Last Updated on 09/18/2022
Fact checked by: Mike Goodpaster
More and more sports betting fans are opting to place in-play wagers. This is a great way of adding an extra level of excitement to your sports watching experience. And, it can also be a great way of finding excellent value in the markets.
Our aim is to make sure you get the most out of your in-play betting. This short guide to in-play betting systems will help you to put together your very own in-play betting strategy. We will look at the pros and cons of betting in-play and give you some expert tips for your in-play betting.
Before we go on to outline some in-play betting strategies it is important to give you a firm understanding of the in-play betting meaning.
In-play betting refers to placing bets on an event whilst it is in progress. The odds on in-play markets change rapidly, as the oddsmakers take into account the way the event is progressing.
Many in-play betting markets are the same as for pre-game betting, but there are a few markets that are only applicable for in-play betting – for example ‘next team/player to score’.
There are many in-play betting systems and strategies. All have their merits, but what we have selected are going to focus on three in-play betting strategies that can be applied to a wide variety of sports.
This might sound slightly obvious and not very profitable, but if done correctly, betting on the favorite can be an extremely astute in-play betting strategy. Here is how you can make betting on the favorite work for you:
Let’s say that the Dallas Cowboys are playing the New York Giants. Pre-game, the moneyline is:
At the start of the game, the Giants score a touchdown on the opening possession of the game and take a 7-0 lead. Because of this, the prices change to:
Whilst the Giants have a points advantage, the reality is that the Cowboys have over three quarters to turn the game around, they have the next possession (as well as receiving the ball at the start of the second half) and they are the superior team. Essentially, they still have an excellent chance of winning the game, but the odds of them doing so are more preferential.
Of course, should the Giants extend their lead then the odds will change again. If that happens, you need to decide the best time to place your bet on the Cowboys. But bear in mind that if the Giants have a good-sized lead late in the game (or there are other factors such as injuries) they may well upset the form book and win the game.
This principle can be applied to many other sports – such as tennis, soccer, basketball and baseball. You place a bet on the favorite after the odds have lengthened, but they still have plenty of time to win the event.
To use the same example, let’s say that the Giants and Cowboys are locked at 17-17 heading into the final quarter. It is effectively a one quarter game and the in-play moneyline is:
The Cowboys are now a much more appealing price than they were at the start of the game, but they still have a fantastic chance of winning. Again, you need to factor in any injuries or other on-field issues that are occurring in the game, but in many cases betting on the favorite late on in a close game can be a very astute strategy.
Of course, sport can be wildly unpredictable and upsets are commonplace. If you do bet on the favorite, but the game does not swing in their favor, then you can recoup some (or occasionally all) of your expected losses by betting on the other team/player.
For example, you place an early in-play bet on Andy Murray to beat Grigor Dimitrov in a five set game. The game goes to a fifth set but Murray is clearly carrying an injury, so Dimitrov is now the big favorite to win. If you now place a bet on Dimitrov, you will incur a much smaller loss on your Murray bet. But if Murray wins, your profit will be much smaller due to the fact you have hedged your bet.
In all of the above scenarios, you need to carefully think about whether the favorite is still the value bet and how much you want to wager. We will give you some top tips relating to this further on in the article.
Now let’s look at the relative advantages and disadvantages of placing in-play bets using the above systems.
Oddsmakers know what they are doing. So when they set a team/player as the favorite, they will have done a lot of research in order to form that opinion. As such, there is an excellent chance that the event will back up their prediction and the favorite will prevail.
As the examples in the previous section show, the in-play betting system of choosing the favorite often leads to preferential odds because of what happens in the early stages. Live odds change extremely rapidly, so by keeping a close eye on the event you can spot the optimum time to place your bet.
Betting in-play means that you can see some of the action before placing your bet. This enables you to get insights into how the event is progressing and subsequently make informed decisions.
Upsets are regular occurrences in all sports, which means that your bet on the favorite is never a guaranteed winner. As with all sports bets, an in-play bet on the favorite is not a guaranteed winner.
