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One of the fastest growing and most popular betting formats is that of the live or in play market. The increasing popularity of sport and the live coverage of events around the world have seen a seamless transition between that of the sport and the bookmaker.

Major bookmakers have invested millions of pounds into their live betting sections with highly successful results. Companies such as have reported that a major reason of their global expansion has come on the back of being able to bet on live markets.

As punters try to gauge every edge possible over the bookmaker, the live betting platform allows them to put their knowledge of a sport of match into practice. All sports have ‘arm chair’ fans that claim to be experts in a certain sport, but bookmakers are now giving them the opportunity to put their money where their mouth is and take them on as an event takes place.
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How do live odds work?
Throughout any event, match or game, the bookmaker will offer an array of markets that you can bet on. The live betting markets are ones that will be affected as that event runs its course.

A series of incidents in the event may fluctuate the odds and it’s ultimately up to the bookmaker to change the price of the odds, reflecting how the event is shaping up. This means that the odds will be ever changing resulting in punters being able to place bets throughout an event. Let’s look at an example.

Football is one of the biggest live betting markets for most bookmakers. The unpredictability of the game makes it a haven for punters looking to take advantage of outside bets.

As with any live betting market, prior to the game the bookmaker will set a line for a number of different markets including, result, correct score, first goal scorer, number of yellow cards and so on. If we take the result market as our example, we know that there are three possible outcomes for a football match, win, lose or draw. The odds of each result will likely be reflected on the current score for that match.

As the game kicks off and the market turns to in play (meaning that the odds will fluctuate throughout the game) the bookmaker will set an initial line for each result. The draw market is often an interesting one to look at in terms of live betting. Obviously each game starts at 0-0 and the longer that game continues at 0-0 the shorter the odds of the draw will become.

Let’s take the pre season friendly between York City and Sunderland as our in play example.

Prior to the game the odds on the draw were 4.50 with Sunderland at 1.36 and York at 6.50, making Sunderland firm favourites. Whilst we are concentrating on the draw market it is still important to determine who the favourite is as this will have an effect on the draw market. If the favourite were to score first then the odds of the draw would massively rise due to the unlikely of the other team scoring. If the underdog were to score first then the draw market would still rise, but by a much, much lower amount.

It was Sunderland who scored first after just 13 minutes. The early goal gave the market little time to really start to drift on the draw. What it did do is made the draw much less likely with the odds shifting from 4.50 to over 10.0.

Sunderland went on to score a 2nd after just 33 minutes lengthening the odds even more. But York managed to pull a goal back with 25 minutes left which saw another shift in the odds, this time shortening slightly as the chance of a draw became a lot more likely. As it was, the game finished 2-1 to Sunderland.

This just goes to show how often the odds can fluctuate in a live play market with value being had a different points of the game depending on circumstances throughout the game.

Where can I find live betting?
Live betting is available at pretty much all major online bookmakers these days. Different sites offer differentiating markets with different odds, meaning shopping around for the best odds is essential.
For some sports that maybe have less TV coverage, live betting markets will be limited. The introduction of free streaming from many bookmakers has increased the accessibility of many of these sports opening up the betting market even more. In addition to the sites listed here, you can also read this Betfair review. They offer user driven in game betting.

Why are they better than standard betting markets?
Live betting isn't necessarily ‘better’ than standard markets, but what they do is open up a host of different markets and bets that bookmakers are willing to provide for their punters.

One of the biggest attractions for the punter is the ability to see how an event is shaping up for them, before coming to a conclusion of predicting what may happen. It basically gives the punter more control and I think many would concur that for any serious bettor, this is a massive positive.

Standard betting certainly isn’t dead, far from it, but bookmakers are investing a lot of time and money to provide the most comprehensive markets possible for their customers. What you will see a lot more of is the standard markets ‘turning live’. This means that you can place your wagers prior to the event and be happy to let them ride until the end, but when the event starts, the bookmaker opens up the live betting aspect of the same market to accommodate for those who wish to bet in play.

Who sets the lines?
Each bookmaker will have a certain amount of people watching the live match to determine the lines of each event. As games continue to progress, the odds will reflect a number of factors including; how each team/player is playing, the likelihood of the result remaining the same and the chances of any major developments in the match.

Alternatively, if you were using a betting exchange such as Betfair then the lines are set by fellow punters. The concept behind betting exchanges is that it’s a player to player form of betting, eliminating the bookmaker altogether. Due to the fact that you aren’t placing a bet with someone who is working the odds as a massive favourite to them, then more often than not you can pick up much better value via a betting exchange.

You can read our general inplay betting tips page for general strategy information.  If you want sport specific information please see our list of sports in the sidebar.
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