The arrival of the internet changed the way in which we bet and continues to do so to this day. Thanks to faster connections and improved technology, live in-play betting has become the latest online phenomenon and is now the fastest-growing area of sports gambling. Bettors can now bet during play wherever they are by using a mobile phone or tablet.

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Gone are the days when you could only bet on the final outcomes of sports events - now you can bet on real-time events within a game such as next scorer in an NBA game or what the next play will be in a NFL match.
You can use your judgement of game play to predict who will win the next corner in a soccer match or whether a player will make base in an MLB game.

More and more sportsbooks are now offering live betting options including those mentioned on our recommended ‘Online Sportsbooks’ page. All the major events are covered and new markets are opening up all the time in more and more events.

So whether you want to place a live bet on the Super Bowl, World Cup, World Series, NBA finals or Stanley Cup, you should have no problems finding a suitable market.


You can even bet in-play while watching the game live in the stands. Being close to the action, allows you to get a real feel for the game and react to shifts in momentum b y placing strategic live bets. Now that live betting is here, sports bettors have never had it so good!

How does live betting work?

live sport betting

Traditionally, sport betting markets have always closed after the start of an event, leaving the gambler to wait patiently for their bet to play out. Live betting markets are different and allow the bettor to place bets during the game. Because the action is live, the odds are constantly changing meaning that time is of the essence when making live in-play bets. You need to think quickly and react to the current state of play before the markets shifts again. This can add a level of excitement to a sporting match that was unavailable with traditional sports bets.


You can still bet on traditional outcomes such as who you think will win the match, but you can also bet on propositions that may occur within play. Once you place your wager the betting platform will attempt to match your bet at the price quoted, if you are too slow and the market has moved your bet will not be placed. Most live betting platforms have a slight delay to allow the software a few vital seconds to update and provide an accurate picture of the market. It’s fast and it’s exciting but it still requires a strategic approach.

Live betting strategy

In-play betting allows you to react to the game in a more dynamic way by getting a feel for the action before you place your bet. It also gives you a much greater choice by adding a host of in-game betting propositions. As a result, a completely different approach is required when betting in-play.


When you place a traditional bet, you have time to do research, study statistics and look for high probability bets that offer great value. Live betting does not offer you the luxury of time and you must make quick decisions before the bet expires or the market moves.


However, you can still apply some of your betting research to live betting situations. For example, your statistical research might show you which baseball batter is most likely to reach first base during a plate appearance or how many runs a batting team is likely to have after a half-inning. Having to react quickly does not mean that your bet has to be placed without some amount of reason and thought.


As you become more experienced, you will soon learn how to spot a good live betting opportunity. But as with all forms of betting, the trick is to remain disciplined and not get carried away. Many of the principles mentioned in our ‘Sports Betting Strategy Guide’ also apply to live betting.

A few basic gambling principles:

  • Manage your bankroll sensibly and don’t get carried away. Start with small wagers that you can easily afford and don’t increase your stakes until you start winning on a regular basis. Even if you have plenty of experience in traditional gambling markets, you should still behave like a beginner until you get to grips with the live markets.

  • Using your head not your heart is easier said than done. Sports matches are full of emotion and excitement and suppressing those feeling can be difficult when it’s your team in the mix. However, when you are placing a bet, you need to leave all your gut feelings and personal allegiances aside and stick to the cold hard facts. Remember, you are looking for the perfect balance of probability and value, to maximise profits and minimise risk.

  • Always do your homework before a game. The more you know about the players and the coaches, the easier it will be to make informed judgements about in-play propositions.

  • Keeping a record of your live bets will make it easier to analyse what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong. Treat you gambling activities like a business and carry out regular audits on your accounts to identify where you can improve. A betting log can also help you to spot trends with certain players and teams that can provide future live betting opportunities.

  • All smart gamblers use more than one sportsbook. By signing up to selection of bookmakers, you can be sure of always finding the best odds. Some bookies consistently offer the best odds in certain markets and some offer more markets than others. Having a portfolio of accounts is yet another way that you can maximise your returns and increase your market options.


For more information, head over to our ‘Sports Betting Strategy’ page - by following a few simple tips, you will soon learn how to think like a gambling professional.

The importance of odds in live betting

As with all betting, the trick is to find bets that offer a good balance of probability and value. When you are betting live in-play, this rule still applies but it can be much harder to spot these opportunities on the fly. That is why it is important to be knowledgeable about the market you are entering and to understand how to read odds quickly.

If you are unsure about the different types of odds, please take a look at our ‘Understanding Sports Betting Odds’ guide. Once you are familiar with the odds, it is important to change the settings on your sportsbook account to display the odds that suit you best. Every second counts with live betting, so you need to be able to read the odds fluently and accurately to avoid making costly errors.


Common types of betting odds:

Every second counts with live betting, so you need to be able to read the odds fluently and accurately


  • Moneyline

  • Fractional

  • Decimal


Which sportbooks are best for live gambling?

Once you have learnt some basic strategies, it is time to start looking for a suitable portal for your online betting. We have carried out reviews on some of the top betting sites and have compiled a list of recommended ‘online sportbooks’. The sites that we recommend have been tested for a variety of criteria including their range and quality of live betting options.

Recommended websites with live betting facilities:




NFL live betting

If you are going to begin live betting, the NFL is a great place to start. Nearly all of the top online betting portals now offer a range of in-play betting options for NFL matches. The amount of statistics available and the ability to be able to ‘call the play’ are just two reasons why the NFL is a great live betting arena.


If you have a good knowledge of defensive and offensive ratings, individual player stats and different coaching styles, you will be in a good position to start identifying those high value in-play calls. But remember, it’s better to start small and manage your bankroll as you progress along the learning curve. Only up the stakes when you are very comfortable about your live betting skills.


Live or ‘in-running’ NFL betting allows you to predict the outcome of game elements such as individual plays and drives. You can also bet on traditional markets such as totals and point spreads but the odds will change as the game progresses.


Another reason that the NFL is the perfect sport for live betting is the pace of the game. There are enough pauses in play to allow you some time to think before you commit to a bet and the intermissions also give you a chance to assess your strategy.

Other live betting strategies

gamblers also use live betting as a way of hedging their bets or limiting the damage from a wageMany gamblers also use live betting as a way of hedging their bets or limiting the damage from a wager that has not gone to plan. Once it becomes clear that a bet has a high chance of losing, a smart gambler can place a bet on the opposite outcome to reduce the overall loss, break even or sometimes guarantee a profit. Until you become proficient with this technique, it can be risky, but nearly all gamblers that make a profit will use hedge betting techniques when things are not going to plan.


This kind of technique can also be used in-play as the momentum swings from one team to another. If you are clever about when you place your bets in a tight game, you can even put yourself in a position where a small profit is guaranteed. 


Live betting is great because it deals with events that are happening right now. There is no need to wait several hours to know the outcome of a bet and you can bet as many times as you want during a single game. You can bet fast, react to situations and have your winnings paid into your account immediately.

The speed of betting live can also be a drawback as you have so little time to make a decision. That is why it is vitally important to practice with very small stakes before you dive into this marketplace. It is a good idea to develop your skills properly in slower-paced game such as the NFL before betting on fast-moving games such as NBA or NHL. Above all, you need to remain disciplined and not get carried away with the constant stream of bets available on every phase of play.

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