What's In-Play Betting

In technical terms, an in-play bet is one that is available once an event has started. For example, when a football match kicks off, you’ll be able to visit a bookie and search through a list of live betting markets for that football match.

In theory, live bets can relate to any outcome. However, it’s typically the case that bets such as “XX will win” or “XX will do Y” are reserved for pre-event betting. True in-play bets are usually focused on timed outcomes and fluctuating score lines such as “XX will score next” or “XX will be leading at half-time”.

Unlike outrights and pre-event betting, live odds are a living, breathing entity that can change in an instant.

This unpredictability not only makes the betting process a lot more entertaining, it actually mimics the dynamics of a sporting contest. Regardless of whether its football betting, snooker bettingtennis betting, horse race betting, dog race betting, formula 1 betting or cricket betting, the uncertainty of what’s going to happen next is what keeps you intrigued. The same is true for live betting and that’s why it’s now one of the most popular ways to ante-up online.

How We Rate Live Betting Sites

Live betting sites can’t simply offer a selection of in-play bets and hope to be ranked among the top contenders in 2018. We rate and rank our in-play gambling sites on the following criteria.

  1. Live Betting Markets: No of sports and markets offered from score line bets to minute-by-minute outrights.
  2. Live Streams. No and quality of live streaming events. .
  3. Quick Bets: Two-touch betting system. Once you’ve found the line you want, all you should have to do is touch to submit and touch again to confirm.
  4. Cash-Out: In-play bets should have a cash-out option if they involve multiple outcomes.

See the range of in-play betting features by our recommended betting sites in the table below

Bookie Quick Bet Bet Edit Live Streaming No of Sports
888sport Review888 Sport
10Bet Review10 Bet
Betbright Sport ReviewBetbright
Betfair SportsBetfair
Betstars ReviewBetstars
Betway Sports ReviewBetway
Boylesports ReviewBoylesports
Bwin Sports ReviewBwin
Coral Sports ReviewCoral
Genting Sport ReviewGenting
Grosvenor ReviewGrosvenor Sport
Ladbrokes Sport ReviewLadbrokes
Mr Green Sport ReviewMr Green
Netbet Sport ReviewNetBet
Paddy Power ReviewPaddy Power
Royal PandaRoyal Panda
Sky Bet ReviewSky Bet
Bet365 SportsBet365
Sport Nation ReviewSportNation

Live Odds vs Pre-Event Odds

Because in-play betting only kicks in once an event has started, it’s hardly surprising that the odds are constantly changing. Each time a new attack happens, a team scores or a new player enters the fray, the overall dynamics of the game have changed, and that has to be reflected in the odds. In essence, live betting odds are reactive, while pre-event odds are prescriptive.

Of course, pre-event odds are also based on reactions to certain actions. However, these reactions are far more calculated because the odds makers have more time to analyse the situation. In contrast, when a tennis match is in full-flow, the bookies don’t have very long to consider the implications of a certain shot, move or injury. This means that live odds can be much more volatile and uncertain.

More Accurate Odds

Because live odds are made up on the fly, they’re often more attractive. This doesn’t mean the odds are longer (pre-event odds are usually longer), but what it does mean is that the lines might not be as accurate as possible. For example, before a match between Arsenal and Chelsea, the top bookmakers will have experts studying the stats, team news and recent results. Using this information, they’ll then come up with a betting line that’s a pretty fair reflection of reality.

When it comes to in-play betting, the odds makers don’t have access to as much information. Yes, they can use their pre-event knowledge in conjunction with what they’re seeing. However, they don’t have the time to digest and process information as thoroughly. This dynamic can lead to gaps in the market and it’s these gaps that you can take advantage of.

Being a sports bettor is all about finding value, and that means making a bet at a price that seems out of step with reality. Naturally, because the bookies have less time to react and post their odds, you can often find more value when you look at live betting odds. Of course, this isn’t always the case. But, if there’s one advantage to in-play betting, it’s being able to find situations where the bookies might have got it wrong

When To Avoid In-Play

The potential downside to reactive odds to this is that you have to be quick off the mark. In-play betting lines are constantly changing and that means a value bet can quickly turn sour if you don’t get your money down quick enough. While this isn’t necessarily a disadvantage, it does mean you need to be a lot more invested in the action if you want to make a profit.

If you’re someone that likes to study the form, place a bet, and then relax and enjoy the action, in-play betting isn’t for you. To really make the most of these bets, you’ll need to stay connected to your desktop or mobile and have one eye on the odds and the other on the action. Then, through a combination of foresight, analysis and timing, you should be ready to place a bet in an instant.

How To Find The Best In-Play Odds

All the best live betting sites will have dynamic interfaces that automatically refresh every few seconds. Once you click on a live betting tab and choose an event, you’ll see that the prices are constantly changing. To do this, some sites will refresh the whole page (an older, slower technique), while others will simply refresh the odds.

