It seems almost impossible to imagine that there was, once, a time where in-play (or live betting) didn’t exist. These days we’re used to seeing TV adverts, social media campaigns and more, all telling us about the latest in-play betting odds and more.
Today, live betting is more popular than ever before – and it’s clear that it’s something punters are loving. That’s why I’ve decided to set up this dedicated page to talk all about how to bet at in play betting sites.
I’m going to give you a complete breakdown of how it works, and what you can expect when placing in-play bets. To kick things off, I’m going to give you a selection of the best sites for in-play betting, along with information on bonuses and links to where you can sign up.
Best Live Betting Sites (Sep 2023)
Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets
(4.8 / 5)
#ad - Min deposit requirement. Free Bets are paid as Bet Credits and are available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. Registration required.
50% Up To $1000 First Deposit Bonus
(4.5 / 5)
100% Up To $500 First Deposit Bonus
(4.4 / 5)
50% Back as a Free Bet up to £35 + 10 Free Spins
(4.4 / 5)
We've enhanced our Sportsbook Welcome Offer, giving new UK customers the opportunity to get 50% back as a Free Bet up to £35 plus 10 Free Spins! T&Cs apply | 18+ New UK Customers Only | BeGambleAware.org
100% up to $500
(4 / 5)
What Is In-Play Betting?
Live in-play betting is the process of you, the player/punter placing bets on an event that’s already started. For example, if you wanted to place a bet on a football match that had already kicked off – then you’d be looking to place an in-play bet.
Any bet placed before a match or event has started is called a pre-event bet. Today, in-play is one of the most common sports bet types, and we’re seeing more in-play betting sites emerging to satisfy the demand from online punters.
In-play betting can be hugely beneficial – especially if you’re looking to hedge your bets. For example, if you placed a large wager on England to beat Denmark, and England were 1-0 down, you could place a similar-sized bet on Denmark to win – while the match was in-play – giving you a unique opportunity to cut your losses.
In-play betting can also be used by punters who do not want to have to wait for an entire match or event to play out before knowing the result of the bet settlement.
For example, there are in-play markets like “next team to score” or “next team to take a corner”. With this type of market, you can enjoy betting on live events without needing to wait for the match or event to finish to know whether you’ve won your bet!
How to Place In-Play Bets
While most of the best in-play betting sites you’ll come across today offer guidance on how to place in-play bets at their site, I often find these guides either incomplete – or biased. That’s why I want to dedicate an entire section on this page to how to place bets at in-play betting sites.
Before you can place a bet, the first thing you’ll need to do is find which sports matches or events are going in play today.
How To Find In-Play Betting Markets
All of the live betting sites we talk about here on our site tend to provide a comprehensive list of all the in-play markets they currently offer. This is usually broken down into sports. So, for example, you’d see football as a sub-section, and then a breakdown of all the football in-play betting markets currently on offer.
You can simply scroll through these live betting opportunities and choose the one(s) you’d like to bet on – but some sites will also allow you to search for bets directly – so, for example, you could search “Manchester United” to view all the in-play bet options available for Man United.
Some bookies will also provide you with a live schedule – and those that do also typically indicate whether or not a market will be streamed live or not.
If it is being streamed live, you’ll be able to watch the event live – directly through the betting site you’re using. However, I should point out that you will usually need to bet a minimum amount of money to be able to watch an event – although it’s usually not more than £1 or so.
Now, alongside the event or market you’re looking at, you’ll also see the odds for that specific market. If you’d like to place the bet on offer, you simply need to click on the odds – usually contained within a small box – and that selection will be automatically added to your bet slip.
Once you’ve finished, you then just need to confirm your bet selections – making sure the odds haven’t changed – and your bet will then be “accepted”, and you’ll be waiting for the bet settlement in the hopes that you win!
Tips For Successful In-Play Betting
Honestly, placing a live or in-play bet is easier than many punters make out; however, I’d always advise that you take time to place your bets. It’s true that you need to move quickly sometimes, particularly as in-play odds can be volatile. But that doesn’t mean you should feel rushed into making a bet you’re not sure about.
Also, “shop around” to find the best odds – as the bet odds can change significantly, depending on which site you’re betting at. Having more than one app available can give you an advantage when it comes to finding the best opportunities for betting in play.
The fast pace of betting in play can take some getting used to, especially if you’re new to it. So before you bet in play, I’d advise you to familiarise yourself with how it all works so you ensure you get the best odds on your bet.
How are Live Odds Calculated?
If you head to a horse racing event – in person – you’ll notice the bookies all lined up next to the race track frantically changing the odds and attempting to take business away from their competitors. Online betting, however, uses – mostly – electronically-programmed algorithms to determine the odds – and this is almost always the case when it comes to in-play betting.
Any sporting event that offers in-play betting can change at a moment’s notice – and this means that it would simply not be viable (or physically possible) for bookmakers to have math experts sat there manually calculating the odds of each bet.
Because of this – and because every betting site has their own fine-tuned algorithms – it’s usually best to shop around to find the best in play odds. This allows you to always get the best odds on your bet, and it also means that the bet in play markets you’re betting on are as lucrative as possible.
