Live Betting

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, involves wagering on events as they are happening. A range of bets can be placed once the game, match or race starts, and odds can change in real time while the event unfolds.

Live Sports Betting
Published by NYSB Staff
Last Updated: 13. Dec 2023.

Live betting elevates New York sports wagering to a whole new level. Follow the action as it happens and place real-time bets with odds that update after every period of play, while monitoring live stats to inform your picks.

While live betting (or in-play or in-game betting) isn’t much different to pre-game wagering, it offers the chance to make your own analysis of how a match is progressing. You can earn some money if you make the right call, even before the contest has finished.

What is Live Betting?

Live betting markets open on games once play starts and they conclude when the event has completed. Moneylines, spreads and totals are all on offer along with bets on other aspects of the action. Odds refresh continuously to reflect what’s happening on the pitch, court, rink, course or field.

Lots of sportsbooks also have live streaming feeds for you to watch games while they’re running, or you can place in-play bets while watching on TV or even in the stadium itself. If live streaming isn’t available on the site, most NY sportsbooks have an animated overview of the action alongside in-game data.

How Does Live Betting Work?

Live betting options evolve as the game you’re following progresses, so you won’t know what the odds will be on in-play wagers until the very moment you seek out the wager. Live odds change rapidly with betting opportunities that come and go by the minute.

All live wagers are essentially prop bets - betting on the possibility that something will happen. 

You’ll still be able to bet live on the moneyline, the spread and the total (over/under) along with a whole host of other occurrences. Common in-play bet types include who will win or what the final score will be.

There are also bets on what the result will be after a certain period of play, milestones such as how many points will be scored in the game or by a player, and micro-events like whether there will be a player sent off or sin-binned. 

You’ll also find ‘fast markets’ on many sports, for instance, who will win the next point or will a certain event occur in the next 5, 10 etc. minutes. Many sportsbooks will also allow you to construct an in-game parlay.

Understanding Live Betting Odds

Sportsbooks that offer live betting rely on data feeds to set in-play odds. That means live prices are updated by no more than a few seconds. 

It doesn’t mean the odds will change every few seconds, but they typically move either after something significant has happened that might affect the outcome of a game or as a result of trends unfolding during play.

When you select an in-game wager and put it in your bet slip, it’s important to understand that the odds stand as they are at that very moment. 

With odds often changing at lightning speed, if they alter before you hit ‘confirm’ to place the bet then the sportsbook will flash you an alert. You can then choose to accept or reject the new odds.

How Are Live Odds Calculated?

It would take a huge army of betting experts and odds mathematicians to refresh the myriad of markets and individual bets available on every in-play event. 

While sportsbooks active in the Empire State do employ lots of odds compilers that oversee pricing as games unfold (Kambi, the data-tech company behind BetRivers have 300 sports traders for instance), most of the hard work is automated with advanced algorithms constantly computing the odds based on a vast amount of data.

Each sportsbook will have its own formulas and methodology for calculating live odds. They’ll never reveal to customers how it approaches this in case a clever punter can spot an edge.

Odds are set to reflect pre-game and in-game information but also how the market is performing in terms of how much money is being placed on individual bets. If a stack of cash is being placed on a particular market, the odds are likely to drop. 

After that, the bookmaker will also add its vigorish to the odds. This is the cut the sportsbook takes as a percentage of potential profits from accepting a bet.

When you get into live betting, you’ll also notice that sometimes the markets suspend. This effectively closes individual betting opportunities or all of the bets that are available on the event. 

This usually happens when something major happens that could affect the outcome such as a change in the score; or if there’s a penalty, a sending off, an injury, a key substitution; or if the referee or umpire spends time reviewing their verdict on a passage of play. 

The in-play betting opportunities are usually only suspended for a few moments but it allows the bookmaker a little time to completely review its odds in light of a significant occurrence.

Advantages of Live Betting

Live betting has transformed how sportsbooks operate, and research suggests that around half of all regular sports bettors are interested in placing in-play bets while watching a live game.

There are several advantages to live betting for those who follow and place wagers on sports.

The Thrill of Quick Betting Results

Unless they’re a pro gambler, most recreational bettors are in it for the thrill. The lure of a potential profit is also a big draw. Live betting offers near-instant gratification. 

While you might have to wait months for a futures bet to conclude or days for a wager on the weekend’s big action to wind up, in-play betting typically settles in minutes. 

The fastest sportsbooks will pay out seconds after a live bet has won. It means you can get back into the action quickly and a single game could return you multiple profit installments.

Extra Information When Seeking An Edge

When you follow a game live, you’re instantly furnished with a ton of additional information that you wouldn’t have on pre-game betting markets. That enables bettors to be better equipped at predicting what will happen. 

Avid fans of any sport know what good play looks like, whether it’s a player who’s having a great game, a team who is building momentum, or a defensive line having a nightmare. 

