What is In-Play Sports Betting?

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, tennis betting, horse race 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.

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 one of our partner sites and search through a list of live betting odds that cover a range of eventualities.

In reality, 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”.

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

Betting Site Quick Bet Live Streaming No of Sports
888 Sport Review10
10Bet Sports Review10
Betbright Sport Review7
Betfair Sports Book Review6
BetStars Review6
Betway Sports Review11
Boyle Sports Review12
Bwin Sports Review7
Coral Sport Review24
Genting Sports Review6
Grosvenor Sport Review6
Ladbrokes Sports Review14
Mr Green Sports Review5
NetBet Sport Review13
Paddy Power Sport Review8
Royal Panda Review By Playright8
Sky Bet Review By Playright12
SunBets Sport Review9
Sport Nation Review By Playright13

What’s the Difference Between Live Odds and 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.

Why Are In-Play Odds Better?

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 is In-Play Betting Best Avoided?

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 Can I 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 tennis, golf, football and more.

What Makes a Live Betting Site a Top Contender?

Live betting sites can’t simply offer a selection of in-play bets and hope to be ranked among the top contenders in 2017. Today, thanks to innovations and increased options, punters expect everything from up-to-the-second stats to live betting bonuses. In short, you need to find the following if you want the best in-play betting experience:

Variety. Make sure the in-play betting markets cover a range of options from score line bets to minute-by-minute outrights.

Live Streams. To complement the live odds, you should also make sure that a site enables you live bet streaming of video, audio and stats. This will help you make better decisions on the fly.

Quick Bets and Cash-Outs. Because speed is crucial in the live betting world, all the best sites will have a two-touch betting system. Once you’ve found the best odds, all you should have to do is touch to submit the bet, and touch again to confirm. Similarly, all in-play bets should have a cash-out option if they involve multiple outcomes.

In-Play Betting Tips

Variety is Crucial. As we’ve said, in-play bets can offer a lot of value if you’re quick off the mark. However, not all bets are created equal and some will be easier to set than others. To give yourself the best chance of finding some value, you need to join a site that has plenty of in-play markets. Fortunately, we’re able to help you out with regards to this in-play betting strategy because all of our recommended betting sites have thousands of daily live markets.

Tune In. One of the benefits of in-play betting is that it takes place alongside the event in question. Naturally, if you want to improve your chances of making a correct pick, you’ll need to watch the match as well as the odds. To help with this, our partner sites will have live streams for many of the world’s top events. This means you’ll not only be able to enjoy even more sport, but you’ll be able to follow the action without losing sight of the odds.

Be Quick. Possibly the most important in-play betting tip we can offer is to be quick. When you see a “value bet”, make sure you take it immediately. Bookmakers don’t like to make mistakes and anytime they set a line and feel the odds aren’t quite right, you can be sure it will change quite quickly.

Get Mobile. One of the best ways to stay on top of the action is to use a site that has both desktop and  more importantly a top betting app. Each of our top in-play betting sites has these provisions and, what’s more, you’ll be able to place bets in two moves. With this system in place, you shouldn’t have any trouble getting more when you bet on live sporting events.