Cash Out Explained
Betting in play and cash out are like the Yin to the Yan of online gambling. They complement each other perfectly. So if you’ve ever placed an in-play bet before – especially at the best in play betting sites – you’ll notice that cash out is usually offered as standard across virtually all events.
Cashing out your bet has become increasingly popular over the past few years, and in my opinion, it’s not hard to see why. It’s one of the best ways to increase your chances of winning and minimise the chances of losing bets which look promising. So, how does cash out work – and what does it do?
Let’s imagine you’ve got a bet on City to beat Man. U, and City are currently leading 1-0 with 7 minutes to go. It’s pretty likely that your bet is going to win – but a late goal from United could cripple your bet and leave you out of pocket.
In this scenario, most live betting operators would offer you the chance to take a “cash out”, which would return a little less than were you to let your bet run out – but it would pay you then – meaning if United were to go on and score, it wouldn’t affect you, as your bet would already be settled and paid out.
Of course, it does mean that you sacrifice some profit – and it does lead you to lose a little bit of money – but I feel it’s a really useful tool, especially when you’re dealing with large sums of money and don’t want to have those “sitting on the edges of your chair” moments towards the end of matches/events.
Bet Editing Explained
Some of the best in play betting sites now allow you to “edit” your bets – and while this isn’t available at all live betting sites, many of the sites we recommend on this page do offer this as an option.
As you can probably tell from the name alone, bet editing allows you to add – or sometimes even remove or swap – selections from your existing single or multiple bets. If, for example, you have an accumulator that’s currently winning – and you want to increase the amount of money you can potentially win – using the bet editor facility, you’d be able to add additional selections – bets – to add to the overall odds.
As I mentioned earlier, this feature isn’t available at all the best live betting sites – but it is becoming far more common; you should, however, just make sure the odds are decent, and that the sporting event you’re looking to add to your bet slip doesn’t conflict with any bonuses/wagering requirements that are currently attached to your account.
Live Streaming and Betting In-Play
Most betting sites now offer you the ability to watch sporting events as they play out – live streaming, as it’s usually called. In my opinion, this is one of the best ways of placing in-play bets as it allows you to actually watch the event. This is a huge advantage that allows you to make your own predictions based on what is actually happening, before placing a bet.
What’s more, let’s imagine for a moment that you’re watching a live football match; rather than just watching a graphic on your screen (as we saw made popular by Bet365). By watching the match, you’re able to see a lot more information; how the players are looking, form-wise, you’ve got the commentary as well. Overall, it gives you a much clearer picture of an event, and how it may play out.
Now that there are several betting sites that offer live streaming, I’d recommend you open a couple of different betting accounts to make sure that you’re able to watch the events you want – when you want. Watching the events live is a fantastic way of getting an idea whether it’s worth placing bets on that event or not, and it allows you to get closer to the game than you usually can.
Pulse Betting: A Quick Introduction
Some betting site companies now offer what’s known as Pulse Betting – although it’s not available at all live streaming sites, so just be aware of this. Pulse Betting is a form of enhanced odds – and, essentially, you place a bet on a pulse bet market – wagering that a certain result will happen within a certain time-frame – and the odds you’re given improve (get better) the nearer the clock gets to the end.
For example, if you were pulse betting on a goal to happen within the next minute, the closer it is until the minute is up, the better the odds would be.
Of course, this is a pretty risk way to bet in play, and I’d generally advise it only be used by those who are very familiar with in-play sporting events. Still, it’s becoming more popular – especially on a sports market like football – and it’s a pretty unique new addition to the plethora of bet types we already see at live betting sites.
Pre-Match vs In-Play Betting – Which Is Best?
As with most types of bet online, there’s no sure-fire rule when it comes to whether you should be on pre-event or in-play markets.
However, betting in play does carry a number of distinct advantages and disadvantages – and it’s worth being aware of these before you choose to place a bet. Remember, regardless of which betting sites you’re looking at, these points will remain valid.
- If you’re looking to place a bet on a “near-guaranteed” favourite to win, they you may often find that it’s beneficial to wait until the event has kicked off before placing your bets. Let’s imagine, for example, you’re betting on the match winner of Man City vs Blackburn; clearly, Man City would be the major favourites – and the pre-event odds would likely be pretty poor. Waiting until the game’s kicked off would usually see you offered better odds – and subsequently a better bet settlement – but of course, you do run the risk of the odds getting even worse when the event’s begun if City were to score right away, for example.
- Using the above example again – you could also say to yourself that you’ll only bet on Man City to win if Blackburn were to get an early goal. This would mean the odds of City to win would lengthen. So and while you’d clearly, be taking a risk – it’s a great way of getting better odds, where the game permits. This doesn’t apply so much to horse racing and other betting markets, however.
- If you’re up to speed with matched betting, you can often use in-play bets to “hedge” your bets. For example, if you placed a pre-event bet on City to win and Blackburn scored early, you could also bet on Blackburn, in-play, to attempt to mitigate any losses/give yourself more chances to win.
- If you’re backing outsiders (bets that, according to the bookies, have a low chance of winning) it’s generally better to place pre-event bets; the odds usually decrease for every minute a match/event continues for.