Your expertise can be used to find an edge over the bookmaker and you can refer to the real-time stats to back up your betting decisions.

Beat The Bookie by Finding Value

The sheer volume of live bets that feature at the biggest NY sportsbooks and the multitude of variables in every game means that not every market can ever be priced up 100% accurately. 

Computerized odds calculations can only really take into account quantitative data too, which removes an element of qualitative information that only sports fans will know. 

That could be team morale, the coach’s chosen tactics, signs of an unfit player, or even how much the crowd is getting behind their side. Human errors by odds traders can sometimes be identified too and if you spot a live line that looks incorrect, you can jump on it to take advantage.

Disadvantages of Live Betting

Betting is always a balance, whether it’s risk versus reward, considering the worth of a wager at the odds offered against its probability of winning, or wagering on one side of a moneyline just as the price moves in your favor. That also means for every advantage of live betting, there’s a drawback.

The Instant Hit of Emotions

It’s difficult to take emotions out of sports betting, especially if it's a favorite player or team that you’re watching in real-time. 

Betting against a side that you support just feels plain wrong, even when you’ve concluded it is likely to make you a profit. It’s also the case that there’s something of a rush when you spot particularly delicious live odds. 

Betting with your head instead of your heart takes some of the fun out of in-game gambles even if excited wagering will likely drain your bankroll quicker. The decision on whether to be an emotional or a rational live bettor is yours to make. 

Also remember, if you get hyped by live betting then so do thousands of others. If a whole bunch of impulsive bettors stake on one side then it can skew the odds to either increase or reduce their value.

Markets That Disappear As Quickly As They Appear

Live betting markets move fast. Sometimes you might have just seconds to decide on whether to place a bet and how much to wager. Betting on in-play events affords you less time to make an analysis and come to the best decision. 

Frustration can also play a part if you miss out on something you wanted to bet on and then you can be tempted to wager on another outcome ‘for the heck of it’. Missing opportunities is inevitable if you place lots of live bets.

A Narrower Selection Of Betting Markets

It takes a lot of bookmaker resources to offer live betting markets. That means the live betting menu at most sportsbooks is more limited than for pre-game bets. The biggest NY books will still offer fairly extensive in-play betting options for the most popular sports like football, baseball, basketball and hockey. 

Tennis, soccer and golf also tend to be well served but you’ll rarely find live betting for the more niche sports. 

Fewer betting options naturally result in fewer win opportunities. It’s also the case that in-play odds can be more miserly than pre-game and outrights markets.

Live Betting Strategies

Live betting can be unpredictable, chaotic, crazy and wild. Making split-second decisions doesn’t entirely lend itself to developing a strategy. It’s also true that with so many opportunities to win big, there’s an equal number that can lead to losing big too. But there are some tips and tricks to employ for in-play wagering to make the most of it all.

Scout Out the In-Game Bets in Advance

You're less likely to research bets in-play than you are before a contest begins. Knowing what live bet types will be available during the game enables you to develop a loose plan of attack. 

You might have scouted a free-scoring team or player and decided that as soon as they get onto the scoreboard, you’ll get straight in on the ‘next to score’, spreads or overs. 

If you’re confident that a side is going to win and they fall behind early, then you might determine you’ll get straight in on the live moneyline when the odds of victory increase.

Use Live Bets as Insurance & Don’t Forget the Cash-Out

Live betting can be an excellent option for hedging your bets when you’ve already placed some pre-game wagers. If you’ve opted for one side to win before the game gets underway and you can see they’re struggling, you can trade-off that bet as a form of insurance should the seemingly inevitable happen and it looks like losing. 

A caveat to this though is to make sure you don’t end up betting against yourself too often. It can be all too easy to get lost in the moment when you spy an amazing line and stake on it. 

If you’d bet in the opposite direction prior, then you’ll probably wind up breaking even at best. Also, if a bet appears as if it’s all going to go horribly wrong, don’t be afraid to cut your losses and cash out early. 

You can also press on pre-game bets that are heading in the right direction with an additional live wager to further boost your bets and maximize potential returns.

Choose Your Stream & Interface Wisely

Successful live betting relies on having the most up-to-date information available. A fast and accurate live stream means you can make more informed judgements. 

A slow, buffering or behind feed takes away that advantage. It’s also rarely a good idea to place in-game bets on games you aren’t even watching as then you’ll be betting like the sportsbook’s computer does, relying on stats that rarely tell the full story.

Have More Than One Book on the Go

Choose the best betting sites for live wagering. Some sportsbooks are fantastic at updating everything in split seconds while others lag, suspend markets regularly, and have an element of frustration to get your bet on quickly. 

Not all live betting books are born equal either. There can be big differences between how sportsbooks calculate live odds. Signing up with a few means you can quickly spot the best value available, and also take advantage of the best sports betting promos in New York.

