Few innovations in sports betting have been as revolutionary as live betting. The ability to place a wager on the action happening before us has been a boon to many punters, although it needs to follow an effective strategy.
While most sports offer live betting these days, football remains the big draw. As a result, you’ll find 100s of in-play markets, particularly for big matches in the Champions League, Premier League and Europe’s other top divisions.
But when it comes to a live betting strategy, is there anything about that medium that gives us a particular advantage? And, on the other hand, are there any pitfalls?
The answer is yes and yes.
To be clear, we want to look at the emotional side of live betting here, how it makes you feel about placing a bet.
React to shifts in momentum
Starting with the advantages, we can say one of the fundamental benefits is that it allows you to react to shifts in the momentum of a game. We have all been there before where we have backed a team fully convinced that it will win, only to see the players really off it as soon as the game starts.
Want an example?
Look no further than the 2014 World Cup Semi-Final between Brazil and Germany. Pre-game, Brazil were clear favourites to win the match in front of tens of thousands of home fans at the Maracanã Stadium, but within minutes we knew something was wrong as the Brazil players looked visibly shaken.
Final result? 7-1 Germany.
The point is that live betting is a gift in situations like that where you can pinpoint what’s happening in front of you is not reflected in the odds.
Ask yourself this question: How quickly could bookies react to the debacle in the Maracanã? Not quick enough.
Of course, a football match that took place eight years ago is just one example. But within games, you often get mini-shifts in momentum, a sense of inevitability that the match is going to turn on its head. The stunning shift in momentum when Liverpool beat Barcelona 4-0 (coming back from a 3-0 aggregate deficit) in the Champions League in 2019.
If you want a more recent example, how about when PSG fell apart against Real Madrid last month? A 17-minute hat-trick from Karim Benzema may have stunned pundits at the time, but you could see the PSG defence was all over the place. For some, the Madrid comeback felt inevitable.
Live betting can be emotional
So, what, if anything, represents the pitfalls of live betting on football? Well, for a start, those shifts in momentum can be deceptive at times. Moreover, they can make you doubt your previously concrete assessment of an event. All football games ebb and flow, even when stronger teams play weaker ones.
The point, as such, is that live betting can sometimes lose the courage of your convictions. It might sound like a cliché, but good teams often win when playing badly. Quality players will have moments that determine the outcome of a game, even if things aren’t going well around them.
Manchester United have made a habit of this in recent years. Yes, they have become a laughing stock among rival fans. But objectively speaking, they have achieved good results when playing badly.
Perhaps the most significant pitfall of live betting is that it’s too emotional. By that, we mean you are going to experience a range of highs and lows during a match, particularly when you have money riding on it. Everyone knows that you bet better with a cool head and live betting allows you to reach instantly: if it’s pulling on your emotions, then you might not be following the best path.
Of course, whatever you do with live betting, you should remember to always keep in mind the strategy you have set yourself beforehand. It’s all too easy to keep tapping the bet now button when watching a game. It should be fun, not stressful.
So bear that in mind the next time you bet in-play.