Football Betting Strategy: In-Play Betting

In-Play betting has become hugely popular in recent years, with punters enjoying the chance to bet on live sporting events as they are taking place. As a football match takes place over a 90-minute period, it’s a sport that lends itself very well to in-play betting, with customers able to sit back and watch the action unfold, before deciding what bets they want to place.

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How Do I Bet In-Play?

In-play betting works in the same way as betting using a pre-match football betting market. The only difference is that the odds are being refreshed on a regular basis, so you might find that the 3.50 that you want to back has suddenly changed to 3.00 or 4.00. Always be aware of the potential for prices to change!

Customers login to their favourite online betting sites and click on the ‘In-Play’ section, where it will show the football matches that have live markets available.

For popular leagues, like the English Premier League, Italy's Serie A and the Champions League, you can guarantee that live odds will be available. It is then a case of choosing the in-play betting market or bet that makes the most appeal.

As with pre-match football betting, you can still bet on the 1X2 market, which is ultimately deciding which team is going to win the game. Alternatively, the best in-play betting sites offer popular live markets such as Next Team to Score, Next Goalscorer and Half-Time Score.

Why Should I Use In-Play Betting?

Several bookmakers now report that in-play betting accounts for over 50% of turnover when it comes to popular football matches, especially those that are shown live on TV, such as Sunday afternoon, or Monday night games.

The biggest attraction of football in-play betting is the capacity for assessment; you’re able to check odds with concrete knowledge on your side. In other words, since you can view how a team is playing and how the match is shaping up, you’re better informed when you place an in-play bet than you could be when making a bet before the game.

Top football betting sites such as Bet365, Ladbrokes and Paddy Power all have live streams of games online, providing up-to-date statistics and information to help you make a judgement on how much value the odds represent.

It can be a rollercoaster experience, but in-play betting also allows customers that instant gratification of a quick win. You can often win several times during the 90 minutes, across a range of football betting markets, with Cash Out also available - that means you can back your judgement and close out for a profit, without the market being settled.

How Can I Make Winning In-Play Bets?

We always advise betting customers to gamble what they can afford. When the fun stops, you need to stop, and just enjoy a football match without placing any further bets.

If you strike several in-play bets on a football match, it’s unlikely that you’re going to win with all of those wagers. That is because football is a low-scoring game and there are lots of different variables when it comes to determining the outcome at the full-time whistle.

The best in-play betting strategy is to take in the opening exchanges of a football match before making the decision to place a bet. If you bet immediately after kick-off, then you might as well snap up the pre-match odds, which traditionally offer better value before the game goes in-play.

Take a watching brief of 15-20 minutes, and make notes of what’s happening in the game. This might include which team are looking the most dominant, the players that are looking the most likely to score, and the overall strategy for both teams in terms of the whole match.

It’s also sensible to watch the in-play markets and the changing odds to understand how the online betting traders react to different events on the pitch.

You might be watching a game between Liverpool and Wolverhampton, with the Reds available at 1.50 before kick-off. However, if the scoreline is goalless at half-time, you might expect Liverpool’s odds to drift out to 1.83 or maybe 2.00.

When the second half kicks off, the odds will continue to drift while the game remains level and we get closer to the final whistle. The skill / luck is identifying when it’s the right time to play a certain market.

When is the Best Time to Bet In-Play?

There is no right or wrong time to place a live in-play bet. It’s all about identifying value opportunities as they come along. The key element of winning against the house is identifying a price that you think is ultimately too big compared to how you regard the situation.

That said, half-time gives you a 15-minute window to reflect on what you’ve seen in the first 45 minutes. There is ample time then to make a considered decision based on the match action so far.

It often pays to be brave and not get scared off by a big price, although less is often more when it comes to the volume of in-play bets placed, considering that there is a bookmaker margin factored into every football betting market, and especially so with in-play betting markets.