A Complete Guide to Betting on Live Sports

Content on this page may include affiliate links. If you click and sign up/place a wager, we may receive compensation at no cost to you.

How to make live bettings

This live betting guide explains how to bet on sports during live games. It covers live betting markets and advice for football, basketball, baseball and more.

What is live sports betting?

Until recently, the overwhelming majority of sports bets have been placed before the game begins. 

In some cases, primarily at brick-and-mortar sportsbooks featuring huge displays of countless televisions showing various sporting events, bettors could also place some bets as the game was happening. These bets were typically the same types of bets as the ones they could place pre-game, especially moneyline, spread, and over/under bets. The main difference is that the lines and the odds changed to reflect what was happening in the game.

The impact of technological innovation on sports betting created an opportunity for entirely new markets for live sports betting. Bettors no longer need to be physically present at a casino or sportsbook to place wagers while the game is happening. Now they can do it on their computers or smartphones while watching the game from a sports bar or their living room couch. Digital technology also enabled oddsmakers to update and publish odds within seconds using algorithms that automate everything.

With the advent of mobile sports betting technology, sportsbooks can now offer live betting markets that previously were not possible. Now you can bet on the outcome of the next play in football, the next basket in basketball, the next pitch in baseball, the next point in tennis, among many other novel bet types. 

Live sports betting is one of the most rapidly growing markets within the booming online sports betting industry. Most online sportsbooks nowadays have dedicated sections prominently featured on their websites and mobile apps to show all the events across every sport that are available for live betting at any given time. Some sportsbooks will even offer incentives to bet on live games by offering bonuses or promotions when you place a live bet.

This live sports betting guide explains the various types of live betting options that are available, along with some strategies for winning live sports bets. 

Up To $1,500 In Bonus Bets
If Your First Bet Loses

Validated on: July 14, 2024

Claim bonus

Must be 21+. Min. first deposit of $10. New customers only. Subject to eligibility requirements. Rewards are non-withdrawable bonus bets that expire in 7 days. Bonus bets amount equals lost stake. Must be physically located in NC, NJ, IN, WV, DC, CO, PA, MI, IA, AZ, LA, TN, IL, VA, MD, MS, WY, MA, KS, OH, or KY. Void where prohibited. In partnership with Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel. Add’l terms apply – see BetMGM.com. Please Gamble Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP or text NEXTSTEP to 53342 (AZ), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), (888) 789-7777 or ccpg.org (CT), 1-800-981-0023 (PR), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), or www.mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), or morethanagame.nc.gov (NC), 1800gambler.net (WV). Data & text rates may apply. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (Available in the US) Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 or visit GamblingHelpLineMA.org (MA).

Validated on: July 14, 2024

How does live betting differ from traditional (pre-game) betting?

The fundamentals of live betting are the same as traditional betting before the match begins. The betting odds and lines all work the same way regardless of whether the game has already begun. 

The biggest difference between live betting and pre-game betting is the types of bets that are available. The vast majority of betting markets that are available pre-game are also available in-game, but various betting markets are only available after the game begins. 

The betting markets that are unique to live betting focus on specific moments during the game, such as the next play, the next pitch or the next point. Those types of bets would not make sense to offer before the game begins because they depend so heavily on unique situations during the game. Oddsmakers cannot realistically anticipate and therefore create the odds for those situations until the game is in progress. To learn more about betting in general and how each bet works, check out our full betting guides page.

Another difference between live betting and traditional (pre-game) betting is the frequency of changes to betting odds and lines. The probability associated with any sports betting market changes dramatically based on what is happening during a game and oddsmakers will adjust the odds and lines accordingly. Before a game begins, sportsbooks might make small updates to odds and lines several times a day. But once the game begins, those updates can occur in increments of seconds or minutes. 

To facilitate such rapid updates, traditional betting markets like moneylines, point spreads and totals will also be temporarily “frozen” at various times during a game as oddsmakers recalculate and update the odds. Examples of when betting markets might be frozen include after a touchdown in football, after a home run in baseball or when a key player gets injured. This allows the sportsbook to prevent bettors from placing overly advantageous bets with outdated odds that do not reflect the current game situation.

