Live Sports Betting Guide for Bettors

One of the fastest-growing betting markets is live sports betting. Wagers placed before a game are viewed as pre-game or pre-live bets, but any bet placed during a game while it is still in progress is considered a live bet. This presents a whole new world of strategy and potential winnings for professional and casual bettors alike.

In this comprehensive guide, we will go over the details of live betting, why you should give it a try, the strategy for getting good at it, and much more.

Best Sportsbooks for Live Sports Betting in 2023

Common Types of Live Bets

At many online sportsbooks, you will now find a vast range in the types of bets available for live betting.

Rather than just doing traditional moneyline bets on the winner, you now can also find live betting markets for player props and even parlays as sportsbook operators continue to innovate and meet the demand of people watching games and wanting to engage in mobile sports betting on their phones or tablets.

Traditional Bets

While there is a wide range of live bets available, the most common are still your traditional bets for the moneyline, spread, and total. These are the top three bets for pre-game bets, and you will get access to updated numbers from the sportsbooks while the game is going on. These numbers will adjust for the game based on the way things are going, so they can differ wildly from what the pre-game line was that you may have placed a bet on earlier.

You also can bet on these markets for just the second half or fourth quarter of the contest that is live.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are also exploding in popularity as people try to predict which NFL player will score the next touchdown or who will record a triple-double in an NBA game.

Those are props for individual players, but there are also team props such as over or under on total points scored by one team in the game, or how many rushing yards an NFL team will finish with, or if they can score a touchdown and field goal in each quarter.

Player props are more common than game props, but both can be valuable betting markets if you do your homework.


With the rising popularity of same-game parlays, it was only a matter of time before you could start doing parlays with live betting. Choose from a massive range of sports markets from the spread, total, and player props and mix them together on the same bet slip to win a big parlay.

To win a parlay, every leg on the bet slip must hit. These are the hardest bets to win with the highest odds, which makes them shunned by sharp bettors. But that also means the highest payouts when you do get one completely right, which is why parlays have taken on a lottery ticket-style enthusiasm for sports bettors today.

Benefits of Live Betting

There are many benefits to live betting:

  • Keeps your engagement up with a game even if it is a boring contest to watch.
  • Can help you hedge a pre-game bet or completely correct course if your bets are bad and the game is going in an entirely different direction than you expected.
  • Expands your betting options for each game.
  • You could see something early in the game and take advantage of it if you think one team or player is having a clear advantage.

Live Betting Strategy

To improve your chances of success, we have offered some betting advice below on how to do live betting.

We will show you how to maximize your pre-game bets with your live bets while still keeping an eye out there for hidden value and hedging opportunities.

Perhaps you can try these tips with an upcoming game as it does take some getting used to from doing pre-game bets.

Start With a Pre-Game Bet

For a basic concept, it is still recommended to make pre-game bets for a game you really want to bet on. You do not want to put all your eggs in one basket and only make live bets on a whim. You should research a game before it starts, target your favorite lines and props ahead and make some bets on each.

With live betting, you will be able to correct or double down on your pre-game bets based on the way the game is unfolding.

Know Your Limits

It is always important for a sports bettor to budget responsibly and not go overboard for one game with cash wager after cash wager. Save some bets for tomorrow or the next time too.

But when doing live betting, you often will be making additional wagers in a game after likely placing original wagers in the pre-game process. This is why live betting can get more expensive to the bettor than normal pre-game betting, and that is why it is extra important to know your limits and stick to a budget.

Watch the Whole Game

Whether it is the Super Bowl or just a game you really want to watch and bet on some night, it is important to watch the game (via any means you can) in its entirety. By planning to watch the entire game, you can jump on any chance of a potential injury to a star player that could drastically change the scoring output and statistics (prop bets) of his teammates.

For example, if you watch an NFL game and you see a star running back limp off to the blue medical tent in the first quarter, then you may want to drop a live wager on the No. 2 running back to score a touchdown in that game.

Beyond just injury concerns, watching the game can give you a sense of when a player is dominating the defense and betting on their overs for the rest of the game may be a wise choice, especially if you took their unders in the pre-game betting process.

Capitalize on Bad Lines

Live betting really requires you to be active on your mobile device while the game is on as the odds will constantly be changing after each play for sides, totals, and props.

As these sportsbooks do their best to update the lines in real-time, sometimes they will float a bad line out there that you can take advantage of by quickly placing a live bet. Maybe they set an NBA player’s over or under in points way too high after he makes a three-point shot, and you were a big fan of that player’s under that game, so now is your chance to double down with a bet on his new, bloated scoring line.

Find Hidden Value

With a wide variety of live bets to choose from, sometimes the best-hidden value is found in the old-fashioned spread. The phrase “everyone makes a run” is commonly said about the NBA, so even when you see a team go down 25 points in the first half, your expectations should not be that the team will lose by 25-plus points. This is when jumping on the side of the trailing team’s spread can usually be beneficial as many of those games will still be decided by much fewer than 25 points.

In the NFL, we also saw some bettors making huge paydays by taking the moneyline of a team trailing by a significant number of points. It is unlikely to happen, but twice in a four-week span late in the 2022 season, we saw two of the five largest comebacks in history with the Vikings (33 points) and Jaguars (27 points) coming back from massive deficits to win games that were nationally televised.

