Live Betting – Complete Guide with the Best Sportsbooks, Tips and Strategy for In-Play Odds

Introduction to Your Live Betting Journey

Live betting, also known as ‘in play betting’ and ‘in game betting’, is a tremendous opportunity to take advantage of odds that were not calculated in the most accurate way by your online sportsbook. This type of wagering, born out of the mind blowing technological changes in online gambling, brings so many ways to capitalize on markets you wouldn't consider in other circumstances. Dealing appropriately with live betting odds will make you a smart and sharp bettor, not to mention the fact that the adrenaline rush during the event you wager on will give you the ultimate online gaming experience.

Since knowledge is power, especially in the world of sports betting, the more you know about the various teams and competitors, the more informed your decisions will be. Similarly, the more you know about the odds available from sportsbooks, the easier it will be for you to strike your bets at the best lines possible. That’s why we here at How To Bet encourage all of you to practice live sports betting whenever you can and we’ll assist you in every step of the way.

In this article, we will explain what live betting odds are and why they are so helpful. We will then provide a step-by-step guide on how to use our special widget. You’ll learn how live betting lines work and how to read them for the moneylines, point spreads, and totals markets. Useful information on live betting algorithms will also be provided. And finally, we’ll give you some practical tips on various ways to apply a winning strategy for in-play wagering with the best sportsbooks for the purpose. Let’s get started!

What are Live Betting Odds

Live betting odds are simply these lines that are updated in real time. All online sportsbooks adjust their odds for an upcoming event according to a variety of factors. Those might include the latest results in other events, fitness or injury worries, weather concerns, the weight of betting in the market, and so on. Because such changes are made as and when a sportsbook deems it necessary, you can’t expect betting odds to remain the same from hour to hour. Let alone from day to day or week to week.

Since lines change, any betting decision you make should always be based on the most up to date odds available. This is especially the case if you are an experienced bettor who understands the importance of value. What might be a poor value bet at one time might actually be a good one later on, when the lines have drifted. Of course, the converse is also true when the odds contract. Having ready access to live betting odds can therefore help you to make the best decisions based on the latest information.

How Do Odds Work with Live Betting

How do odds work with live betting is a question that many newcomers to the online betting USA scene ask. While lines can sometimes look confusing at first, they are actually quite simple to understand. To illustrate, we will now explain how odds work in the Moneyline, Point Spread and Totals in play betting markets.

How Moneyline Live Betting Works

In a moneyline market, odds are prefixed by a + or - sign. The + sign means that a winning live bet would win you more than your stake, and the - sign means that a winning live bet would win you less than your stake. In both cases, your stake is also returned if your wager is successful. 

  • Odds prefixed by a - sign require you to wager the figure quoted in order to make a profit of $100. For example, if the quoted odds are -150, you would need to bet $150 to make a profit of $100 if the live bet wins.
  • Odds prefixed by a + sign require you to wager $100 in order to make a profit equal to the figure quoted. For example, if the quoted odds are +150, you would need to bet $100 to make a profit of $150 if the live bet wins.

Note that you can, of course, put less money on your live bets and your profit would reflect the lower outlay. Wager $10 at odds of +150, and you would make a profit of $15 if it wins.

How Point Spread Live Betting Works

In a Point Spread live betting market, the sportsbook tries to even things up so that it can offer similar odds about both teams involved. It does this by giving the underdog a theoretical advantage and the favorite a theoretical disadvantage. For example, a sportsbook might quote the following:

San Antonio Spurs-2-110
Washington Wizards+2-110

Here the Spurs have been given a -2 handicap, and the Wizards have a +2 advantage. The odds for each team are -110. If you wager on the Spurs, they need to win by at least 3 points for your live bet to succeed, thanks to the -2 handicap. On the other hand, if you wager on the Wizards, they would simply need to lose by less than 2 points or win for your bet to succeed.

How Totals Live Betting Works

The odds offered in a Totals betting market concern the total number of points that will be scored in a match. You don’t need to predict which team will win. All you have to do is predict whether the total will be over or under a stated figure. Consider the following:

San Antonio Spurso222.5-110
Washington Wizardsu228.5-110

Here you can see that the sportsbook is offering odds of -110 for over 228.5 points, and odds of -110 for under 228.5 points. Wager on Over, and the game would need 229 points or better for your live bet to succeed. Wager on Under, and it would win if there are less than 228 points in total.

