For many sports, there is less than a 24-hour period from when betting lines are released to when a game starts. Football usually offers a bigger window of time to place wagers, as lines are posted early in the week. However, many bettors prefer to wait until closer to kickoff to place their bets as they receive more information about things like injury news and weather.
What happens if a bettor did not have enough time to place their wager before an event begins? Have no fear, as many sportsbooks offer live betting on most events.
What is a Live Bet?
A live bet is a bet that you can place after an event has already begun. Sportsbooks will constantly adjust their odds, depending on how the game is playing out.
Live betting is not just for people who are late to place their pregame wagers, however. Many bettors strategically choose to wait to place their wagers because they prefer to witness the flow of a game.
The timing of a live bet is very important. Some sportsbooks update their live odds after every basket, missed shot, pitch, or first down. If live betting is something you think you would be interested in, I suggest tracking a sportsbook’s live bets on their app or on their odds boards in person. This will give you a sense of just how quickly the odds can change.
What are Examples of Live Team Bets?
Many of the same options that are available before a game begins are available with live betting. The most popular bets both pregame and with live betting are moneylines, spreads, and totals. Here’s an example of a tweet from FanDuel Sportsbook to give you an idea of how live lines are reflected.
The Clippers trail the Celtics by 4 in the 3rd quarter 🍀
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) February 14, 2020
Before the Clippers-Celtics game tipped off, the Celtics were favored by one point, and the game had an over/under of 228. Since the Celtics were already winning by four points in the third quarter, the live line adjusted to Celtics -4.5. The over/under was pretty similar to the opening total, most likely because the teams were on pace to score close to the originally predicted total.
Many bettors have different strategies for when they pounce on a live team line. For example, a football team that’s initially favored by seven points might have their live line balloon to double digits if they score the opening touchdown. Some bettors would take the underdog plus the double digits at that point, figuring that the game is likely to end closer to what the original line was. Others may wait until later in the game to make a live bet as there is more play to analyze.
In addition to spreads and totals, there may be interesting live team props to take advantage of. For example, some sportsbooks offer bets like the winning margin of victory. There are also options like live team totals, meaning an over/under of how many points a team will score.
How Can I Make a Live Team Bet?
Making a live team bet remotely from a mobile device or computer is always easier, as the bets are at your fingertips. In-person, one may have to wait on a long line of people before getting to the cashier. By that time, the odds you are looking to wager on may be long gone.
On a sportsbook’s app, look for the “live betting” icon. From there, you can go to the league or sport you wish to wager on. You know you are on the right page if you see spreads and totals constantly changing.
When placing a live bet on an app, be aware that these bets are not always instantaneous. Sportsbooks protect themselves and allow for a chance to update their odds accordingly by placing a ten-second hold on a bet before it gets processed. If you try to make a live wager and the odds change before your bet gets processed, your bet will read as “timed out,” and you would have to re-wager according to the updated odds.
At a sportsbook in-person, make sure the cashier knows that you’re looking to place a live bet. Otherwise, they may look at you with confusion as they realize the game has already started. Have the cashier read to you what the live odds are, as you likely will not have access to an odds board at the betting window.
With any bet, but more particularly for live betting, timing is everything. Just as easily as one can find value in a live line, the value can also disappear just as quickly. In addition, take note of when your sportsbook stops offering live lines. Every sportsbook is different. Some keep changing their live odds until there are a couple of minutes left in a game, while others may not offer any live lines after halftime.