Bet $5 And Get $150
In Bonus Bets Instantly!
NO Code Required Claim bonus

21+ only (18+ KY/WY). Offer available in AZ/CO/CT/IA/IL/IN/KS/KY/LA(select parishes)/MA/MD/ME/MI/NC/NJ/NY/OH/PA/TN/VA/VT/WV/WY only. Void where prohibited. 1 per new customer only. Eligibility restrictions apply. Ends 8/18/24 at 11:59 PM ET. Min. deposit of $5. Min. first bet of $5. Reward issued as 6 Bonus Bets of $25 each. Bonus Bets expire in 7 days (168 hours) after being credited, are single-use and non-withdrawable. Stake removed from payout. See terms at sportsbook.draftkings.com/promos. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-522-4700 (NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org (CT), or visit www.1800gambler.net (WV). Data & text rates may apply. GAMBLING PROBLEM? CALL 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (AZ/CO/IA/IL/IN/KS/KY/LA/MD/ME/MI/NJ/OH/OR/PA/TN/VA/VT/WV/WY), (800) 327-5050 or visit gamblinghelplinema.org (MA). Call 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY).

Live betting across major sports

Some sports are better suited for live betting than others. Sports like football, baseball, and tennis have more frequent stops in the action, which creates more opportunities for live betting. But there are still plenty of live betting opportunities during sports with more continuous play like basketball and hockey. 

Below is an example of how live sports betting works in the four most popular team sports in the U.S. In all of these sports, virtually every betting market that is available pre-game is also available for live betting. Some betting markets are only available through live betting. The examples below summarize how pre-game markets could change during the game, as well as some betting markets that would only be available for live betting. These examples do not reflect exactly how sportsbooks would update the odds, but they are close approximations. 

NFL live betting

To illustrate NFL live betting, let’s consider a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Cincinnati Bengals with the following pre-game odds. 

TeamMoneylineSpreadTotal
Pittsburgh Steelers+115+4.5 (-110)Over 44.5 (-110)
Cincinnati Bengals-135-4.5 (-110)Under 44.5 (-110)
Game propOverUnder
Steelers total TDsOver 1.5 (-110)Under 1.5 (-110)
Bengals total TDsOver 2.5 (-110)Under 2.5 (-110)
Player propOverUnder
George Pickens receiving yardsOver 49.5 (-110)Under 49.5 (-110)
Ja’Marr Chase receiving yardsOver 82.5 (-110)Under 82.5 (-110)
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver George Pickens (14) runs on an eight-six yard touchdown reception as Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Germaine Pratt (57) and cornerback Chidobe Awuzie (22) chase during the first quarter at Acrisure Stadium.
USATSI

Here are some examples of how these odds might change during live betting:

Moneyline

If the Steelers score a touchdown on the first possession to go up 7-0, their odds of winning the game would slightly improve. The live moneyline odds could update to Steelers +105 and Bengals -125. The impact on the odds would be small because there is still plenty of time left in the game and the Bengals are still the favorites to win. However, if the Steelers score a touchdown in the 4th quarter to take a 24-17 lead, their odds to win the game would go way up. The Steelers would now be the favorites to win, and depending on how much time is remaining, the live moneyline odds in that scenario could be more like Steelers -150 and Bengals +130. If there was very little time remaining, the Steelers would be heavy favorites, with odds as short as -1000. 

Spread

Continuing that example, after the Steelers’ early touchdown the spread might see a small change in the live odds, such as Bengals -3.5 instead of -4.5. It could fluctuate throughout the game, but when it’s tied in the 4th quarter, the Bengals might still be -3.5 favorites. If the Steelers go up 24-17, there would be a more dramatic change. The Steelers could now be -3.5 favorites, or possibly higher if there is very little time remaining.

Total

In live betting, changes to the total will depend not only on how many points are being scored but also on how much time is remaining. After that early Steelers touchdown, the total might go up slightly, but it would not be surprising if the total did not move after just one early touchdown. However, if the score is 17-17 at halftime, the total would certainly be at least a few points higher, since the two teams would be on pace for 68 total points. That would be a very high-scoring game, and it’s not likely the teams would continue scoring at the same pace in the second half, so the total would more likely be in the high 40s or low 50s. 

Game props

After that early Steelers touchdown, the chances of the Steelers scoring over 1.5 touchdowns would be significantly higher. The line could move to 2.5 touchdowns, or the odds for over 1.5 could drop significantly to something like -200 or lower. 

Player props

The odds and lines for player props will change throughout a game based on how the player is performing and how much time is remaining. If George Pickens catches a 40-yard pass on the opening drive, his line could shoot up to something like 79.5. If Ja’Marr Chase has 50 yards at halftime, then his line might go up slightly since he would be on pace for 100 yards. If Tee Higgins gets injured early in the 3rd quarter and is ruled out for the rest of the game, then Chase’s line might go up a bit higher because he would now be expected to receive more targets after Higgins’ injury.

