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Live sports betting, also known as in-game betting, is one of three main sports betting categories alongside pre-game betting (moneyline, points spread, etc.) and futures. Live odds are offered by the best sportsbooks in available markets.

Betting on live sports gives bettors the opportunity to bet on next plays, next goal scorers, or take advantage of the ever changing winner odds. Live betting allows sports fans to participate more during games and be engaged during events they might not have been as interested in without this ability.

Live betting is legal in all states with legal online sports betting for professional events. In some states, such as Iowa and Virginia, in-game betting on college sports is restricted. 

What Is Live Sports Betting?

Live sports betting, or in-game betting, is wagering on an event as the game is being played. Any bet placed after the opening whistle is considered in-game live betting.

For example, if you place a bet on an NFL game while it’s in the second quarter, that would be considered in-game betting.

Examples of in-game live betting lines across all professional sports include:

  • Next team to score
  • Next player to score
  • Winner of a specific quarter or half
  • In-game occurrence within a specified time (goal, out of bounds, no occurrence, etc.)
  • Method of next point (foul shot, penalty kick, field goal, etc.)
  • Total points within the specified time

The constantly updating odds and lines make in-game betting a fast-paced alternative to pre-game and futures betting. And the ability to win or lose several times between the opening and final whistles is the reason it’s growing in popularity.

What Are Live Odds?

The ever-changing odds are the most exciting aspect of live betting lines. While pre-game and futures betting odds change, the lines don’t move like they do with live betting.

Bookmakers, sports experts that set live betting lines at sportsbooks, determine the odds based on the movement of the game every second of the clock. 

This means that you can place an in-game bet on a line one minute and see completely different odds the next. Some live bettors will place different bets on competing outcomes to try and ensure a profit. 

For example, the odds on an in-game bet for the next player to score will change drastically if a player is running down the field with the ball.

All in-game occurrences are usually fair game for live betting lines at US sportsbooks. However, common in-game restrictions in some states include:

  • No betting on anything related to injuries
  • No betting on off-field situations (coin flip or length of National Anthem)
  • No live betting lines on college sports or in-state college teams

How To Bet On Live Odds

There’s no way to ensure profit when it comes to live betting on sports or any form of gambling. Even the best sports bettors of all time profited by a small percentage, which is why responsible gaming is the only true way to ensure success. So how do you bet on live odds?

For all live sports betting, it’s important to have access to multiple online sportsbooks to quickly place a bet as the lines shift. If you can have the same lines up across multiple platforms on the same screen, you’re in a great position to find the best live odds.

This may be obvious, but it’s also important to watch the game you’re live betting on while it’s progressing. Blindly choosing the best lines is the worst strategy short of betting more than you can afford to lose.

NFL Live Odds

An easy strategy for NFL live odds is to wait until the team you like is losing, then bet on them to win. The perceived advantage of the other team should increase the win potential for the moneyline and points spread bets.

A more time-consuming but likely more effective strategy is to study the games earlier in the season, then utilize your personal data to inform your live betting in football later in the season. 

That data will also come in handy if you’re simply approaching NFL live odds for side bets. If a team has a highly reliable kicker, for example, a field goal could be more likely.

NBA Live Odds

NBA live odds offer one of the most fast-paced live betting options. A player can go on a hot streak and drain three three-pointers in a row. A 10-point deficit could change in under a minute. And all the sportsbooks will be trying to keep up as well.

Pre-game lines are based on days or weeks of research by a whole team of bookmakers, who also have advanced algorithms on their side. That makes it difficult to find a truly undervalued NBA moneyline or points spread.

But with NBA live odds, it’s crucial to have multiple sports betting apps at the ready so you don’t miss a delay in the odds shift. More so than most other sports, NBA live odds give sports bettors chances to grab great lines before the bookmakers notice.

MLB Live Odds

The best strategy for approaching the MLB live odds is to really pay attention to those pre-match lines. Whether the points spread or the totals, the sportsbooks with the best value before the game starts are usually the most likely to offer the best value on MLB live odds.

For example, if one sportsbook is offering a 6.5 run total while another is offering a 7.0 run total, the latter option will likely have the best MLB live odds in that category.

The Best Live Betting Sites

The following sportsbooks are available in several states and offer high-quality, competitive odds for live betting online. All sportsbooks will offer some form of live odds, some are better than others in terms of updating on the spot and the variety of sporting events. 

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FAQs – Live Sports Betting

Is live sports betting online legal?

Yes, at licensed online sportsbooks. Live sports betting online is legal in the US as long as you’re in a state with legal online sports betting. Live betting is always allowed on major league sports, but some states restrict in-game betting on college games.

How are live odds calculated?

Live odds are calculated by bookmakers, changing with each goal, possession and time left in the event.

Do all sportsbook apps carry live betting lines?

Yes, all major sportsbook apps carry live betting lines. Sports betting apps such as Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers all offer a wide variety of live betting lines. Some sportsbooks offer live betting lines on more sports than others, so make sure the sports betting app you want to join offers in-game bets on your preferred games.

Can I place prop bets during a game in progress?

Yes, prop bets are a common option for live in-game betting. All major online sportsbooks offer prop bets on major league sports such as the NFL, NBA, and MLB. Many also offer live betting lines on international sports, like European soccer, as well as NCAA basketball and football (if state law allows it).

Does DraftKings offer live betting?

Yes, DraftKings Sportsbook offers live betting on major league sports, European soccer, and other events. You can find the DraftKings live betting lines in the “Live In-Game” section of the DraftKings Sportsbook app or website. DraftKings offers in-game wagers on college sports where allowed by law.

Does FanDuel offer in-game betting?

Yes, FanDuel Sportsbook offers a variety of in-game betting lines for MLB, NBA, NFL, NHL, and other sports as well as international leagues. You can also find in-game wagers on NCAA football and basketball at FanDuel Sportsbook in states that allow live betting on college sports. 

What is the best sportsbook app for live betting lines?

Caesars Sportsbook. The best legal US sports betting app for live betting lines is Caesars, with BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel, and BetRivers also offering a nice variety of in-game bets with competitive odds.

 Many sites recommend illegal sportsbooks for live betting, but illegal sports betting sites are unsafe and therefore are bad options for any form of wagering.

About the Author
Emma Carlin

Emma Carlin

Senior Writer
Based in Washington, D.C, Emma Carlin is a senior writer at Gaming Today. She has spent most of her career in public relations, writing and producing content for professional teams and athletes. In her downtime, you can find Carlin at a D.C. United or Washington Capitals game.

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