Live betting, also known as in-play betting, is one of the most exciting ways
to bet on football games. In fact, live betting has really revolutionized the
way we view and bet on this sport. One popular form of in-play betting is
half-time betting. This type of wager has been around longer than live betting
wagers, and it’s a great option for those bettors who like to take football one
half at a time.
From beginners to professional bettors, live and half-time betting on
football provides a multitude of opportunities to win money. However, it can
also be very risky for undisciplined bettors.
If you have yet to try live betting or half-time betting, are just starting
to venture out into these betting niches, or need to tweak your in-play system,
then continue reading our live and half-time betting football guide.
How Does Live Betting Work?
Live betting (in-play betting) is a wagering option where bettors can place
bets on football as the game unfolds. However, not every online sportsbook
offers this betting option. Make sure you choose one of the premier sports betting sites,
as almost all of them offer live betting wagers.
These premier sites have a separate live betting platform to observe and use
during football games. This platform will display a plethora of betting options
based on the current action of a particular football game.
The betting options will appear during a play, or drive, and then disappear
when there is a stoppage. The betting options, odds, and lines change rapidly
with just about every snap of the football.
For example, the Texans are driving down the field against the Colts. While
the Texans were on their own side of the field, the total points wager for the
quarter could’ve been:
But when the Texans moved the ball into Colts’ territory, the over/under
This change in the over/under total for the quarter was due to the
possibility of the Texans scoring at least a field goal.
Types of Live Betting Wagers
Live betting options aren’t just limited to total points in the specific
quarter as in our example above. They can also include:
Spreads for quarters,
halves, or games
Moneylines for halves
Total points for
quarters, halves, and games
How long a drive will
Predict what the next
play will be: (run, pass, turnover)
Will the offense get a
As you can see, there are many wagering options, which is why live football
betting is such an exciting opportunity for bettors of all experience levels.
Live Betting Pros and Cons
In addition to the excitement of live betting on football, there are other
advantages to choosing this type of wager. However, just like with any sports
bet, there are some disadvantages as well.
Live Betting Pros
Live betting allows you to be on the same page as the bookmakers in regards
to current/updated action. For example, the bookmakers will be watching the same
game as you are. However, the one advantage you will have is that the bookmaker
has to keep an eye on all of the live bet wager options, while you can focus on
a few and choose the one that has the best value. Other advantages are:
Not locked into one bet
for the whole game
Can place more bets on
Have more flexibility
in type of bets and when to place them
Can possibly get better
odds, lines, and totals during a game than before the game
Can hedge your bets if
you placed wagers on a game before it started
Live Betting Cons
One of the biggest disadvantages with live betting is how easy it is to
mismanage your bankroll. With so many betting opportunities throughout one game,
it’s easy to place too many bets and/or stake too much. Live betting really
tests your discipline, so it’s very important to create your own betting system
prior to your in-play endeavors and stick to it. Other disadvantages are:
Can be overwhelming at
Not all sites offer
Easy to chase losses
Hard for those who
don’t understand the game of football
Not much time to place
What Is Half-Time Betting?
Half-time betting, also known as second-half betting, is when you place your
wagers for the second half of a football game during the game’s half-time. This
bet is solely based on what happens during the second half of a game, not the
first half or the game’s final result.
For example, the Ravens lead the Bengals 13-10 at half-time. The spread for
the second half of the game is -3 for the Ravens. So, the Ravens will have to
outscore the Bengals by 3 in the second half, not for the game. Unfortunately,
the final score sees the Ravens win 21-17. Although they end up winning the game
by 4 points, they only outscored the Bengals 8 to 7 in the second half, which
means that they didn’t cover the 3 points. Therefore, you would lose your bet if
you took the Ravens at -3.
