In-Play Betting

in play bettingThe Internet has revolutionised betting in a lot of ways. Not only can you bet without leaving your couch, but nowadays the betting fun doesn’t even stop when the action starts.

Traditionally, in many countries, you’d head to the bookies and place your bet before the race or game and then sit down and watch it hoping that you picked a winner and then go and collect your money if you were lucky. Now you can keep betting, right down to the final whistle or the last few yards of a horse race.

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How does In-Play Betting Work?

In-play betting is like regular sports betting on steroids! Let’s take soccer as an example. As the match comes near and the teams are announced, the odds will generally settle down and will reflect the chances of the various outcomes.

For example, let’s say Tottenham Hotspur are at home to Liverpool. This match might start off with Spurs at 2/5 (1.71), Liverpool at 4/1 (5.0) and the draw at 4/1 (5.0).

As soon as the match kicks off, the prices start to change as the bookmaker works furiously to update the odds based on what’s happening on the pitch. Maybe Liverpool enjoys a good spell of possession for the first few minutes and the prices might change a bit, with a Liverpool win and the Draw both shortening a bit.

Then, if Liverpool scores things will change completely. All of a sudden they might drop to 5/4 (2.2) with Tottenham drifting to 6/4 (2.5) and the draw shortening to 3/1 (4.0). This kind of to-ing and fro-ing continues for the whole match based on how it’s going. Not only will you be able to bet on the result, but also the next goal, next scorer, correct score, and tons of other markets.

In-Play represents a great opportunity to make some money from your betting. At the end of the day when the match starts, it’s just you versus the bookmaker’s traders and if you can outsmart them and beat the over-round then you’re on your way to making a profit.

Systems for In-Play Betting

Lots of people will try and sell you surefire ‘systems’ to help you with your in-play betting. Be assured that they’re all bogus! An interesting system you’ll see for sale which claims that it’ll make you rich is the ‘Lay the Draw’ system, which is designed for use primarily on betting exchanges like Betfair where you can bet against outcomes (laying) as well as for them. Here’s how it works (or doesn’t work) in reality!:

You pick a football match that’s starting soon and lay (bet against) the draw. In most football matches, you’ll find that the draw is priced up around 4.0-5.0 in decimal odds which is about 3/1 or 4/1. Then, when the first goal is scored, the odds of a draw shoot upwards, and you back the draw.

If you use an arbitrage calculator, it will tell you the correct amount to back such that you’re guaranteed a profit no matter what happens. Don’t go looking for the Ferrari dealership just yet though…

There’s plenty that can go wrong. For example, if the game carries on being 0-0 for a long time then there may not be a goal at all and you’ve lost all of your money. Another thing that’s not immediately obvious is that if the underdog scores, the odds of the draw will actually shorten and you’re doomed again!

There’s really no way to ‘game’ the in-play system. It’s all about experience, number crunching, and outsmarting the bookie. Over time you’ll know when you see a price that it’s way too high for the situation it’s applied to and then, and only then should you pounce. I’d advise spending a lot of time just watching the in-play markets before committing any money.

Cashout Feature

If you’re in Europe you might have seen TV ads for Betfair‘s new ‘Cashout’ feature. This allows you to basically book your profit while the match is still on and ‘get out’ of your bet. Of course, since every other bookmaker has copied the feature and you can cash out in-play bets at most sites.

Here’s how it works: Let’s take the example above and say you had £100 on Liverpool and they scored a goal and the odds changed as we showed. If Liverpool hold on, you’ll be returned £500 but maybe you don’t trust them to hold the lead.

You can then ‘sell’ your bet and the bookie software will effectively ‘lay’ or bet against Liverpool to the tune of £227.27 automatically and this will leave you with a £127.27 or profit no matter what happens.

The Cashout button is a great feature, and in truth, savvy bettors have been doing it for years. It used to be referred to as ‘greening-up’ referring to the fact that your Betfair account would show green numbers for all possible outcomes indicating that you can’t lose.

Of course, with every new feature comes a bunch of terrible ‘systems’ from people who don’t know anything about gambling. You’ll find these systems everywhere, but just take it from me that they simply do not work!

Go back to our sports betting guide