If you’re betting during a live football match, you need a sportsbook you can rely on. Our ranking of the best sites for in-play football betting takes into account the factors that have the biggest impact on your experience. The best live football betting sites outperform the rest in the following areas:
Platform stability and speed You need to be able to get your bet on quickly, easily and at the right price. A delay of even 10 seconds could mean missing out on a golden opportunity. To feature on our list, the betting site must be proven reliable.
Market availability Every live betting site covers the Premier League but what about the Championship and lower leagues? Are the Dutch Eredivisie and Swedish Allsvenskan covered? Can you go in-play on other markets like over/under goals or the Asian handicap? The more markets a sportsbook provides, the more chances for you to win.
Cash out Being able to trade out and take your winnings early is very important to your long-term success in live betting. Most sites have a cash out feature now, but we only recommend sportsbooks that give you a fair price when using this tool.
Live streaming Being able to watch the match and see the ebb and flow of the game is a big advantage. The quality and coverage of a site’s live streams are reflected in our ranking.
Promotions Free bets, acca insurance, enhanced odds… live betting promotions increase your long-term profitability. It makes sense to take advantage of them.
Best Live Football Betting Sites
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Odds of In-Play Football Betting Sites
If you watch the odds for a football match before kick-off, you’ll notice they usually don’t change much. Perhaps a small adjustment when the team news is announced an hour before the match starts. In-play, however, the odds change nearly every second. Obviously, major events like goals and red cards greatly impact the outcome of the match, but the odds will change with the passing of time too. The longer the game goes on, the less time there is for a winner.
If the odds for over 2.5 goals is 1.8 before kick-off, they might move to 2.0 if the game is goalless after 15 minutes. If you’re confident the game will have goals but notice the teams usually score later in the game, you can take advantage of this knowledge to get better odds.
It’s worth noting that bookmakers suspend all betting when something significant happens. If there’s a possible penalty or red card, the market will be frozen until the decision has been made. If there’s no penalty/sending off, then the market will resume as before. If a penalty is scored or a player sent off, then the market will re-open with updated betting odds reflecting the new situation.
Live Betting with a Mobile or Tablet
It’s not always convenient to sit at your computer for 90 minutes, waiting for a goal to be scored or the market odds to hit a certain level. Thankfully you don’t need to. All of the best live football betting sites have mobile apps you can access via your smartphone or tablet.
Mobile betting apps allow you to see the odds, place bets and even watch live streams in the same way you would on your computer. Many will give you goal updates on the matches you have a bet on too.
You could be out shopping, get a goal alert and use the cash out feature to lock in your profits, all in under 30 seconds.
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However, to enjoy the full capabilities of live betting and live streaming, you still need a good internet connection. Wi-Fi or 4G/5G is essential to reach the 5 Mbps required for HD streaming. And if you will need to trade out of a position, later on, make sure you’re going to be in an area with adequate network coverage.
Our list of the best live betting bookies features sportsbooks with both native apps and mobile-friendly websites. If you want to know more about using mobile apps for sports betting, check out our apps page for an in-depth analysis of the topic.
Getting Started with Live Betting
If you’re new to live betting, don’t worry. It’s not that different from placing a pre-match wager. However, they are more dynamic, with prices changing all the time, and you need to make decisions quickly.
Bookies update the odds as the game goes on, usually factoring in the amount of time left in the match. In the first 10 minutes, the odds probably won’t change much unless there’s a goal or sending off. As time goes on, however, the prices will move quicker and quicker.
If you can, watch the match and use your own judgment about how the game is going. Sometimes you will see the market overreact. If one side starts brightly, you might see their odds drop suddenly. But if they haven’t scored, is there now value in backing the opposing team?
While this live football betting guide gives you an idea of what to expect, the quickest way to learn is by getting involved. Place small bets until you feel comfortable with how live football betting works. Once you’re confident, you can increase your stakes, always sticking to good bankroll management.