Up To $1,000 In A Bonus Bet
If Your First Bet Loses

Validated on: July 14, 2024

Claim bonus

Must be 21 or older and physically present in AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NY, NC, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, or WY. Void where prohibited. New users only. Must register using eligible promo code. First bet after registration must qualify. Max. Bonus Bet: $1,000 (amount equals to lost stake). Bonus Bet expires 14 days after receipt. Void where prohibited. See Caesars.com/promos for full terms. Know When To Stop Before You Start®. Gambling Problem? CO, IL, KY, MD, MI, NJ, OH, TN, VA, WV, WY, KS (Affiliated with Kansas Crossing Casino), LA (Licensed through Horseshoe Bossier City and Harrah’s New Orleans), ME (Licensed through the Mi’kmaq Nation, Penobscot Nation, and Houlton Band of Maliseet Indians, federally recognized tribes located in the State of Maine), NC (Licensed through Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise), PA (Affiliated with Harrah’s Philadelphia): If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, crisis counseling and referral services can be accessed by calling 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) or MD: visit mdgamblinghelp.org or WV: visit 1800gambler.net; AZ: Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP; IN: Call 1-800-9-WITH-IT; IA: Call 1-800-BETSOFF. Data & text rates may apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Hope is here. GamblingHelpLineMA.org or call (80‍0) 327-5‍050 for 24/7 support (MA). Call 1-877-8HOPE-NY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY).

Validated on: July 14, 2024

Exclusive live betting markets

There are some common NFL live betting markets that are not available before the game including bets on the outcome of the first play of a drive or on the outcome of the drive itself. For example, the “drive outcome” betting market could look like this at a sportsbook:

Team propsTouchdownField GoalPuntOther
Cincinnati Bengals: Current drive outcome+250+300+120+700
Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Ja'Marr Chase (1) turns downfield after completing a catch in the third quarter during a Week 17 NFL football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2023, at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
USATSI

This betting market could look slightly different from one sportsbook to the next. Some books might group touchdowns and field goals together as an “offensive score,” while others might include punts in the “other” category. The other outcomes covered by “other” include turnovers, missed field goals, blocked punts or field goals, or time expiring (at the end of the 2nd or 4th quarters). 

The odds for each outcome would change as the drive plays out. The above odds are representative of potential odds early in the drive, where a punt is often the most likely outcome. If the Bengals reached field goal range, the odds for a touchdown or field goal would likely drop below +200 while the odds for a punt could shoot up to as high as +1000. The situation in the game would also affect these odds. If the Bengals were trailing in the 4th quarter, they would be more likely to go for it on 4th down and the odds of them punting would be much longer. 

It’s also worth noting that some sportsbooks do not offer drive betting on every NFL or NCAA football game. Some bookmakers only offer this type of live betting on primetime or nationally televised games.

$200 Bet Match
For 5 Straight Days
NO Code Required Claim bonus

Must be 21+. New customers in AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, MA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, PA, TN, VT, VA, or WV only. Not available in OH. Void where prohibited. Must opt in (by navigating to the Discover or Promos page in the App) & place $5+ cash wager with odds of – 200 or longer to get a Bonus Bet match (up to $200) each day for 5 straight days. Your 5 days begin the day you sign up. Bonus Bets expire 7 days from issuance. Bonus bets amounts are non-withdrawable and winnings exclude bonus bet stake. Add’l Terms apply, see Fanatics Sportsbook app. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP or text NEXTSTEP to 53342 (AZ), (888) 789-7777 or http://ccpg.org (CT), or 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), or 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), or www.mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), or morethanagame.nc.gov (NC), or 1800gambler.net (WV). Data & text rates may apply. GAMBLING PROBLEM? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (CO/IL/KS/KY/MD/OH/MI/NC/PA/TN/VA/VT/WV), (800)-327-5050 or http://gamblinghelplinema.org (MA), Call (877-8-HOPENY) or text HOPENY (467369) (NY).

NBA live betting

To illustrate NBA live betting, let’s consider a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors with the following pre-game odds. 

