Live, in-play betting presents numerous opportunities for the punter who can sit down and watch games in their entirety. Where traditional bets must be placed before the match, in-play wagers allow you to take a proactive role and place bets in real time as the match progresses. Not only is it more exciting, it is also potentially more profitable.
On the other side, live betting can be a little too fun. It’s easy to place poorly-researched wagers or make too many bets if you’re not careful. Live betting may be fun and fast-paced, but it should still be approached with the same sense of caution and serious intent as traditional sports betting. The following three tips may seem a little obvious for experienced punters, but I’d like to stress just why they are so important so you can avoid some of the pitfalls that trip up many people.
1. Set a limit on the size and number of bets you will place
Bankroll management always has been and always will be a key component to success in sports betting. The common advice for traditional sports betting is to never place a single wager that is greater than 5% of your total bankroll. If you want to be even more conservative, you can impose lower limits in the range of 2-3%.
This advice also applies to live betting but with one key difference. Don’t just set a 5% limit for each bet; set a maximum limit of 5% for your total action on any one game. In other words, the total sum of your in-play watchers during any match should not exceed 5% of your greater bankroll. If you just go with the standard 5% per wager, all it takes is 5 bets to have a quarter of your bankroll in play. One bad play or one unexpected outcome would be all it takes to decimate a big chunk of your bankroll.
So before you hop online for a session of live betting, set a plan for how many bets you’ll place and how large each bet will be. You then need to stick with that plan no matter what happens during the game. Once you hit your limit, stop betting and let the chips fall where they may. It is vital that you stick with the plan every time. Otherwise, it is all too easy to get carried away and risk more than you ever intended.
2. Bet only on matches between teams or athletes with whom you are familiar
This is another obvious one, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless. Live betting is all about momentum. Stick with the teams you know so you can accurately predict how they react to situations. Is it normal for your team to start slow? How does your team react to giving up the lead early? Does your team know how to maintain a lead once it has one?
These are questions you can only answer with any accuracy for teams or athletes you know well. For example, you may notice that your favorite tennis player/boxer/football team seems to be having an uncharacteristic off day. Maybe it’s because of behind-the-scenes drama, an injury or any other number of factors. When you deal only with teams you know well, it’s easy to spot things that are out of the ordinary.
3. Know where to find the most up to date information
Live betting is a battle of information, and time is money when it comes to getting that information. The faster you can see what’s happening on the field, the easier it is to take advantage of favorable lines. If you get the information quickly enough, you can sometimes even catch a guaranteed winner such as placing a bet on “who will score next” immediately after you see a someone score in real time but before the bookmaker closes the bet.
However, you have to be careful with this because oddsmakers have been known to close accounts on people who routinely beat the system with up to date information. This isn’t an angle to attack constantly, but it does display why speedy information is so important.
Interestingly, “live” television is often the slowest source of information thanks to broadcasting delays that can be anywhere from 5 to 30 seconds. Sports radio is usually pretty up to date with almost no delay, so it’s worth finding your game on the radio if possible.
Some people push it to the limit by actually attending matches in person and relaying their wagers via mobile phone to someone back home betting online. This is called “courtsiding” and is a known problem in tennis. In fact, Australia considers it a crime to attend sporting events for the purpose of getting an information advantage for live betting. A 22-year old was arrested last year at the Australian Open and faced up to 10 years in prison for the charges. Luckily for him, the charges were eventually withdrawn.
Wes Burns co-founded BettingWebsites.com, bringing 15 years as a gambling industry expert to the team.