How to Use Our Live Betting Widget to Get the Best Odds

Keeping yourself up to date with the latest odds available from multiple sportsbooks used to be quite a time-consuming task. You’d have to visit each operator in turn and note down the odds manually. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. Here at How To Bet, we work hard to make your life as easy as possible. That’s why we have developed a Live Betting Odds widget that does all the hard work for you.

Using it is both simple and straightforward. However, it incorporates several handy features that are worth pointing out. Here, then, is our step-by-step guide to using the in play betting odds widget for the first time.

1 - Select the Sport

At the top of the Live Betting Odds widget are three buttons. Clicking any one of those will show you a pull-down menu from which you can make a selection. The first button allows you to select the sport that you want to view odds for.

Right now, you can use our widget to view odds for six leagues. Those are the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, MLS, and Premier League. Select the sport you are interested in, and the widget will display the relevant odds.

Step 2 - Select the Betting Market Type

When you have selected the sport you want to look at, you can click the second button. This will show you the available betting markets for it.

They will obviously vary depending on the sport you select. Having said that, our widget is equipped to deliver odds for the Moneylines, Point Spread, Totals and Puckline markets, as and when applicable.

Step 3 - Select the State

The state that you intend to bet in will determine which sportsbooks you can bet with. You should therefore click the third button to view a pulldown menu of all the states where online sports betting is currently available.

Select the state that you want to bet in, and you will see that the columns on the right-hand side of the widget change to show the sportsbooks in that state. Some states might only have one or two sportsbooks, but others will have many more.

Step 4 - Load More

The Live Betting Odds widget will automatically show you the most popular markets in time order. That enables you to see the markets for the events that are due to take place soonest at the top of the widget. If you want to explore more markets, simply click the long LOAD MORE button at the bottom of the widget.

This will expand the widget vertically so that more markets can be displayed. Of course, that is subject to there being more to view. If no more markets are available, no change will be seen. On the other hand, you may need to press the LOAD MORE button several times if there are quite a few markets to browse through.

Step 5 - Note the Colors

The odds displayed in our widget are color-coded so that you can see what’s going on at a glance. The color code used is as follows:

  • Black Bold is used to highlight the best live betting odds available from the sportsbooks shown. If all you want is to find the more generous lines around, simply look for the bold black numbers for your chosen outcome.
  • Red is used to highlight odds that are drifting. This means that the current lines are more generous than they were previously.
  • Blue is used to highlight live betting odds that are shortening. This means that the current lines are less generous than they were previously.
  • Black (without the bold emphasis) is used for odds that haven’t changed since the previous update.

Step 6 - Click to Bet

When you find odds that are attractive enough for you to want to bet on them, we’ve also made that very easy. Simply click on the ones you want, and you will be taken directly to the sportsbook offering them. 

Because you may want to use our Live Betting Odds widget to explore other betting opportunities, the sportsbook will be opened in a new tab in your browser. The widget will therefore continue to be available in your current tab.

Advantages of Live Betting vs. Pregame Betting

Now that you know the answers to the fundamental questions ‘what is live betting?’ and ‘how does live betting work?’, the time has come to learn more about its advantages in comparison to pregame betting.

  • More attractive odds – As we already mentioned, the updated lines of online sportsbooks are still not as sophisticated as the ones posted pre-game. This gives you more opportunities to extract better value when placing live bets.
  • Increased wagering options – With live sport betting, you can be much more involved in a game since at any minute you could see a development that presents you with previously unexpected opportunities. With pregame wagering, all is set in stone for the whole time of the duration of the event.
  • Being up to date with the action while it unfolds – Live betting allows you to gain even more information and get a handle on the flow of a game before you make a more calculated decision. You may feel the turning of the tide before your sportsbook and benefit from its odds if they still haven’t reflected this change on the playing field.
  • Setting up winning wagers with hedge bets – With live betting, there are more and better options to hedge your wagers (basically, placing a wager on the opposite side of an existing bet). This is a smart way to win money, or at least mitigate your losses, but requires knowledge of the subject.

Reasons for finding better value in in-play betting

Sportsbooks determine their pregame odds by using their complex algorithms, expert knowledge, and competition comparisons. Having enough time allows the sports betting companies to minimize the probability of offering risky lines to the public.

