Live and Half-Time Football Betting

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:

Line Over Odds Under Odds
10 points +110 -110

But when the Texans moved the ball into Colts' territory, the over/under changed:

Line Over Odds Under Odds
12.5 points -120 +110

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 and games
  • Total points for quarters, halves, and games
  • How long a drive will last
  • Predict what the next play will be: (run, pass, turnover)
  • Will the offense get a first down

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 one game
  • 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 first
  • Not all sites offer live betting
  • Easy to chase losses
  • Hard for those who don't understand the game of football
  • Not much time to place a bet

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 disadvantages.

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 half-time
  • 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 second half
  • 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 during 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 and strategies.

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:

  • The schedule
  • Matchups between offenses and defenses
  • Motivation
  • Weather
  • Injuries
  • Suspensions
  • 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 handicap football.

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.

Situational Football

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
  • 2-point conversion attempts
  • 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.

Coaching Styles

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 half-time betting.

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:

Team 1st half scoring per game 2nd half scoring per game Total Points Per Game
Arizona Cardinals 9.8 8.1 18.4
Atlanta Falcons 12.3 9.3 22.1
Baltimore Ravens 12.1 12.6 24.7
Buffalo Bills 8.7 8.9 18.9
Carolina Panthers 11.2 11.6 22.7
Chicago Bears 8.2 7.8 16.5
Cincinnati Bengals 11.1 7.0 18.1
Cleveland Browns 7.4 7.2 14.6
Dallas Cowboys 11.8 10.4 22.1
Denver Broncos 7.8 10.2 18.1
Detroit Lions 11.9 13.8 25.6
Green Bay Packers 8.7 10.4 20.0
Houston Texans 11.1 10.0 21.1
Indianapolis Colts 9.2 7.0 16.4
Jacksonville Jaguars 12.7 13.0 26.1
Kansas City Chiefs 13.0 12.6 25.9
Los Angeles Chargers 11.7 10.5 22.2
Los Angeles Rams 17.1 11.8 29.9
Miami Dolphins 6.8 10.8 17.6
Minnesota Vikings 13.0 10.2 23.9
New England Patriots 16.5 12.4 28.6
New Orleans Saints 13.5 14.3 28.0
New York Giants 8.6 6.6 15.4
New York Jets 9.2 9.2 18.6
Oakland Raiders 8.5 10.3 18.8
Philadelphia Eagles 14.7 14.3 28.6
Pittsburgh Steelers 13.5 12.8 25.4
San Francisco 49ers 8.6 11.9 20.7
Seattle Seahawks 7.8 15.1 22.9
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8.5 12.4 20.9
Tennessee Titans 9.2 11.2 20.9
Washington Redskins 11.8 9.6 21.4
Second-Half Adjustments

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 field.

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.

Bills vs Colts at Buffalo

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 accordingly.

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 betting strategy.

Summary

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.