In-Play Betting Explained

In-Play betting is one of the most common ways to place a bet today, and the markets in which you can do so have grown quite phenomenally.

It’s exploded into a new exciting way for punters to get involved in sports betting, and for the new punter, it’s an ideal place to start.

We’re all so used to watching a particular sporting event and betting as we do, and knowing which markets and sports in which are best to do so is always useful.

Below you’ll find our complete guide to betting in-play, including what it is and the best bookmakers in which you can do so.

What Is In-Play Betting?

In-Play is a simple concept to understand and simply allows punters to bet on an event while it is happening.

This means you can let what’s going on in an event dictate the bets you place based on what is happening.

Every punter will have an idea on what is going to happen in an event before it happens, but betting in-play gives you further insight into that and can be influential in the market and outcome you predict. What’s more, you’ll likely be able to cash out and change your mind as you please.

How To Bet In-Play

You would bet in-play just as you would bet before an event takes place. You simply select the market in which you want to play, add it to your bet slip and place your bets.

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You’ll usually find a bookmaker has its in-play markets on the homescreen of the site, so you can just jump straight into the events that are currently live and play.

Generally, you can bet in-play by taking the following steps:

  1. Log-in or sign-up to a betting account
  2. Find the in-play market you wish to bet on (usually found on the homescreen, but also can be found in the particular sport’s section)
  3. Select the market and odds you wish to play and add to your betslip
  4. Enter your stake in your betslip and place your bets.

Sports You Can Bet On In-Play

There are many sports in which you can bet on in-play, the most common amongst punters is football as much can change across 90 minutes of play.

However, you can place bets in-play across most sport these days with many different markets. This includes:

The markets in which you can play will vary, from markets such as next point in tennis, to next goalscorer in football and Over/Under a set amount of runs in cricket. You’ll generally find more markets available to bet in-play the longer the event is. For example, you’ll find more in-play markets on football, than you would in horse racing.

It’s a really useful option to have, as it can give you a great opportunity to find better value markets as well as benefit from better odds than before the event has started.

For Example:

Let’s look at a football fixture between West Ham and Arsenal. Before the game, the odds on the Match Result market may look a little as follows:

West Ham – 9/5

Draw – 12/5

Arsenal – 7/5

As you can see Arsenal are the favourites to win the fixture. Once play has started however, these odds could alter in a number of ways as the game progresses.

For example, if West Ham were to get an early goal, the odds on Arsenal to win the game would lengthen. This could then become a better value bet to place if the goal was against the run of play and you still thought Arsenal would win.

Of course, it could also go the other way, and Arsenal’s odds would further shorten should they take the lead in the game.

A number of factors would alter these odds in-play, including scenarios such as red cards, substitutions, possession, general run of play and shots on target, as well as the remaining time left in the game.

Bookmakers That Offer In-Play Betting

Most online bookmakers offer in-play betting markets these days with the likes of Paddy Power, Betfair and bet365 having a significant number of bets you can place across a range of sports.

bet365 logo


Bet £10 & Get £30 in Free Bets

Virgin Bet logo

Virgin Bet

Bet £10, Get £20 in Free Bets + Free £5 Specials Bet on England

Paddy Power logo

Paddy Power

Bet £10 on Football, Get £50 in Free Bet Builder Bets

Claim Offer
Betfred logo


Bet £10, Get £50 in Free Bets

Claim Offer
Betfair logo


Bet £10 and Get £40 in Free Bets

Claim Offer
BetUK logo


Bet £10, Get £30 in Free Bets

Many of the Bookmakers have also now identified that they can use in-play betting offers (which we can alert you to on as a good way to retain their customers. In our opinion, one of the biggest and best in-play bookmakers is Bet365.

To find more bookmakers in which you can play in-play betting, visit our online bookmaker page.

Facts to Consider Before In-Play Betting

Sportsbooks are very fair and their live in-play betting markets are suspended the very moment there is any major game effecting incident. A penalty being awarded, a wicket falling, a goal being scored for example.

However, one of the most important of our in play betting tips is that punters need to consider that the ‘live’ images they are watching on their TV screens are invariably delayed by a few seconds. Therein when you bet live based on pictures you see it can be fraught with danger.

Like anything that is new to you, we suggest it is best to initially play small to find your way around in-play live sports betting. The same obviously goes for first time betting exchange and spread betting customers.

Finally, with a bet or two placed pre-game and a few more during the match it is easy to lose count of your potential losses. No matter how unlikely – a football team which is ahead by 3-1 up in the 85th minute can and often do fail to win come the final whistle – do consider what the catastrophic outcome will cost you if it were to happen.

And, that’s the glory of in play sports betting you can back (or insure) against it at any time. Always keep our in play betting tips in mind and only risk what you can afford to lose.