It almost seems impossible to imagine a time before ‘In-Play Betting’ – a period when you would watch a football match without having Ray Winstone blurting out prices and markets at half-time and there really wasn’t much concept of betting on any event after the official start time. How times have changed!
Now, with the advancement of technology you can bet on hundreds of events with hundreds of different markets almost until the final whistle, the last kick, or the last stride of a race.
Bet365 announced that ‘In-play betting’ accounted for 77% of their sports revenue last year, an astronomical amount when you consider the company registered sports turnover of more than £2.7billion for the period, and streamed more than 160,000 live sporting events on their website.
With the rise of the internet, so too came the rise of in play betting. In recent years in play betting has quickly ascended across Europe and around the world with many professional punters in the UK and further afield now operating as full-time ‘traders’, much like stockbrokers playing the stock exchange – which coincided with the emergence of betting exchanges, such as Betfair, Betdaq and more recently Matchbook.
In the early days of in play betting, bettor’s primarily used betting exchanges such as Betfair to trade live betting markets, and in fear of not being left behind major online bookmakers followed suit and invested in technological teams to build platforms to allow them to offer similar products and markets as the betting exchanges.
While live betting markets were at first limited to only the most popular sporting events and competitions, every bookmaker now offers a seemingly endless range of in play betting markets. It doesn’t matter which sports or leagues, which tournaments or competitions you like to bet on, virtually every bookmaker on the planet will have live betting markets available.
Alongside the progression of In-play betting was the introduction of the ‘Cash-out’ feature, which gave the punters the opportunity to cash in their chips should things go be going well, or possibly minimise losses if the match or event wasn’t progressing as originally hoped.
For example – previously if a customer fancied Manchester City to beat Liverpool on a Sunday afternoon, they would walk into the local betting shop or phone their bookmaker and place a bet accordingly. This was the bet placed, and you were tied into the agreement until the final whistle. Should City go 2 nil up before half time, but concede two late goals for the match to end in a draw there would be nothing you can do – your bet is a loser and left feeling out of luck. With the Cash-out feature you then have the option to cash out your bet when City were 2nil up, taking a slightly reduced profit figure from your original bet but guaranteeing a profit should Liverpool come back and level the match as suggested in the example.
On the flip side of the coin, you may wish to cut your losses. If you have backed over 2.5 goals in a game you expect to be full of goals, and sit there frustrated and bored as it remains 0-0 after 30minutes, you have the option of cashing out, getting some of your original stake back rather than losing the full staked amount.
There are a number of advantages of betting in play, rather than pre-match, to the extent that live betting hands much of the bookmakers’ edge back to the punter. Not that you should feel bad for them, they do factor this into their odds and cash out figures after all.
The most obvious benefit is that you can get a feel for the game before placing your bets. Whether that’s half an hour into the match, at half time or even after an hour’s play. So taking a view will help you to take advantage of the flow of the game. Are one side on top and dominating proceedings? Has one of the teams suffered a spate of injuries or had a player sent off? The odd things that can happen in any game of football at any time can help to inform your live betting decisions. Similar with Tennis – has the player you backed been struggling with an injury or his service game not as prolific as expected? You can act accordingly with In-Play Betting once you have analysed the situation in front of your eye’s.
Another handy tool for in-play punters to take advantage of is live statistics. Most bookmakers will offer access to these, with bet365 listing Attacks, Dangerous Attacks, Possession, Shots on Target and Shots off Target in theirs. So even if you can’t watch the game, at least you can gain a decent insight into how it is playing out. Further to this there are numerous websites offering vital data and statistics to unable you to profit from In-Play betting for a variety of Sports, and more professional punters will compile databases and spreadsheets with figures to further maximise their potential profits from In-Play betting.