With the sheer amount of televised games these days, it’s a wonderful time to be a soccer fan. Whether it’s the passion of the English Premier League, the elite encounters of the Champions’ League, or the regular clashes of worldwide footballing giants in the World Cup and European Championships, there’s barely a week that goes by without some sort of top-notch soccer action to enjoy.
Throw in the extra excitement that in-play betting adds to the mix and you’re never far away from an exciting series of betting opportunities. While you may well be familiar with standard soccer betting, in-play action considerably widens your range of options as a punter and takes a little bit of getting used to when you’re first starting out. In this piece, we’ll help you get up to speed quickly with a breakdown of the main types of live football bets that are available to you with most major providers.
Before we dive into detail, let’s quickly review the basics of live football betting to make sure we’re all starting from the same spot.
Though it’s a relatively recent option for football fans to enjoy, the basic idea of live football betting is incredibly straightforward. Rather than being limited to taking your position before the match begins and then simply seeing what unfolds, in-play betting enables to you to bet throughout the match and factor in every aspect of the action as it unfolds.
In contrast to regular soccer betting, there are a few extra considerations to take on board if you’re considering live betting. First of all, obviously, you’ll need to be prepared to actually set aside time to watch the matches in question. It’s a fundamentally more engaging form of betting that demands more of your time. You’ll also need to exercise considerably more discipline when actually betting as the opportunities for taking a position are so much greater in number.
The odds situation with in-play betting is also radically different. The various betting markets on offer are constantly updated as the odds shift in response to in-game events. You’ll need to get used to spotting opportunities in an incredibly fast-moving environment in order to really make the most of live football betting for real money.
There’s also a considerably wider range of bets and betting systems available than those you might be used to with traditional football betting and that’s what we’ll be concentrating on for the remainder of the article. Let’s start with an overview of the general types of live football bets you can expect to find online.
When you’re just getting started with live football betting, one of the easiest ways of getting your head around the options available to you is to break the types of live football bets on offer into three broad categories:
- In-game events: These are specific game events and encompass many of the most popular bet types out there. Examples include next score and half-time/fulltime betting.
- Player-based markets: Another way of looking at potential bets is in terms of player-specific markets such as next goalscorer and next person to be sent off. It’s worth noting that player-specific markets tend to be more available in major televised matches.
- Team-based markets: Team-based markets are those which give you a chance to wager on a particular team-related outcome such as which team stands to get the most corners and other such wagers.
This isn’t of course, the only way of thinking about the range of bet types available, but it can be a useful starting point. Before we consider the types of bets available in isolation, let’s briefly consider the pros and cons of in-play action generally.
As we briefly mentioned up near the top, it’s in your interests to fully consider the pros and cons of in-play action before you really dive in.
On the plus side of the equation, there’s a much wider range of bet types available and you have the ability to react in real time to events as they unfold. Live football betting also favours those with a truly in-depth knowledge of particular teams or leagues. It’s considerably easier to leverage your expertise in the more fluid environment that live betting allows.
The main negatives are simply that you have to devote more time to your play and manage your budgets much more carefully. The risk of overextending yourself is naturally substantially greater when you’re able to bet on a minute-by-minute basis, and the temptation to fall into bad habits such as chasing losses is naturally also more apparent.
Our advice for those just starting off is to ease into the action gently and concentrate on just one league to begin with. It can also be worth spending a short period of time “paper-trading” before you pile in with real money i.e. getting some practice in with live events without actually committing any cash.
With those points in mind, let’s move on to individual types of live football bets on offer.
Next goal bets have long been a favourite of in-play aficionados and it’s not hard to see the reasons why – they’re perfectly suited to the cut and thrust of the average football match.
You’re free to wager on both which team will score next and which individual player is likely to hit the back of the net in response to the action unfolding on the screen in front of you. If you’ve got a feeling Ronaldo has been uncharacteristically subdued in a big tie, for example, and is just waiting to explode into action, you might be able to get interesting odds on him as next scorer.
If you feel two teams are essentially cancelling each other out, a “No Goalscorer” is also usually available. Backing defenders to break the deadlock from dead ball situations in high-pressure ties is often a way to unlock truly attractive odds.
Corners and throw-ins aren’t traditionally the most exciting elements of a soccer match, but the magic of in-play action transforms them into markets in their own right. You’ll find traditional markets here for the overall number of corners and throw-ins and matching over/under options, but most betting providers will also offer these on an ongoing in-play basis.
