Live Sports Betting Strategy

Written by: Joseph Falchetti, Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert
Last updated:
7 minute read

Live Sports Betting StrategyLive sports betting is a different animal than traditional pre-match wagering. While there is no change in the way wagers are graded, live betting markets adjust rapidly and bettors need to have special considerations when betting live on sports compared to traditional pre-match wagering. In-play betting markets have expanded rapidly in recent years and if you want to jump into the next generation of betting and actually profit, then it’s best to adopt a strategy for live betting markets.

Depending on which sport you’re wagering on – your betting strategy may be different. However, there are some basics when it comes to in-play betting that you need to get down before focusing on sport-specific strategies. The most important aspect of in-running betting is choosing a reputable betting site that offers in-play betting. Every betting site offers live betting these days, on just about every event available for pre-game betting, but choosing a trustworthy site that also has a lot of markets is just as important as live betting strategy.

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Live In-Game Betting – High Vigorish

The biggest issues with live sports betting markets is that the vigorish is often higher than pre-game markets. Proposition wagers suffer from this same problem, but like betting props, live betting can be extremely profitable. However, certain markets should be avoided altogether and finding profitable bets can be difficult unless you know what you’re doing. One of the worst mistakes bettors can make when in-play wagering is disregarding the high vigorish or not shopping odds. To learn more about live betting visit our Sports Live Betting Guide.

Live Sports Betting Arbitrage

Live betting markets create excellent opportunities for sports betting arbitrage. In fact, many elite level sports bettors make their living from placing arbitrage wagers, and a large percentage of their profits come from in-play betting markets. Much of the arbitrage opportunities available regarding live betting come from pre-match bets that can be arbed after a change in the live betting odds. There is also plenty of plenty of possibilities for arbitrage when it comes to in-play markets alone.

However, as we will touch on later in this article, the market for in-game betting is considerably better and safer from those betting internationally, rather than players based in the United States. This is mostly due to the U.S. government’s stance on online sports betting, which criminalizes offshore operators who offer sports betting services to U.S. residents.

Bet Hedging In Sports Live Betting

Similar to arbitrage, is the opportunity to hedge wagers using live betting markets. Hedging pre-match wagers are the way that most bettors will utilize in-game betting markets, but there may be just as many chances to hedge previous in-play bets once the odds change, often in the same event.

Bet Hedging In Live Sports BettingHowever, bettors should use extreme caution when hedging using in-running wagering markets. In many cases, they are giving up EV by deciding to hedge. This is especially so when it comes to live betting due to the high juice that some sportsbooks utilized. Often, this amounts to a -EV result with the when you combine the two wagers.

Some gamblers might see hedging with in-running markets as an opportunity to reduce the variance that comes with sports betting. It’s true that this will reduce variance, but it comes at a cost. Hedging with a -EV wager or even a bet that is neutral will reduce variation but will also reduce your EV. Bettors need to be selective and pick their sports when they hedge using live betting markets. Hedging is a concept that few bettors fully understand. In most cases, you should not hedge your bet, unless the market you are using for your hedge bet is +EV on its own.

Another scenario is when you’ve bet too much on a market by accident or are looking to reduce your exposure from a bet that you made that you realized was a -EV wager. Of course, live betting can also be used to reduce your losses to paying the vig when you accidentally place a bet on the wrong side of a market.

Live Betting Strategies – How To Win At In-Play Live Betting

It’s vital for bettors to realize that live betting markets are algorithm based, and the odds are generated from derivative markets. There isn’t an oddsmaker behind the scenes updating the odds after each play. Almost all of this stuff is completely automated.

Sports Betting –  Where To Bet

Live Betting Online At Betting SitesFirst and foremost is learning the sports that you’re betting on, inside and out. Most of sports betting is rooted in mathematics, and there are many successful sports bettors out there who have little knowledge of their sports they are betting but have an understanding of how betting markets work and have the skills to spot +EV wagers. Those principles still apply when it comes to live sports betting markets, but a deeper knowledge of the sport you’re betting is going to be much more beneficial.

Understanding the sport you’re betting from a percentages standpoint, and an in-depth understanding of the coaches, players, and tactics will increase your bottom-line. Remember, the live betting algorithms used by the sportsbooks are going to have a negative expectation for just about everyone. Placing indiscriminate wagers without knowledge of the markets and events is going to result in losses. However, they don’t play the games on paper. Even though the bookies (in most cases) have correctly priced the different scenarios that occur in a particular event, there are human elements.

Knowledge of Teams and Players

That’s where the knowledge of teams and players comes into place. If you have extensive knowledge, there are going to be spots to exploit. There is also the chance that a particular sportsbook has mispriced specific scenarios and is offering inefficient odds for all contests of an individual sport. This situation isn’t super rare but takes someone who is quite experienced to exploit these edges. As a new bettor, trying to beat live betting markets usually won’t end up well.

Online Sportsbooks – Good Players Banishment

The biggest indicator of the sharpness of live betting markets is how often sportsbooks ban or limit players for their success. This is a frequent occurrence. Many sportsbooks, particularly recreational ones, have little patience for players who are beating them at in-play betting markets.

Live Betting – Shop For Better Price

One of the best ways to get a better price is by taking a favorite that you liked pre-match but felt the odds were too steep or you couldn’t find value in the market. This scenario can backfire if they get out to an early lead, but this is often not the case. Consider a baseball game where a pitcher and his team are huge pre-match favorites. In the first inning, the ace starter gives up one run. This causes the odds to adjust a bit for the underdog.

Sure, the pitcher gave up a run in the first inning, and his team is now losing, but if you had faith in the team or starter before the game started – there’s no reason to abandon it now. The good news is that you’re getting a much better price than you would pre-match.

Utilize Game Flow – Betting Strategy

We can also utilize this in football when a team gets falls behind early or gets off to a fast start. If you expect the team with a lead to lose or blow a lead, there may be value taking the other side. Likewise, if a team you liked quite a bit pre-match goes down early, you’re getting a much better price if you expect them to come back and cover. This is one of the better ways to get a bet down on a team or matchup that you didn’t want pay full price for on the pre-game odds. This strategy can also be utilized for totals.

Of course, there are many propositions in addition to live sides, totals, and moneylines. These need to be attacked on a sport by sport basis. If you’re an expert on the markets you’re betting, you can find value with props, which can number into the dozens at many sportsbooks.

Find The Best Live Betting Site

Live betting can be a roller coaster when it comes to your bankroll and emotions. You’re going to have to make your decisions in a matter of seconds in many cases. It’s important to stick to your strategy and exploit what you can, without betting on impulse. With that said, it’s still important to find the best sites for live betting. Analyzing the market and game situation needs to be done extremely quickly. You won’t have several hours or longer to make a decision as is the case with pre-match wagering. If you enjoy kicking back and having a few beers while you watch the game you bet on – live betting may not be for you.

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About the Author

Joseph Falchetti

Joseph Falchetti

Editor-in-Chief, Pro Sports Bettor and Casino Expert

Joe is the author of the majority of sports betting pages on SBS and he serves as a gambling consultant to our content team. He's been mentioned on as a gaming analyst, and his articles have been linked by larger publications, such as the New York Times.

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