Their accuracy in predicting the outcome of a sporting event is decreasing when they are forced to set live betting odds though. The in-play wagering algorithms are far from perfect at this moment and experts don’t have the necessary time to analyze the statistical data and the intangibles of the event. This opens the door for more mistakes with line setting and in game betting specialists tend to capitalize on them. The roar of the crowd, an unexpected injury, an inspiring substitution, a lucky break – these and more factors can not be calculated at 100% by computers.

Live Betting Algorithms

Live betting algorithms are a hightech method of improving your chances of winning with in game wagering. Highly sophisticated computer software takes care of millions of calculations in real time to provide opportunities to beat the sportsbooks’ odds.

One of the main benefits of using such programs is that the human factor is diminishing in terms of losing concentration when following a specific sporting event. Constantly updated player and game statistical data can assist your judgment in the tiniest detail to accurately predict the outcome and win. Of course, such live betting software products still have a long way to go before they get near perfection and the innate human hunch remains important when it comes to feeling the game as it unfolds right before your eyes.

Nevertheless, live betting algorithms are a recommendable helper, with bots doing your job on tracking all the games currently running and showing the most profitable odds among all sportsbooks. That’s why some of the biggest sports betting companies buy such platforms out.

Creating a Winning Live Betting Strategy

Having a winning live betting strategy is an art in itself. Knowing how to deal with the velocity of in play betting is the fundament to build it on. Your reactions to any new event that happens in the game you bet on are key and, when you don’t have the necessary time on your hands, the strategy might keep you on track even in the most stressful moments.

Because of that, our expert team at How To Bet is here to assist you in creating your own winning live betting strategy. Our list of advice is a product of years and years of experience in in-game wagering.

Our live betting tips for success

Make a slow start – Speed may be a deciding factor for successful in-game betting, but it will be best if you begin with just a couple of in-play wagers. This will give you the opportunity to check out how the operator of your choice works before you dive in with full force.

Carefully pick the game(s) you’ll wager on – Research thoroughly so that you know for certain which game or games you will put your money on. For example, see if an important player is risked and plays with an injury in order to pounce immediately if he’s subbed off prematurely. This is one of the best live betting tips possible because it affects the odds hugely.

Shop around for the best live betting odds – Find a platform that provides them so that you extract the maximum value for your live bet. Our widget here at How To Bet is a perfect example and make sure you take advantage of it.

Grab the best odds before they vanish – In-game lines move fast, unlike pregame ones, so jump at any chance to benefit if you don’t want to lose it forever. This is one of the most useful live betting tips any expert could give you.

Hedge your live bets – In-play wagering makes it possible to break even or even go on top (with a brilliant calculation and careful odds research) with your bets.

Watch the event closely – Never miss a beat when you wager on a game by watching it and constantly looking for small details that computer algorithms can’t detect. Is the weather changing? Does a fundamental player get an injury which affects his movements? Is a certain player getting in a hot streak while his direct opponent cools down? Does the crowd turn it on and make the visiting players lose their minds?... All these factors and more may give you an edge over the algorithms used by live betting sites and apps.

Create a same-game parlay if you’ve built a game scenario in your head – If things start to go as projected in your mind during a sporting event, it might be profitable to react fast and go for a same-game parlay. This would multiply your odds in case of winning.

Best Sportsbooks for Live Betting

How To Bet’s expert team has put all live betting sites and apps to the test to determine which of them deserve to be included in our selection. They had to pass our strict criteria involving the most appealing odds, vast array of sporting events, live tracking, live streaming, in-game stats, and cash out available.

So let’s not waste any more of your precious time and present to you the best live betting sites and apps in the USA.

BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM offers attractive pregame markets that, after the contest starts, become part of the live betting section across many different sports. The company is known for its superb statistical hub, maybe the best in the industry, which is a huge helper for any in-game bettor. The quality of BetMGM’s in-playodds is another feature that deserves a mention here.

BetRivers Sportsbook

This sportsbook’s live betting section is really easy-to-use and this is especially appealing to newcomers in the in-game wagering field. The feature that catches the eye most here is the detailed statistical breakdown of the contest you’re putting your live bets on. This tool is almost on a par with the one offered by BetMGM and will serve you incredibly well.

Caesars Sportsbook

Caesars covers hundreds of live betting markets involving a huge percentage of games in the most popular sports like football, soccer, basketball, and more. The in-play wagering section is very easy to find and use. You can also follow the action thanks to other useful features like live tracking graphics and live streaming. The cash out option is another standout point for this sportsbook. That’s why for many wagerers Caesars is the best live betting sportsbook in the country.

