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, 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.

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”.

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 markets 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.

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

Betting Site Quick Bet Bet Editing 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
Live Casinos Review10
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.

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 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 is 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 Betting & Live Horse Bet 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.