TeamMoneylineSpreadTotal
Los Angeles Lakers+130+3 (-108)Over 212.5 (-110)
Golden State Warriors-155-3 (-112)Under 212.5 (-110)
Player propOverUnder
LeBron James points scoredOver 25.5 (-110)Under 25.5 (-110)
Stephen Curry 3-pointers madeOver 4.5 (+100)Under 4.5 (-130)
Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) dribbles the ball past Los Angeles Lakers guard Austin Reaves (15) in the third quarter at the Chase Center.
USATSI

Here are some examples of how these odds might change during live betting:

Moneyline

If the Warriors jump out to a huge lead in the first half and enter halftime with a score like 51-33, then their moneyline odds likely would drop to -200 or lower. Since it is still only the first half, even an 18-point lead is not insurmountable, but the Warriors would still be much bigger favorites than before the game. However, if the Lakers go on a 14-2 run to start the 3rd quarter, and cut the deficit to six, then the Warriors’ moneyline odds could move back up to around -180.

Spread

When the Warriors built a big lead at halftime, the spread would certainly move lower than -3, possibly closer to -10. That would prove to be a good time to bet on the Lakers, because after their big run to start the second half the spread would drop back down to single digits, perhaps around -5.5.

Total

With a halftime score of 51-33, the 84 total points scored would be well below the pace needed to reach the pre-game line of 212.5. That line would therefore be expected to move down, but it would not drop as low as 168 (two times the first half total). The oddsmakers could still anticipate the second-half scoring to be over 100 points and move the line to around 190. When the Lakers come out hot in the 3rd quarter, that line could get pushed up closer to 200.

Player props

If part of the Lakers’ low-scoring first half is that LeBron James only scores eight points, then the odds of him scoring over 25.5 would go down. In that scenario, the line on his points scored player prop might drop from 25.5 to around 20.5, or it’s possible the line could stay around 25.5 but with -150 odds on the under and +115 odds on the over. On the other hand, if Stephen Curry fuels the Warriors’ big first-half lead with three or four 3-pointers, then the line on his 3-pointers made prop could jump up to 6.5. It could also stay at 4.5 but with juice on the over, like -140 instead of +100.

Exclusive live betting markets

Basketball does not have nearly as many betting markets exclusively for live betting as other sports do. FanDuel Sportsbook offers live player quarter prop bets, where you are betting on how many points a player will score in a quarter. The 1st quarter is available pre-game, and every other quarter is available in-game only.

MLB live betting

To illustrate MLB live betting, let’s consider a game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Washington Nationals with the following pre-game odds. 

Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Edmundo Sosa (33) and Bryson Stott (5) celebrate with Bryce Harper (3) and Alec Bohm (28) after a victory against the Texas Rangers at Citizens Bank Park.
USATSI
TeamMoneylineRun lineTotal
Philadelphia Phillies-180-1.5 (+114)Over 8.5 (-110)
Washington Nationals+150+1.5 (-145)Under 8.5 (-120)
Player propOverUnder
Bryce Harper home runsOver 0.5 (+280)Under 0.5 (-425)
Zack Wheeler strikeoutsOver 6.5 (-105)Under 6.5 (-120)
Bet $5 And Get $150
In Bonus Bets Instantly!
NO Code Required Claim bonus

21+ only (18+ KY/WY). Offer available in AZ/CO/CT/IA/IL/IN/KS/KY/LA(select parishes)/MA/MD/ME/MI/NC/NJ/NY/OH/PA/TN/VA/VT/WV/WY only. Void where prohibited. 1 per new customer only. Eligibility restrictions apply. Ends 8/18/24 at 11:59 PM ET. Min. deposit of $5. Min. first bet of $5. Reward issued as 6 Bonus Bets of $25 each. Bonus Bets expire in 7 days (168 hours) after being credited, are single-use and non-withdrawable. Stake removed from payout. See terms at sportsbook.draftkings.com/promos. Please Gamble Responsibly. Call 1-800-522-4700 (NH), 888-789-7777/visit ccpg.org (CT), or visit www.1800gambler.net (WV). Data & text rates may apply. GAMBLING PROBLEM? CALL 1-800-GAMBLER (1-800-426-2537) (AZ/CO/IA/IL/IN/KS/KY/LA/MD/ME/MI/NJ/OH/OR/PA/TN/VA/VT/WV/WY), (800) 327-5050 or visit gamblinghelplinema.org (MA). Call 877-8-HOPENY/text HOPENY (467369) (NY).