There’s obviously a fairly large random factor when it comes to throw-ins in particular, but a close reading of an individual game can pay off when it comes to betting on corners. Certain teams like Barcelona, though renowned for their possession stats, tend to get very few corners. Looking for matches where they look likely to buck that trend can be a shortcut to easy pickings.
Bookings and red cards don’t just bring an element of unpredictable drama to a football match, they’re also interesting in-play betting markets in their own right. Again, you can look to profit on an over/under basis and pit your wits against the bookie’s interpretation of what’s going on, or take a chance on a particular player you think is about to blow a fuse.
This is another set of markets where in-depth knowledge of a particular team and its players really pays off. Certain players such as Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos are basically red cards waiting to happen, whereas particular rivalries in certain leagues such as Arsenal versus Manchester United have particularly spicy histories. Marry that type of background knowledge to a close reading of the game in front of you, and there’s more than enough room to profit in these markets.
As the action unfolds, the odds on eventual overall winners and particular scores naturally vary wildly and in-play betting lets you take a position and potentially profit from it.
You’ll often find excellent value on offer here with teams that are famous for last-minute comebacks in certain scenarios. Take Liverpool’s recent scarcely believable 4-3 comeback against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League – a truly great sporting occasion that threw up all manner of exciting in-play opportunities as the game progressed to its surprising conclusion.
In-play handicap betting is a great way of both adding some extra excitement to games that are otherwise largely over in terms of the eventual result and pouncing on the peculiarities of a particular 90 minutes.
Classic variants such as Asian handicapping essentially reset the scores after each goal, meaning you can often cash in on, for example, late consolation goals when the dominant team gets sloppy towards full-time if you’re paying close attention to the actual match play.
Now that you’re familiar with the basic types of in-play soccer bets on offer from most major providers, let’s start closing things out with some general tips to bear in mind when you’re trying to make the most of your betting opportunities.
- Manage your money: With the ongoing immediate excitement that live football betting offers, it’s all too easy to lose track of how you’re actually doing over the course of a season or calendar year. Make sure you’re keeping an overall tally of your wins and losses and budgeting accordingly as the season progresses.
- Stick to betting on leagues you actively follow: There’s no shortage of exotic leagues to take your chances on, but in-play betting rewards the application of highly targeted areas of expertise. Though there’s no harm in widening your horizons from time to time, aim to stick largely with leagues and individual teams that you regularly follow to give yourself the best possible chance of cashing in.
- Follow games live: If you haven’t already, you’ll need to get into the habit of following a pretty substantial amount of live action to get a feel for the ebb and flow of particular markets, teams and leagues. We’re not just talking about the games you’re actively betting on here – the more live action you can catch, the better your overall knowledge will be.
- Don’t chase losses: We’ve touched on this already, but it bears repeating – in-play betting means the next betting opportunity is only ever seconds away so you really need to keep your wits about you and exercise ongoing discipline to make sure you don’t drift into throwing good money after bad when the rub of the green is against you.
In today’s mobile first environment, you’ll naturally be looking to follow the action at your own convenience whether you’re on the move or glued to the couch. In-play soccer betting apps are the natural way to go here, and the good news is that you’re spoiled for choice as a punter in this regard.
You’ll find more detailed info on live football betting apps in our comprehensive article devoted entirely to the subject, but the upshot is that every major betting site such as Ladbrokes, William Hill and Paddy Power/Betfair offer dedicated apps for both iOS and Android which are free for you to use. As long as you have a relatively recent mobile device, you can expect to enjoy a full set of in-app options including live updates, streaming and the standard range of markets.
You’re also free to choose from a wide range of slightly more specialist apps which enable you to dig into more detail on particular teams or leagues in the quest to get a slight edge on the market as a whole. Innovative apps such as Fabula Football and Betmaid seek to add a social layer to the whole experience, in addition to providing comprehensive stats and analysis options.
We hope our overview of types of in-play soccer bets has whetted your appetite for live action and given you some interesting options to explore in the next round of games. As you get more familiar with the possibilities that live betting offers, you’ll naturally find yourself gravitating towards particular types of bets and expanding your expertise from there.
Take things slowly, get used to analysing the ebb and flow of live games with the idea of identifying betting opportunities in mind, and hold your nerve and you’ll soon discover why live football betting is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding forms of gambling available online.
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