far as the math is concerned that pitcher is that pitcher, so he should perform to a certain level. But none of that matters now, because the computer isn’t watching the game and you are. So, a situation like this is a potential opportunity to bet the opposition at a great price because right now that pitcher isn’t the ace the computer assumes he is.

Your best hopes of winning at live sports betting are probably going to be your typical total, moneyline, or spread bets. If the Jets are +200 to win a football game and you think they got a shot but the +200 isn’t quite appealing enough, you may want to wait for the game to start and give them a chance to fall behind. If they do and now the line goes to +275, while it’s harder for them to win already trailing with less time, the fact is they’re only down 7-0 and those 7 points were never, in your mind, going to be enough to be beaten. As far as you’re concerned you got them at +275 instead of +200 and they are only down 7.

This strategy can backfire if they jump out to the lead causing the price to move against you, but that doesn’t matter because you were never interested in the +200 anyway. The other possibility is if the Jets get down, and you really hate what you’re seeing you may decide to just stay away entirely.

Plenty of NFL games go over after starting out slowly. If the total is 47.5 and only 3-0 after 1 quarter, the over is going to be way more appealing than the standard -110. If you liked both offense’s chances to get into a shootout, it may not be a bad idea to wait for the calm before the storm to pass and then pounce right before both teams loosen up and start bringing some aggression.

Use live betting as an additional form of entertainment when betting on sports, but be aware of the fact that it is a difficult way to beat the books. Every few cents of juice makes it that much harder to be a long term winning sports bettor, and this is never more true than it is in live betting.

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