Among our many jobs here on the sports blog is to provide gamblers with options and alternatives, clearly laying out the potential pros and cons of all styles of betting.
What we don’t do enough of is examine how the successful sports speculator can combine methods and markets on a single day, or while betting on a single event.
When the “system” bettor makes her pregame investments, she’s often hoping to capitalize on the prejudice of the gambling public, as in the popular phrase “fade the public.” But if pregame betting is about finding where the prejudices of the public lie, live betting is the same gambit taken to an extreme. Live markets can be perplexing sometimes – but there’s no mistaking live odds that have lost the plot. Sometimes the door is left wide open for a lucrative wager…but only for moments.
In-play, or live gambling is not for the faint of heart. You need a solid computer or mobile device and a reliable internet connection to play along, and some of the outcomes are decided in battle in a matter of a few minutes once money has been laid down. But live betting can also be rich in opportunity, especially for those who think outside the box.
Who says in-play betting always has to be about logging-in just as the game begins? And who says you have to log out of your trusted sports betting site once making a pregame gamble?
Why not combine both methods, and make a down payment on a promising market while saving a little bit of cash to play the live lines.
The combination can be less stressful – and more rewarding – than you might think.
Mixing Pregame and Live Betting – Tactics, Rules and Boundaries
An obvious perk of the pregame + live betting tactic is that the bettor can usually go above the wager-limit of the site by waiting for the live markets to come out and then betting the maximum allowed sum, having already wagered the maximum amount on the pregame line.
Depending on the rules of your favorite sportsbook, gamblers can often go more all-in on a prediction thanks to the close-of-action on the “old” pregame market and a new live market taking its place.
But even though most of the standard rules of live betting do not prohibit pregame + live tactics on the same match, it’s important for pregame-betting veterans to get a handle on the stipulations of wild and wooly in-play markets before diving in with “double-up” gambles.
For instance, sportsbooks reserve the right to reject payoffs on live wagers made before the website’s automated system allows for the market to be paused and reset with new gambling lines following crucial action in a game. Bovada Sportsbook puts it this way: “Where we have reason to believe or suspect that a live bet has been placed after the outcome of a live event is known or if delayed “live” television coverage results in a live bet being placed at the incorrect price after the selected participant has gained an advantage or disadvantage, we shall be entitled to treat the bet as ‘No Action’.”
In other words, you might think you’ve got a great deal if the Steelers grab an interception from Tom Brady and the live moneyline stays at (+200) for Pittsburgh. But you shouldn’t bet on it, because the bookmaker is trying to change it – and can opt-out of payoffs for those who buy in quickly.
Don’t worry, though – unless you’ve got the greatest TV feed in history (or a live seat at the ballgame – also taboo in almost all circumstances) there won’t be much temptation to play dirty. Live-oddsmakers keep their technology up-to-date and their streaming down-to-the-second so that from the household bettor’s POV, the lines appear to be controlled by Nostradamus. Oh, did the Steelers jump back to (+200)? Just wait – here comes a Tom Terrific touchdown throw.
Better to in-play gamble during time-outs, quarter breaks, and even halftime. Here’s a few more tips on combining your Sunday afternoon (or any old afternoon) wagers with pregame bets in the AM.
Secure Your Winnings
No matter what prognostications and handicaps are made in Las Vegas, there’s nothing like actual results-in-progress to move gambling lines rapidly. Now the casino – and the players – have live-fire information and a feel for how the competition might go over the next couple of hours.
Think the betting public loves the Patriots too much? Take a gander at New England’s live lines when the team takes a 2-touchdown lead in the 1st quarter. What might have been a (-250) pregame moneyline can shrink to (-1000) or (-2000) in just minutes of action on the gridiron.
But when there’s a (-1000) moneyline on a leading club, there’s probably a big fat “+” price on the trailing team. That’s an opportunity to secure your winnings – a common principle of pregame and live-betting combination systems.
Suppose you’ve got $50 down on a pregame New England moneyline. Once the Pats go up 17-3 in the 2nd quarter, the Steelers’ live line-to-win expands to something like (+600).