Sports events and live odds both change rapidly. In order to find the optimum time to place your bet, you need to pay very close attention to what is happening. If you are multitasking whilst watching the game, this could present a big problem.
Research is a key part of sports betting, but if you are betting in-play you have very little time with which to conduct any meaningful research. Both the odds and the event can change instantly, so placing bets needs to be more instinctive than when you place pre-game bets.
Placing in-play bets requires plenty of thought and plenty of skill. To help you out, our betting experts have put together their five ultimate tips for your in-play betting:
Whilst you won’t be placing your bet pre-game, it is still imperative that you research your bets as if you are. That will enable you to spot value in the markets and establish a clear idea of who you think will win. That will come in very useful when you are looking at in-play markets.
The in-play betting strategy of betting on the favorite in a close game is a solid one, unless there are factors which will significantly change the likelihood of the favorite winning. For instance, an injury to a key player or weather conditions that favor the underdog. By paying close attention to the game you can make informed decisions on if and when to back the favorite.
In reality, there are many fixtures that do not provide suitable in-play betting opportunities. Rather than placing a bet on these fixtures, you should move on to another game and look for value there. Do not place a bet, just for the sake of it. Be patient and look at a variety of fixtures in order to find the best value.
Most online sportsbooks offer you a cash out function on in-play bets. Whilst cashing out of your bet will not give you the full value of your potential win, it does mean that you can lock in a profit, and not incur a loss if the bet is unsuccessful. Pay close attention to the cash out value of the bets you place and try to identify when the cash out options represents good value.
This important tip applies to all forms of online betting. When you join a sportsbook, you will have the option of using a safer gambling tool. This tool allows you to set limits on the amount of time and money you spend using an operator. We highly recommend that you always use this tool when you sign up for a sports betting operator. It will help ensure you do not incur any uncomfortable losses whilst in-play betting, meaning you can stay in control of your budget.
In-lay betting is a strategy used by many sports betting fans, but there are a number of other potential profitable betting strategies available to players. Here are just three of them:
This involves both backing and laying the same bet in order to take advantage of promotions offered by operators. It is a very low risk method betting strategy and effectively removes the gambling aspect of sports betting.
A Pick Three betting strategy involves placing a bet on the winner of three consecutive horse races. To win your Pick Three bet, all three of your horses must win their race. A Pick Three strategy that works often offers some of the best value you will find in sports betting.
Arbitrage betting takes advantage of the odds discrepancies between sportsbook operators. By placing bets on all possible market outcomes using a variety of different operators, you can often guarantee yourself a small profit regardless of the outcome.
An in-play betting system can be a fantastic way of enhancing your sports betting experience. But you need to stick to a few important rules.
Only place in-play bets if you are closely following the event. Betting in-play when you do not have a full picture of what is happening in an event can lead to poor decisions. Also, make sure you still conduct your extensive pre-game research. You will not have any time to do much research whilst the event is taking place, so give yourself as much information as possible before the event begins.
Finally, in-play betting is an exciting way of wagering, but it still has the same risks as pre-game betting. So ensure you stick to your budget, set safer gambling controls and only bet with amounts you would be comfortable losing. Looking for more guides? We’ve got tried and tested soccer betting strategies right here.
Yes as long as you are at least 21 years of age and located in a state where gambling is legal. Although state gambling laws are constantly under review and subject to alteration. Please regularly check our guides for the latest legal situation in your state.
That comes down to the individual. You need to consider your budget, how risk-averse you are and a number of other factors. Read our guides to each betting strategy such as our pick 3 strategy guide to learn more.
Again, this is an individual choice, but generally speaking, the longer a sport lasts the easier it is to place in-play bets. Sports like horse racing are very difficult to place in-play bets on as the action moves extremely fast and typically only lasts a couple of minutes. On the other hand, sports like golf and cricket are ideal for in-play betting as the markets are much slower moving and you have more time to assess the value. You can find out more about betting strategies for individual sports by reading guides such as our look at football betting strategies.