Sports betting newcomers might read “live betting” on a sportsbook’s NFL page and wonder exactly what it means. Live betting…as opposed to tape-delay betting?
But “live,” or “in-play,” NFL betting actually refers to in-game betting, or placing bets after the kickoff and while the clash is taking place. Sportsbooks use complex computer programs to reshape the odds as the contest goes forward, updating their moneylines as often as every quarter or after every score.
What are the advantages, disadvantages, and tactics of in-game NFL betting? Read ahead for more.
How In-Game NFL Betting Lines Function
In-game NFL betting offers the bettor an opportunity to wager on moneylines, O/U point totals, point spreads, and other basic markets against changing lines and odds as the game progresses.
But some deluxe sportsbooks don’t stop there. A few of the more adventurous and well-staffed betting books actually offer “play by play” in-game NFL betting.
For instance, at the beginning of each drive, in-game bettors can bet on the results of each drive. Will it be a 3-and-out? An 80-yard march for a touchdown? Or perhaps end in a turnover?
And yes, some online sportsbooks even allow in-game NFL betting on the result of the next play, or on what the next play-call will be, whether it be a run, a pass, or a kick.
As Max Mercy said in “The Natural,” you could bet on anything in a baseball game in the 1920s – balls, strikes, outs, and errors. It’s much the same for modern in-game NFL betting…if your sportsbook is high-tech enough.
In-Game NFL Betting Strategy
Trying to manage a bankroll, follow the action, and bet successfully on a live NFL football game can be fun, but also a dizzying challenge. Here are a few tips to keep you in the black when things get hairy.
Solid Internet Connection
The more live wagers are being placed on a contest, the more that successful in-game NFL betting depends on having a solid broadband connection. If your cell phone or computer browser is telling you that the odds are a certain number, but in actuality, the sportsbook has already updated the page again, then you will probably receive an error message on the bet slip.
Even worse, you may confuse the sportsbook’s software and make the managers think something fishy could be going on. If you live in a remote area or otherwise struggle with your internet connection, it is best to avoid in-game NFL betting…or at least make your bets during the quarter and halftime breaks.
Know the National Football League…and the Teams
Any type of gridiron betting has a greater chance of paying off if the gambler is well versed in football talent, coaching, and strategy. But in-game NFL betting is especially difficult for bettors who don’t know their stuff.
Live betting requires an analytical thought process and does not yield to hunches. For instance, a gambler might think that a head coach is overly conservative with a lead, liable to help the team blow an early 2-touchdown advantage. But having a 2nd-quarter lead is very advantageous to any NFL club. It might be that the halftime advantage leads to an easier decision-making process in the 2nd half. Even if the bettor is correct about the head coach, it might not lead to a great comeback for the opponent.
Know the Sportsbooks
Live betting is a world unto itself at a lot of sportsbooks. For instance, some in-game NFL betting books will put tasty in-game odds on a favorite if the team takes a 7-0 or 10-0 lead early on.
Chances are that the underdog is not out of it, since NFL coaches and leaders on the field (such as quarterbacks and middle linebackers) make adjustments between drives, quarters, and halves. Often even a “bad” team will respond after going down by 2 scores in the 1st half. But bettors can be lured into picking a can’t-miss favorite if the odds appear slightly less short than they ought to be.
For more on the strategy and rules of in-game NFL betting, click on either of the links below.
The Basics of In-Game Betting on the NFL
In-game NFL betting is best practiced by veteran gamblers and football analysts, not beginners.
As rewarding as it can be to win live bets, in-game NFL betting markets are like a graduate class for sports gamblers. To become a graduate, you have to first pass 101.
Here’s a quick primer on the odds likely to be listed at your sportsbook’s NFL live-betting page.
Live-Betting on NFL Moneylines
Moneylines are a simple market. Gamblers bet on which team will win the game outright. In America, most NFL moneylines are expressed in fractions relating to $100.
Minus-moneyline odds accompany the favorited team, while plus-odds are associated with underdogs. For instance, moneyline odds at (+200) promise a payoff of $200 on a winning $100 gamble, while a (-500) moneyline means that the bettor must wager $500 to potentially win $100.
In-game NFL moneyline odds tend to change often, at least twice per quarter and additionally with every touchdown or field goal.
The worst in-game moneyline moves involve players betting with their feelings. Trapped in the moment while watching a contest and live-betting, it’s easy to get carried away.