Half-Time Betting Pros and Cons
Like with live betting, half-time betting also has its advantages and
Half-Time Betting Pros
The biggest advantage to half-time betting is that you can watch both teams
play the first half. This puts bettors on an even playing field with bookmakers,
as you have access to the same information as they do – the first-half
performance by each team. Other advantages to half-time betting are:
Bookmakers have to set
lines quickly in order to get them out to the betting public during
There could be value in
second-half lines, totals, and odds
Potential to hedge bets
or double up on a winning bet
Half-Time Betting Cons
The biggest issue with half-time bets is that the first half’s output has
nothing to do with your bet in the second half. For some bettors, this can be
confusing. Like in our example above, although a team might cover the spread for
a game, if they don’t cover the spread for the second half, only then you will
lose your bet. Other disadvantages are:
Only a half-time’s
duration to make a bet
First half and game
totals don’t matter
Can only bet on the
Might be inclined to
bet on more than one game
Live and Half-Time Betting Tips and Strategies
Ideally, it’s best to create your own live or half-time betting strategy
football’s offseason, as you have plenty of time to review previous football
data, test out theories, research new data, and much more. When creating your
strategy, make sure to consider the following live and half-time betting tips
Do Your Homework Before the Game
You must prepare for live and half-time betting the same way you would
prepare for any other football wager. This means making sure you really study
and analyze things like:
offenses and defenses
Location of game
Win streaks or momentum
However you handicap football in regards to game lines, totals, odds, and
systems, you have to continue that same overall approach with live and half-time
betting. If you need more assistance with this fundamental sports betting
concept, then check out our article on how to
What to Look for During the Game
When it comes to live and half-time betting, it’s all about predicting or
projecting what happens next. To accomplish this, you have to possess a solid
understanding of the game of football in addition to studying the factors
mentioned above. A high football IQ will go a long way when trying to predict
the next play or the next half. Additionally, keep an eye out for the following
vital in-game details.
One aspect of the game that’s very important to live betting is “situational
football.” This can be defined in many different ways since there are many
different situations. In short, situational football represents a specific
situation or scenario during a football game that is often reoccurring.
For example, what teams do in the red zone: do they pass more than they run?
How often do they score touchdowns when in the red zone?
Other popular examples of situational football include:
Success of getting
first downs on third down
How often a team goes
for it on fourth down
How many times they run
on first down compared to passing the ball
How often a defense
blitzes and when they blitz
How often they go for
an onside kick and recovery success rate
A punter’s ability to
place the ball within the 5 yard line
All of these examples can help you to make the most educated prediction
during live betting. Having an idea of what a team does during certain
situations can really help to improve your success when placing live bets.
A great deal of what a team does in the situations mentioned above is based
on the head coach’s schemes and style. Some coaches are more aggressive than
others and like to push the ball down field or go for it more on fourth downs.
Other coaches may prefer to play a field position game where they pin their
opponents deep and allow their defense to dictate the game. Whatever the
situation may be, knowing a coach’s style can really go a long way in live and
Be Cautious with Early Success
Be cautious when a team or player is having success early in the game. Some
teams are slow to start, some take time to make adjustments, and some score more
in the first half than the second half.
Check out the following table to see the scoring averages for teams:
1st half scoring per game
2nd half scoring per game
Total Points Per Game
Green Bay Packers
Kansas City Chiefs
Los Angeles Chargers
Los Angeles Rams
New England Patriots
New Orleans Saints
New York Giants
New York Jets
San Francisco 49ers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Expand | Shrink
Good teams and good coaches go into half-time and make the adjustments that
help them to win the game. As you can see in the chart above, nearly half the
teams had an uptick in scoring in the second half largely due to their half-time
adjustments. As you are watching the game, look for noticeable second-half
changes to a team’s offense or defense, players targeted, run vs. pass, roster
depth, and more.
For example, if the Cardinals defense was getting gashed for rushing yards in
the first half, pay attention to see if they can stop the run in the second
half. This adjustment by the Cardinals could swing the momentum to their favor
and set you up with some potential value with live betting.
