The 5 Most Common Mistakes Made in Live Betting

Man Holding a Tablet With a Football Arena Background

Live betting is about as exciting as it gets for sports gamblers. Following along with the action and trying to dynamically predict the outcome can almost feel like a sport in and of itself.

Regardless of what sport you’re betting on, live bets give you the opportunity to spot a comeback before it happens and cash in on it, or double down on a previous bet now that the odds have changed.

Unfortunately, the fast-paced nature of live betting can lead to a lot of mistakes that can be very costly. In this article, I’ll get into the most common mistakes that live bettors make on a regular basis.

1 – Not Watching the Game

If you’ve never done live betting before, you still have the opportunity to avoid ever making this mistake. Listen up! Don’t ever try to live bet on an event without following along with it closely.

The key to live betting is all about timing. It’s crucial to find the exact moments when the odds change and new value presents itself. In order to do this, you have to be watching the game.

Momentum, as most sports fans know, can be hugely impactful in changing the direction of a game. If you’re not tuned into the action, you’re almost certainly not going to notice that fourth quarter comeback until it is too late and the odds have already caught up.

Live betting is simply not a passive experience, and can’t be done successfully if you aren’t paying attention (and close attention at that). Watching the game doesn’t guarantee a win, but not watching all but guarantees a tough time.

2 – Betting For Outcome Probability over Value

This is something that can be applied to not just betting, but betting in general. It’s imperative that you don’t just consider the likelihood of your bet hitting, but the risk and value involved in making the play.

Some sports gamblers seem to believe that betting on heavy favorites has benefits. On the surface, it makes sense in that you’re betting on something that has a high likelihood of happening. However, if you have to risk significantly more than you stand to gain, this can be a dangerous philosophy. After all, sports is wildly unpredictable and upsets happen way more frequently than most fans realize.

If you’re following along with a game and you realize that the outcome is looking pretty certain, is it a good idea to take the winning team at -4000 and put up $400 to win $10? Probably not – I’ll explain why.

American Flag Spread Over a Football Field

If you think about the example above, consider this: you’d have to win this bet 40 times to make up for one loss. In order to even win any money at all, you’d have to win 41 times if you suffer one loss with these odds.

Now let’s visit the other side of the equation. If you bet on the underdog at +4000, you’d only have to win once and you’d make a huge profit. It can be tough to bet on an underdog at a number like that, but at $10 to win $400 at least the value is there. It is gambling after all, and taking a risk is a way to hit big wins.

While the example above outlines a situation that you’ll see frequently as the game nears its conclusion, but it’s probably the best idea to avoid plays like that altogether. Taking heavy favorites doesn’t provide the value you should be looking for, and playing huge underdogs is a good way to throw away money. If the numbers don’t add up, move on to the next game.

3 – Money Management

It’s tough enough to manage a bankroll even when you aren’t live betting. When you consider the fast-paced nature of making bets during a game with winning and losing on the fly, it becomes even more of a hassle. With that being said, it’s necessary to keep things accurate in order to avoid significant losses.

One way to help make the process of keeping track of money-in and money-out is by having a running total that you can update once each bet goes final. For example, you might live bet the Lakers over/under total in the first half, and then want to make the same bet for the third quarter. If you win $20 on the first play and lose $10 on the second play, you should be aware that you have $10 to put on the fourth quarter should you choose to keep live betting.

Another crucial aspect of money management during live betting is avoiding what I’ll call the “contradictory wagers.”

These are bets that you make during a game that go against what you bet previously – and they almost never work out well. When betting on the NFL, If you gamble $100 on the Seahawks beating the Packers and the Packers get up early, you might be tempted to bet $200 on the Packers to cover your loss and then still win $100. In theory, it’s understandable, I mean who wouldn’t want to take advantage of the opportunity to erase a loss?

What you need to consider is the possibility of things changing, and actually losing money because you went against your initial play. My advice on this is simple: live betting is fine if you don’t end up putting money down on both teams throughout the course of the game.

Hedging your bet is a reasonable concept, and wanting to minimize losses is fine, but the risks associated with contradicting yourself just aren’t worth it. If you want to live bet, try waiting until the game is underway to make your first wager.

4 – Making Too Many Bets

This one ties in tip 2 and 3. Live betting is so entertaining because it provides bettors with nearly endless bets, and wildly varying odds. Make no mistake about it: the opportunity to capitalize is definitely there. With that being said, don’t get carried away in the action.

Keeping it simple can be one of the most difficult things about live betting. At any point during the game or match, there’s a good chance you’re going to see a bet that feels enticing. But as the saying goes, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

Trying to overthink it and take advantage of every single opportunity is going to make things confusing at best, and completely destroy your bankroll at worst. If you are going to live bet, try to keep it to four or less plays in a single game and you’ll be surprised at how much it helps the final result.

5 – Not Having a Plan

Just like a good team going into a big game, it’s important to have some type of a plan when you’re watching a game that you know where you know you’re going to be live betting.

It can be extremely helpful to pick out three or four different aspects of the game to keep an eye on. For example, the over/under heading into the second quarter, the total number of points by a team’s best player in an NBA game, and of course, the outcome of the game.

Man in a Crowded Sportsbook

When it comes to the outcome of the game, my recommendation would be to follow the changing odds constantly, and try to wait until the value seems to be the highest. Avoid predetermining who you want to bet on (for example, don’t go into the game waiting for the perfect opportunity to bet on team A instead of team B), and simply let the flow of the game help you decide the best move.


Live betting can be a profitable part of any sports betting strategy, but there are unique pitfalls that can make it a somewhat dangerous game.

As always, in order to give yourself the best chance to win, do your research, watch the game closely, and bet with value in mind. If you do those three things, live betting or not, you have a shot at being successful.