Live betting: A beginners guide

In this guide, we’ll go through all the basics of live betting on sports together with tips and common mistakes to avoid.

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Table of contents

What is live betting?

Live betting allows Illinois sports bettors to wager on a sporting event once the game has begun with the same betting opportunities on offer live as pregame.

Sports bettors can wager on all major US markets and bet the moneyline, side, total, prop bets, parlays, teasers, and every other pregame bet offered can also be made during the game.

International sports such as tennis, darts, billiards, and soccer are available with several live betting options.

Live betting has become increasingly popular in the US, and there are several reasons why Illinois sports bettors enjoy making in-game wagers.

It gives you better odds

The main reason Illinois sports bettors make live bets is that, in most cases, the odds and lines are better than they are pregame. Let’s say the Chicago Bulls are -5 point pregame favorites against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland.

  • Chicago Bulls -5 -110
  • Portland Trail Blazers -5 -110

The bettor likes the Bulls to win, but laying five points is too many, and they don’t trust the Trail Blazers enough to take the five. Live betting makes it possible for Illinois sports bettors to fade the pregame and wait to see if they can bet Chicago at a better number than -5.

You can hedge your bets

Hedging is the art where a bettor takes the opposite side of their original bet once that original bet's likelihood of winning has increased.

Some bettors find a better number live than the one they staked pregame, and live betting is a great way to accomplish both.

Tips when live betting

While Illinois sports bettors employ many different live betting strategies, they share some basic common strategies.

Know the interface of the betting app

Each Illinois sports betting app or website is built differently. The most important thing a sports bettor would need to do is familiarize themselves with the sportsbook before placing a live wager. Ensure line changes are seamless and that all web pages update without refreshing. Be sure that the buttons are large enough to access quickly and that the site or app isn’t prone to freezing or lags.

Apps are convenient, but a reasonable website inspection would be beneficial as many are more comfortable using a more extensive interface. Ensure the site doesn’t lag and notifications for line movements are easy to spot.

Prepare early

Sports bettors should never make a bet they haven’t thoroughly investigated or handicapped before the start of the game.

Note any injuries, pregame line movements, and possible lineup changes. Be sure you are wagering from somewhere comfortable and free from any distractions that could cause a mistake or a line movement to be missed.

Watch the games

Illinois sports bettors should be watching the games while making in-game wagers. Bettors who watch the games have a distinct edge over non-watchers, and there is nothing better for finding an edge than with ones own two eyeballs.

Be sure to focus on what is happening and anticipate game flow and momentum changes.

How does hedging live bets work?

Hedging a live bet works the same way as hedging a pre-game bet. Illinois bettors wagering on the Bulls +135 can turn that bet around if things go awry by live betting the Detroit Pistons -120 and successfully hedging the live bet.

Remember that hedging is a great strategy, but a beginning bettor should concentrate on moneyline wagers they can easily hedge to either turn a profit or mitigate a loss.

Common mistakes to avoid when live betting in Illinois

Players will have a more rewarding sports betting experience by avoiding some common mistakes losing live bettors make:

Betting while Intoxicated

Betting while intoxicated is a bankroll buster and not a wise idea. It's easy enough to make mistakes betting on sports.

Still, sports bettors would be best served to stay away from anything that keeps them from thinking clearly and making sound decisions based on logic rather than alcohol-based. If getting blasted is the goal, set the phone down, enjoy the night, and save the live betting for another day.

Betting on too many games

Illinois sports bettors love to bet on sports, but betting on too many games daily is a recipe for disaster.

Prairie State gamblers should only wager on games they’ve spent time examining pregame where they have a distinct edge and leave the rest of the slate alone.

Failure to line shop

Illinois has seven online and 11 retail sportsbooks to choose from, and ingame sports bettors should always have accounts at each of the sportsbooks.

Sports betting is about the best value at the best price, and having as many options available is paramount to a sports bettor's success.

Chasing Bad Losses

Chasing bad losses isn’t the same as hedging, and Illinois sports betters should refrain from making a live bet just to compensate for a bad loss. A perfect example of this mistake is an NFL bettor having a bad Sunday and using the Sunday night game to get even by wagering more than the one unit a beginner should stake.

The bettor could win, but they could also lose, and a beginning Illinois sports bettor should only wager in-game on contests they’ve thoroughly examined and stake 1% of their bankroll per bet.

Changing Unit size

Changing the unit size of a bet is bad bankroll management and a good way for an Illinois player to go on tilt. Always remember the bankroll is like a carpenter's toolbox; no carpenter will use more tools than they need to get the job done.

Beginning sports bettors should discipline themselves to the point a one-unit bet for every wager becomes automatic to make some silly, bankroll-busting wager.

Avoid parlays

Parlays are bankroll management nightmares, and Illinois sports bettors should avoid staking a live parlay ticket.

Yes, the payouts can be life-changing, but the odds of long-term success aren’t in your favor, and too many things have to go right to cash the ticket.


Why do people live bet?

Players participate in live betting for various reasons, but the main reason is to get a better number than the one on the oddsmakers' pregame board. It can also make sports more interesting as you can place wagers as the game unfolds.

Where can I live bet in Illinois?

Illinois sports bettors have multiple online sportsbooks and brick-and-mortar betting establishments throughout the state where they can live bet.

Why do the live betting odds change so frequently?

Live or ingame lines change frequently because the live-action game changes compounded by the number of bets made cause the lines to frequently move. It's that reason why we hope Illinois bettors are watching the contests while making a wager and only stake a bet during a timeout or any other stoppage of play.