Good Teams Losing at Home
One of the more popular strategies for live and half-time betting is
following the good home teams that are losing at half-time. In 2017, only 6
teams had losing records at home. Of the 26 teams with .500 or better home
records, 15 of them had winning records. Furthermore, of the 12 teams that made
the playoffs, 10 of them had a record of 6-2 or better at home.
This means that the good teams almost always won at home last season. So,
when making half-time or live bets, look to see if a good team is losing at
home. Keep an eye on how much they’re losing by, the lines and odds for the
second half, if they are on pace for their scoring average per half or game, and
any potential live bets that could be of value for that home team.
Points Don’t Equal the Action
Another highly-followed strategy for live and half-time betting is gauging
the first-half scoring total to see if it measures up with the action on the
For example, the 49ers and Seahawks had an over/under of 38 points for the
game. At half-time, the two teams managed to score a total of 10 points in the
first half. It appears that they’re on pace to score only 20 total points in the
game. Theoretically, they should score close to 19 points in the second half
based on the over/under line set prior to the game.
However, if you paid close attention to the game, you would have noticed that
the 49ers dropped a touchdown pass in the first quarter, missed a field goal
before the half ended, and Seattle fumbled the ball when they were heading into
San Francisco’s end zone. All of these miscues could’ve been at least 13 more
points in the first half, which would have put the two teams well on their way
to hitting the over of 38 points.
In situations like the example above, an online sports betting site may
decide to put the total of the second half at a lower amount based on the first
half’s low scoring. For example, instead of the pre-game second-half total of
19.5 points, the bookmakers adjusted it to an over/under of 14.5 points
This could provide great value because the two teams really displayed more
action on the field than what the scoreboard shows. They will more than likely
straighten out their mistakes from the first half and take advantage of scoring
opportunities in the second half.
Is Mother Nature Involved in the Game?
We already discussed how weather should be a factor that you study prior to
the start of the game. However, there are a few times when Mother Nature might
get involved during the game, and it wouldn’t even show up on a weather
forecast. One such example is the sunlight. Sometimes, teams have to head in the
direction of the sun, which makes it harder to see the ball when trying to catch
it. This could have a negative impact on an offense’s output, especially if
their offense relies heavily on the pass. This also could provide an advantage
for you when the teams switch sides of the field at the end of the quarter and
the other team now has to play in the sun.
For example, in the first quarter, the Giants struggled to move the ball in
the direction of the sun due to receivers dropping passes and having a terrible
rush offense. They switch sides at the end of the quarter, and now the Cowboys
are heading into the sun. However, Dallas has one of the best rush offenses in
the NFL and has no problem moving the ball despite the sun being in their eyes.
Another element that could affect a game is the wind. Typically, the wind
will be part of a pre-game forecast. However, there are times and football
stadiums where the wind can pick up at a moment’s notice. Visiting teams may
struggle with this unexpected wind, especially if they’re trying to throw or
kick in it.
A good example of this is playing in Buffalo. The Bills are accustomed to the
weather and unexpected elements. At times, the wind can really pick up during a
game and have a huge impact on offenses and special teams. Typically, the Bills
are able to adjust to this due to their familiarity, but visiting teams like the
Chargers don’t often play in wind, rain, or snow. This is an advantage to the
hosting Bills. It’s also an advantage to bettors if they can get in on the live
or half-time betting action before bookmakers realize what’s going on and adjust
How Favorites Handle Big Leads
Typically, huge betting favorites will get out to big leads in the game and
either keep their foot on the gas pedal or take their foot off and allow
opposing teams to score some points. Often, bookmakers will see that the huge
favorite has a sizeable lead at half-time and place the second-half spread
higher based on the team’s rate of scoring. This is largely due to bookmakers
wanting to take advantage of casual bettors who think the favorite will continue
to score at will. That’s not always the case.
