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What is Live Betting (In-Play Betting) (August 2023)

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Live betting is one of the most exhilarating forms of sports betting. As you are watching a game, you can have your finger on the trigger, ready to fire off some tasty bets. It tests your ability to read the action in the game and try to predict what happens next. With some good insight and a bit of luck, you may land some generous odds that pay out in literally minutes.

What are Live Bets

Live bets, also called in-play bets, are betting markets that are available during the course of a sporting event. Before the event starts, bookmakers offer pregame markets, and these close as soon as the game begins. Once the live betting markets open, the odds will start to fluctuate to reflect what is happening on the field. If a team goes ahead, then the odds for them to win will shrink. Should that team go behind, their odds will swell, but now you will be betting on a losing team, and that carries a bigger risk.

How to Place a Live Bet

Making a live bet works in the same way as placing a pregame bet. You need to pick a selection, set a stake, and then confirm your bet. The only difference is that the odds are constantly changing so you cannot dally on your bet for too long. A few seconds will not change the odds much, but if you hesitate for 10 seconds or more, the book will need to adjust the odds in your bet to meet what is being offered at that moment in time. Also, you should be aware that at some pivotal points in a game, the live betting markets may be suspended. This is because there is a dangerous attack or penalty – and the next couple of seconds can change the odds drastically.

Apart from that, there is not much else you need to know. Virtually all the bets offered in the pregame markets are available in the live betting markets. Apart from bets that relate to the first few moments in a game, such as which team will win the coin toss in cricket, for example.

Special Live Bets

You can place moneylines, point spreads, totals bets and all sorts of props during a game. However, there are some bets that are only available in the live betting markets. These are bets on what will happen next in a game.

In soccer, there may be bets offered such as will there be another goal in the half, which team will score the next goal, which player will score next, and other similar bets. Tennis offers live bettors a plethora of betting options, as it is played in games and sets, and is played to a best of X sets rather than a fixed period of time. You can bet on which player will win the next game, will a player win the next two games in a row, correct score of the current set, and even place bets on how many aces there will be in the next game, will it go to a deuce or not, and more.

Let's call these instant live bets. These instant bets usually relate to events in the immediate future, giving you the chance to win in the next few minutes or so. You never know what bet may pop up, so keep your eyes peeled for great opportunities.

Live Betting Strategy

Now you know how to place a live bet and what to look for, it is time to delve into strategy. There is no golden strategy with which you can always win your bets, but you can always play smart. There are lots of different approaches punters have to live betting, and here are some of the top tips to help you on your way.

Watch the Game Make Your Prediction

The most obvious strategy is to watch a few minutes of the game before committing to a bet. You can get a good idea of how well the teams or players are by watching the first few minutes of action. Ask the questions: is the team focused, do they look tired, which team is hungrier for the win, and anything else that may affect a team's performance.

If you know how your team plays and can spot some early indicators as to what may happen on the field, then you can capitalise on your knowledge. Do not limit yourself to moneylines either, as you may find more success on totals, players bets, or other markets.

Look for Swings in Prices

A real daredevil's approach is to back whoever is losing to come back and win the game. This is a bit drastic and carries a large risk, but at the same time, you can turn a big profit if you win. The live odds will change constantly during a game, but the biggest changes are when a team scores. This can be a touchdown in NFL, winning a game in tennis, scoring a goal in soccer, or similar events in other sports.

For example, in a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and Minnesota Vikings, the starting price on the Eagles is 1.5. If they have an abysmal start and finish the first quarter 0-7 behind, their odds will increase. Let's say that the odds on the Eagles now lengthen to 3.1. If you place a $10 bet now, you stand to win $31 if the Eagles can reverse the result. This is $16 more than you would have if you bet the same $10 on the Eagles to win before the game started. However, there is a lot more nail-biting to get through, and you will need to hope the Eagles can reverse the result.

Cashing Out

As a live bettor, you can place bets and pull the plug on running bets. Most bookmakers offer cash out functions, so you can seal some winnings or cut your losses. Should your bet be in a winning position, you can expect the book to offer a good cash out which will put you well in the profit. If your bet is losing, the cash out will be under the amount you staked for the bet, but at least you can cut your losses.