Here are some examples of how these odds might change during live betting:

Moneyline

The Phillies open the game as a relatively heavy favorite, but the Nationals score two runs in the bottom of the 1st inning. In baseball, two runs might not seem like a huge lead, especially in the first inning, but every run can have a major impact on the odds because there are so few runs scored in every game. Those two runs could flip the Nationals’ moneyline odds from +150 to -200 or lower. If a few innings go by with no runs scored, and the Phillies’ chances to come back dwindle, those odds will move even further in the Nationals’ direction, perhaps as low as -800 by the middle of the game. It is very common to see moneyline odds lower than -1000 when a team has a multi-run lead late in the game.

Run line

Every MLB game has a run line (or spread) of 1.5 runs pre-game, with plus odds on the favorite and negative odds on the underdog, just like in this Phillies vs. Nationals example. However, if the Nationals scored two early runs, the spread would flip to at least Nationals -1.5, and possibly -2.5. If several innings pass without any scoring, the odds on the Nationals -1.5 could drop from -120 to closer to -200, and possibly lower if the score is still 2-0 in the 8th or 9th inning. Let’s say it’s still 2-0 in the top of the 8th inning, and the Phillies have the bases loaded with no outs. Those odds would move much closer to even money because the Phillies have a great scoring opportunity. But if the Nationals manage to escape without allowing a run, the odds would immediately drop even lower than before the inning started.

Total

The total will be dramatically affected by runs being scored and outs being recorded. After those two early runs were scored in this example, the total could jump to 10.5 or 11.5. However, if no more runs are scored, the total could fall to 4.5 by around the 6th inning, and by the 9th inning, it would likely be 2.5 or off the books.

Player props

Bryce Harper enters the game with +280 odds to hit a home run, but those odds will change after each plate appearance in which he does not hit a homer because that is now one less opportunity for him to do so. Many batter props will be removed from sportsbooks late in the game because it’s possible that the batter will not get another plate appearance. When it comes to pitchers, if Zack Wheeler strikes out four batters in the first two innings, then his strikeouts prop line could get bumped to 7.5. On the other hand, after he allowed a few early runs, it’s possible he could get pulled earlier than expected, which could cause his strikeout line to drop to 5.5 or lower, especially if he doesn’t record many early Ks.

Exclusive live betting markets

Because of the structure of a baseball game with brief pauses after every pitch, baseball offers more opportunities for live betting than any other team sport. Most sportsbooks offer a wide variety of in-game-only betting markets, with the most common being live bets on each batter’s plate appearance. Generally, sportsbooks will offer plate appearance prop bets on several batters’ first plate appearances during pre-game, then they will offer markets for 2nd and 3rd appearances (and so on) during the game. At DraftKings Sportsbook, those odds usually look something like this:

Bryce Harper – 2nd plate appearance – exact result
In play out (+100)Strikeout (+380)
Single (+400)Walk/hit by pitch (+750)
Double (+1100)Home run (+1400)
Triple (+2500)Reach on error (+2500)

Other sportsbooks could group those outcomes differently. For example, the choices at FanDuel Sportsbook include a single, extra-base hit, walk/HBP, strikeout or any other outcome. 

Bet $5, Get $200 In Bonus Bets
If Your Bet Wins
NO Code Required Claim bonus

21+ (18+ D.C.) and present in AZ, CO, CT, DC, IA, IL IN, KS, KY, LA (excluding certain perishes), MA, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, VT, WV, or WY. Void where prohibited. New Customer only. First online real money wager only. $10 first deposit required. Bonus issued as nonwithdrawable bonus bets which expire 7 days after receipt. Restrictions apply. See terms at sportsbook.fanduel.com. Expires on 7/28/2024 at 11:59 PM EST. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER or visit FanDuel.com/RG (CO, D.C., IA, KS (in affiliation with Kansas Star Casino), KY, LA, MI, NC, NJ, OH, PA, IL, TN, VA, VT, WY), 1-800-NEXT-STEP or text NEXTSTEP to 53342 (AZ), 1-888-789-7777 or visit ccpg.org/chat (CT), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), or visit ksgamblinghelp.com (KS), www.1800gambler.net (WV). Data & text rates may apply. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. Hope is here. GamblingHelpLineMA.org or call (800) 327-5050 for 24/7 support (MA). Visit www.mdgamblinghelp.org (MD). Call 1-877-8HOPE-NY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY).