Last year, the Patriots would jump out to big leads in the first half, but
didn’t always outscore their opponents in the second half. In 9 games where they
led by 6 points or more at half-time, the Patriots were outscored in the second
half 4 times and tied in another. That means that over 50% of the time, New
England took their foot off the gas pedal. If you look at the chart above, you
can also see how they scored 4 fewer points per game in the second half. Pay
attention to how the betting favorites handle big leads because it could open up
a few betting opportunities of value.
Must Watch the Game
If you aren’t even watching the game, then don’t participate in live or
half-time betting. How can you make an educated prediction during the game if
you aren’t even watching it? Long-term success with in-play and half-time wagers
requires you to actually watch the game in order to see what’s going on and to
look for the factors mentioned above. It’s all about timing and predictions,
which you can only make by watching the live action on the field.
Focus on One Game Only
It’s too easy and tempting to get caught up in betting on multiple games due
to the thrill of live and half-time betting. In order to improve your chances of
winning live and half-time wagers, you should really focus on just one game.
As mentioned above, you have to carefully watch a game to place live and
half-time bets. If you try to follow multiple games at once, then you run the
risk of missing something important, like any of the items listed in our above
section on what to look for during the game. Additionally, you run the risk of
missing a live or half-time bet that offers tremendous value.
With live and half-time betting, there are plenty of betting opportunities in
just one game to place wagers on. The key is to pick the game that you have
already done the most preparation for, and carefully watch it for opportunities
of live or half-time value bets.
Manage Your Bankroll
One of the biggest pitfalls to live and half-time betting is bankroll
mismanagement. It’s so easy to get so caught up in the bets that you lose sight
of your disciplines and strategy. Before you know it, you’ve lost a big chunk of
your bankroll. In worst-case scenarios, you’ve lost it all. Do your best to
avoid the following live and half-time betting bankroll traps.
Don’t Chase Losses
Chasing losses is a
common football mistake that many inexperienced bettors make. And when it
comes to live or half-time betting, you can go from a healthy bankroll to no
bankroll in just one game. Don’t freak out if you lose.
First, you need to make sure that you’re only betting money that you can
afford to lose. Second, most football bettors lose more than they win,
especially beginners. If you find yourself losing a few live bets, then stop and
regroup. Don’t keep betting until you win one because you’re more than likely
going to keep losing.
Don’t Place Too Many Wagers
Placing too many wagers is a dangerous approach to live and half-time
betting. It can cause you to lose focus on the game you prepared for the most.
Additionally, it can cause you to overlook or miss out on value bets. Too many
wagers can also affect the predetermined amount of money you had originally
allotted to live and half-time betting.
Keep the Stakes Proportional
Live and half-time betting can tempt many bettors to place larger wagers
during a game due to the excitement. It’s important to keep your stakes
proportional to your bankroll. For example, just because you decide to place a
wager or two on live betting, don’t bump up the stakes unless there is a great
return and high value. In the long run, the smart approach is to keep your
stakes proportional to your bankroll.
Avoid Casual, Entertaining, or Emotional Bets
Another huge mistake that football bettors make is placing bets for fun or
because they want a game to be more entertaining. This is dangerous in any
betting situation, especially live and half-time wagers. If you are looking to
spice up the excitement of a game, then join a fantasy football league. Don’t
throw away money just because you are bored. Additionally, avoid placing wagers
when intoxicated, as you run the risk of losing a lot of money when drunk.
Betting on football requires a great deal of preparation in order to succeed.
Casual, entertaining, and emotional betting flies in the face of any logical football
Live and half-time betting are exciting ways to place wagers on football. In
fact, they have revolutionized the way we bet on this popular sport.
Additionally, with so many betting options, live and half-time wagers can
provide some fantastic value. However, it’s important to approach these types of
football wagers with the same discipline and preparation as you would any other
football wager. Make sure to come up with an overall live and half-time betting
strategy in order to maximize your success with these types of wagers.
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