While pregame wagering is the most common way to bet on a sporting event, these markets — including totals and player props — largely remain open once the actual contest begins. This gives you the opportunity to place live bets. It ensures you still have a chance to wager if you didn’t get your bets in before puck drop or first pitch.
In-game betting allows you to react to an event as it unfolds in real-time and make wagers on many of the same markets you’d be able to access pregame.
While odds change before a game for a number of reasons, including player availability, the odds change at a rapid pace once the contest begins.
The score and game situation will constantly alter the moneyline, point spread and O/U. A low-scoring first quarter will drop the total over/under for a basketball game.
A pregame favourite falling behind early could not only make it an underdog on the moneyline, but it would also impact the point spread in football as well.
Let's say that the Buffalo Bills entered as 3.5-point favourites against the Dallas Cowboys but found themselves trailing 10-0 after the first quarter. Dallas would likely then become the favourite and Buffalo would enter the second quarter as a live underdog. The spread might change to something like Buffalo +3.5.
What does that mean? Well, if you wagered on the Bills at -3.5 pregame it means that they would have to win by four-plus points for you to win your bet. If you made an in-game bet and backed them at +3.5, they could lose by three points or fewer or win outright for your bet to cash.
But as quickly as a favourite can become an underdog once the game is underway, it can just as easily alter the lines again with a big run or score.
While the moneyline, over/under and spread are the biggest in-game betting markets, some sportsbooks allow you to make player prop bets after the start of a contest. Like other markets, the prop odds will change depending on performance throughout the game.
For example: The pregame odds for Connor McDavid to score a goal may be -110. But that could move to +190 if he went scoreless after the first period. Why would you make this bet after the first? Because of the value.
The trade-off is this: Excluding overtime, you would now only have two periods for McDavid to cash your bet. But at +190, it means you would win $190 on a $100 bet if he scored. The same pregame stake at -110 odds would return a profit of $90.91.
The same live betting scenarios apply across other sports.
Patrick Mahomes' yards thrown prop and DeMar DeRozan's points prop will change in real-time depending on their performance. The total they'd have to reach, presented as an over/under, could increase or decrease a number of times throughout the game based on their statistics.
If DeRozan scored 15 first-quarter points, his live point prop could jump to 35.5 from 27.5 pregame. The same idea would apply to Mahomes.
You can also make in-game parlay bets as well.
For instance, if three pregame MLB favourites were losing in the sixth inning and you still liked their chances of winning, you could create a single ticket where you picked all of them to win on the moneyline.
Because of how constant the in-game odds change, it’s important to practice discipline when wagering. Pay close attention to this market and the game you are betting on.