Sports betting has remained largely unchanged over the years, apart from the advancements in technology. But even before our big boards became electronic and most of us began accessing our sports betting accounts via the internet, the nuts and bolts of how we bet were the same.
We studied a game, decided which team we wanted to bet, and then we had to place that bet before it started. Then we sat, watched, cheered and hoped we’d have a winning ticket to cash in when it was all over.
Well, change has come, and in a big and exciting way. If you missed tip-off, no worries. Want to cash out of that bet in the middle of the game? We can do that.
Tired of just sitting and watching for the duration of a three-hour game? Make another wager. How about a quarter line? A halftime line? New bets placed on updated odds? Yes, yes and yes.
It’s not hyperbole to call live betting (also referred to as in-play betting) an absolute game-changer for the sports wagering industry. It still makes up just 20% of all wagers in the United States, but in the gambling world, the Europeans have always been the trendsetters, and over there, they are making 70% more wagers during games than they are making before they start.
How live betting works
From the first time two cavemen decided to race each other while the guy from the cave next door laid odds and took bets, all wagering ended as soon as the race/game/match began. It’s how it’s always been. It’s how we thought it always would be.
But someone very smart realized that with wagering moving to the internet, betting could continue after a game had started if there was a system to calculate updated odds and spreads and provide new and different ways to bet. So live betting was born.
You may find live betting at retail sportsbooks. But because the new bets and odds are automatically calculated as the game or event unfolds, it’s much more likely that you’ll find it online. And online is where you’re far more likely to enjoy it.
Let’s say LSU and Auburn are playing, and LSU is a three-point favorite before kickoff. By halftime, however, Auburn has been lights out and leads 24-10. The new and current point spread now has Auburn listed as a 10.5-point favorite.
Different moments in the game with different scores, and different probabilities of a likely outcome, get you different point spreads and odds.
The types of live bets you’re most likely to find and play are:
Point spreads and moneylines: The bets you could have placed before kickoff are still the kinds of bets you can play during the game, except that -4.5 on Notre Dame is now -1.5 after they gave up a touchdown on that opening drive. Maybe now you want to play it? And since the Saints and 49ers are scoreless after the first quarter, the new over/under of 33.5 looks more enticing.
Proposition bets: Anything and everything is available to bet, and it’s always shifting. Will the next batter strike out? You can bet it.
The payout on the quarterback going over 300 yards has really improved. He’s now playing from behind, and it could be a great bet. It’s the fourth set of the US Open final. Who is going to win the next point?
Cash outs: If a bet doesn’t look good and you want to cut your losses, you can cash out in the middle of the bet and return some of your money. As long as the bet hasn’t been completed, the cash-out option is available, but the amount is always changing based on the moving odds and time left in the game.
You’ll also find some sportsbooks that offer live and in-play parlays that work much the same way the other live bets do. The odds are constantly shifting, cash-out options on legs of the parlay become available and with different payouts, and you can string together parlays on quarter-, half- and full-game point spreads.
Best online sportsbooks featuring live betting
Colorado sports bettors are very lucky in that the biggest and best names in the business are all coming to the state, and they’re bringing all of their best live betting features with them.
William Hill: The longtime European sportsbook has been making a name for itself across the US as sports betting continues its expansion here. William Hill has years of experience with live betting and has perfected the technology that makes it work. Sports bettors will find tutorials on its website as well as lightning-fast updates to point spreads and odds.
DraftKings: When DraftKings made the switch from an only daily fantasy sports site to also offering a fully functioning sportsbook, it did the right thing in partnering with tech giant Kambi. The platform that DraftKings runs on is quick, nimble and perfectly designed for live sports betting. DraftKings prides itself on offering its customers a huge number of options, and that is what Colorado customers will discover.
FanDuel: Another daily fantasy sports operator that has proven that it can handle the load of live sports betting, FanDuel is coming to Colorado and bringing all its wagering options with it. Along with nearly 40 different types of bets on just the NFL that FanDuel likes to boast, it has an entire menu of live and in-play wagering possibilities.
PointsBet: A lesser-known sportsbook, PointsBet was one of the very first to strike up a partnership in Colorado to open both a retail and online sportsbook. PointsBet does offer live sports betting, but in a new and unique way.
You actually win more money the more points your bets win by. It’s a new look in sports betting, and it’s becoming very popular. And in Colorado, it will pair very nicely with in-play wagering.
The pros of live betting
There are many reasons to love live betting that go beyond the opportunity to get a second chance at that bet that during the pregame looked like a certain loser. It’s a way to maximize your engagement in an event and turn sports wagering from a passive pastime into an exciting and active enterprise.
There is no more sitting idly by and waiting three hours to see if your baseball wager is a winner. Now you can bet inning by inning and turn a single game of baseball into nine separate games and corresponding bets. Baseball will no longer be called boring.
Also, with live betting, the odds are generated automatically, and by a computer, so there are no biases built in. That makes them cleaner and fairer odds, and neither side gets an advantage based on inside information.
Each sportsbook might use a slightly different program to determine those changing odds, but inside that sportsbook, there will be no other variables at play.
The cons of live betting
Of course, nothing is all sunshine and roses in the sports betting world. As much as people love live betting and the way it has changed the industry, there are things to watch out for.
All successful sports bettors will tell you that to win at wagering, you must have a plan, and you must only bet with your head. With live betting, it is very easy to get away from those two things. It’s exciting, it’s fast and you can get caught up in it.
The best in the business will tell you that you should never chase losses to get one big win. In the middle of a live event for which you suddenly have three bets all going south, that can be hard to remember and follow.
As great as live betting is, it’s not the place for you to start if you are new to sports wagering. It’s fun and exciting, and some people want to jump right in, but that is not a good idea.
First, you need to spend some time placing pregame bets. Do the research, understand how and why the lines move and get a feel for the different kinds of bets there are and how you like to play them. Then, once you are comfortable, you can try your hand at live betting.
Can I place live bets on my mobile device?
Not only can you place live bets on your mobile device, but it’s one of the best ways to participate in live betting. Online is great because you can more easily monitor multiple games and multiple bets with the bigger computer screen. But the reality is that in today’s world, chances are your phone is faster than your internet connection at home, making it perfect for live betting.
Every good sportsbook app that is coming to Colorado features live betting and puts it front and center. Not only can you place live bets on your mobile device, if you’re going to engage in live betting, you absolutely should do it on your mobile device.