If you’re like us, what intrigues you the most about football betting is the prospect of earning easy money, and the limitless possibilities of in-play betting markets offered by sportsbooks is a way to make some serious dough.
With many options at your fingertips such as betting challenges, how do you determine what in-play bet is right for you?
The goal of any bettor should be to get the most value from each bet, and with ever-evolving markets and incredibly smart bookmakers, that may often seem like a tall task.
A tried and tested approach is to cut down on the number of markets, and focus on a narrow niche or league that you could excel in.
Believe it or not, statistically, the markets offering the best odds are none other than in-play bets. This is because traders don’t have time to set their prices based on days or weeks of research, like they do with pre-match markets.
If you’re quick with your wits, your edge will become extremely profitable.
But there are hundreds of in-play markets to bet on, how do you choose the best bet?
Worry not! We’re here to guide you through the ins and outs with this definitive in-play betting tips guide and provide you with tips, secrets, and strategies to help you rise to the top.
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It’s much easier to beat a bookmaker in-play rather than on pre-match markets.
Because traders are intelligent people who are highly skilled at pricing up odds in advance.
However, it’s much easier for them to make mistakes when covering hundreds of games in-play that are rapidly changing – and we can take advantage of that.
If you’re a beginner or novice in-play bettor, or you simply want to improve your live betting skills, then this guide will help transform you into a powerhouse that the bookies will learn to hate!
The size of each bet you place – or your stake – should be relative to the size of your betting bankroll.
Your betting bankroll is the amount of money you have assigned to sports bets – and you should only bet what you can afford to lose.
Most bettors lose because they:
- Bet too much
- Chase losses
You should look to wager a small % of your bankroll on each bet, and consider…
The Kelly Criterion
To put it simply, the more value you believe to be in a bet, the bigger your stake should be.
It’s essential you also consider:
- Potential return
- Previous results
- Confidence level
Even when you think there is value in a bet, you should protect your bankroll at all costs and look to grow it slowly.
Good bankroll management allows you to:
- Focus on making quality decisions, not desperate ones
- Increase your stakes slowly as you win, not when chasing losses
We’ve spoken already about value, but how do you find value?
By researching a team and a fixture, you can make judgements over how you think a particular game should pan out.
If an opportunity presents itself in-play, you should be in a good position to judge whether a bet seems logical, and therefore profitable.
TOP TIP: Remove all emotions when betting, keep a level head and try to not let any bias cloud your judgement.
There are four main things you need to consider when analysing a fixture:
- Current form
- Defensive & attacking stats
- Fitness & suspensions
- Incentive to win
We’ve broken them down a little further for you:
It’s essential to not just look at whether a team has won, drawn or lost recently, but also look at the quality of teams that they’ve faced in their previous games too.
Also look for any particularly strange results and try to work out why they occurred – will the reason be the same this time around, or was it a one off?
Defensive & Attacking Stats
A team might be in great form on paper, but do the stats back up those results?
A team could win three matches in a row, but only have one shot and 20% possession in each – essentially getting lucky.
Use sites like WhoScored & Soccerway, plus our very own tool The Informer, to look at how many chances a team creates and concedes on average to reinforce your decisions, along with analysing how they typically create chances.
- Create or concede chances from open play often?
- Score or concede from set pieces regularly?
Fitness & Suspensions
It’s vital that you know exactly which players will be available for any given game.
Are key players ruled out, or are they likely to be rested for any reason?
Incentive to Win
This is a massively underrated factor that is often overlooked in football, but it’s often key when betting in-play.
It’s your job to work out whether a team will fight until the very end of a game…or even if they’ll fight from the start at all based on their current motivations to achieve a result.
Once you have the pre-match stats analysed, you can begin to work out how a match is shaping up from the in-play statistics.
It may seem like too much work is needed to go into each bet, but once you have the procedure nailed you will be able to make solid judgement calls within a minute or even less.
One of the hardest parts of in-play betting is to figure out what scenario is most likely to happen based on the stats, and whether the odds on offer are good value.
Minutes Played: 65
Team A: Corners 1, Yellow cards 0, Red cards 0, Penalties 0, Goals 0
Team B: Corners 1, Yellow cards 1, Red cards 0, Penalties 0, Goals 0
Attacks: 30, 40 Dangerous Attacks: 13, 21
The odds on the game having over 0.5 goals (at least one goal scored in the time remaining) is at 1.7. This implies that the game has almost a 60% chance of a goal being scored.
Do you think the stats make those odds look like high or low value?
We would say that the odds are extremely low value – the game seems unlikely to have a goal any time soon.
