How Does In-Play Sports Betting Work?

In-play betting: It is the future of sports wagering.

At least that’s what an authority on the topic, William Hill Executive Joe Asher, believes. And if what we see in Europe is the direction that American sports betting is heading, Asher is correct.

In Europe, nearly 70 percent of all sports bets are in-play bets. Conversely, in the US, in-play betting still accounts for less than 20 percent of all sports bets, according to the latest numbers from Las Vegas.

This is thanks to the European market being an older and far more widely dispersed part of the culture. The European market also possesses the technology to make in-play wagering a natural way for a sports gambler to play.

European players enjoy mobile access to dozens of betting options. The same is true of America. Legal Pennsylvania sports betting launched in 2019, and the presumption is that a full embrace of in-play betting will follow.

What is in-play betting?

With in-play betting, gamblers can bet on the outcome of games that have already started. As the game unfolds and the score changes, the available odds also shift as the most likely outcome of the game is altered.

These changes are automatic and based on computations performed by the online or mobile software. For some sports, like basketball, the scoring is simply too fast for a human bookmaker to be in charge of changing the odds.

Additionally, because the changes in odds are fast and automatic, some bets may only be available for a few seconds. Players participating in in-play wagering need to stay engaged in the event if they want to hit on a bet with what they perceive to be their best available odds.

An example of how this works:

LSU and Miami were playing on the opening weekend of the NCAA college football season, with the Canes closing the pre-game betting as the favorites, laying 3 points. But by the time the third quarter rolled around and LSU was leading 33-3. Miami was listed as a 23.5-point underdog.

Different times in the game and varying probabilities of a likely outcome mean you’ll see a shifting point spread when you place your bet.

Advantages of in-play betting

In-play betting isn’t just a way for a player to get a second chance at a pre-game bet that looks like a certain loser halfway through the game, like in the example above. It’s also a way to be more engaged in an event and turn sports wagering into a more exciting and active enterprise.

Plus, instead of waiting three hours to see if you’ve hit on your baseball bet, you can bet inning by inning, turning those three hours into a series of nine 20 minute bets. Suddenly, betting on baseball isn’t so boring and slow.

Also, because in-play odds are generated automatically, they tend to be fairer. No one’s bias is involved in creating the line, and there are no advantages given to one side or the other based on any inside information. Every sportsbooks’ algorithms may be slightly different, but inside a book, each in-play spread and odd is configured the same way.

In-play betting restrictions

While in-play betting may be the future of sports gambling, there are still some traditional sports bets it doesn’t cover. Individual proposition bets, which are exceedingly popular for special events like the Super Bowl and NCAA Final Four, aren’t available for in-play wagering.

However, that may change as the technology of PA sports betting apps continues to improve.

Additionally, because of the sheer volume of college football and basketball events, not all games offer in-play wagering. There isn’t a sportsbook on earth that can handle in-play wagering for every game.

Pro sports, however, feature far fewer teams and games, making their offering of in-play wagering more comprehensive.

Placing your in-play bets

The odds change quickly. The perfect bet for you may only be available for 20 seconds or less. Keep your app open and your eyes on the screen, and make sure there is money in your account.

You don’t want to miss out on a bet because you need to take time to make a deposit.

Because everything moves so quickly for in-play betting, remember to do your homework first. Choose a game to play. Then study that game, pay attention to who is playing, who is hurt and who is hot. You’ll be in a better space to make adjustments to your betting strategy if you have more info at its start.

Finally, don’t worry if you fail to get a bet placed. There will be another shift in the odds, and then another. And then another. And with totals bets, point spreads, alternative point spread offerings, and ever-evolving moneylines, there is always a way to make your in-play wager both interesting and fun.