How Does Live Betting Work? In-Game Sports Betting Explained


Introduction To Live Betting

Live betting, also called in-play or in-game betting, is a popular type of betting that enables bettors to wager on real-time events. Unlike traditional betting, where bets are placed before an event begins, live betting allows bettors to select, change, and cash out their bets while the game is in progress. This article explains how live betting works, how payouts are calculated, and more, including:

What is Live Betting?

Live betting, also known as in-play betting or in-game betting, allows bettors to place wagers on events as they unfold. During any given sporting event, player and team performance can drastically sway the likelihood of one team winning or not. Live betting is designed to offer odds in response to these changes, instead of forcing bettors to rely on past analysis to predict the outcome from the start.

During in-game betting, odds will change rapidly as the game progresses, which also means you can adjust your bets based on how the teams are performing. If your bet isn’t going quite how you’d like it to, some sportsbooks offer a live betting cash out option which allows you to minimise your losses. The cash out feature essentially allows you to lock in the odds as they currently are, instead of waiting for them to drop further out of favour. At the same time, if your bet is doing well and you’d like to quit while you’re ahead, the cash out feature enables you to do so and walk away early with your win.

The number of live bets available during an event will vary by sport, but typically you can bet on any outcome during the event the same way you would before the event. The largest difference with in-game betting is that the outcome will be slightly more obvious than before the event, which may require a larger stake for a smaller payout.

screenshot of live betting from tonybet

How Live Betting Payouts Are Calculated

Live betting payouts are calculated based on the odds at the time you place your bet. Just like pre-game betting, your potential payout is calculated based on how much you stake given certain odds. With live betting, odds may change rapidly (for the better or worse) as the game progresses, so it’s important to be quick and decisive in placing your bets to secure favourable odds. When you place a bet, the odds you bought the bet at will represent your payout. Even if the odds change after you put money down, the odds listed at the time of your purchase will be honoured.

How to Place a Live Bet

Live bets move fast, so sportsbooks make it easy to select your desired bet and stake it quickly. Navigate to the live betting section of your favourite sportsbook where you’ll find a list of ongoing games and events. Select the game you want to bet on and browse the available in-game betting options. After selecting your desired bet, your bet slip will populate with the chosen bet, the odds, and the potential payout. The odds you’ve selected will stay locked in until you confirm your stake.

At this point, enter the stake amount you wish to wager, review your selections, and confirm the bet. After laying down your money, it’s important to stay engaged with the game and be ready to act quickly, as the odds can change fast. Any significant developments in the game may impact your bets, so you may find yourself wanting to cash out or bet on another outcome as the game progresses.

Benefits of Live Betting

While common examples of in-game betting include which team will score next, or how long until the next point is scored, you can also bet on markets that are typically reserved for pre-game betting. For example, you can often bet on the outright winner of a match (moneyline odds) after an event has started. This is often a popular betting method because it allows some flexibility if one team is performing better than the other. If you’re watching a game and notice a team gaining momentum or a player performing exceptionally well, you can place a live bet on that team to win. Conversely, if you see a team struggling or a star player get injured, you can adjust your bets accordingly to cut your losses early. Pre-game betting doesn’t offer this kind of flexibility, meaning you need to be very sure in your analysis and strategy beforehand. 

In addition, live betting offers a great opportunity for bettors with a deep knowledge of a certain sport. While some bettors may not feel comfortable placing a stake on an event that’s far in the future, they may excel at reading team strategies as they happen in real time. Bettors who have deep knowledge of specific sport strategies may be able to recognize trends that often lead to success, which gives them a great leg up to bet live.

What Sports Offer Live Betting?

Traditional sports such as football, basketball, soccer, and hockey all typically offer a large number of live betting opportunities. That said, newer sports like eSports have begun to offer live betting, which resonates well with their already digital-first audience. Here are some examples of live betting options from popular sports:

  1. Soccer: Live betting is particularly popular in soccer, with bets available on things like the next goal, next scorer, the next corner kick, or correct scores for a given half.
  1. Tennis: Live betting in tennis allows you to bet on outcomes of individual games, sets, or the match result as the game progresses.
  1. Basketball: Live betting in basketball offers bets on things like the next basket, the next free throw, or who will win a specific quarter.
  1. Football: In-play betting on football includes options like the next touchdown, field goal, or changes in the point spread.
  1. Baseball: Live betting in baseball offers bets on the outcome of the current inning, the next batter’s performance, and the game result as it evolves.
  1. Hockey: In-play betting in hockey includes bets on the next goal, the next penalty, or changes in the moneyline odds during the game.
  1. Boxing and MMA: In-play betting in MMA allows you to bet on the method of victory, which round the fight will end, or the fighter to land the next significant strike.