To ensure you’re able to put your bets down in the most efficient way possible, the top sites will have a two-touch system. One click will let you add the bet to your slip, while a second will confirm your stake. Getting used to this system is something you’ll need to do if you’re going to get the most out of live betting on tennisgolf, football and more.

Bet Editing

Bet Editing is a new feature that allows you to have extra control over your selections after your initial bet has been placed. As you can guess by the name, it allows you to edit your bet by adding and removing selections or by changing the type of bet placed. It is, in essence, a part of the cash-out feature, meaning bets must still be in with a chance of success and that the maximum value of the edited bet will be equal to the cash-out offered by the bookie. You’ll find the option under the cash-out section of your account.

A simple example would be a bet placed on a three-team football accumulator. Let’s say one team has already won, one is losing 1-0 at half-time and the final team is drawing at half-time: you could remove the losing selection to make a better chance of winning your bet.

While Bet Editing offers you more control, the downside is that you might lose out on occasion with reduced odds by removing a selection that’s unlikely to win. It can, however, be a useful tool in live-betting, especially when you sense things haven’t gone as planned. It can be used for a variety of sports, including football, tennis, horse racing and basketball. Some bet types, such as each-way, may not be applicable.

Live Football & Horse Betting Tips

There is a whole industry of tipping that has sprung up around football live betting. Don’t forget, even the best laid plans of a manager can go awry once the game begins, so live-betting tipsters perceive an advantage by witnessing the action unfold. The best live betting tips are usually based on statistics rather than instinct, so you will find that lots of the tips are for ‘props’ markets like the total number of corners, number of goals and so on.

In-play horse racing betting is also cited as a way for punters to get the upper hand on the bookies. Again, your horse racing selection may not have run for weeks before the race, so it is only once the race is off that you can truly judge how it may perform. It is rare that a horse will lead a race from start to finish, so the best live horse racing tipsters will be astute at picking out how a horse is positioned, how it is travelling and if there are any signs of fatigue. Markets are little bit more limited than with football, but if you follow an expert tipster you might be able to gain another advantage over the bookmakers.

Speaking of live tipsters, it’s clearly a different skill than providing ante post tips, but they also need to provide fast updates. Sites like Blogabet will incorporate a feed to give speedy posts, but Twitter, where you can find tips from Footy Accumulators and Live Betting King, might be the best option. If you simply need some inspiration, search with #LiveBetting. As for our own advice, we would suggest you always tune in to the event you are betting on and make sure you get your bets on quickly before anything changes. While it seems almost contradictory, you should also be patient and try to gauge how momentum might shift to your advantage.


It depends on the event, and how the action unfolds in-play. Say you’re backing Liverpool to beat Wolves in the English Premier League - you might get 2-1 at the start of the match. But if Wolves score first, your in-play odds are going to be way better.

All things being equal, your best odds are usually pre-play. When they get better in live betting, it’s usually because the momentum is flowing away from your bet.
This is very straightforward in most cases. Most of our recommended bookies put live betting markets front and centre, usually in an In-Play menu that occupies to top positions on their homepage.

Look for the ‘live’ or ‘in-play’ option - it’s usually an interactive table with odds for events underway right now, or a sub-menu you can navigate to which sets out the events in-play now and starting soon
Where possible, bookies are usually prepared to make live betting available - those this often doesn’t extend to every sport and every fixture. Some events aren’t suitable for in-play (good luck live betting during a 100m sprint, for example). Others will be selected by the bookmaker depending on their strategy and betting demand.

Different operators support their own selection of in-play or live betting - try to pick one that offers the widest range of events like Paddy Power or Bet365 if you’re looking for maximum coverage.
Most, but not all. This is changing, and there are far more bookmakers offering in-play now than there were a few years ago. But there are still some bookmakers that don’t support in-play betting for whatever reason.

Check out our list of recommended betting sites, all of which support in-play betting to a greater or lesser extent.
Again, this depends on the bookmakers. Some of the bigger operators stream a large number of sporting events each year, though this is often limited to specific matches, rather than covering a sport in totality. You usually also have to be logged in, and in some cases have a bet on, before you can enjoy a stream of the event.

Please note live streaming events can be tricky when you’re betting in-play - feeds from bookmakers are often delayed, which can lead to risks with live betting as the action unfolds.
Cash-out is now widely available, and generally goes hand in hand with in-play betting. However, be aware that this is not universal, and there are still bookmakers out there who don’t support cash-out at all.

Check your bookmaker and specific bet is eligible for cash-out before committing, if that’s what you’re looking for. Our list of recommended betting sites is probably your best starting point for finding sites that allow you to cash-out in-play bets without difficulty.