Halftime Betting Explained
By Loot, Sports Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
As the name implies, halftime betting is wagering that takes place during halftime, with the action centering on the second-half of play. It’s not a bad idea sometimes to watch how things go before dipping your foot into the pool. For the most part, sports-bettors bet on entire games. One of the drawbacks of that is that you don’t really know how things are going to go before they happen. Halftime betting allows you to watch a full half of play before taking a stand.
Obviously, the only sports we can do this with are sports that in fact have a halftime period, so we’re talking about football and basketball for the most part. The period for making these wagers is only during the halftime period. That might be a problem for many bettors, who are conditioned to pouring over their bets exhaustively to form the best calculations they can. Some us need bets to percolate in our minds. We like to be deliberate and methodical, letting the wagers ruminate mentally before we pull the trigger.
With halftime betting, we have to be prepared to fire quickly. The time constraints prevent us from pondering it for too long. That’s not for everybody. Some of us are also conditioned to look at games as a whole. During our lifetime of watching sporting events, we have been taught to look at a game as one complete entity. Suddenly looking at games through the framework of halves might seem foreign to some.
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At the same time, there is a built-in advantage in being able to get an idea of how things are going before getting involved. When we bet on a whole game, we are gambling into the dark a lot of times. Sure, we do our handicapping and try our best to forecast how things will transpire. Anyone who has been betting for a while, however, will tell you that sometimes things often don’t go according to plan. There will be times where you wish you had been able to see how things were going before jumping aboard with a wager.
Another possible bettor edge is the fact that not all bookies have the resources to follow every game closely enough to form a killer line for the second half. In college football, for example, there are dozens upon dozens of games taking place at the same time. The first half score, in conjunction with the original spread is what is used primarily to form second-half lines. As we all know, not all is what meets the eye when it comes to first-half scores.
A team may be losing 21-7 at halftime, but maybe there’s a little twist to that story. The team that is behind has just been snake-bitten by several fluky plays that led to them being behind at the half when they actually outplayed the other team. A couple weird special teams quirks, a deflection or two, or a normally-solid cornerback fell down. It could be anything. Maybe there’s a few phantom holding calls that cause touchdowns to be called back. Needless to say, some halftime scores can be misleading. If you’re watching the game and can sense that the losing team will explode if they stop catching horrible breaks, that could be a good-value spot for you.
Be careful, however, as the first half is not always an accurate blueprint of what will occur in the second half. We’ve all heard the expression “a tale of two halves” and a lot of games follow that pattern. Good coaches make adjustments. Players wake up from a first-half fog. Teams that are ahead maybe get complacent. A lot of things consistently pop up that make the first half an inaccurate indicator of how the second half will go.
Halftime betting is also used by some as a way to hedge or maximize previous wagers they have laid. Let’s say you bet on the Oakland Raiders vs. the San Diego Chargers. The Chargers were favored by 6 and the over-under was 42. You bet on the Chargers and they are up at the half 20-0. The second half opens at Oakland -1 with a total of 21. Maybe you figure the Chargers are going to try to eat up clock, so you take the under. Or maybe you figure the Raiders will be gunning, so you take the over. Unless they outscore the Chargers by more than 14, you can still win both bets. There are any number of reasons that make halftime betting worth a look.
For those not wanting to wait until half-time to get down on the game, most sportsbooks now offer live betting which allows you to pop in any time to place a bet on a game! Before you jump into this fast paced/exciting style of sports wagering, we recommend that you read Loot's article pointing out the pros and cons of live betting.