How to Place a Live Bet
Placing an in-play bet is just as easy as betting pre-match. The process is more or less the same across different sportsbooks – just follow these steps:
Log into your sports betting account.
Locate the ‘In-Play Betting’ or ‘Live Betting’ tab/button usually in the top-left area of the page. Click on it.
You will be presented with a list of sports and events currently in-play. Find the football match you want to bet on.
Browse the available markets and click on your selection. It will then appear in your betslip.
Enter your stake and confirm.
Shortening the Live Bet Process
You may notice that some live bets take time – even if it’s just a few seconds - to be confirmed by the bookmaker. Sometimes, while waiting for confirmation, the odds may change, and your bet can be returned as incomplete. If this happens, you will have to place the bet all over again.
Many sportsbooks offer a way around this by adding a tick-box option on the betslip to “accept all odds changes”. By checking the box, you agree to accept the new odds if there is a change.
Most of the time, this will be a small price change in the same direction as before. So, if a game is 0-0 and you want to back the home team at 2.0, the price might have moved to 2.04. If you were betting on a half-time score of 0-0, the price might have gone from 4.0 to 3.85.
You won’t have this issue if you’re using a betting exchange. If the price has moved, your bet will be sat there, unmatched. Most of the time, you will have to cancel it and place a new bet at the current odds.
What to Look for in the Best Live Betting Sites
If you’re going to get the most from your in-play betting, it’s important that the sportsbook or betting exchange you use has a number of features. While your betting site doesn’t need to have all of these, the more you can check off the list, the better.
Know the Score with Live Streaming
If a picture is worth a thousand words, imagine the value of live footage. You get to see which team looks confident if the left winger has got the beating of the right back, if the goalkeeper is having a crisis of confidence. Information you can use to sport profitable opportunities – information you probably won’t get elsewhere.
The top live football betting sites stream matches from a wide range of leagues. Licensing restrictions mean you’re not likely to find a bookmaker streaming Premier League or Champions League games, but La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 are all covered.
Most in-play football betting sites allow you to watch the match for free, provided you have an account with them. Some sites require you to place a bet on the game you wish to watch. You probably plan on betting on the match anyway but won’t be able to watch before that bet is placed. Something to bear in mind if you’re thinking of placing a bet 20 minutes into the game.
Remember that Live streams have a slight delay on them too. This applies to games on TV as well as bookmakers’ streams. This delay can be up to 30 seconds so keep this in mind. If you see a dangerous attack and decide to jump in, anticipating a goal, the attack might actually have already been successfully defended.
You can usually tell how the real-time action is going by the way the prices are changing. And if a goal has been scored, the bookies will suspend betting immediately.
With live football streaming available on smartphones and tablets as well as computers, often for free and in HD, it’s well worth taking advantage of.
The Cash Out Feature: How and When to Use It
Cashing out (or “trading out”) used to only be possible on betting exchanges like Betfair. Even then, you had to do it manually by placing a lay bet.
If you bet on the home side to win with odds of 2.0 and they are winning 2-0 at halftime, their odds may have dropped to 1.2. Placing the hosts at these lower odds will give you a higher chance of winning. Not as much as if you let the bet run, but most of it, and without much risk.
For example, a £50 bet could be cashed out for £33.33 profit in this scenario. Yes, you could wait until the end of the 90 minutes to win the extra £17, but you risk the other team making a comeback, in which case you’d be down £50.
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What if your original bet is losing? Imagine the same situation as before, but this time the home team is losing 0-2 at half-time. The odds on them winning have moved out to 8.0. You could cash out your original bet for £12.50. You’ve lost money but not as much as you would if they don’t win. Clawing back some money from losing bets can have a really beneficial effect on your overall profitability.
The best in-play football betting sites give you a fair price when you cash out. Some, however, will offer you a cash out deal that’s a few per cents less than you would get by manually hedging your bet on a betting exchange. If the offer looks to be on the low side, use a lay bet calculator to check you’re getting what you should.
