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Live Betting

An Introduction to Live Betting: How it Works and Tips to Winning

By Loot, Professional Sports Bettor,

Live betting is a relatively new way to bet on sports. For the longest time, we bet on games before they started and hoped for the best. Over time, they added some bets within a game, like halftime and quarter betting. Live betting takes it to a whole different level, as you can bet throughout the game. In a basketball game, for example, the point-spread could change 100 times.

Just for the record, you will see this being called several different things. When you’re wagering during a game, it can be called live betting, in-running, in-progress, or in-game betting and wagering, and maybe even something else, as books attempt to be unique. In any event, it’s all the same.

With online wagering, you would simply log onto the site to place live wagers during a game. Just remember that you better act quickly, as the time you have to place these bets can be painfully quick. In a brick-and-mortar sportsbook, you would have to pre-pay for a live betting account. When placing your bets, you will either do so on your mobile phone or on touch-screens provided by the book.

Here’s how it works. A game begins with a certain set of odds. As the game is played, conditions generally change. The favorite gets out to a big lead or the underdog is maybe doing well. Whatever it is, the odds are then altered from their original point to accommodate for the changing variables of the game. The way the new odds are arrived at so quickly and so many times during the same game is that the book uses an algorithm based on thousands of results.


The computer or program being used can spit out probabilities fast, which it needs to do in order to be able to do in order to keep up with the fast-paced nature of live betting. Again, it bases the odds on thousands of results using a multitude of different criteria. If a 3-point favorite is down by 7 with 9:00 left in the third quarter, that’s happened so many times in the past that the computer can determine the probabilities of the favorite coming back to win. It has such a thick database of previous results, but exactly what standards are used is kept secret.

A lot of bettors find there to be some advantages in live betting from a value standpoint. The reasoning is that a computer can only account for so much. There are some other variables at play that can’t be accommodated for in a computer program--things that bettors with great feel can perhaps sense better than a computer. Then again, there just as many bettors who may think they’re getting great value when they’re indeed not.

There is no component for reflection with this type of betting. A lot of us really value the dynamic of letting potential wagers percolate before making them. We do our research, think it over, and then maybe throw a bet out there. With live betting, you have to act quickly and fire if you see an advantageous spot. It forces bettors to rely largely on feel. Some of us are better at that than others. There is something to be said for being able to do our due research on a bet and being able to reflect, calculate, ponder, and then execute. With live betting, you can’t do that.

It really changes sports betting in terms of how it’s played. When betting normally on games and letting them play out, there is not a feeling of frenzy. With live betting, it takes on more of a table game vibe, where every second is pilled with action. There is nothing wrong with that, other than the fact that some people get a little carried away. It’s easy to get swept away in a current and end up way further from the shore than you planned on going.

Frankly, it’s not for everyone. If you’re a more calculating bettor, maybe it’s better to continue with the type of betting that allows you to take your time. Also, if you’re a bettor who has a problem with good old regular sports betting where you tend to get carried away, that’s not likely to get any better with live betting. At the same time, there are some opportunities within this form of wagering and it’s worth a try for anyone who likes wagering on sports.

Live Betting Tip: One of my favorite things to do when betting on games live is to jump on a good team that gets down early. This almost always results in taking a big odds or spread underdog positions. MOST teams usually go on a run and make a comeback. Once they get close to doing so, or better yet, once the odds have now gone to the "plus" on the other team, I purchase another position on the other side, essentially gauranteeing myself a profit as I'm holding both sides of the game, both at + odds or a giant middle!

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