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Sports Betting 101: Live Betting Explained

Mark "Chas" Filardi Jul 21st 9:58 AM EDT.

Handicapping Is Past Tense

There are as many ways to handicap games as there are sports bettors.

Some are all over the stats, while others are all about looking at the matchups. Football bettors can begin looking at the numbers for the next week on Sunday nights, even before the last game of the day is final.

It doesn’t matter what sport you like to have action on, all aspects of handicapping have the same thing in common. There’s no difference if you’re looking at the numbers or watching videos of previous games.

Player stats, team standings, almost everything you do as handicappers involves dealing with information from the past. The best sports bettors in the business take in all the knowledge they can and use that to extrapolate what they think will happen in the future, that next game.

Learn more about the basics of sports betting!

What Is Live Betting

That’s exactly why Live Betting should be a big part of your sports wagering bankroll. It has the reason right in its title, they call it LIVE betting. Some books may just call it live, others may use terms like in a game or in play, but they all have the same definition.

Live action is when you make a wager on an event that has already started. Your bets that are placed before the games begin are made based on assumptions. Wagers made live, after a game has started, are based on what you’re watching right now.

It’s what makes this type of wagering the most important tool any handicapper can have in their toolbox. Of course, if somehow in 2022, you were able to get your hands on a copy of the 2000-2050 edition of Grays Sports Almanac, you really wouldn’t need Live Action.

Throughout a game, as it progresses and things change, so do the live betting odds and point spreads. Some matches may have as many as 400 or more possible wagers once it begins. The information for these wagers is constantly changing.

The sides, wagers involving the teams, and the totals, the wagers that involve the score, sometimes move so fast that you’re not even able to confirm your wager. 

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Why Is Live Betting So Important?

Sports books are very good at what they do. Teams may not be evenly matched, but the sportsbooks' use of odds and point spreads can level the playing field rather quickly. Sure, the Yankees are better than the Reds, but are they 1.5 runs better? Are they good enough for you to risk $375 of your hard-earned money only to win $100 in return?

Live betting is important because it allows you to benefit from changes in the various lines. The point spreads and other numbers are adjusted as the game moves along based on what has happened in the event up to that point. If the total combined points for a football game is set pregame at 45 and late in the first quarter the game remains scoreless, the book will reduce that number accordingly.

You may have bet Over 45 before the game began and now that same wager may be available at 36 points. If your team was favored by 9 when the game kicked off, they’ll have to win by 10 or more for you to cash a ticket. When, on the first drive of the game they throw an interception that’s returned by the other team for a touchdown, your team is now trailing by 7 and will need 17 points to cover the original spread.

The live betting point spread will adjust to the new score and offer that same wager, the one you originally had at 9, to maybe 3 or 4. The same exact team that started the game needing to win by nine now only has to win by that new number for people that wager on it in Live action.

How Can You Use Live Betting To Win More Sports Bets?

There are quite a few ways to use live action to help you win more bets. The top three scenarios with sports betting happen to all handicappers.

Sometimes you’re right, other times you’re wrong and occasionally, you just didn’t have enough knowledge to extrapolate what was going to happen and so you decided to pass on that wager.

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Sometimes You’re Right

When your handicapping is spot on, life is definitely more pleasurable. Sometimes, you can tell right away. The team you’re betting is dominating early, exactly as you thought they would be. In the past, Before Live Action (BLA) the only benefit you could get from nailing your pick was a stress-free enjoyable viewing experience.

Live action plays allow you to win more bets with the same handicapping. You can invest in taking a larger point spread, make some team total plays on the over for your team or even add a play or two on the Under for your opponent.

Sometimes You’re Wrong

Ever have a game where right away you’re thinking this ain’t good. Even great handicappers are wrong a lot. In the world BLA, there wasn’t much you could do when that happened. You accept defeat, say next and maybe watch another game.

Most sports books offer you an alternative. You can use live wagering to minimize some of the financial damage imposed by your handicapping inaccuracy. Betting the other team, taking another stand with your original play but at a more favorable spread or odds and team totals can help you cash tickets on a game where you were wrong.

Sometimes You Don't Know

Finally, sometimes in handicapping you’ll pass on a game because your not sure what’s going to happen, and it could go either way. Live action is perfect for this situation. Seeing what’s happening for that game in the present allows you to look at all those live play opportunities and make a couple bucks on a game you originally were avoiding.

Every game in every sport offers live betting opportunities. If you’re not already allocating a portion of your bankroll to live action, you should start now. Live betting is the only aspect of handicapping that happens in the present. Take advantage of it.

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