FanDuel Sportsbook

FanDuel offers many exclusive in-game markets on multiple different sports and you could take advantage of it. The in-play prop bets are fantastic and there are tons of opportunities to wager on them. The statistics provided are useful, but there isn’t a specially designated section so you’d have to wait a bit before you can get the data on the game you’re interested in.

PointsBet Sportsbook

While PointsBet’s range of markets isn’t on the level of the best live betting sites in the US, the company still provides more than enough in-game options in many different sports. The in-play section is easily accessible. Don’t hesitate to use it.

Potential Applications of Our Live Betting Odds Widget

As you have seen, our Live Betting Odds widget is simple to utilize but incredibly useful. This is a tool that you can use in a number of ways, and we have no doubt that you will soon come up with a few ideas of your own. In the meantime, here are three ways in which the widget can be used from the outset.

Easy Schedule Viewer

The first way you can use the widget is as an easy schedule viewer. If you’ve ever wondered what games are happening in the next few hours or days, you’ll know that finding that information isn’t always easy. Use the Live Betting Odds widget, however, and you can simply select the sport you are interested in. All of the upcoming games will then be displayed for you in chronological order.

Get an Expert Overview

If you are new to live sports betting, you might find it hard to know whether or not your predictions are in line with expert opinion. Our widget now gives you a quick way of seeing how the sportsbooks experts view an event. If all of the operators think that an event will go in a particular direction, that might give you more confidence in your opinion if you also think it will go the same way. 

On the other hand, if your view is opposite to that of the experts, or the sportsbooks seem to have differing opinions, you might want to trade a bit more cautiously. It isn’t that the sportsbooks are always right, of course. But at the beginning of your live sports betting career, you might be a lot better off siding with them than you would be opposing them.

Seek and Deploy

When you have decided what you want to bet on, our Live Betting Odds widget makes it easy for you to find the best lines around. Even better, you only have to click on those odds to go directly to the sportsbook and place your live bets. This ‘seek and deploy’ approach to the widget can be very useful in finding great lines and taking advantage of them before they change.

Live Betting FAQ

What is live betting?
This is the option to wager on sporting events once they have already started.
How does live betting work?
Sportsbooks adjust and update their live betting odds according to the situation on the playing field with every single development of the action. Then it’s up to the bettor to decide when to pounce and make a live bet based on what he finds as best value.
What are live betting odds?
Live betting odds are numbers that tell you how much you can expect to win from a winning bet. A winning $100 bet at odds of +200 would therefore give you a profit of $200, while a winning $100 bet at odds of +800 would give you a profit of $800.
Who sets live betting odds?
Live betting odds are set by odds-makers. Those are expert analysts who look at all the variables involved in a sporting event and use statistics to try and predict the most probable outcome. A lot of this work is done by computer these days, but odds-makers are still in the driving seat.
How often are betting odds right?
Since oddsmakers are specialized in guaranteeing a profit for sportsbooks, one might say that the betting odds are right in more than 90% of the cases.
How often do sportsbooks change their in-play odds?
There is no schedule to which sportsbooks adhere. Odds are changed according to betting demand and the latest information that the odds-makers have available. All we can say is that our Live Betting Odds widget will show you the most up to date odds around.
How can I convert odds?
The odds in our Live Betting Odds widget are displayed in American format. Should you want to convert them into their fractional or decimal equivalents, simply use our free Betting Odds Converter tool.
What are value betting odds?
Value odds are those which, if your ability to pick winners is average, will help you to make a profit over the long term. You can calculate the value of any odds (according to your own view of the event) by using our Odds Value Calculator.
Which are the best ways to win with in play betting?
No one can guarantee that you’ll win when live betting, but see our strategy & tips section in this guide and you’ll surely be a step or two ahead of the curve.
When is the most adequate moment to place a live bet?
Again, there is no proven formula for choosing the right time for making an in-game bet, but you most definitely must watch the event you’ll wager on. Try to feel and see first the moment when the odds are about to change in your favor and prepare yourself pregame for the eventual moment of truth.

About Oscar Cooper
Oscar Cooper author profile

Oscar is a keen sports fan with an even keener eye for advantageous betting odds. The only thing he enjoys as much as watching his favourite teams win is being able to land sportsbook winners at the same time. He takes a strategic and mathematical approach to betting and he encourages others to do the same.

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