Which Sports Can I Bet On Live?

Once you’ve adopted a broad live betting strategy, it also pays to know how the markets typically play out in different sports. Most of the top NY sportsbooks offer live betting markets for a range of sports, competitions and events. Some of the best sports to bet live on include:

Live Hockey Betting

NHL live betting can be quite different to other sports due to its low-scoring games. It often means that in-play lines move sharply at top NHL betting sites based on the early game action and quick goals, along with how the trailing side responds. 

Look out for teams that fare better in certain stages of the match and consider period bets, such as who will win each one and whether a side will score under or over before each intermission.

Live Football Betting

The best football sportsbooks offer hundreds of live bets on NFL and college football matches. Player props are also enormous in live football betting such as who will score the next touchdown, whether a quarterback will make over or under a set number of passing yards, or how many assists an offense star will make. 

Watch for factors such as a trailing team needing to throw more, unexpected roster adjustments and whether the coach is deploying an aggressive or conservative call that will impact on the scoring.

Live Tennis Betting

It might not quite rank as America’s most popular sport, but the live betting markets on tennis are among the most extensive with a wealth of options at New York's top tennis betting sites

That’s due to the number of tennis tournaments that take place every single week with matches played almost every day of the year. 

On any live tennis game, you’ll typically find in-play betting options on who will win the match outright, plus who will win the next game, set and point. You'll also find a host of spreads, totals and player props. Servers are almost always offered at short prices to win a game and live tennis odds change rapidly, often after each point.

Live Baseball Betting

Live baseball betting is made for stats geeks, and the best MLB betting apps offer plenty to get involved with. 

With nine innings and hundreds upon hundreds of MLB games played every year, you could make a full-time career out of analyzing the data on in-play baseball bets. Think like each of the team’s managers and ponder what tactical tweaks they’ll make next. 

Most baseball coaches will go to their bullpen at some point unless their opening pitcher is having the game of their life. If the bullpen has been hot lately then you’ll want to get on that team establishing a good lead. Also, don’t be alarmed if the team you’ve backed slumps into an early deficit.

Live Soccer Betting

Rarely high-scoring affairs, soccer matches might suit you if you still like to take some time identifying solid live betting opportunities. 

A lot of soccer fixtures go into halftime at 0-0 so you might want to go easy on the in-play markets in the first 45 minutes. If that’s the case, the win odds on the favorite will have lengthened nicely and dominant teams will tend to turn the screw in the second half. 

There will be a load of other props and fun bets at NY's best soccer betting sites to take in on matches too, such as how many corners, free kicks and yellow cards there will be. You’ll also find a selection of ‘will there be x event in the next y minutes’ bets which can be worth a punt.

Recommended NY Live Betting Sites

You’re guaranteed to find all manner of live betting options at all of the NY sportsbooks. Each one is slightly different in how they deliver in-play markets. Here are the best sites for live betting In New York.

Best for the widest range of live betting sports - Caesars

Caesars are easily one of the best all-round sportsbooks for live betting. As a giant of the sports betting industry, they also offer roughly the widest range of events to bet on in-play. At any moment of the day, you’ll find tennis and table tennis live markets but Caesars ramps up its offering as evenings and weekends approach with massive in-game betting options for the biggest events.

Best for live betting odds - FanDuel

One of the veterans of the US sportsbook sector, FanDuel has one of the most refined live betting offerings. As one of the books that lead the market at setting odds, you’ll often find the best average pricing on in-play bets at FanDuel.

Best for live betting stats - BetMGM

BetMGM has great live betting options with lots of markets on different sports, but it’s their in-play stats service that stands the book apart from the rest. BetMGM offers more statistical analysis than any other NY sports betting site and they’re all readily accessible and easy-to-read for informed live wagering.

Best for live streaming - PointsBet

It might not have the biggest range of in-depth live betting options, but PointsBet delivers a fantastic streaming service. Once you’re signed up you can access all kinds of games to watch live. The streaming is high quality and is available on a load of the biggest events with some smaller ones also beaming live. All of the as-it-happens live action can easily be accessed from PointsBet’s dedicated streaming page.

Live Betting FAQ

Winning at live betting means adopting similar principles to pre-game betting while being nimble and agile enough to hit on opportunities as they arise in real-time. Don’t place too many in-running bets as you run the risk of losing bets canceling out profitable ones. Watch the action carefully as it unfolds and wait for the right moment to wager.

Yes, you can parlay live bets at most sportsbooks. However, you’ll most often find that not all selections can be combined. If that’s the case, you’ll find the leg that can’t be added to the parlay showing up as a separate line in the bet slip. You can then deselect it and add others to the live parlay.

Yes. All of the top sportsbooks in NY have live betting available on their apps and mobile websites.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Let’s stay connected. Never miss a good news and betting offers in New York.

return to top