If you want to feel some serious adrenaline as a sports gambler, try live, in-game betting. It’s a perhaps chance to redeem a regrettable wager you made prior to the game, and it could even result in you turning a profit by evening’s end.
Plus, you get the thrill of adjusting to the action that’s happening right before your eyes —or on your phone or browser, but hopefully you’re watching on a big screen. Hitting on a bet like that is a high every sports fanatic should enjoy.
Let’s set the scene: Big market. America’s pastime. A subway series. Yup, we’re sticking in The City That Never Sleeps for some MLB action between New York’s finest.
The Mets are invading Yankee Stadium. The Yankees are the favorites, but you placed a bet on the visitors because you thought, “Jacob deGrom is starting at pitcher for the Mets, and he's been en fuego for the last month. No way the Yankees are touching him. No. Freaking. Way.”
In the top of the first, Mets phenom Pete Alonso jacks a two-run homer, so you're feeling pretty good about yourself as deGrom takes the mound. But then on Jacob’s third pitch, “OH NO!” Down goes deGrom after a funky play at first base. He strains his hammy, and he's out for the game.
Suddenly, you’re relying on the Mets’ suspect bullpen — well, suspect in 2019, it was — to save the day.
A few minutes later, Yanks slugger DJ LeMahieu cranks a grand slam off of the new Mets pitcher — some obscure dude who inexplicably got called up from Double-A three days ago — and the score is 4-2, and your night of wagering goodness is toast.
Or is it?
Back in the day, yes, you were most likely donezo, but the contemporary betting landscape allows bettors to place brand-spanking-new wagers in the middle of the game. This, logically enough, is called either in-game betting or in-play betting.
Not only is in-play betting a blessing for the bettor whose team either A) Suffered a key injury, or B) Is getting smoked — it's flat-out fun, primarily because of the insanely fast line movement.
Let's say our imaginary Yankees-Mets game started with both teams priced at -110. After deGrom’s injury, it wouldn't be unrealistic to see the Yankees odds move to -180 while the Mets drop to +150 in the span of two minutes.
The odds will shift early and often, so if you decide to drop a wager or three throughout the game, you'll need to pay close attention to both the lines (spread and moneyline for starters) and what's happening on the field of play.
Even the most talented oddsmakers have trouble adjusting lines on the fly (imagine how hellacious a basketball game is), so in-game betting odds are generally based on a complex computer model that updates the lines based on how a contest would typically play out.
The oddsmaker won't disappear, as there has to be a human element. However, when it's about analyzing numbers and probability in a nanosecond, it's time to get the software involved.
Considering the speed at which the lines and game action can change, you don't want to casually bet in-game, because...
Baseball isn't the fastest moving game in the world, yet things happen quickly enough that when it comes to in-game betting, you might need to make a snap judgement.
Can that Yankees reliever keep the Mets from tightening up the game in the seventh inning? Will the Mets strand runners on first and third in the top of the ninth? Will the final score beat the over? Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Technology can work against you, too. Depending on how you're watching a game — cable, satellite, a streaming service — you might be on a five-, 10- or even 15-second delay. Those 15 seconds could mean the difference between really good and really bad odds.
There’s also the risk of getting locked out of a bet while sportsbooks scramble to update the lines, or just missing a window to place a strong value bet due to how quickly the game is changing.
Finally, bear in mind that the juice attached to in-game bets tends to be of less value as opposed to before the game. In other words, bettors have to wager more to earn the same return.
Live sports betting is simultaneously nerve-wracking and exhilarating. If you do it just right, though, you could salvage what might have otherwise been a down night of wagering.
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