Introduction to Live Betting

11 min

Betting on events as they unfold can provide huge opportunities for profitable bets if you know what to look for…

The 2012 Australian Open decider between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic was the longest Grand Slam final ever, clocking in at five hours and 53 minutes.

It illustrated why tennis live betting is so engaging, with a huge range of betting opportunities throughout the near six hours of play.

Nadal took the first set, and Djokovic won the next two before Nadal levelled and took the match to a deciding fifth.

Djokovic started as a 1.7 favourite but traded as high as 6.8 during the fifth set when he was 4-2 down. Incredibly, Nadal was trading as high as 20.0 when he was three break points and two sets to one down.

Ultimately Djokovic prevailed in the final set 7-5 in arguably the greatest Grand Slam final ever!

The 2012 Australian Open Final was the epitome of a ‘swings and roundabouts’ affair

Before the internet age, a bet on football usually led to a frustrating 90 minutes of watching while being unable to react to the action in front of you. Live, or in-play betting flips that on its head and allows you to use your knowledge and insight to make money from every minute of a match.

For most sports and betting fans, it’s not just a hugely dynamic and exciting way to bet, it’s also a great leveller.

While pre-match betting can often be a battle of research, when it comes to in-play, it’s often down to your ability to read and understand the match taking place in front of you.

Take a very simple example from a tennis match. All your research pre-event might have led you to think that the favourite is going to win easily, and he’s available to back at a very short price. The favoured player loses the first few games, and his price begins to drift.

However, you are aware that he’s been slow to start throughout the tournament, and his opponent has a history of tiring as a match progresses. You wait until the first set is won and place a large bet at much bigger odds than pre-match and watch as the favourite slowly begins to turn the screw.

Live betting gives you the chance to take advantage of any prices that are wrong based on information that you gain from watching the event live.

If you can overlay this with your pre-match research, you can be in an extremely strong position.

Out of Sorts

If you’re a tennis fan, you’ll know that the likes of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic don’t lose many Grand Slam matches, even if they go a set behind. You will, however, get a much better price on them to win.

The more you watch and appreciate how individuals or teams play, the more equipped you’ll be to make successful live bets.

To be a successful live bettor, it’s important to recognise what affects the odds in any particular market.

This lets you work out your entry and exit points.

Your entry point could be before the event and your exit point after the event has ended, but they could also trigger when something key happens.

Many successful professional bettors will have systems designed around certain key turning points in a match. A football match will often remain fairly static in the absence of a goal, but other sports with more frequent scoring will move more quickly.

Tennis is a hugely popular in-play market for a reason – prices can turn on a single rally, and matches are won and lost on certain key points. Break points are rare, and converting one could be the difference in a seesaw battle.

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All Change

In Football, goals and time are the main reasons prices change.

As long as the game stays 0-0, the price of the draw will start to come in, so if you’re watching a game between two teams that appear to have parked the bus, you could back the draw very early doors and then have the 40-45 minute mark as your exit point. Laying the draw at this point, if the match is still 0-0, will generally guarantee you a profit.

You might also see something that the market overreacts to.

For example, Liverpool at Anfield are heavy favourites at home to Watford, but they concede an early goal. The Reds drift out to almost 2.0 to win, but you know they’ve scored in every home game this past season and are up against a team with a penchant for conceding late goals.

The early goal could give you the chance to back Liverpool at a much more favourable price with 90% of the game still to come. The key word here is ‘could’ – as this may not always be the case, such is the advancement of quantitative pricing models.

You won’t be able to back Liverpool too many times odds against at Anfield… but if they go a goal down early doors, then this will become a real possibility.

Beware the Delay

Before you bet on any live markets, you should be aware that there’s a short delay between the time you submit your bet and the time it gets entered into the market. This is to ensure a level playing field for all customers so that it doesn’t just descend into a fastest finger first competition.

You also need to remember that ‘live’ TV pictures are subject to a delay themselves, especially if you’re using a streaming service online. What you’re seeing might be upwards of ten to 20 seconds behind live TV, which itself might be ten seconds behind the actual action.

If you see a real aberration in the market, make sure it’s not simply a reaction to something that’s already happened. As with everything in betting, if something looks too good to be true, it almost certainly is. Don’t be the mug punter making the mistakes, be the smart one taking advantage.

Top Tips:

  1. Watch carefully – This may sound obvious, but your biggest opportunities will come from reading the way the game is progressing, so keep a close eye on all the action.
  2. Do your research – It’s not good having a read on the game if you have no context to place it in. Find out how a team/player normally plays before you make your judgment.
  3. Don’t overreact – The key to live betting is exploiting incorrect market moves. Don’t be part of one by overreacting to a goal, sending off or another big event.

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