How Does In-Play Betting Work?

You may call it "live betting", "in-running betting", or "in-play betting" but it's all the same except where it's different. Every sport has its own game mechanics but what they all have in common is that they last long enough for fans to bet on in-game events. Traditional sports betting ends just prior to the start of an event but up in the bleachers you know there are fans arguing over what is most likely to happen next after a big play or a missed opportunity.

In-play betting picks up where traditional sports betting leaves off, after the match begins. Although you cannot bet on every possible game-affecting event you can participate in the action on the most popular betting points.

Unlike placing a bet before a game begins, with in-play wagering you can make a more informed decision about which side is likely to win if there have been injuries, penalties, and other changes that were not considered in pre-game odds. In-play betting gives you the ability to respond to the last-minute things that make pre-game bets look like bad calls.

And that's an advantage that in-play betting offers over traditional sports betting. You can trade your position and lay off bets that seemed good at first but which start to look bad. So you bet big on your favorite team before the game and now they are not doing so well? Just put down some money on the opposing team. At worst you'll lose a little bit; at best you'll still win.

That's the highest value appeal of in-play betting. The sportsbooks also offer live game streaming so even if games are not available on television in your area you may be able to watch them over the Internet.

Can You Bet on Every In-game Event?

No. The sportsbooks limit the markets available for in-play betting. They may not allow in-play betting on some games but they may restrict in-play betting to only certain events. Furthermore, any penalty or injury can cause betting to be suspended.

In fact, if you are quick enough you can pick up unmatched bets that are about to be voided by a game interruption before they are cancelled. While that is not likely to happen, it's always prudent to keep an eye on your unmatched bets and pull those offers when the odds change.

Each sportsbook indicates which of its markets are available for in-play action. In fact, in-play betting is managed through a different screen from normal pre-game betting.

What Changes During In-game Betting?

The moneylines can change if one team breaks out ahead of the other, especially if that goes against what the odds originally anticipated.

The point spreads can also change and in a fast-paced, high-scoring game like basketball you can expect the spreads to be revised often.

The proposition (prop) bets and odds vary by sport but they can change throughout a game or match.

The window of opportunity on each bet tends to be very short. In-game punters refresh the betting screen frequently to see what new offers are available. As noted above, the sportsbooks may clear the board to protect unmatched offers if a game is interrupted. You cannot make good decisions on the basis of old data and the half-life of in-game data is very short compared to the half-life of pre-game data.

Prop bet results are usually determined before the game ends. Spread and moneyline bets are settled at the end of the game.

In-game betting may be charted against game periods like quarters or halves.

How College Basketball In-game Betting Works

Because there are hundreds of Division I teams in play, your choices for in-game betting will be limited. The sportsbooks simply cannot handle all the games. Look for the most widely televised or statistically critical games.

Because basketball is such a fast-paced game bets expire quickly, usually within minutes. Look for oddsmakers to update their numbers during game breaks. The point spreads are usually adjusted after the first half as well.

How College Football In-game Betting Works

College football, like college basketball, involves more teams than you find in the professional leagues. For that reason alone you cannot expect to find all the games, especially since they are played on the same day of the week. The sportsbooks highlight the games with the most appeal but offer as many games as their customers can support.

Look for point spreads to be updated quarterly after the first quarter ends and game lines will change after the first half is completed. The odds will reflect the strategic advances of the teams.

How MLB In-game Betting Works

Major League Baseball is a much more leisurely sport than basketball and football. Players have time to look around and see what is going on. And there are 9 innings instead of 4 quarters or 2 halves, which makes it easier for the odds to be adjusted on point spreads and moneylines as the game progresses.

In-game prop bets can include what the next hitter will do, player statistics, team statistics, or how the inning may end. In-game betting is usually permitted between innings as well as during.

How NBA In-game Betting Works

NBA basketball moves fast, even faster than college basketball. The in-game betting may focus on player stats, changes in point spreads, and even individual player activity. You will probably find the most lines to bet on NBA games of all the major sports.

How NFL In-game Betting Works

NFL football has a few advantages over college football in creating markets for in-play betting. For example, with fewer teams and more play dates during the week more teams get national coverage. The expanded per team coverage ensures you have more punters actively betting on each game.

Even so, you won't find all the games available for in-play action even though you may be able to watch them on live streaming. The best games for betting tend to be the night-time games (Monday, Thursday, and Sunday).

Expect point spreads and moneylines to change as per college football but the prop bets may vary. NFL oddsmakers add more lines every year. Odds on the half may be available, as well as different over-under wagers.

How NHL In-game Betting Works

You have three periods and a puck that is in near-constant play in the National Hockey League. Gameplay stops for injuries and penalties. Moneylines and point spreads are the odds most likely to be offered. You may see some lines offered on goals and goalies, total shots, who will score more points, total saves, and others.

How Soccer (Football) In-game Betting Works

The football the rest of the world loves most Americans call soccer. With around 2,000 professional teams to bet on, there is no way to follow them all. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is the most well-known league. Its 208 teams compete for the World Cup every four years. Sportsbooks offer props on individual players, such as who will score, who will score a Hat Trick (three consecutive goals scored by one player), who will score last, etc.

Most punters talk in general terms about betting on which team wins, whether the game ends in a draw, etc. Some bettors prefer Asian Handicapping, though, so that even draw games can have a positive outcome for someone. In Asian Handicapping the stronger team must win by more goals than the weaker team.