Live betting is the wave of the future, but not for the faint of heart

sports betting, Sports Picks

Guests arrive at FanDuel Sportsbook inside Footprint Center, Thursday, Sept. 9, 2021, in Phoenix. AP

Live betting seems like the wave of the future in the sports wagering world, but it is not for the faint of heart. A lot of people place bets so they can have a rooting interest while watching the games. Live betting gives those viewers something to do while following along, but it can be extremely dangerous for the undisciplined and those who don’t have a feel for when to fire.

You can use live betting to get off of a bad position and mitigate your losses. You can use it to get a better line than what was available before the game. You can look for fluky things or unsustainable outcomes and play against them. It can be very profitable, if you are responsible, smart and disciplined with your bets.

One good example is foul trouble in the NBA or college basketball. A star player sits with two or three fouls early in the first half and the algorithms aren’t really able to adjust to that. It is mostly a math game, looking at factors like time remaining, current score, pregame spread and total and other parts of the formula. It would require the human element to notice that a key contributor will be absent for most, if not all, of the first half.

It could also be an injury that occurs that drastically changes how the half or the game will play out. The sportsbooks typically have a faster data feed and access to quicker information than bettors do, but with so many games to monitor, things can fall through the cracks and produce opportunities.

sports betting, Sports Picks

DraftKings Sportsbook during Sunday’s NFL games.


The key word in all of this for me is discipline. A lot of bettors will be tempted to double down or triple down on their positions. “Well, if I liked Dallas +2.5 pregame, why wouldn’t I like Dallas +7.5 now?” It can be a slippery slope and you can tumble with reckless abandon down to the bottom of the hill if you aren’t careful.

Also, in a lot of cases, live lines aren’t posted for long and they move rapidly. Market entry points for live betting are typically only available to the first few bettors, so you have to fire very quickly, without being able to process all of the information at hand. A lot of people will just check the box that says something to the effect of “Accept Price Changes” just to ensure that their bet goes in, regardless of the vig. That, too, is a dangerous, undisciplined way to do it. Price matters so much in this business.

I do think live betting has a lot of value. I think it is the wave of the future and, in some ways, may be easier than betting full-game spreads and totals. However, it takes a ton of feel, practice, discipline and responsibility. The chance is there to turn a bad bet into an easier pill to swallow or to maybe even buy off of a position and make some money, but the risk of ruin also increases with these types of fast-paced wagers with the snowball effect in play.

My suggestion would be to watch as many games as you can with live betting apps open and see how the markets move. Be an observer before you are a participant. Get a feel for how long lines are available. Familiarize yourself with exactly where things are at your book(s) of choice so that you can go directly to where you need to go to get the best line or the best price available. Decide if this is something that is right for you and your risk tolerance level. Think long and hard if you have the discipline and self-control to pursue this endeavor.

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