Benefits of in-game wagering

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Benefits of in-game wagering

Often lost in the sports gambling shuffle is that wagering doesn’t end with kickoff. In fact, opportunities for favorable action frequently become more plentiful once the game has begun. Known as in-game wagering or live betting, most sportsbooks in Las Vegas and offshore feature applications that allow gamblers to make bets in real time during breaks in play on the field.

Once there’s a stoppage in play, bookmakers will start to roll out live odds on everything from a game’s side and total to which team will score next to various propositions and adjusted moneylines. As opposed to standard lines, which sportsbooks have the luxury of crafting over time and adjusting as they see fit, in-game lines must be conceived and presented in a matter of seconds. And since they are always going to be contingent on the outcome of the most recent play on the field, the chances of a bad number landing on the board are far greater than they would be for a standard line.

Simply put, in-game wagering tilts the odds in favor of the bettor. Teams have tendencies. Games have ebbs and flows. Yet live lines are merely a reflection of a circumstance on the field and a bookmaker’s effort to attach a probability to that circumstance’s expected effect on the outcome of the game. Put another way, in-game odds are an attempt to quantify momentum, an exceptionally tall order even for savvy bookmakers.

There are different strategies pertaining to live betting, but for the purposes of recreational bettors and those who favor parlays, we’ll highlight the two most relevant ones.

Targeting teams known for comebacks

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: The spread is the great equalizer, which is why there will never be any value in betting moneylines of good teams against mediocre or bad teams. However, some of the better teams in the league are notoriously slow starters that are known for having a flair for the dramatic. The Colts, Seahawks and Lions headline this batch. Indianapolis has come back from 18- and 14-point deficits (Houston and Tennessee); Seattle has stormed back from 17- and 21-point deficits (Houston and Tampa Bay); and Detroit has won twice after being down by 10 (Cleveland and Dallas).

So for three of the top teams in the league (combined 23-8 record), a full 26 percent of their victories have come after trailing by at least two scores. Now, because in-game lines are based on a team’s adjusted win probability when facing a deficit of X-number of points, the value on those teams is going to be immense when they’re down by double digits in the second quarter. But probability can only account for so much when there are two unevenly matched teams on the field with a lot of game to be played.┬áThe most recent example of this came last Thursday night, when the Colts – whose moneyline closed around -150 vs. the Titans – went down 14-0 in the first quarter, at which point their adjusted moneyline checked in at approximately +300. Indy proceeded to put four consecutive scores on the board in less than a quarter’s time, swinging their in-game moneyline all the way back over the original -150 to -190.

Using this six-game sample size, you’ll see that with the exception of the Lions-Cowboys matchup, every other contest featured a mediocre-to-bad team on the losing end. In other words, waiting for good teams to get down early to inferior teams and pouncing on the adjusted moneyline is going to be a profitable strategy more often than not.

In-game wagering as a hedging system

There’s nothing worse than losing a parlay on the final leg. Whenever possible, hedging that anchor leg to guarantee at least some profit is always advised. However, if the final leg happens to be a moneyline underdog, it’s difficult to turn around and bet the favorite, as the price will likely be too steep to ensure legitimate protection.

This is where live action comes into play. If and when the favored team faces a deficit, value will suddenly appear on the adjusted moneyline for that team. So in essence, you will be able to get a plus-moneyline on both sides of the anchor leg of a parlay. For example, on Monday night in Carolina, the Patriots moneyline ranged from +120 to +135. While they were playing from behind for most of the night, they finally gained their first lead early in the fourth quarter. New England’s advantage was a mere three points at 20-17, but the in-game moneyline on the Panthers came out at +140 before their final drive. That presented a prime opportunity for bettors to lock in a nicely-priced hedge.

Hedging is always at one’s own discretion, but as a general principle, in-game hedging should always at least be on the radars of bettors throughout the home stretch of a parlay.

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