Few innovations have had a transformative effect on the betting industry as the roll-out of live (in-play) betting features. Since it became mainstream in the 2010s, it completely changed the dynamics of the betting process. Bettors were offered a more fluid experience, one that gave them more control over the outcome of their wagers.
But when we consider the features offered by live betting platforms in 2022, we can ask how it impacts betting strategy. Live betting is a lot more, let’s say, psychological than betting pre-game. You react to shifts in momentum; to how the game is unfolding in front of your eyes. It’s no longer a static event but one that is adaptable.
React to shifts in momentum
Certainly, there are advantages to live betting. Let’s say, hypothetically, you are watching a baseball game where the score is tight. It’s the 3rd or 4th inning, and you can see that one of the starting pitchers is starting to lose his way. Baseball fans know this feeling all too well. They can sense that the pitcher is going to start giving up runs, although he might last another inning or two before he is hooked by the coach. That’s the perfect scenario for live betting, as you are reacting to a shift in momentum in real-time.
Of course, it might not pay off. Perhaps the pitcher finds his rhythm again – it happens. But there is often a sense that you can beat the odds because you see something that is not reflected in the current score or pre-game predictions. This happens in all sports – football, soccer, tennis, golf, hockey, basketball. The key for live bettors is anticipating when it will impact the final result.
An element of doubt is created
However, the problem comes when you start second-guessing yourself. If you place a pre-game bet, you’ll probably have done some research by looking at stats, etc. Nearly all top-level sports games will see periods where one team is on top for a short time, or when a player or athlete seems to lose their way. But this can also cause us to overreact.
Indeed, one of the features of live betting that offers both an advantage and disadvantage is the ability to cash out (or cash in; sportsbooks can use different terms). Regardless, what we mean is the option to settle the bet for a percentage of the winnings before the game ends. Say, for example, the Patriots are leading the Bills 21-13 going into the 4th quarter, and you had bet on the former to win; you might want to cash out in case the Bills mounted a comeback. Obviously, the sportsbook won’t give the full amount as a cash out, but you might get something like 70% of the winnings (it depends on a lot of factors).
But while this cash out feature is an advantage, it also causes us to start doubting ourselves. Perhaps we believed beforehand that the Patriots were a lock. But now, the carrot of getting some of those winnings is dangled in front of us. It’s a dilemma for a bettor, as nobody wants that sinking feeling of a late comeback to scupper their bet, particularly when the offer of some winnings was made.
And that probably sums up the psychology of live betting. It certainly has its merits, particularly when you can see something that has not been picked up by the odds algorithm. And yet, it can also cause us to doubt our previous consensus. Striking the right balance between those competing elements is the best way to implement a successful live betting strategy.