NHL live betting

To illustrate NHL live betting, let’s consider a game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Toronto Maple Leafs with the following pre-game odds:

TeamMoneylinePuck lineTotal
Tampa Bay Lightning-190-1.5 (+130)Over 5.5 (-102)
Toronto Maple Leafs+160+1.5 (-155)Under 5.5 (-118)
Player propOverUnder
Nikita Kucherov pointsOver 1.5 (+180)Under 1.5 (-240)
Player propOdds
Auston Matthews anytime goal+120
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews (34) shoots the puck past New Jersey Devils forward Timo Meier (28) in the first period at Scotiabank Arena.
USATSI

Here are some examples of how these odds might change during live betting:

Moneyline

Hockey is similar to baseball in that every goal can dramatically impact the live odds because so few goals are scored in a game (similar to the scarcity of runs in baseball). So even if the Lightning enter the game as heavy favorites at -190, if Toronto scores the first goal of the game, then the moneyline will flip to favoring Toronto with something like -120 odds. If Tampa Bay were to tie it up, then they would likely become the favorites again. At that point, their live moneyline odds could be similar to their pre-game odds, but that would depend on factors like how the game is going and how the public is betting.

Puck line

Also similar to baseball’s run line, every NHL game starts with a puck line of 1.5, with negative odds on the favorite and (generally) plus odds on the underdog. If the Leafs scored an early goal, the puck line likely would shift to Leafs -0.5 or -1.5 with odds around even money. If the game continued with a 1-0 score well into the second or third period, then that puck line would stay the same but the odds would move further in the Leafs’ direction. However, if the Lightning equalized, they would once again become -0.5 or -1.5 favorites. On the other hand, if the Leafs made it 2-0, then they would probably jump to -2.5 favorites.

Total

The total will be dramatically affected by goals being scored and time elapsing. An early goal by Toronto could bump the total up by 0.5 or 1, depending on how early it was scored. A second goal in the first period would almost certainly bump up the total. On the other hand, if the first period ended scoreless, then the line would likely come down to 3.5 or 4.5, with shorter odds on the under.

Player props

Because he is one of the best players in the NHL and the league leader in total points, Nikita Kucherov enters with a prop line of 1.5 points instead of the more common line of 0.5, but the under on 1.5 is juiced up because of how difficult it is to record multiple points in a game, even for a player of Kucherov’s caliber. As time elapses without him recording a point, the odds on the under will get even lower, or the line could drop to 0.5 with odds closer to even money. On the other hand, if he records an early point, then the line would probably stay at 1.5 but the odds on both sides would be closer to even money. Similarly, the longer the game goes without Auston Matthews scoring a goal, the longer his odds would become.

Exclusive live betting markets

Hockey has several betting markets that are offered in-game only. One of the more common NHL live bets is on the player who will score the next goal. If the score is 1-1 or 2-0, then the odds would usually be listed under “3rd goal scorer.” Some sportsbooks also offer live betting markets for what type of goal will be scored next, such as an even strength, power play or shorthanded goal, and they could also distinguish between which team will score next. BetMGM Sportsbook also offers a unique live betting market based on five-minute increments. For example, you can bet on whether a goal will be scored between the 9:59 and 5:00 marks in the second period, and usually, you will have the option to bet on just one team or on either team to score a goal.

Bet $5 & Get $150
In Bonus Bets

Validated on: July 14, 2024

Claim bonus

21+ only (18+ in KY). Offer available in AZ/CO/IA/IN/KY/LA (select parishes)/NC/NJ/OH/VA. Void where prohibited. New customers only. Must claim offer within 30 days following registration. Deposit $10+ and place $5+ qualifying bet. Bonus bets are non-withdrawable and the Bonus Bets wager excluded from returns. Bonus Bets expire after 7 days. Add’l terms and restriction apply see at bet365.com. Data & text rates may apply. GAMBLING PROBLEM? CALL or TEXT 1-800-GAMBLER (AZ, CO, IN, KY, LA, NC, NJ, OH, VA) or 1-800-BETS OFF (IA).

Validated on: July 14, 2024

What strategies should you use when live betting?

Live betting can offer several advantages over traditional pre-game betting. Astute observers can sense the way the momentum is changing in a game and capitalize on that in live betting markets before the sportsbooks have a chance to catch up with updated odds. Here are a few strategies to help you beat the books with live betting.

Reduce uncertainty by waiting for live lines

For various reasons, it can be challenging to form a strong opinion about how a game will play out, which creates more uncertainty in pre-game betting markets. If you are struggling to get a good read on a particular matchup, forego placing pre-game bets and instead wait to see how the game is going early on. This strategy can offer several advantages.

