What Is Live Betting?

Legal sports betting is showing up in more states across the US. Iowa is one of the places that legalized early on in May 2019.

Not only does the Hawkeye State allow betting on sports, but you can bet wherever and whenever thanks to sports betting apps. This privilege has created a boon for both the state and for bettors.

But above all else, the biggest benefit of online wagering is live betting, which has become increasingly popular with the advent and growth of legal online sports betting.

How does live betting on sports work?

The conventional way is to place a bet prior to the beginning of the game. But that isn’t the case with live betting, also known as in game betting.

So, what is live sports betting? Well, it’s exactly as it sounds. Live betting is the act of wagering on a game once it’s live.

In the time before online wagering, the only way to place this type of bet was to be present at a brick-and-mortar sportsbook and wait at the window at halftime to place a live bet. Thanks to the advent and progression of mobile wagering, live betting is available at your fingertips throughout a game.

Live betting odds explained

Regardless of which sportsbook you use, keeping your app open and selecting an ongoing game will make it simple to see how live betting works.

As a game progresses, sportsbooks will modify the current odds, depending on the game’s action. In many sports, the lines will change every few seconds. This shift is an opportunity to place numerous wagers on the same game with varying odds throughout the contest.

All live lines change when scoring takes place, but each sport has its own pace. How often live betting lines change, and by how much, will reflect that. For example, live betting NBA games (and NCAA contests) means seeing an odds change every few seconds, as it’s a fast-moving sport with action up and down the floor. The same will likely be true when you check NFL live betting odds, which update with each possession.

For this reason, you need to be ready to fill out a bet slip and hit the submit button quickly before the lines change. A slower-paced game, such as baseball, or a lower-scoring game, like hockey, may make it less of a rush, but these lines change relatively quickly, as well.

For the most part, live bettors are looking at moneylines, point spreads and totals, as these remain the most common ways to wager both before and during games. But there are many more choices than that nowadays.

The convenience of live betting has made it an increasingly popular feature, and many online sportsbooks have responded by opening additional in-game markets.

If you’re betting on football, you can wager on the next drive for each team. In baseball betting, you can wager inning-by-inning. With basketball betting, you can go a half or a quarter at a time. And that’s only the beginning, as there also are player prop lines that change as the game progresses.

Live betting example for top Iowa team

The easiest way to fully understand how live betting works is by looking at odds before a game begins and then see how the lines change during the game. Let’s use the Hawkeyes’ men’s basketball matchup with Northwestern as a live sports betting example:

Live betting on Hawkeyes

Prior to the start of this matchup, Iowa is an 11-point favorite with a moneyline at -715 and a total of 159 points. In this example, it means a point spread wager on Iowa requires the Hawkeyes to win by 12 points while risking $110 to win $100.

A bet on over 159 means risking $108 to win $100 and needing 160 points or more to secure a win. The “juice” is shaded toward the under in this scenario, with a $112 bet required for every $100 of profit and 158 points or fewer for a win.

After the game tips off, oddsmakers frequently update these lines in real-time with each possession and scoring change. And once the game reaches halftime, we can see that the lines look slightly different.

In play betting on Iowa

After the first 20 minutes of play, the score is 45-36 with the Hawkeyes in front. Iowa’s nine-point lead has caused the full-game spread to expand to 13 points on the live line. And with Iowa firmly in the lead, the moneyline has gone from -715 pregame to -5,000 at halftime. At this point, a wager will require you to risk $115 for every $100 in profit and for Iowa to win by 14 points.

On the other side, we can see Northwestern’s odds skyrocket from +480 pregame to +1,200 if it can make a second-half comeback. A $100 wager would have netted $480 in profit before but could net $1,200 in profit if wagered at the start of the second half.

There is also some movement in the total. With 81 points scored in the first half, the original total of 159 points has ballooned to 166 as oddsmakers adjust for the high-scoring pace in the opening half.

You can wager on these modified lines at any time, although odds begin to disappear as the game gets closer to ending.

Live in play betting tips for major sports

Here are some handy live betting tips for the most popular sports leagues in the US.

NBA live betting tips

Live betting on the NBA is not any different for college, but note that in-game wagering on basketball can be different from other sports.

Basketball is a game of runs where both teams tend to have their moments throughout the contest. Momentum can change quickly from one side to the other, and it’s not uncommon for teams to face deficits early on and surge into the lead by the time the game reaches its later stages.

Because these types of comebacks are so common, these lines can have a lot of value, especially in the game’s early stages. The nature of basketball makes betting live more popular than it is with some other sports.