Those are nice payoff odds. Can you take advantage of them? Heck yeah.
Go ahead and put down money on the Steelers’ very-long live moneyline – any amount you like that promises close to the payoff you’ll get if the Pats go on to win. There’s rarely a tie in the NFL – for all intents and purposes a payoff will be guaranteed following the 2nd (in-play) wager.
Of course, some people might contend that the tactic ruins the fun of sports betting – the rooting interest. After all, once a gambler has utilized the above betting sequence, all they really have to do is cheer for a winner in the 4th quarter or OT – and the lack of a rare tie game.
But there are plenty of pregame + live gambling tactics to keep your rooting interest held until the final whistle.
Pregame and In-Play Combinations on the Over/Under
My favorite live-betting hobby during college basketball season is dialing-up live Over/Under predictions and waiting for a promising (+100) or (+107) payoff line to appear on my chosen side at the right time.
Early-game and mid-game O/U totals on college hoops tend to fluctuate wildly like stock market prices, with the line hitting a “peak” number and a bottom number at some point during the contest. The peak O/U total is almost always going to be above whatever the final tallied points in the game turn out to be unless (and sometimes even when) the battle goes to overtime. The lowest O/U number offered during 2 halves is also likely to be below whatever the final total-points outcome happens to be.
So if you can find the peak, you can win 90% or more-often on the Under, and if you can find the valley, you can win 90% of the time on the Over. The trick is finding those data points during the breathless on-court action and corresponding line-movement. There’s no such thing as pure success – you’re only hoping to find enough relative peaks and valleys to win at least 60% of the O/U wagers.
That’s a sure-fire path to profit no matter what style of bankroll management is used.
But what about combining pregame and in-play O/U wagers? If the household handicapper expects the final point tally of a basketball game (any basketball game, though the :30 shot clock of the NCAA allows a lot more time to move that clicker during live-betting browser sessions) to be between 2 numbers, say 100 and 125, the pregame line and live line’s wild differences can create yet another loophole.
If you’re in for the Over (100) and the live O/U expands to (130) points following a hot round of shooting by 2 typically defense-oriented squads, consider an in-play on the Under.
Now, so long as shooting %s revert back toward the mean average for both teams – and they always seem to – you’ve got a double-up payoff opportunity on the “contradictory” bets on 2 very different lines. If the final score falls somewhere between 65-64 and 50-50, it’s a pair of winners.
Live Betting Tip: When to Double Down on Pregame Bets
The chess champion Emanuel Lasker once wrote, “When you see a good move, wait…look for a better one.”
There is no “waiting for a better move” past kickoff (or tip-off or face-off) in pregame sports betting.
Only so much information can be gathered before opponents take the arena, and action closes at the usual time. But when the speculator is sure – really sure of a likely outcome, sometimes the live markets offer an opportunity to double-down against the public.
Suppose a decade from now, a 50-something Tom Brady hobbles onto the gridiron to give it a final last go-around at Gillette Stadium. Hype for Brady’s comeback is off the charts, though word has it Robert Kraft has only made the move as a publicity stunt to help pay for his lawyer fees. New England, of course, hasn’t lost a football game under Bill Belichick for the entire decade of the 2020s. But a 50-year-old QB is a serious handicap…to coin a phrase. Las Vegas doesn’t know what to do except put standard (-110) moneylines on Old Tom’s Pats, and – you guessed it – the visiting Pittsburgh Steelers.
You take the Steelers moneyline…and watch as Brady somehow throws a TD pass in the 1st quarter. The fans – and the betting lines – go crazy. Pittsburgh becomes a (+300) underdog. Now what was once a recreational “penny” wager gets serious. You can buy-in on the live Pittsburgh line at 3-to-1 and not just fade the public, but fade an NFL legend in the process.
Still – where else are you going to find 3-to-1 odds on such a confident wager?
Bookmakers often have the gambler’s number – literally. If the frustration of looking for mispriced lines prior to events is getting to be a bother, take a gander at some wild and hair-trigger live odds.
Sometimes, in-play markets are a pregame bet’s perfect companion.