Every game is an opportunity for something crazy to happen, so throwing a couple of bucks on the improbable may not be a bad idea if you are a frequent sports bettor. Plus, you can always hedge it with the spread later.

Hedge Your Bets

Anyone with betting experience knows that hedging is sometimes the right thing to do, especially if you are down to the last leg of your parlay hitting. In those cases, you probably should have hedged the final game in the pre-game process, but live betting expands your betting opportunities to take care of that later.

One of the best things that can happen with hedging live bets is trapping a sportsbook in the middle and doubling your winnings.

For example, let’s say you placed a pre-game bet on the under 240 points hitting in an NBA game. You are watching the game, the shots are not falling for both teams, and things are looking ugly while your under bet is looking nice.

But the live odds are going to adjust for this and the new total at halftime may be something very low like 215. Knowing what the pre-game expectations were, you could now do a live bet and take the over 215, and if the offenses regress to the mean and start hitting their shots, the game may very well finish between 215-to-240, allowing you to hit both of your bets.

That is the best possible outcome with hedging your sports wagers, but other times it is just a good way to take the other side just in case you have doubts about your pick. Just do not get into a game of betting against yourself on your favorite sports.

Don’t Bet Against Yourself

When doing a mixture of pre-game and live wagers, you want to be careful not to bet against yourself and crush the expected value of your bets. In a game with a lot of wild swings on the scoreboard, it is possible to land a moneyline bet of +400 or better for each team, meaning it should be a good outcome for you no matter who wins in the end.

But most games are not like that, and you do not want to wipe out your winnings by breaking even with a hedge that you really did not have to do. Trust your gut and do not bet against yourself with your game wagers.

Know the Interface of the Sportsbook You Use

When doing live betting, you’ll want to be very used to the interface of the online sportsbook you are using, as you will have to place these bets on the fly before the next play to maximize the value. Make sure you have funded your account properly and can quickly access the mobile sports betting app to make more live bets as you watch the game.

Most operators have an online sports betting platform that has some sort of match tracker that will show you a visualization of the live action, but the key thing to learn there is the lag time from the tracker to the broadcast you are watching. Often times the sportsbook will be ahead of your stream of the game, so you have to take into account that you probably have less time to get in the next bet before the next play than you think you have.

If you make a live bet during the middle of the results being recalculated from the previous play, the sportsbook will reject your bet. That is why speed is necessary on your behalf in pulling off these live bets.

Reading Live Odds Online

No matter which online betting sites you use, reading the live odds is just like the odds found on any pre-game betting platform. If the odds have a “+” sign in front of them, that is a bet on the underdog, and odds with a “-“ sign are for the favorite pick. The greater the number, the more of a favorite or underdog that pick is.

If you follow along with a sportsbook’s match tracker, you can see the live betting odds frequently change during a game, allowing you to get the best numbers at the best prices if you are quick enough to pull the trigger on the bet.

How are live odds calculated?

If we knew exactly how these sportsbooks calculated their betting odds, we would be rich ourselves. Those formulas are more safely guarded than the recipe for Coca-Cola.

But clearly, these sportsbooks have a good system in place to quickly spit out updated numbers on the fly for totals and props right after each new play. That is why it is on you to pay close attention to both the game and the action on your mobile device with the changing lines to find the bad lines and hidden values with your knowledge of the pre-game lines and what was expected to happen in that game.

Which sports and sporting events allow you to place a live bet?

These days, live sports betting is not just limited to huge events like the Super Bowl and World Cup. It is not even limited to your favorite teams in the most popular of sports. 

If you live in America and want to place a live bet at 06:00 AM on a table tennis game taking place in the Czech Republic, you can do that now.

There is a wide variety of sports offering live betting, including but not limited to the following:

  • Football 
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Ice hockey
  • Tennis matches
  • Soccer matches
  • College sports
  • Esports betting

With live betting being such a fast-growing market in online sports betting, you can bet that many of the best sports betting sites are taking full advantage by adding it to their mobile betting apps.

Here are some of our favorite online sportsbooks for placing live bets:

FAQs – Live Betting

What is the most popular sport to place live bets on?

The answer is football. In America, that means NFL is the most popular sport to place live bets on. In the rest of the world, football betting is still the most popular; however, they are wagering on soccer rather than American football.

Is live betting considered to be a “low-risk” type of bet?

Live betting is no more low-risk than traditional sports betting. At the end of the day, you are still wagering a stake against a very competent sportsbook’s betting lines. The amount of your wager and how much you are willing to lose is what really decides if the bet is low risk or not.

Is live betting profitable?

Our team of betting experts will tell you that live betting is still similar to pre-game betting in that it can be profitable with the right amount of research, skill, and a little luck. We would not recommend ditching pre-game betting in favor of exclusively live betting. 

How do you hedge live bets?

Hedging is an important ability for bettors to learn. It is not always necessary, but if you feel close to pulling off a big win, then a little hedge on the other side is not a bad idea. Just be sure to hedge it accurately so that both sides of the wager are fully covered.

Can you make live bets on multiple games at the same time?

Yes, you can make live bets on the spread, moneyline, and totals from multiple live games going on at the same time. Mixing in player props may be trickier or not allowed on certain sportsbooks, but you could just make additional wagers for those markets.