Perhaps one of the biggest revolutions to happen to the betting industry since the move to online betting was the invention of in-play bets. It has completely changed the way that bettors go about their business, particularly with the more popular sports such as football and tennis. It’s now more unusual for a bookmakers not to offer it that it is for them to allow live betting.
If you aren’t 100% sure what live betting is or why it’s such an interesting concept then this is the place for you. I’m not going to bother telling you about all the bookmakers that offer it is they basically all do. Instead I’ll tell you my favourite live betting site and then a little about what it is, how it works and what the important factors are that you should consider when looking to place a live bet on a sporting event.
Bet365 - Best Live Betting Bookmaker
I know I've recommended Bet365 for a lot of features but the simple reason for that is they are one of the best. Bet365 in play feature is outstanding in terms of market depth and functionality on both desktop and mobile.
Combine this with the best cash out, bet editing facilities, live streaming, an array of news, results and stats and you have by far the best in play package available form any online bookie in the UK. Registration required.
What Is Live In Play Betting?
Sometimes called in-play betting, live betting is exactly what it sounds like – you place a bet live on an event after it has already got underway.
Prior to the development of live betting most bets were placed before an event started and once it was underway there was nothing you could do to change your bet. Say you’re someone that loves to place a wager on football games, for example. In the olden days you’d have placed a bet on Liverpool to win 2-0 before the match had kicked off. You’d then have to await the outcome and if they won 3-1 then you’d have lost your bet.
Live betting has changed all of that. Now you can bet in the middle of the match on which team will win. Far more interestingly, however, you can place a wager on any number of outcomes. Who will win the next corner? Which team will pick up the first booking? How many corners will be awarded before half-time?
Advantages of In Play Betting?
There are numerous reasons why live betting might be seen as being advantageous to punters. Let’s stick with the example of a football match for a second. Maybe you’ve seen the team sheet and you fancy Tottenham to win, but you’re not too sure how they’re going to line-up. Will the number 7 play off the striker or is the manager dropping him into midfield again like he’s done in the last few matches? You can watch a bit of the game, make a decision based on how the team is setting up and place your bet accordingly.
This ability to base your betting decisions on the action that is actually taking place in front of you is a huge help to bettors. If the referee is reacting harshly to things, for example, then you might want to consider whether he’s liable to give away a penalty. If a tennis player seems to have a slight injury or a golfer isn’t swinging very smoothly then you can take those things into account too. Not only are the possible markets for you to bet on almost endless when it comes to the big events, the information you can glean from watching things as they happen can be invaluable.
Live Cash Out
It’s impossible to talk about in-play betting without mentioning the cash out feature. If live betting was a revolution in the industry then the ability to cash your bet out took things to another level. This is something that I’ve spoken about in more detail here, but I’ll give you a quick indication of why it’s relevant.
This feature allows you to cash out some or all of your bet as the action unfolds in front of you. Let’s say that you’ve placed a £5 bet for Andy Murray to win in three straight sets at odds of 10/1. If you let the bet play out you’ll win £50 but Murray is 4-3 down in the second set, having won the first. Watching live you’ve noticed that he’s nursing an ankle injury and so you decide to cash out your bet for £23 instead of leaving the bet to run. That’s why cashing out and live betting go hand-in-hand.
Value of Betting In-Play
This is a complicated question to answer. The reality is that bookmakers don’t like to lose money, so the prices that they offer are normally well in their favour, usually by about 125%. There’s no guarantee that anything will go the way they expect, of course, so you can always catch them out and get yourself a good deal.
The difference between pre-event and in-play betting is that the market can fluctuate hugely as things unfold in front of you. Let’s return to the idea of betting on a football match briefly. With pre-match betting you might get odds of 2/1 for Manchester City to win a match. During the game the get a man sent off and the opposition score a goal. You’ll see those odds then extend to, say, 15/1. They concede a second goal and it’s now 25/1 for them to win.
Sitting at home and watching the game you’ve noticed that the two goals have come against the run of play and City knocking on the door for the whole game. You’ve also spotted that two of the other team’s players are on yellow cards and keep crashing into tackles so you think City are going to come back and win. That’s where the value lies.
Is Live Betting Really Live?
The more observant amongst you will have noticed that there’s actually a slight delay in between you placing the bet and it going through the system. This is because the ‘live’ odds are fractionally slower than the action itself – understandable, of course, considering that so many calculations have to take place in milliseconds in order for the bet to be correct. It’s also a little known fact that ‘live’ TV coverage can be delayed by as much as ten to fifteen seconds, so a delay is brokered into the in play betting to stop anyone watching live taking advantage of this delay.
There is normally a brief delay in you wanting to place your bet and it being placed or if you want to cash out and the bet being cashed out. On top of that you will also find that some markets are suspended at certain times during events. You probably won’t be able to bet on a player scoring a touchdown if they’ve raced clear of all other players at the pitch’s halfway mark, for example.