What Is Live Betting & How Does It Work In Sports Betting

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Live betting meaning

Live betting is an excellent way to enjoy sports wagering action on events that have already started. Also referred to as “in-game” betting, live odds and lines are generated by top sportsbooks non-stop as sporting events continue. This allows astute sports fans to look for in-game opportunities to jump on beneficial lines and odds before they move.

Live Sports Betting Explained (in-game betting)

Live betting is exactly what it sounds like: the opportunity to bet on live sporting events in real time as they occur. In contrast to betting on an event before the game, you can wager on constantly updated lines and odds throughout the sporting event. In particular instances, you can even wager on very micro outcomes like what will happen in the next play or possession of a game.

A common reason to live bet is simply that you enjoy wagering and want more action on a sporting event you are already watching as opposed to what you would be able to obtain by betting before it starts. Yet there are also more lucrative reasons, such as finding beneficial lines and odds based on closely following sporting events and finding in-game edges. Let’s take a look at what sports you can live bet.

Which sports can you bet on in-game?

The more popular a sport is, the more likely you can live bet, and the more in-game betting options will be available. It takes a lot of resources for sportsbooks to maintain constantly changing in-game odds, and is only worth it for sports with large followings. 

In the US, you will find the most options in football by a considerable margin. Basketball in-game live betting is also prevalent. You may find some options for baseball and hockey, but not as many. Other sports where you may find live betting options on US sportsbooks include soccer and tennis.

At most sportsbooks, you will see a “live now” or equivalent tab showing what games are in progress and available for in-game betting. They will be separated by sport for easy organization. Another way to find live betting options is to click on a sport, find the live games and you will see what in-game bets are available. It is wise to look at multiple sportsbooks when betting live to find the most advantageous lines and odds, as they can differ.

What live bets can you make during a game?   

Let’s look at what types of bets are commonly available for in-game betting through the lens of the most common live betting sports in the US. These are not necessarily the only options but the ones you will most frequently see at the top US sportsbooks.


  • Money line: Just like money line betting before a game starts, you will see that the money line odds in a football game are constantly being updated throughout the game. Of course, if a team gets ahead, their money line odds will move so that you will get paid less if they win, and vice versa for the team that is now behind. An example would be a favorite, say the Kansas City Chiefs, moving from -140 to -200 upon scoring a touchdown, while the underdog, for instance, the Las Vegas Raiders, would move from +120 before the game to +160.
  • Point spread: As the money line moves with scoring, so does the point spread. Using the same teams as an example, perhaps the Kansas City Chiefs start as -3.5 favorites and, upon going ahead, are now -7 favorites, while the Raiders, as underdogs, move from +3.5 to +7.
  • Game totals: You will also see the total moves as points are scored. Perhaps the Kansas City/Las Vegas game starts with a total of 48.5, and the game is only 7-7 at halftime. In this case, you will see the total move down considerably to something like 34.5. If the first half is high scoring, like 21-17, then the total could move up to something like 59.5.
  • Game props: You won’t always see live game props except during the Super Bowl and playoffs, but you may see some games where live odds are available for stats like total touchdowns, total interceptions amongst other markets.
  • Player props: You will see more player props in big games like the Super Bowl and the playoffs, but you can find some during the regular season. An example would be that perhaps a wide receiver’s total yardage prop is set before the game at 69.5, and they have already reached 51 receiving yards in the first half. You may then see a new line set considerably higher to something like 87.5 .


  • Money line: As points are scored by each team, the money line will move. Perhaps the Golden State Warriors are favored over the Los Angeles Lakers and have odds of -120. If they get up to a considerable lead, you may see them move to -160. You will then see reverse movement on the Lakers as the underdog.
  • Point spread: The point spread will also move under the same circumstance. Perhaps Golden State was a -3 favorite, and upon gaining a five-point lead, they are now -6. 
  • Game totals: Say the over/under on the Warriors/Lakers game was 210.5 prior to game time, and the score is 68-58 at the half. You will see the over/under moved up as it is highly likely to exceed the original total.
  • Player props: You will see a similar movement with player props. Perhaps a player has a three-point over/under of 5.5, and he now has five at half-time. Of course, the over/under must move up as he is highly likely to exceed the original total. 


