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In-Play Betting Explained

October 29, 2020, 12:19
In-Play Betting Explained

In this article, we are going to look at in-play betting, consider how in-playing betting differs from in-game betting and analyse the benefits that bettors can derive from in-play betting, benefits that are not available in in-game wagering. We will also pay attention to how a punter can place an in-play bet and various aspects that bettors must consider before they decide to foray into in-play wagering. We will analyse two approaches that prospective in-play punters may adopt when they want to maximise their gains from in-play wagering.

What Is In-Play Betting?

People often confuse in-play betting with in-game betting. In-game betting refers to betting on a game that’s in progress. Online sportsbook operators rarely change the odds for in-game betting; they usually make such changes during commercial breaks or timeouts.

Bettors can enjoy better benefits with in-play wagering. Unlike in-game betting, in-play wagering can be indulged in by a bettor over the entire duration of a game. Online sportsbook operators change the odds continually, after virtually every possession or play.

For instance, sportsbook operators offer various in-play markets on a cricket match in progress. Such markets could include the number of runs that the batsmen at the crease are likely to score in the next over, the number of runs likely to be yielded by a current batting partnership, the likelihood of a wicket in the next over and so on.

Thus, sportsbook operators offer in-play wagering in the form of betting opportunities that are specific to game situations rather than propositions relating to individual players. In a dynamic betting environment, we can expect changes in the types of in-play betting opportunities offered by online bookmakers, in the foreseeable future.

What Are the Main Advantages of In-Play to the Punter?

A bettor who has not been able to place a bet before the start of a game can resort to in-play betting. While the bettor has limited betting options in in-game wagering, in-play betting allows him to choose from numerous betting options during a game such as moneylines, totals, point spreads and alternative point spreads.

The odds are likely to be fair, given that data-updating happens in real time. Bookmakers will obviously try to incorporate an advantage into a betting price, ensuring greater fairness in some odds than in others. A bettor must look at in-play betting offers by various sportsbook operators before deciding on the price that suits him.

Sportsbook operators offer betting options through the course of the game; a bettor is also allowed to bet on the other side, if it appears as though he has made a losing bet. A bettor may also try to “middle” his risk by betting on both sides of a game, availing two sides of a points spread. That way, he can optimise his gains in case the final score is placed between the two wagers.

In-Play Betting Odds

Different sportsbook operators offer different conventional pre-game odds. Similarly, different odds may be offered for in-play betting. Such odds are calculated according to the algorithm employed by the developer of the wagering app software used by a sportsbook operator.

Every online sportsbook operator will try to maximize his returns and amend the probability of the algorithm accordingly before offering odds to the prospective bettor. Thus, two sportsbook operators who use the same mobile betting app may offer dissimilar in-play odds.

While an individual bookmaker would find it difficult to compute changing odds for in-play betting, online bookmakers can use technology to accomplish the feat.

How to Place an In-Play Bet

Mobile sports betting apps facilitate in-play betting. Bettors who indulge in in-play wagering must pay continual attention to the odds screen. Some in-play wagering may have to be done within seconds-long intervals. In some sports, the odds can change rapidly after virtually every play. Often, the bettor may have to take advantage of odds he may consider favourable within a 10-20-second interval during which those odds are available.

Not every bettor can handle in-play betting. A prospective in-play bettor must not only understand the goal of each wager, he must also be able to think on his feet and make quick decisions. Thus, a bettor who wants to enjoy in-play wagering must have a mobile device that is constantly on during the game. The bettor must be logged in to his account with an online sportsbook operator. The bettor must have funded the account sufficiently to allow him to place the bet whenever he thinks he has the numbers that justify the wager.

What to Consider When Choosing In-Play Betting

Ever-Changing Odds

With the passage of time resulting in the increasing probability of specific outcomes, online bookmakers can choose to shorten or lengthen the odds relating to an event. A bettor who wants to maximise his returns may prefer to bet smaller amounts on unlikely events that attract longer odds. For instance, in a cricket match, in-play odds can change with every twist and turn in the game. A punter may have bet that a team in a T20 game would make a high score of, say, above 180. A couple of quick wickets could make that event less probable and the odds would lengthen.

The following is a snippet from 4RAbet.com, with in-play odds for the IPL match between RCB and CSK played on October 25, 2010:

Incremental Profits

Many in-play bettors are cautious and choose to make bets on a wider range of certain outcomes, relying on accrual, over time, of incremental profits from short odds.

Exaggerated Odds

A second category of bettors are likely to target long odds that have, according to them, been over-valued by sportsbook operators. While the events wagered on may be more unlikely to happen, the promise of larger rewards from long odds is enough to attract a bettor of this category.


In-play betting makes for an exciting betting experience for punters who would like to optimise their earnings through continual wagering during a game. While an individual bookmaker would find it difficult to compute changing odds for in-play betting, online bookmakers can use technology to accomplish the feat. A prospective punter who wish to enjoy in-play betting must open an account with an online sportsbook operator before he can indulge his passion.

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