Betting Guides

In-Play Betting Strategy

By Dean Smith

In Play betting strategy

Published: 12:28, 31 May 2023 | Updated: 11:42, 18 December 2023

In-play betting also called live betting, allows players to place wagers on a live sporting event. The excitement and popularity of this type of betting come from making real-time decisions and reacting to changes in a game or event.

But one of the keys to success for in-play betting is having a solid strategy, as it can help you take a more analytical than emotional approach.

This page looks at some of the essential aspects of in-play betting.

Understanding the Basics of In-Play Betting

In-play betting involves making bets on something like a football match while it is happening. 

At any reputable online bookmaker, you will see live markets and browse them to select options just as you would for pre-match bets. 

The big difference between the two is the timing, as in-play betting involves reacting to what is happening at a given moment.

Also, unlike pre-match odds, the odds for in-play outcomes will constantly change during the game based on what’s happening and the time left on the clock.

Choosing the Right Sports for In-Play Betting

In-play betting markets are found in various sports, from football to rugby, golf and snooker. 

But here are some sports that fit in-play betting particularly well:

Football can be fast-paced, but there are often periods between significant moments like a goal, a substitution or a red card. That’s good for watching live markets. As football betting is so popular, the range of in-play markets is phenomenal, and the odds are primarily favourable. 

Tennis is another sport that is ideal for in-play betting. There are natural breaks in a match, allowing you to read the flow of things and dive into markets like Next Game or Next Set winner options. 

The different formats of cricket also provide great variety for in-play betting. There’s the slower pace of the Test matches compared to the rapid-fire, high-scoring thrills of Twenty20 action from the likes of the IPL. But again, the game has natural breaks and moments like a wicket’s fall drastically change market odds.

Research & Analysis

It’s common for punters to research statistics for pre-match bets, and the same should be done for in-play betting. The goal is to set yourself in a position where you are ready to react to situations based on sound reasoning instead of impulse. 

Research for live football betting could involve how a favourite reacts when falling 1-0 behind in the first 30 minutes of a match. Or during which 15-minute period a team scores most of their goals.

Through analysis, you will know what to do and when. In addition, the research you do will lead to strategies in-play like “lay the draw”, which combines pre-match and in-play markets. 

In this strategy, a punter lays the draw before kick-off and then waits in-play to back the draw when a team goes 1-0 up, as that’s when the odds on a draw lengthen significantly.

Identifying Favorable Betting Opportunities

Identifying the best in-play betting opportunities requires careful analysis. It also helps to deeply understand the sport you are betting on, as you’ll have a working knowledge of teams, players and current form.

The best in-play betting opportunities typically occur when a significant change in the game’s status, like a goal being scored. Those moments shift the market odds, so stay focused and be ready to react.

Learn to Manage Your Bankroll & Stakes

Part of an in-play strategy will also involve knowing how much you will bet and when. Managing the bankroll is extremely important for in-play betting. It’s an exciting form of wagering, and punters can get swept up into placing bets they hadn’t planned on making.

Those are emotional bets that don’t have sound reasoning and can be wasteful. Setting your bankroll and budgeting it into individual stakes helps you manage your money. Common practice is taking 2-5% of your overall bankroll for a stake.

Managing Emotions & Psychological Factors

Emotions can undoubtedly creep into in-play betting. Therefore, managing those emotions and psychological factors is crucial. Setting a budget can help you avoid chasing losses and making impulsive bets based on emotions. 

It’s essential to stay focused on your set in-play betting strategy to avoid making wagers based on gut feelings or emotional attachments to a particular team, which is all part of risk management.

Stick to your strategy and also only make bets when there is value. Allow yourself to take a break as well. In-play betting can get intense, so give yourself space to recharge and refresh.

In-Play Betting Timing & Execution

The timing of placing wagers is a big part of successful in-play betting, as you want to strike when the odds fluctuate in your favour. This all goes back to having an in-play strategy. 

If, for example, you can wait 25 minutes with the scoreline at 0-0 and then plan to bet Over 1.5 goals in-play, the odds will be more favourable on the same option compared to pre-match.

When a team scores, the odds of the other team winning increases. So if a match favourite has fallen behind, it could provide a significant opportunity to back them for the win at better-than-pre-match odds. 

Utilising Live Streaming & Match Visualisation

Whether through a live stream or TV, try to ensure you watch the game you are betting on. That helps to identify opportunities better. 

While watching, it’s a good idea to have a betting app to hand to keep track of the live odds related to the match you are watching. Also, on the in-play pages of a football match on a betting site, you will see relevant statistics that can help you plot your next move. 

Putting all that together could lead you to pick out value bets, opportunities where the odds don’t quite reflect the game’s current status.

Hedging & Cash-Out Options

One final area to consider is hedging and cash-out options. But, again, these tools can be worked into your in-play betting strategy. For example, when the cash-out option is available for a live bet, you can settle that wager before the event ends.

If you have backed a team to win which has taken a lead early in the second half, you could wait for a little and judge the game’s flow. Does that team look comfortable holding their lead? Maybe if they are still ahead after 70 minutes, you could settle early with the bookie instead of facing a stressful last 20 minutes. 

Hedging is a little more complicated regarding research time in finding the right odds. However, it’s an example of covering all match outcomes, like with the ‘lay the draw’ scenario above on this page. 

Hedging can be done in many ways, like backing a team to win pre-match and taking a Draw No Bet in-play on the other options. Either way, strategies and tools can drastically improve and help your in-play betting.