Bookie Of The Month: BetVictor

What is In-Play Betting and How Does it Work?

In-play betting is one of the most popular and exciting forms of sports betting – as it allows punters to place bets during live events. The main benefits of in-play betting are the ability to react to what’s happening in a live sports match or race and access higher odds after the event has started.

In this betting guide, we’ll have a look at:

  • Explain what is in-play betting
  • The top sports for in-play betting
  • The types of bets you can place
  • Advantages and considerations
  • The top bookmakers for in-play betting

In-Play Betting Explained

“In-play betting” is the term bookmakers and betting exchanges use to allow bettors to place bets on the outcome of a sporting event after it has started.

Unlike traditional pre-game betting, where you place your bet before the event starts and have limited information to base your decisions on, in-play betting (also known as live betting) allows you to bet on things as they happen during the action.

You can bet on various aspects of the game just as you would with pre-game traditional betting, such as the next goal scorer, total goals, corners, and cards shown. However, you get the extra excitement of betting on live sporting events as you watch the action and see the odds change.

William Hill live betting on website
Credit: William Hill – Football odds updating in real time (click image to view odds)

How Does In-Play Betting Work?

Bookmakers update their in-play betting odds continuously as the game progresses. This means that the odds for different outcomes change in real time, reflecting the game’s current state. These updated odds allow you to bet on specific events or outcomes during the match.

For example, let’s say you place a bet on Manchester United to get the first corner within 10 minutes; if the clock is ticking and it’s getting to 8 minutes in, you could cash out part of your stake to reduce your losses.

Conversely, if it looks highly likely that Man U will get a corner soon, you can increase your wager (and possibly get better odds) in the hope that you win the bet and guarantee a profit.

If you want to place a live bet, you can use online sports betting sites or mobile sports betting apps. Placing in-play wagers is so easy you could even do it at the event you’re betting on.

So if you are in the stand at a Premier League football match or trackside at a Cheltenham horse race, you can get your mobile out, log in to your favourite sportsbook, check the live betting odds at that moment, and then place a bet there and then.

Top Sports For In-Play Betting

In-play markets are available for a wide range of sports, but some sports are particularly well-suited for this type of live wagering; these include:


With its fast pace and frequent scoring opportunities, football is popular amongst sports fans for in-play sports betting. You can bet on various aspects, such as the next goal, the team to score first, the number of goals, and much more.


Tennis is another sport which is great for in-game betting, and you can bet on each game, set, or even individual points in tennis. The in-play odds can fluctuate based on what is happening during the game. Things like match duration, point length, weather, shot selection, who the opponent is etc., all affect the players’ chances of winning and the match.


The fast-paced nature of basketball and its high-scoring potential offer a massive range of in play wagers. You can wager on the outcome of individual quarters, the total number of points, or even the next team to score.

Ice Hockey

When it comes to ice hockey games, this is another super fast sport which adds to the excitement. If you want to bet on events like the next goal, the total number of goals, or the team to win the period, you can bet in play. Given the nature of live ice hockey games, the odds can change quickly as the game progresses.


While not as popular in the UK as sports like football, bookies will offer live odds for cricket matches, allowing you to place wagers on events such as the next wicket, the number of runs in an over, or the team having the highest score after a certain number of overs.


With its physically demanding nature, rugby offers various live sports wagering opportunities. You can bet on the next try, the team to score first, or the total number of points as you watch the action unfold.

Types of Bets You Can Place In-Play

Live bets provide a wide range of betting options beyond traditional match outcomes. Some common live betting markets include:

  • Outright winner – Betting on the team or player you believe will win the match
  • Total goals – Betting on the total number of goals scored in a game
  • First/next goal scorer – Betting on the player who will score the first goal or the next goal in a match
  • Corners – Betting on the number of corners awarded during a game
  • Bookings – Betting on the number of yellow or red cards shown during a match
  • Half-time/full-time – Betting on the outcome of the match at half-time and full-time

Additionally, more obscure in-play betting markets might emerge during play – providing further types of live bets. For example, a bookie may offer odds for a player to score three goals if that player has already scored in the game.

Betfred live in play bets with different markets
Credit: Betfred offers different betting markets (click image to view)

Advantages Of In-Play Betting

Here are the top four advantages for punters we think give you the biggest reasons to place live wagers:

  1. Ability to capitalise on form shifts, injuries, or other changes mid-game – In-play betting allows you to assess the game’s flow and make informed bet decisions based on the current circumstances. This flexibility can provide an edge over traditional pre-match betting.
  2. Higher odds – As bookmakers adjust their odds in real-time, you may find higher odds for specific outcomes during the match. This can lead to increased potential returns on successful bets.
  3. More betting opportunities and choice of markets – Live sports betting expands the range of options available, allowing you to explore different markets and find value in various aspects of the game.
  4. Increased excitement of betting while the action is happening – Live betting adds an extra layer of excitement to your sports betting experience. You can immerse yourself in the live-action and make instantaneous decisions based on your analysis.

Live Bet Considerations

Watch live events on Ladbrokes site
Credit: Ladbrokes – Watch live events & updating odds

While this form of betting offers numerous advantages, there are some factors you need to consider:

  • You need to make quick decisions – In-play betting requires you to make decisions promptly as the game progresses. It is crucial to watch the live stream and act swiftly to take advantage of favourable odds.
  • It requires focus and discipline – It’s important to remain disciplined in your betting strategy. Stick to your pre-defined plan (don’t constantly change your mind) and avoid impulsive decisions based on short-term fluctuations. Never chase your losses.
  • Higher risk of losing your stake due to lack of pre-match information – In pre-match betting, you have more time to gather information and assess the teams or players. Live betting offers less time for analysis, increasing the risk of making decisions you may regret.

Top Bookmakers For In-Play Wagering

Many reputable bookmakers offer live streaming on their platforms, which allows punters to keep track of the events as they happen. Some of the top bookmakers we suggest for live sports wagering include:

In Play Bets Conclusion

We believe in-play betting is a thrilling way to bet on sports, but you will need speed, discipline, and the ability to identify any gains to be had in changing odds.

By practising and implementing the right strategies, in-play betting can become a profitable part of your overall betting strategy – especially if you have a deep understanding of the sport you’re betting on.

But it isn’t for everyone, so remember to approach it cautiously, consider the potential risks, and always gamble responsibly.

Rhys Hanscombe

Rhys Hanscombe

About The Author

Rhys is a sports and fitness writer, football player and personal trainer. He has notched up an impressive CV, with a Diploma in Sport Performance and is a FA Level 1 Football Coach. He also shares his knowledge and experiences on his own site, where visitors can find out everything from healthy lifestyles to motorsport.

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