This strategy is especially relevant if some key players in a game are injured and are questionable to play. Even if they are announced as active shortly before the game begins, there could still be some uncertainty about how effective they will be and how much playing time they will get. Frequently you can tell pretty early whether a player is affected by a lingering injury. By waiting until you can watch the player’s first couple of minutes, you can make a much more well-informed decision about what bets to place and the live lines might not change much after just a few minutes of action.

Another benefit to waiting until early in a game to place bets is that you can get more favorable odds, especially if the odds move sharply based on early action. Let’s say you want to bet on the Houston Astros moneyline against the Kansas City Royals, but you don’t see enough value in the -200 pre-game moneyline. If the Royals score an early run, or if the game starts with a few scoreless innings, the moneyline could drop much closer to even money or even into plus odds. If you’re still confident that the Astros will win the game, then you can get much better value on the live moneyline bet. 

Kansas City Royals catcher Salvador Perez (13) and relief pitcher James McArthur (66) celebrate defeating the Seattle Mariners during the ninth inning at T-Mobile Park.
USATSI

The key to this strategy is to have a number in mind that you want to bet and to watch the line early on in a game to see if it reaches that number. This way you can be prepared to move quickly, but you also need to be disciplined enough not to bet if the odds never reach the number you want.

Hedge your pre-game bets to minimize losses and guarantee profits

Another great live betting strategy is to minimize potential losses or guarantee a profitable outcome by hedging your pre-game bets in the live betting markets. 

Let’s say you bet on the Orlando Magic to beat the Miami Heat as +180 underdogs before the game. The Magic jump out to an early lead and your bet is looking good, but you know the Heat could still come back to win the game. You could just trust your pre-game bet and let it ride, but you could also hedge it by betting on the Heat’s live moneyline.

Say the Heat’s moneyline is now +110 because they are trailing. If you had bet $20 on the Magic at +180 pre-game, which would win $36 if it hits, then you could now bet $20 on the Heat to guarantee a profit. If the Magic win, you would win $16 instead of $36 (because of the $20 you lost on the Heat). If the Heat win, you would win $22 on that live bet, which would cover your losses on the Magic bet and yield a modest $2 profit – still better than losing!

You won’t always be able to guarantee profits by hedging pre-game bets with live bets, but frequently you can at least minimize your losses. 

Up To $500 In Bonus Bets
If Your Bet Loses

Validated on: July 14, 2024

Claim bonus

Must be 21+. Offer available in IL, IN, LA, MD, MI, PA, or VA. Void where prohibited. New players only. Min. $10 deposit. Bonus bet equal to losses on first real-money wager (up to max. designated amount). Expires 30 days from issuance. Min. odds and other restrictions apply. Winnings exclude amount of bonus bet. Visit BetRivers.com for full T&Cs. (LA) In partnership with Bossier Casino Venture, Inc. d/b/a Margaritaville Resort Casino. Data & text rates may apply. GAMBLING PROBLEM? CALL 1-800-GAMBLER or Call 1-877-8HOPE-NY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY).

Validated on: July 14, 2024

More live betting questions

Let’s cover a few final important questions about live betting.

How are live betting lines determined?

Sportsbooks use a combination of automated algorithms and human analysts to determine all of their betting odds and lines, including live betting lines. The biggest factors that influence live betting lines are the score of the game and the time remaining. For player prop markets, the player’s statistical performance in the game is the most important factor, along with the time remaining. Some other factors that could influence live betting lines are player injuries and public betting trends.

How and when do live betting lines move?

Betting lines move during live games based on what is happening in the game, and they can change very frequently. In some cases, the betting lines could be updated every few seconds or at least every few minutes. Of course, the direction and the frequency of movement on live betting lines depends on the type of bet and the action in the game. 

One important note is that live betting lines will frequently be “locked” or “frozen” for short periods during a game. Sportsbooks temporarily stop taking bets on live betting markets after key moments in a game to give themselves time to recalculate and republish the betting odds based on the most recent game results. Some examples of when betting markets may be frozen include after a touchdown in football, after a home run in baseball or when any scoring play is under replay review. 

How do sportsbooks make money on live bets?

Sportsbooks make money on live bets the same way they make money on any betting market. One of the main ways they make money is through the “vig,” short for vigorish, which is essentially the implied fee the sportsbook charges for taking the bet.