However, if the odds were 5.0, then this would be exceptional value in almost any game that has 25 minutes remaining – anything can happen in football.
It’s important to watch how the odds move within the game and to place your bets only when you think they offer value – not just because you really want to put another bet on.
TOP TIP: Remember to combine your in-play analysis with your pre-match findings. Too many bettors go broke by relying solely on one or the other.
In-Play Betting Strategies by Market
These are the markets that you should be keeping a really close eye on during a match and some of the strategies that you can apply to make money on them:
You can often find increased odds on teams that your research suggests should win, but are currently losing or drawing.
You can also find great odds on poorer teams that are already winning, but actually have significant incentive to go on and win the game.
Did you have a game down to be high scoring but see a drab start?
You could get increased odds if you fancy their chances of turning the screw.
Alternatively, you can get great odds on the under markets as people tend to bet on the overs for psychological reasons, which gives great value to the unders from time-to-time in predictably close, scrappy affairs.
The current score of a game can influence the amount of corners, as can the type of game (league vs cup) – it’s up to you to work out whether a team will be likely to throw a lot of men forward and pick up a lot of corners.
Formations are also key for this market:
Teams that play with pace on the wings, with right footers on the right and left footers on the left, tend to pick up more corners that play with slower ‘inverted’ wingers that prefer to cut inside.
Cards are are often picked up when a team are desperately holding on for an important victory, as well as in predictably feisty affairs such as local derbies.
Teams that are clinging on for three points will often waste time and also commit cynical fouls to prevent the other team from getting opportunities.
Depending on the market you’re betting on, you may be considering cashing out.
However, before you next consider this, STOP!
If you’ve bet on the match result, over/under or correct score markets, you’d be much better off to lay off your bet on a betting exchange rather than cashing out.
Cashing out includes a significant bookmaker margin, meaning they aren’t giving you a fair price compared to your bet’s implied chances of winning.
At the exchange, there are no margins to contend with.
If you have bet on corners, or an accumulator with multiple games ending at the same time, then you unfortunately can’t make the same effective use of an exchange.
You may also struggle for liquidity in any markets of very low profile games.
It’s important after a bet is settled – win or lose – that you determine whether you made the right play or not and whether you think your bet was a good long-term decision.
Was there real value where you thought there was? It’s this post-bet analysis that will help you improve.
You should also track the results of every single bet you place in a spreadsheet that is as detailed as possible – stake, odds, profit/loss, league, competition format and more.
The more detail you track, the more effective it will be for you to review where you’re going right and wrong:
- Are you finding more value in certain types of bets, or in certain leagues?
- Are you losing too much money on long shots?
- Are you being undone by having too much faith in big favourites?
The Tool That Changed Our (In-Play) Lives
How many times have you wanted to get on a bet and a goal has gone in just before you could place it?
Or, how many times have you seen a game with crazy stats and wished you had seen them sooner?
We use an insanely powerful in-play tool from Inplay Trading called Football Scanner.
You absolutely must sign up to them, and can do so via this link.
The Football Scanner monitors all in-play football matches simultaneously and provides all of the stats for you on screen at the same time.
This means you no longer need to flick from match to match to view the stats.
All stats update in real-time on your screen too, so you can see which team is pressing and looking likely to score.
We aren’t joking when we say this…
This tool changed our lives.
Our in-play bets have seen a huge increase in our success rate since getting our hands on this tool.
Everything we said above is great, but here’s the main thing:
Inplay Trading’s Football Scanner alerts you to every single game where a goal is likely to be scored.
Using a unique statistic called ‘pressure index’, they can calculate when goals are most likely to be scored based on a match’s in-play stats.
With this statistic, they will highlight every game where there is likely to be a goal and you can get your bet on before it’s too late.
There are many other features too, but we’ve documented them in more detail in our full Inplay Trading review.
As a punter you’ve been through it all, the highs and lows, the jubilation and the letdowns, now you’re wondering what is next in store for you.
In-play betting is a craze that has dominated football betting since it was first introduced, and for good reason.
It offers some of the best value, in other words, the greatest opportunity to put some money into your wallet.
If you have a quick trigger finger and are well-versed in the strategies we’ve discussed, you’re one step closer to getting a leg up on the competition.
Every action in a match has the potential to move the markets. If you stay on top of it, you could be on the road to consistent profits.
Be confident in yourself, your strategy, and the research you have done. Remember, no-one wins 100% of their bets – not even close. It’s all about staying profitable.
Read next: Inplay Trading Scanner Review