A lot of football bettors think that their job is done once the game kicks off. There are a lot of cases, though, where the best sports betting opportunities might exist after the game has already begun. There is an increasing number of in-game betting options offered by online sportsbooks, and in some circumstances these can be very attractive. Many bettors are familiar with the half time bets that have been available for a long time, and are even available in most Vegas books. Online sportsbooks allow for many more options, though – like live in-game betting with lines that adjust regularly as the game progresses.
Whether you are looking at the more traditional in-game betting options or some of the new ones there are some circumstances where they can make sense. Here are six:
Injuries during the game – A key injury in the midst of a football game can obviously have a big impact on the outcome of a game. In-game betting is a great way to capitalize on these injuries as they happen. Some of the situations will be obvious and won’t pack as much value as a result – like when a marquee QB goes down. Sometimes more subtle injuries can be just as impactful, though, and the lines will often be slower to adjust for those injures. Maybe a key offensive lineman goes down, and that will have an impact on a running game that has been effective so far. Or maybe a linebacker who has been wreaking havoc on a quarterback is out and the pass rush will struggle as a result. If a bettor are watching the game and can observe what happens and quickly assess the impact then they may be able to find some attractive value.
Injuries before a game – It can be very hard to assess what impact an injury that occurs during the week can have on a team. The advantage of in-game betting is that you can watch some of the game to assess what that impact is likely to be before you have to commit to a bet. Football handicappers might not be able to get quite the same price they would if they locked in a bet before the game, but since the risk is lower that can be more than acceptable.
Looking for middles – If you have locked in a bet on a football game before it has started then in-game betting may present you with a good opportunity to bet a middle. As the game evolves oddsmakers may be forced to post an in-game number that is on the opposite side of a key number than the line was before the game. By betting a middle you can significantly decrease your exposure to a game while giving yourself a shot at a large return on your investment.
Hedging your bets – If you have made a bet before a game has started, but as the game progresses you don’t feel particularly good about it, then you can often use in-game betting to take the other side of the game and decrease your risk and your exposure to losses. It won’t work in all situations, and it can be very frustrating when you hedge what turns out to be a winning football bet, but in cases where you are heading for a loss only losing some of your investment will always be more attractive than losing all of it.
To increase your investment – Let’s say you had a strong feeling about a football game heading into that game, and you bet accordingly. If what you have seen once a game starts has only served to increase that opinion then in-game betting can be a very good way to increase the amount you have bet on the game to further leverage your opinion. There is obviously an increase in risk here as well because you are betting more, but if you are doing it for sound reasons, and practicing good money management, then it might be the right thing to do.
To capitalize when the pace of play isn’t sustainable – You have seen this before – a game starts out as an explosive offensive battle, but defenses tighten up as the game progresses. Or a defensive game opens up as the defensive units get tired and the offensive coordinators get better at spotting vulnerabilities. Or maybe a football team is incredibly successful on offense early on but then lets their foot off the gas as they get comfortable with their lead. The public often assumes that a game is going to continue to look like it has looked early on, and oddsmakers often have to set their lines and totals with that belief in mind. If you are watching a game and have good reason to believe that the rest of the game is going to differ significantly from what has already happened the in-game betting can be a great opportunity to leverage your insight into profits. That’s the way an active and involved football handicapper can make some cash.