For instance, at Super Bowl LII, the New England Patriots were in trouble against the underdog Philadelphia Eagles in the 4th quarter of a wild shoot-out. But because the Pats have won so many NFL championships, and because Tom Brady had just led 2 scoring drives in a row, live moneylines took a rush of bets on New England. It just “felt” like the Bostonians were going to win again, and quite a few bookies felt the same way.
The rest is history. Brady fumbled, Philadelphia emerged victorious, and suckers who had bet on their feelings were left paying out once again.
In-Game NFL Point Spread Betting
Point spreads are a truly time-honored betting market. Betting against the spread (or “ATS”) means that the bettor picks a team to prevail against points spotted to the underdog.
Favorites must win by a higher margin than the point spread for the bettor (whether in-game NFL betting or betting before the game begins) to win the wager. A gamble on the underdog team wins if the team wins the scrum outright or loses by less than the point spread.
Just like in-game moneylines, live point spreads jump around a lot. The worst ATS betting mistake in the business is to assume that an NFL team wants to win by as lopsided a score as possible. There is little benefit for a team running up the score in the NFL. The Associated Press is not ranking anyone.
Look for opportunities to live-wager on inflated point spreads when one team appears headed for a blow-out. Suppose the score is 35-7 with 12:00 left, and the leading club has 1st down and 10 in comfortable field position. Barring a rash of turnovers, the scrum has been settled. The winning coach is likely to pull his starters before the trailing HC does, meaning that the losing team could have several almost-unfair chances to drive with its 1st string against backups.
Meanwhile, the team winning by 28 points cannot move the ball in the 4th quarter due to having its 2nd-string of 11 in the game, making a live ATS wager at (+28) or (+30) on the “blown out” squad actually a value pick.
In-Game NFL Point Totals
Also known as the Over/Under, or “O/U,” an NFL point total market asks the bettor to pick whether the point total after 4 quarters winds up tallying a total sum over or under the total predicted by the sportsbook. If the final score of an NFL contest adds up to a sum equal to its O/U line at the sportsbook, the result of the bet is a push, and wagered money is returned.
Live NFL point-total betting is an art form. With only stats and guesswork to go on, bettors must analyze and decide whether the 2 teams will play the next 15:00 or 30:00 more or less conservatively than they did over the first chunk of time.
Puzzles abound as the O/U point total line dances on the in-game NFL betting board. We know that it’s easier to run the ball in the 4th quarter, for instance – which can cut down on the number of points scored in a given 4th quarter. But some OCs describe 1st half running up the gut as “body punching.” What they really hope to do is learn from the 1st half and score 5 touchdowns in the 2nd half.
Click on the link below to read more about NFL betting strategy…beginning with Over/Under bets.
Angles, Trends, and Line Movement in In-Game NFL Betting
The study of trends and statistical “angles” can be especially important when betting on live action. Analyzing the trends is a standard tool of the oddsmaker, meaning that in order to match wits with him or her, the bettor must know what each trend is indicating.
As an example, an NFL team may go on the road to face an opponent with a superior record, but trends indicate that the underdog plays well at the given stadium. In turn, the game’s moneyline is set much tighter than it normally would be by the sportsbook.
Look out for silly, meaningless angles and trends which tell the gambler nothing of importance. Trends such as “The Redskins are 2-8 in their last 10 games after a national election” are meaningless due to the effects of random chance and the slim likelihood of the external factor impacting the team.
Understanding line movement is also super important when it comes to in-game NFL betting…after all, the lines move throughout each contest. Click below for more.
Individual Drive Props
Finally, what of the live-betting proposition micro-markets, such as “What will the result of the Cowboys’ next drive be?” Or “Will the next play result in a 1st down?” Or “Will the next punt bounce backwards, forwards, or be caught out of the air?”
Okay. We’re just kidding about that last one (we think), but are the super-quick win/lose live wagers worth it during an NFL contest? There’s no harm in having responsible fun. If you want to take a bucket of pennies and spend the game experimenting with live props, be our guest!
But the closer you get to pure-chance wagers such as “Will a kick hit the uprights” and so on, the broader the casino boss smiles. That’s because pure-chance sports wagering favors the house.
Getting Started with In-Game NFL Betting
In-game NFL betting takes a lot of hard work – or at least a lot of luck! We advise beginners to take it easy at first.
Study one NFL match-up at a time and be prepared to bet different ways based on how the 1st half or 1st quarter goes. Don’t be embarrassed to only wager a few pennies! You’re just dipping your toes in the water.
But with enough practice, you might just learn to think how coaches and players think during a contest…and develop the strategies necessary to beat the house handicapper in real time.