NFL live betting tips

Football is wildly popular across the US, and Iowa is no different. It starts with the local college favorites, such as Iowa and Iowa State. Furthermore, the NFL is the most popular sport to watch and wager on in this country.

It should come as no surprise that NFL live betting is also incredibly common and features a range of markets. Because the game moves quickly, so do the NFL live betting lines. You must be ready to act during a fast-moving game.

It is especially true when comparing live betting on football to other sports. There are many key numbers (for both spreads and totals) that you want to be on the correct side of, and taking advantage of a live line before it changes or disappears can be the difference between a win and a loss.

Scoring plays aren’t the only thing that will be responsible for changing lines. The clock, weather, changes in possession and field position are all things that can be responsible for the way live lines move throughout a game.

NCAA football live betting works the same way, but there are some differences to know. For example, a college game is also 60 minutes, but there are some differences in the rules, such as the clock stopping after first downs. This fact can be especially important if live betting on totals.

MLB live betting tips

Baseball moves at a slower pace than some other games, making it an ideal sport to place live wagers. Lines still update every couple of minutes, but it’s not quite as quickly as basketball and football.

Baseball has so many games in a season, so it’s a bit more unpredictable day-to-day than some other sports. Baseball odds tend to favor the team with the stronger starting pitcher. Still, you aren’t going to make money betting only favorites in baseball, and pregame wagers on MLB games can be an iffy proposition altogether.

It’s also not a timed game, and each team is guaranteed at least 24 outs at-bat.

Don’t hesitate to target teams trailing early in the game, especially ones with a potent offense and/or a better pitching staff than their opponents. Things can turn around if there are plenty of innings left to play, and a strategically placed live bet on a team that is down early can come with huge odds that could turn into a lofty payout.

NHL live betting tips

Hockey is another sport where live betting on underdogs or teams that are trailing early can be extremely profitable.

This sport is much like baseball because there isn’t all that much action on the scoreboard sometimes. Teams that are trailing will often have pretty lucrative odds and present an opportunity for a big payday with a come-from-behind win.

This is especially true for teams that are underdogs on the pregame lines and teams that are playing on the road, where winning is generally even tougher.

The spreads and totals bets for NHL games remain for quite some time throughout the game before adjusting, but because of the fast pace and the clock constantly ticking, the prices on those lines can adjust pretty rapidly. You should execute decisions on live bets quickly to get the most valuable line before the potential payout changes.

Best live sports betting strategies

There are several reasons that bettors turn to in-game wagering instead of making all their picks before a game starts.

For some, especially casual bettors who are looking for a source of entertainment, it’s tough to catch every single game before it begins. For others, in-game betting is a purposeful strategy with the goal of earning extra profits or gaining extra value on the betting line.

Either way, gambling on live lines isn’t the same as making selections before the start of a game, so you may need some guidance. Consider the following live betting strategies and tips:

  • Know the Pregame Lines: Even if you aren’t interested in betting on the pregame line, it’s important to know where those odds began. This will help put the live lines you see during the game into better context.
  • Look for Value Early: We’ve mentioned this above, but plenty of live betting lines offer value early in the game. Whether it’s a moneyline or a spread, teams who are struggling early can have inflated odds that are suddenly more palatable. It does depend on the sport. With football and, most especially, basketball, consider backing the team who is slow out of the gate.
  • Hedge Your Original Bet: Hedging bets is a strategy that involves betting the opposite side of your original wager once the chances of winning have increased. This is a way to either minimize or eliminate losses or ensure some profit no matter the result. It can work like a charm when you have a futures bet come down to the wire or a parlay with only one leg left.
  • Find a Middle: Depending on how the game goes, you may have a chance to look for what is referred to as a “middle.” Middling is a low-risk strategy that has the potential to lead to wins by exploiting the shifts in the betting line while the game is going on. Perhaps you took the over and there are a lot of points being scored. However, you think it will eventually slow down. You can take the under on a live wager, hoping to cash the over with your original bet and the under with your most recent bet.
  • Set Spending Limits: Here, we offer more of a tip than a strategy, but it is one to consider before you start live betting. There can be many games going on at once or different points of the same game you want to wager. It can be easy to lose track of everything and place too many wagers or spend too much.
  • Be Ready to Act Fast: The one thing to keep in mind with in-play betting is that the odds can change quickly, depending on the sport. Be ready to put a live line in your bet slip and hit the submit button before it changes again. Keeping track of the bets you’ve already placed is another smart move.
  • Watch the Games You’re Live Betting: This tip is an underrated one to keep in mind. It’s much harder to place live bets on an event you aren’t watching because you have no feel for the game’s flow or how the line reached its current point. Betting blindly on live odds can lead to making irresponsible bets.