Cashing out is really easy to do, but it can be a difficult decision to make. You may hesitate on whether to take the bookmaker's offer. In a winning position, you may want to ride out your bet and collect the full payout, but it can pose some risk, especially if there is still a chance that the opposing team can catch up and steal a win. Sometimes, it is better to quit while you are ahead. On the losing end, some punters may disregard the consolation cash outs because they are not worth a lot. However, if you bet frequently then those “pittance prizes” can add up. Wherever you can, always try to cut your losses, however small they may be.

Advanced Cash Out

On a side note, some bookmakers offer partial cash outs, or auto-cash outs. These are basically insurances that you can take on your bets. A partial cash out locks in a portion of the winnings, at a reduced price. If your bet goes on to win, you will not pocket as you would have done otherwise, but at least you played safe. If your bet did not win, then you still have some winnings from the partial cash out.

Auto-cash outs are basically when the bookmaker automatically pays you after the offer reaches a certain limit. For example, your bet is winning and the cash out offer is increasing with each passing second. You set a limit, and as soon as the cash out reaches it, the bookmaker will give you your winnings. Basically, you do not mind trimming off some of your potential rewards in exchange for sealing in the profit.

Auto-cash outs also work for losing bets. Say your team falls behind and they do not look as if they will pick up anytime soon. Instead of holding on and then finally submitting to cutting your losses, you set a limit. If the cash out offer falls below a certain amount, then the bookmaker pays you out. If your team goes on to win the game afterwards, then you cannot claim your win as you have already forfeited your bet. However, in the more likely case that they go on to lose, you will not emerge empty-handed.

Hedging Your Bet

With hedging, the idea is that if you have a bet that is winning, you should make a live bet against it so that you have covered all possible outcomes. If your original bet wins, you win. Should your original bet lose, you still win.

For example, you bet on the Maple Leaves to beat the Detroit Red Wings at odds of 2.8 on a $10 stake. After the first two periods, the Maple Leaves are winning the game 2-1 and it looks like you will win your bet, but the Red Wings can still make a comeback. So, you check the odds on the Red Wings to win the game, and they are 3.5. Now, from your $18 profit, you stake $5 on the Red Wings. If the Maple Leaves win, you will win $28, but you already staked $10 on the Maple Leaves and $5 on the Red Wings. Your profit is $13. If the Maple Leaves lose, you will get $17.50, which is a profit of $2.50 (after subtracting $10 and $5).

Hedging can be done in any number of ways. If you bet $8 instead of $5, then you would have a $10 profit on the Maple Leaves and $10 on the Red Wings. You can hedge your live bets to either cut your losses, make a small profit on the hedged bet, or make an equal profit on the hedged bet as on the original bet. The only thing you should consider is that it only works if you are in a winning position. The alternative is not feasible. If your bet on the Maple Leaves was losing, then you would need to stake a fortune on the Red Wings to make your money back.

Special Tip: Check for Bookmaker Offers

There are plenty of different ways in which bookmakers can make their live bets more attractive. This can be a broad coverage of props bets, in which you can get some killer deals in the middle of play. If your favourite player is having a great game, wouldn't you want to have more bets on their performance for the rest of the game?

Then, there may be live bets that have special cashout insurances such as early payouts. These are offered when a team goes ahead in a game by a certain margin. Essentially, for all purposes it looks like your team will win and so the bookmaker pays you out. If they lose the game from that winning position, you do not need to worry as you have already been paid. Ealy payouts are not exclusive to live betting, as cashout offers relate to pregame markets as well. However, with they are definitely helpful when you are betting live, so look out for them.

Bet Responsibly

All betting is gambling, but for live betting, you should be especially careful. It can be far more engaging and more hands-on than pregame betting, so it is easier to become addicted to. You should always keep a budget when betting. Try to limit the time you spend at your bookmaker and do not bet for the sake of betting. Instead, plan your live bets and only pick games that you would bet on otherwise. It is always better to quit whilst you are ahead or take a break after losing. Do not chase your losses in any case, and do not assume there are any safe bets – as anything can happen in sports.


Live betting opens many doors for bettors, and it can be one of the most exhilarating experiences. You do not need to be at a bookmaker or sitting at home in front of a computer either. You can watch the game at a bar, go to a friend's house, or even be inside the stadium and make your bets. There are endless opportunities for punters in live betting markets. But whatever you do, always play responsibly and remember to have fun with your bets.

Lloyd is passionate about online gambling, he lives and breathes blackjack and other table games, and he enjoys sports betting.

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