TAMPA, Fla. (COVERS) — Live betting carves out a bigger slice of the sports betting handle every year, with more and more action coming in on the in-game odds. That desire to wager on in-running markets grows even stronger with Super Bowl live betting—and sportsbooks go all out with in-game offerings for the Big Game.
The popularity of live betting not only has Super Bowl LV bettors handicapping the pregame odds on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs, but planning their possible attack for in-game bets as well.
Take Super Bowl LIV, for example. Kansas City, notorious for its postseason comebacks, fell behind 20-10 to San Francisco in the third quarter of last year’s championship game. The Chiefs, who were -165 favorites on the pregame moneyline, were adjusted to +150 on the in-game odds to win outright before storming back for 31-20 victory.
If you’re new to live betting, here’s a quick crash course as well as angles and opportunities to look out for in Super Bowl LV.
How to Live Bet Super Bowl LV
Just like the Boss sang, you can’t start a fire without a spark. If you want to live bet the Big Game, make sure you have an out that allows that. Depending on where you call home or where you’re watching the Super Bowl, online sports betting may or may not be available (select casinos will take live bets at the counter for special events).
For those lucky enough to have the option, shop around a bit before depositing into a sportsbook and make sure they have the in-game odds you want to bet. Most books will allow visitors to view the available markets without signing up, so browse around between now and February 7 (I wouldn’t wait that long) and see which operators tickle your in-running fancy. For example, if you like betting player props, make sure your operator of choice offers live markets around player performance.
With in-game odds now at your fingertips, how are you going to live bet the heaviest wagered-on single event of the year in North America? We don’t have a crystal ball, so the outcome of Super Bowl LV is very much unknown, but we do have some pointers for betting football in-running odds specifically.
Look at the Key Numbers
Key numbers are important when capping pregame odds and are equally as important when betting in-running odds. Due to the scoring system in football, NFL games are more often decided by the same margin of points: three, six, seven, and 10. Betting on and around those key numbers can be the difference, especially when it comes to the Super Bowl—the most scrutinized and drum-tight line of the entire season.
The current Super Bowl LV spread has the Chiefs laying three points as favorites in Tampa—right on the key number of a field goal. But, should the Buccaneers open scoring with a touchdown, the live spread may swing closer to a pick’em or even Tampa Bay -1. Should the Buccaneers add another TD to open a 14-0 lead, you may see K.C. +6.5, +7 or even +7.5, depending on game flow and the clock.
One spread – the Bucs -6.5 – would be a solid number for Tampa backers on the live odds, getting them below the key of seven. The other possible spreads, Kansas City +7 or +7.5 is a nice number if you think the Chiefs close the gap (as they’ve been known to do), especially with a half-point hook above the key number of a touchdown offering some insurance on a Buccaneers’ win by seven.
Most books will offer up multiple alternate in-game spreads and totals too, not just serving up one live line, so you can shop a little bit and lay the extra vig (cost of making the bet) to get a better spread around a key number that fits your opinion.
Plus Money Can Be A Negative
An important thing to keep in mind when sorting through the tempting Super Bowl live markets: don’t fall in love with plus money. Often times, in-game bettors hunt only for plus-money offerings (bets that return more than your original wager) and ignore what could be great value on a line that you have to lay a little lumber to get. Don’t forget that little “+” is there for a reason.
Slow Starts = Over/Under Betting Value
Before we send you off into the in-game wagering wilderness, I do have one live betting tidbit to share for Super Bowl. Opening quarters have been somewhat uneventful in the Big Game, with the first 15 minutes seeing just 59 total points over the last nine Super Bowls, which is an average of only 6.55 points per first quarter in that span.
Last year, the Chiefs and 49ers did hang 10 points on the board in the first quarter of Super Bowl LIV, but there have been goose eggs on the scoreboard in the opening frame of the Super Bowl in three of those previous nine championship showdowns. Chalk it up to nerves and skill players being a little tight or the defenses just being amped up to hit someone after a two-week break: whatever the cause, it’s been slow going in Super Bowl first quarters.
Given that piece of info, keep an eye on the in-game Over/Under. If the Chiefs and Bucs come out slow like some previous Big Game contenders, there could be value playing the Over on the adjusted live total (the pregame Super Bowl total is at 56.5 points), especially with two explosive offenses that ranked second and third in total passing plays of 20 or more yards and posted scores of 38 and 31 points in their respective conference title games (both going Over the total).
What is Live Betting?
For the better part of two decades, live betting (also known as in-game, in-play or in-running odds) has been a fixture for online sportsbooks. The concept is simple: sportsbook operators offer “live” odds during the course of a game or event, which adjust and change according to the action on the field but also the action at the book itself.
The most basic live odds available are point spreads, moneylines and totals. The operators will use the closing odds on a game (the final odds set before a game starts), as well as factoring in any risk or liability, to formulate their opening in-game odds. Those numbers will constantly be on the move – adjusting but also coming off the board and going back up – as the game/event unfolds and bettors can place a wager at pretty much any time.
As mentioned, in-game betting has been part of the global gaming industry for a while now but is still relatively new in places like Nevada sportsbooks, which only adopted live wagering in 2011 and expanded on it with the growth of smartphones over the past decade.
Live betting has surged in popularity within the expanding North American markets in recent years and is making up a significant amount of the books’ overall handle on sports. In European markets, live betting often eclipses the pregame handle.