Profitable live betting

Mateo Brekalo
Mateo Brekalo
Published: 10.3.2024.


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In one of our recent articles, we delineated the disparity between In-play and Prematch betting. In-play betting, which is significantly more dynamic and widely embraced, particularly in the European market, presents both advantages and drawbacks.

Due to the rapid fluctuations in odds, it can sometimes appear to resemble pure gambling. Additionally, there are fewer strategies developed by professional gamblers compared to those tailored for prematch betting. One reason for this is the notably higher overround during the early stages of betting and in the weeks leading up to the match. Once the match commences, the odds become more refined and precise as the bookmaker gains access to additional information.

First live betting steps

Just over a decade ago, the live betting offerings were significantly more limited compared to prematch options. This was primarily due to concerns about bettors' slow reaction times and the lack of timely data transmission from the venue to the bookmaker. Slow reactions often led to inaccuracies in displayed odds, providing a substantial advantage to the bettor.

Consequently, they could exploit value bets during live matches. The live betting market was characterized by a limited selection, and errors made by the bookmaker were quite common. One major issue stemmed from the significant human involvement in odds-making. Traders relied heavily on manually adjusting odds based on incoming data, a process prone to substantial errors. So this already answers how to be profitable, or at least it was. But, how about today?

How live betting works

As detailed in the preceding section, live traders would monitor a game and endeavor to establish odds for various markets, updating them in real-time. This task required an exceptional level of focus, yet mistakes were frequent occurrences. This contributed to the higher overround in live betting during its initial stages compared to prematch. For instance, a prematch price for an over-under bet might be listed as 1.85-1.85, which could then shift to 1.8-1.8 in-play, aiming to reduce margin due to the increased likelihood of errors.

Modern technologies

Today, the roles have reversed, with odds often increasing as soon as the match begins. In the example mentioned, the odds might shift to 1.9-1.9 as soon as the match starts. One of the primary reasons for this shift is the significant amount of data collected prior to the match's commencement. Additionally, odds providers now utilize algorithms that can calculate odds much faster than a human, allowing for the provision of odds to a larger number of clients. Due to the sophisticated mathematical solutions underlying each market, live betting is no longer viewed as risky for the bookmaker. On the contrary, bookmakers now actively encourage live betting, seeking to attract more bets during live play.

Are in play strategies possible at all?

It is indeed much more challenging to devise strategies for in-play betting compared to prematch betting. In-play betting is highly unpredictable, but with thorough preparation and a deep understanding of prematch odds, every experienced bettor can approach live betting with an advantage over the bookie. However, as most bookmakers today rely on a few major odds providers for their odds-making process, it has become increasingly difficult to identify significant discrepancies between different bookmakers. But betting against the whole market could work!?

Betting against the market

Just because everyone says something doesn't necessarily mean it's correct, does it? Let's explore some examples of how to prepare and place bets against the market with real value in play before making any wagers.

Let's examine statistics regarding the timing of first goals scored in La Liga this season. Upon reviewing the table, you'll notice that only one team, on average, scores their first goal before the 35th minute:


Example 1

Av. S = Average time of first goal in minute
AV. C = Average time of first goal conceded


Example 2

O1.5 = Matches with more than 1.5 goals per match

The second table indicates that the majority of matches actually conclude with an average of more than 1.5 goals per match. Naturally, prematch prices are reflective of these statistics. In the provided offering below, you will observe that the estimated probabilities of 2 or more goals occurring range between 81.30% and 64.10%.


Example 3

As we've learned that the majority of goals are typically scored after the 35th minute on average, it would be a very legitimate strategy to wait until the 35th minute to place bets on over 1.5 goals. If the score remains 0:0 by that point, the odds would likely increase significantly, reflecting the real-time probability calculated by the algorithm. However, as an experienced bettor, we could also take the chance now and, based on this information, bet against the currently reflected probability. Leveraging data from the past, we can aim to beat the odds.

Preparation and analysis

As a pre-match value bettor prepares and seeks information, the same principle applies to in-play smart bettors. You must conduct research on a team, sport, or market that you're targeting during a live event. It is crucial for you to understand the algorithms employed by various bookmakers. For instance, suppose you have a team in mind that frequently concedes the first goal but also frequently reverses the outcome in their favor. In such cases, understanding the overround distribution becomes paramount.

Example of smaller underdog overround

Certain bookmakers may apply a higher overround to the underdog compared to others. Therefore, you should seek out the bookmaker that applies a lower overround to the underdog and offers better odds, thereby constructing a value bet.


Example 4

If we consider the example provided and assume or ascertain that Pyunik frequently reverses a losing match in their favor towards the end, we should seek out a bookmaker that applies less overround on the underdog during this period. Consequently, you could secure a slightly discounted price of 3.00 instead of 2.86.

The same principle can also be applied in reverse. If we know, for instance, that the home team seldom loses their 1-0 lead, we would opt for the odds of 2.24 instead of 2.1.

Live betting can be profitable

Live betting can indeed be profitable, but there are numerous factors to consider. Effective preparation and statistical research are essential, as is a thorough understanding of algorithms and how odds overround works to seize better odds. Following an event via live stream can significantly aid in sensing momentum shifts in the match and predicting the next developments. Additionally, there are numerous other factors which we will certainly address in future texts.


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