When the odds for a bet are negative, such as -110, the winning bet wins less than $1 for every $1 they bet. At -110 odds, an $11 bet would only win $10 profit. While the sportsbook loses $10 on that bet, it also earns $11 if an equivalent bet loses. On two different $11 bets, one on each side, they would be guaranteed a $1 profit. That $1 is the “vig.”

Assuming there is an equal amount of money wagered on both sides of any betting market, the “vig” guarantees that the sportsbook will be profitable on that bet, regardless of the outcome. Sportsbooks will move the betting lines – including live betting lines – to increase the chances that they will have an equal amount of money bet on both sides of any bet, therefore guaranteeing a profit in most cases. 

While sportsbooks will lose money on some bets, especially bets with plus odds, over the long term the “vig” ensures that they will always be profitable. 

Up To $1,500 In Bonus Bets
If Your First Bet Loses

Validated on: July 14, 2024

Claim bonus

Must be 21+. Min. first deposit of $10. New customers only. Subject to eligibility requirements. Rewards are non-withdrawable bonus bets that expire in 7 days. Bonus bets amount equals lost stake. Must be physically located in NC, NJ, IN, WV, DC, CO, PA, MI, IA, AZ, LA, TN, IL, VA, MD, MS, WY, MA, KS, OH, or KY. Void where prohibited. In partnership with Kansas Crossing Casino and Hotel. Add’l terms apply – see BetMGM.com. Please Gamble Responsibly. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-NEXT-STEP or text NEXTSTEP to 53342 (AZ), 1-800-BETS-OFF (IA), (888) 789-7777 or ccpg.org (CT), 1-800-981-0023 (PR), 1-800-9-WITH-IT (IN), or www.mdgamblinghelp.org (MD), or morethanagame.nc.gov (NC), 1800gambler.net (WV). Data & text rates may apply. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER (Available in the US) Call 877-8-HOPENY or text HOPENY (467369) (NY) Call 1-800-327-5050 or visit GamblingHelpLineMA.org (MA).

Validated on: July 14, 2024

What are the pros and cons of live betting?

One of the biggest pros of live betting is that skilled bettors with strong knowledge of a certain sport and a keen ability to sense momentum in a game can spot very favorable odds before sportsbooks have a chance to adjust them. Since oddsmakers rely heavily on statistics and data to set the odds, bettors who can react to non-quantifiable factors in a game can gain an edge through live betting. 

The other big pro of live betting is that it allows bettors to hedge their pre-game bets. When done carefully, live betting can also allow bettors to either reduce their losses or potentially guarantee a profit. 

The biggest disadvantage of live betting is that the odds move so quickly, and it can be very difficult to place your bets at the perfect moment to get the odds you want. Live betting can be very fast-paced and frenetic, which may not be enjoyable for some sports bettors.

Another con with live betting is that technical issues can cause bettors to miss favorable betting opportunities, or even worse – mistakenly make unfavorable bets. A television broadcast or live stream being delayed can cause bettors to place bets based on slightly outdated information, or a bad internet connection could prevent them from getting bets confirmed before the odds change. 

Finally, the flip side of live odds movement sometimes creating favorable odds, is that it can also create unfavorable odds. If you wait until a game begins hoping to get slightly better odds, the odds could instead move in the other direction, and you will wish you had placed your bet before the game. 

FAQ

What is live sports betting? 

Live sports betting is when sports bettors place wagers on a game in real time while the game is being played, rather than placing the wagers before the game or match begins. 

What is the difference between pre-game and live betting?

The main difference between pre-game and live betting is when the bets are placed – before the game starts, or while it is being played. Betting odds will also change much more frequently when a game is live compared to before it starts. There are also some bets that can only be placed in-game. 

What is the best live betting strategy?

One of the best strategies for live betting is to look for early changes in betting odds that create favorable betting opportunities, such as when an underdog jumps out to an early lead and you can bet on the favorite with much better odds. 

What are the advantages of live betting?

The main advantage of live betting is that skilled sports bettors can find more favorable odds than they could have found before the game. Another advantage is that savvy sports bettors can hedge their pre-game bets with live bets to minimize losses or guarantee profits.

What are the disadvantages of live betting? 

The main disadvantage of live betting is that the odds change very quickly, and it can be difficult and sometimes frustrating to place bets before the odds change. Another disadvantage is that live odds can be less favorable than the odds that were available before the game.