Live betting: The odds are dancing

Are there any secret rules in live betting? Many say that this way of wagering is like a different game, totally different from pre-match betting. What's the reason behind this belief? In live betting you have to consider an additional factor: The time that's ticking away.

Live betting encompasses everything that makes punting so beautiful: Placing bets on the best odds you can find and with the best possible confirmation chances. Before the match those two aspects do not exist: All you must take into account are the odds and the pre-match data. During live betting, however, the odds change with every minute, sometimes even within mere seconds.

Match data changes too, even some that can only be measured through intuition. You might see a team wringing their opponent, earning consecutive corner kicks, making shots on goal but not managing to score and you realize that their chances of getting a goal have got really high. That’s a weapon you can't get your hands on when deciding to bet pre-match.

You have to be careful, though. Every weapon, as deadly as it might seem, can easily backfire. A hasty misjudgement, a distorted belief in non-existent opportunities or a mistimed conclusion can and will cost you a lot of money. You could lose your entire bankroll a lot faster than you might imagine.

Live betting is never easy

If we were to write a book dedicated solely to in play betting, the first chapter would have the title above. Sure, you might win a few easy bets within minutes, you could even feel you’re a fortune teller, as some of your predictions could be proved right in a short period of time, but remember: Online bookmakers are not in the business of giving away money.

By giving you the chance to bet live (even by watching the match live at their website) they're not trying to help you get rich. On the contrary, they’re creating an illusion that you have every weapon on your side. In full honesty, they’re just messing with your mind and are trying to rush you into getting a price that will supposedly be gone soon.

Time and Money

Let’s get back to the start: Before you bet, you have to realize that the odds do not change due to a spontaneous bookmaker decision, but according to sophisticate software, that takes notice of two crucial factors: The precise time frame and the exact amount of money staked on every market.

The first factor is obvious. As time goes by, the current result’s odds are dropping and the other markets are rising. If a match remains goalless at half time, the odds for a final draw will naturally be lower compared to the start of the match. Depending on the match facts, teams and league the odds for a draw will vary, however they can drop almost at a 40% rate.

What does accept downwards odds movement mean?

This is a typical message during in-play betting when the bookie will lower or raise the odds for any number of reasons. For example you might be looking to bet on an under 2.5 market and by the time you are ready to confirm your bet, the bookmaker will change his prices. Some betting sites will let you tick a box where you automatically accept any odds movement during bet placement. You can find out more about odds movements on our detailed guide on dropping odds.

The pattern changes

You shouldn’t imagine, though, that odds are altered by a single person who is closely watching the match and is manually changing the prices according to his estimations. There are pre-set odds patterns, in which odds are changing according to the remaining time. The live betting agent simply has to apply the right pattern and be careful to monitor all the match facts: Goals, cards, penalties, corner kicks etc.

Match facts, don’t tell the every match's story though. A team could have over 70% possession, dozens of shots on goal and still not manage to score. This is something the bookie has to take into account. As the draw odds drop, the team that is constantly attacking will have lower odds compared to the defending team. Having been present on these occasions, we've often seen agents asking for a supervisor’s advice to change the pattern into one that fits the match facts. You may at times have noticed that during a live betting session the odds “freeze” for a while without a particular reason (goal, penalty, red card etc.). This is usually the case when an agent is changing the pattern.

Playing with the bookie's fear

What about the money behind the numbers? The turnover every bet has received is a crucial factor on how a bookmaker will set the odds. Sometimes you might notice that the odds for a home team’s win will change only slightly during the first half, even if no team breaks the deadlock. Why does this happen? Simply because the bookie is afraid of increasing the favorite’s odds beyond a certain limit.

Have you ever noticed that sometimes the odds of a favorite are rising or dropping even if the score remains the same? That’s due to the amount of bets the home team is receiving. If a team is “expected” to win even if they don't perform to their peak, increasing their odds would attract more bets as time goes by. In order to avoid taking a huge risk, the bookie decides to limit the favorite’s odds and avoid paying a lot of money in case the favorite wins. This is your time to strike as the bookie is basically gambling at this point. To put it plainly, it's like clinging to pocket aces on a straight board on texas hold em poker.

The right odds, at the right price

betting types on politicsThe only thing you have to do to find valuable odds during live betting is try to take advantage of these “automatic” odds changes, before the bookie changes the patterns. We must warn you though though that although this can happen several times during a match, spotting these opportunities is not easy. In some second rate matches, that have attracted little to any bets, pattern changes are less frequent. This means that you can find an interesting number of “inconsistent” odds compared to how you believe the match unfolds. Obviously, you won’t win every time you wager, however, you significantly increase your chances of placing a value bet.

Get the "right" odds

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