  • Money line: In baseball, you will see the money line move as teams score. Perhaps the Philadelphia Phillies are initially -150 favorites over the New York Mets, and they get ahead by two runs. The line may then move to something like -250 on the Phillies while the Mets become more significant underdogs.
  • Run line: Run lines will also move as scoring happens. Either the odds or the actual run line will move depending on the scoring discrepancy. Run lines generally start at 1.5 but can move considerably as the action unfolds.
  • Game totals: You will also see the total adjusted as the action happens. Perhaps the Phillies/Mets game starts with a total of 7.5 and is already 3-3 in the fourth inning. The total will increase since it is more likely to surpass 7.5.
  • Player props: Live player props are less common in baseball, particularly outside of the playoffs, but you may see some available. A great example would be a starting pitcher’s strikeout total. Perhaps it starts at over/under 6.5, but the pitcher already has six strikeouts in the third inning. You will now see the total rise since the pitcher is likely to surpass the original over/under, but you must also take into account the number of innings that the pitcher is likely to feature in.


  • Money line: The money line will move in a hockey game as goals are scored by either team. Perhaps the Boston Bruins are -260 favorites over the Montreal Canadiens and they are up by three goals early in the game. These odds will move considerably, making the Bruins even larger favorites while the Canadiens become bigger underdogs.
  • Puck line: You will see the same sort of movement that you do on the money line on the puck line either on the puck line itself or the odds associated with it. While puck lines generally start at 1.5, they can move considerably based on scoring discrepancies.
  • Game totals: Just like with every other sport, the live game total must move in hockey as scoring occurs. If the total is set at 5.5 and the game is already 3-2 halfway through the second period, the total will be moved up considerably as the game is highly likely to eclipse the original 5.5 total.
  • Player props: While live player props are not as common for NHL, when available you will see them move as the game goes on. These would include lines and odds on individual player stats like goals, assists, points and more moving as stats are accrued in-game.

How are live betting odds and live betting lines calculated?

As a game unfolds, betting operators move lines and odds according to analytical models. Of course, as teams score, money lines and point spreads will move since one or the other team becomes more likely to win. As points score overall, totals will move since the over or under becomes more likely. This will also occur with props since as stats are accrued, over/unders on them become more or less likely.

It is critical to note that you will often see freezes in live betting odds being available at critical moments in games. It would seem easy to immediately jump on an MLB team right after they hit a grand slam or the opponent of a basketball team where a star player gets ejected. 

Of course, sportsbooks would lose money if this was possible, so they will remove live betting options temporarily when events like this occur until they can properly adjust the odds and lines. This does not mean you might not occasionally be able to find inefficient odds and lines based on live events.

What are the advantages of live betting 

  • Live reaction: The ability to react to live events can enable you to make quick and smart decisions to react to inefficient lines and odds based on in-game happenings.
  • Hedging: You may find situations where you can hedge your pregame wager via live betting. Perhaps you have a pre-game bet on a +400 underdog who now appears highly likely to win. You could place a smaller bet on the opponent using in-game betting to guarantee yourself a profit in either eventuality.
  • Looser odds: It is difficult for operators to maintain live lines and odds with the same efficiency as they can pre-game. You are more likely to find lucrative bets during the action for this reason.

What are the disadvantages of live betting 

  • Logistical issues: It can be hard to find an adequate amount of live betting options depending on what sport and game you are looking at. Sometimes it may seem like more trouble than it’s worth, particularly for recreational bettors.
  • Line freezes: Since lines will freeze at opportune moments, it can be frustrating to try to jump on what would be beneficial bets due to in-game events and find that the lines/odds are unavailable.
  • Less reaction time: Unless you are a highly astute bettor, it can be difficult to make quick decisions in-game on constantly moving lines and odds. This contrasts with placing wagers before games which gives you the opportunity to extensively research your selections.


Luke Lindholm

Managing Editor for US Media Partnerships

Writer for Pickswise. Luke was born in PA but raised in MA and has been writing about major sports for 2 years. He plays soccer and basketball with a love for the EPL, NBA, NFL and NCAAF. Nothing runs faster than home dogs and betting the under is an act of maturity. Luke is a Liverpool and Patriots fan for life, YNWA

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