Check our cash out page for more information on how and when to use this tool.
A Wide Range of Betting Markets In-play markets take bookies more time to prepare, which is why you will usually have fewer markets than pre-match. The top football sportsbooks, however, still cover the most popular choices, things like match odds, over/under goals, correct score and HT/FT. Some bookies stand out from the rest by also offering Asian handicap bets, half-time and next team to score markets. Consider the markets you’re likely to play and check that your bookie supports them in-play.
Using a Bet Builder in Live Betting Bet builders allow you to “build” accumulator bets by adding selections to your betting slip. You can then choose to bet on a number of doubles or one big multiple. Creating accumulators in-play can be done, but each selection is subject to the changing prices. You might find it easier to place your accumulator at half time when the prices are steady, especially if you’re combining a lot of matches. If accumulators are your thing, look out for live betting sites that feature a bet builder.
Live Football Betting Promotions Free bets, risk free bets and bet insurance are all a massive help in adding money to your bottom line. Ultimately, they make it less likely that you will lose money, and some can even be exploited to guarantee profits via “matched betting”. Matched betting is perfectly legal, but the bookies don’t like it. Still, it’s not likely they will pick up on it as long as you don’t only use their service when a promotion comes around.
Most free bet promotions are well worth taking advantage of and will improve your profitability. Always read the terms and conditions, however, and be wary of offers that require you to rollover your stake and winnings a number of times. If an offer requires you to rollover your £20 winning five times at odds of at least 2.0, you’re more likely to lose that money than you are to emerge with a nice profit
Live Betting Is Nothing without Its Challenges
The fast-paced nature of live betting can lead to a few issues. These are mainly psychological so well within your power to control. Many punters fall into these bad habits though. Being aware of these pitfalls will help you avoid them.
The Importance of a Plan in Live Betting
When the goals are flying, and the odds are jumping around, it’s easy to be influenced by what's happening. This is when bad decisions get made.
Say you’re just about to bet on over 2.5 goals. It’s 20 minutes into the game, the price has just hit 2.3, and you submit your bet. Market suspended. A goal has gone in before your bet could be matched and the odds have dropped to 1.5.
But you don’t want odds of 1.5 – you want at least 2.3. So, you go and bet on over 3.5 goals – goals that don’t come in. Your original idea might have been good, but you allowed your judgment to be swayed by being a little bit greedy and not wanting to admit that the opportunity had gone.
Most decisions people make are based on emotions. They find a reason to justify their decision later.
Stay in control by sticking to your plan. If your analysis suggests a match will have 3 goals and the home side is likely to win, use this information. You could even use it back the home side if they go 0-1 down.
Frequently Asked Questions
📹Q: Why Can’t I Place My Live Bet?
💬A: There are several possible reasons for this:
- Your internet connection has dropped, and your bet submission isn’t reaching the server. See if you can place the bet via smartphone over 4G/5G.
- The betting site is having technical issues. Place the bet with someone else.
- If your bet is returned as cancelled, then the odds may have changed in the time it took to submit the bet. Check the “accept all changes” box and try again.
🔃Q: Why Do the Odds Keep Changing?
💬A: The odds change for two reasons:
- A game-affecting incident has occurred
- Time passes, making every outcome more/less likely.
Match events like a red card or an injured player can change the predicted outcome of a game. Naturally, Barcelona with Messi are very different from Barcelona without Messi. The odds will move accordingly.
And the longer a game stays 0-0, the less chance of one of the sides winning. Time-related price changes start slowly but really pick up in the second half of the game, and especially in the last 10 minutes.
🗑️Q: How Can I Delete Picks from the Bet Slip?
💬A: If you’ve added a selection to your bet slip but not placed the bet, you should be able to remove it by clicking the ‘x’ symbol next to it. If you have submitted the bet, you cannot cancel it. You can, however, cash out to get the vast majority of your money back.