- Many live betting sites will attempt to incentivise you to place in-play bets; their rationale, is that players are more likely to make impulse decisions while betting on live events – and subsequently end up spending/staking more money than they normally would. If you, or someone you know, is prone to making rash, hasty gambling decisions – then it may be better to stick to pre-event betting so you know your limits and are less likely to place rash bets.
How We Find The Best In-Play Betting Sites
I’m often asked how we decide which in-play betting sites are best – and how we go about determining whether to feature a site here on our website or not. I think it’s a great question. So below, I’m going to run through a few of the things we look for when deciding whether or not to feature an in-play betting bookie on our website or not.
Arguably the biggest factor we look at when looking at in-play betting sites is the actual selection of in-play betting markets offered. For example, some bookies (especially the smaller, independent ones) typically cater around just a few specific sporting events – football, for example – while others take a more all-encompassing approach.
For example, we like to see bookmakers offering as large of a selection of in-play bet options as possible – not just on football and horse racing, but also on events like cricket, tennis – and even, now, Esports. Generally speaking, the more bet opportunities on offer, the better. So this is the first factor we look for when choosing whether to feature a bookie on our website or not.
In-Play Betting Odds
Of course, another hugely important factor we take into account when reviewing an online bookie’s live betting area is the odds on offer. For example – we use detailed bet and odds comparison tools to look at how their odds fare up against other sites. If we find that site continually offers poor odds – worse than those found at other in-play bet sites – then we’ll likely choose not to feature them.
Odds are something you too should be looking at when choosing an in-play betting site. The better the odds, the more money you stand to win on each of your bets. So it’s well-worth “shopping around” to find the best odds, especially if you’re considering placing significant wagers online.
Cash Out Facilities
While cash out is now offered at most in-play bet sites, some bookies offer better cash out prices than others. I know that for me, getting a good cash out price is invaluable, especially when you’re placing bigger bets.
Because of this, I always look really closely at cash out options at a bookmaker – and if I don’t find that they live up to expectations – the bookie simply won’t be featured here on this site. Cash out is so popular today that it can no longer be neglected – and it’s one of the reasons why I place so much emphasis on it. I explain more about what cash out is – and how it works – later down on this page.
While it’s not a primary concern for all punters, the deposit types offered at betting sites should always be something you take into account – and it’s something we look at closely, before deciding whether or not a site gets featured on our website.
For example; does a site just offer the same “cookie-cutter” payment options – debit cards and Skrill/Neteller – or do they also offer more contrarian, uncommon methods like PayPal, Trustly and voucher-based schemes? Again, generally speaking, the more payment options offered at an online bookie the better – and it’s yet another factor that we take into account when reviewing in-play betting sites.
Other Online Gambling Products
I find that virtually all punters like a bit of variety. Players who are looking to place a sports bet on live markets often like to use other online gambling products at the same site. Whether this is an online casino, a live casino – or poker or bingo facilities – I know it’s something that players actively look for.
That is why I look closely at the other “products” offered by online bookmakers. Thankfully, today, most of the mainstream bookies offer both online sports betting and online casino products – but still, I like to look at the quality of these products, including the selection of the games, the bonuses on offer – and more.
Bonuses and Free Bets
Virtually every punter I’ve ever encountered likes to claim free bets – or welcome bonuses – and it’s something I look at closely when I start to review a new in-play bookie. For example – is their welcome bonus fair? Does it come with wagering requirements which are attainable? Or, like some of the less-legit sites, are the wagering requirements unrealistic – or do they come with strict terms?
I also look at whether a bookie offers a loyalty program. I believe that loyal punters should be rewarded for their custom. So that’s one of the reasons why I look closely at how generous (or not generous, at that) a bookie is in terms of regular free bets, loyalty programmes and more.
Rules of In Play Betting & Important Terms To Be Aware Of
As I always recommend, it’s often useful to have a general understanding of the rules and terms associated with the type of bet you’re choosing to wager on – and with in-play betting, there are sometimes specific rules you should be aware of.
Below, I’m going to walk you through a few of the most common terms and rules you should be factor into account when you’re looking to place an in-play bet.
- Many of the best live betting sites will choose to make in-play bets (also known as live betting markets) not applicable to wagering requirements. Or, if they do allow them – the bet may not contribute as much to the wagering requirements as normal, non-in-play bets would.
- If you choose to use the “cash out” function, you will invalidate any special offers or enhanced odds you’ve chosen to claim. To avoid falling foul of this you should always check the terms of any bonuses to see if there’s any in-play rules attached.
- Live betting markets aren’t always available; some sporting events, for example, have a mandatory “lag”. Be aware of this, as I know some players can get caught out, especially if leaving placing bets to the last minute.
- Similar to above – when placing an in-play bet, you may find yourself needing to wait up to 30 seconds for the bet to be officially “registered” by the bookmaker.
- 50+ Common Blackjack Terms Explained - February 6, 2023
- Can Live Blackjack Dealers Hear You? (Your Privacy Matters!) - January 29, 2023
- Why do Blackjack Dealers Swipe the Table? - January 27, 2023
Last Updated on February 28, 2023