One of the most exciting developments in the world of sports betting in recent years has been the live betting revolution. Punters in the pre-internet era could never have dreamed of being able to bet on a sports event as it was ongoing, but thanks to advances in online technology, it is now possible to follow an event and bet as you watch the action unfold.
This dynamic, modern form of betting has captured the imagination of UK punters, and is one of the fastest growing forms of betting in the country. To help you get started in the world of in-play betting, we’ve analysed and tested the most popular live betting sites, to find which has the most attractive offers and which provides the best in-play betting experience.
Best Live Betting sites in the UK – January 2021
Live betting has grown from a niche sector of the betting world to a major component of the UK betting scene with all reputable bookmakers competing for live betting customers. We’ve taken a close look at the UK industry and put together a list of the best sites for in-play betting.
Betfair In-play Betting
Betfair effectively pioneered live betting in the UK and across the world with their betting exchange model, in which the fixed odds pre-event market went live as soon as the event got underway. For many years Betfair was the only UK betting firm offering live betting, and although the rest of the pack have caught up, they are still the go-to company for in-play betting, particularly in the main Match Winner markets in football, and Race Winner markets for horse racing.
- The Betfair commission model means their live betting odds are usually higher than those with a traditional bookmaker.
- Betfair live betting markets often come with live streaming or live radio commentary
- With Betfair you can bet live on both the fixed odds and exchange markets
- The Betfair app is one of the best live betting apps around and offers a host of features
- If you’re betting live on the Betfair exchange, you may find that you struggle to get your live bets on in some of the minor markets that attract fewer punters.
William Hill In-play Betting
One of the biggest names in UK betting, William Hill have used all of their decades of betting experience to develop a live betting platform that is one of the best around. Their live horse racing betting markets are particularly popular and cover all of the races in Ireland and the UK. They can also boast one of the best live streaming bookmaker services in the industry.
- Huge array of live streaming sports
- Comprehensive in-game statistics on most sports, particularly tennis and football
- Competitive in-play odds across most sports
- User-friendly mobile live betting service through the William Hill app
- Promotions are less generous than with some of their rivals
Ladbrokes In-play Betting
Ladbrokes have grown from a brand that was primarily known for their horse racing connections to one of the UK’s most popular sports betting platforms. Their live betting service is one of the most comprehensive around, and they offer an impressive variety and depth of in-play betting markets, particularly for football events. Their cricket and tennis live betting coverage is also excellent, and you can find plenty of specialist in-play tennis markets such as Next Game Winner and Number of Aces.
- Abundant statistical information available for most live betting events
- Rapid bet approval on most markets, with minimal delays
- State of the art live streaming support across a wide variety of sports
- Excellent coverage of English football, with live betting markets on all four divisions
- Odds in some of their live betting markets are occasionally slow to update
Bet365 In-play Betting
A high profile and long-running promotional campaign has established Bet 365 as one of the most popular and well-known in-play betting operators in the UK market. This reputation is well deserved as the site provides a wealth of features for the in-play betting fan and is particularly strong when it comes to live football betting. Combined with an excellent live streaming service, this makes Bet365 the go-to site for many in-play football fans.
- Ten sports available for live betting, one of the biggest selections in the industry
- Fast and responsive odds updating system across all live markets
- Comprehensive provision of in-game statistics and data
- Huge variety of markets including Asian handicaps, Draw No Bet and First Goalscorer on all high-profile live football betting events.
- Fewer live betting options for minor football events than some of their rivals
Paddy Power In-play Betting
Ireland’s biggest bookmaker has made a name for themselves by offering a user-friendly, entertaining betting platform that often provides markets other bookmakers won’t touch. But Paddy Power have clearly taken their live betting seriously and have produced an intuitive in-play product that is easy to use, even if you are a newcomer to this type of betting. Famous for their horse-racing association, Paddy Power are also popular with live football betting fans.
- Paddy Power also offers live betting on virtual sports, a rarity in the UK and Ireland market
- Fast acceptance of live bets, particularly on the main sports such as football, golf and tennis
- Plentiful live streaming options, particularly for football events
- One of the biggest selections of live betting markets in the UK and Ireland
- The Paddy Power app is a touch slower than with some of their rivals, so mobile betting fans who want to bet in play may be at a slight disadvantage
Live Betting Markets
In the early days, live betting was focused on the main Match Winner or Race Winner markets, but the number of in-play betting opportunities has grown enormously. A live betting punter in 2020 can choose from a staggering array of markets, including a variety of handicap betting options, player performance markets and over/under betting opportunities. It seems that the only limit on live betting is the ingenuity of the bookmaker!
Live Football Betting
Football betting has seen the biggest expansion of in-play markets and some high-profile football games can offer over 100 different live betting options. The most popular remain the Match Winner and Correct Score markets, but it is also possible to bet on a variety of player performance markets including First or Last Goalscorer, as well as Over/Under goals markets, Asian Handicap. It is also possible to bet on niche markets such as Number of Corners, and Number of Cards, as well as combination markets that pair Match Winner with Number of Goals.
Live Horse Racing Betting
Horse racing is the sport that provided the first live betting opportunities for UK punters and it remains a popular focus for in-play betting fans. The main in-play horse racing market remains the Race Winner, but the best live betting bookmakers will offer a variety of other options, including Place markets and markets that cover winning distances, combinations of finishing order, and whether there will be a photo finish. Live betting aficionados who use the betting exchanges will also be able to bet against a horse in-running by using the Lay option.
Live Golf Betting
In many ways, golf is the perfect sport for those who are getting into live betting. There is always plenty of betting action for events on the PGA and European Tours, but a golf tournament is played out over four days, giving live punters plenty of opportunity to refine their strategies. Tournament Winner remains the most popular in-play golf bet, but you can also wager on Number of Birdies, Group markets, in which a selection of players are grouped together and Final Score markets.
Live Betting Tips from Our Experts
Betting on a live event can be one of the most exhilarating ways to enjoy betting on sport, and for those who have the right skills and who do their homework, it can be a profitable experience. But it can also be risky. It takes time to master the art of in-play betting, but to help you get started, our live betting experts have put together some useful advice to reduce your risk and boost your prospects.
- Specialise to maximise your chances – The huge selection of live betting options available to the modern punter can be overwhelming. It can also lead you astray. Even live betting gurus don’t have the time or the expertise to bet across significant numbers of markets. Focus on the sport you know best and the markets that you are most successful in to maximise your advantage over bookmakers and rival punters.
- Develop a strategy and stick to it – A live sports event moves quickly and live betting punters are often required to respond in a short space of time to changes in prices. If you have to weigh up every decision as you go, you will usually be at a disadvantage in terms of speed and will miss the best prices. Take some time before you start betting live to work out a clear strategy for all eventualities, and hone that strategy until it is perfect, so that you can respond almost automatically to changing events.
- Watch the game – This is an essential tip, but one that is overlooked by too many punters. If you are going to bet on an event, you have to be able to access live footage. Ideally, this will be televised, but radio commentary is a reasonable substitute. If you don’t have access to live coverage of the event you are betting on, you are likely to miss clues and opportunities that you won’t spot simply by watching the odds change.
- Remember the time delay – When you are relying on televised coverage, whether through a separate channel or through a bookmaker’s live streaming service, there will be a short time delay that could be up to five seconds. That is a lifetime in a live betting market, so while you can’t avoid delay, do your homework and try to find the very fastest live streaming service you can. Even if your streaming service is a second faster than most punters, you will be at a significant advantage.
- Do your homework – Even if you are passionate and knowledgeable about a sport, you can’t hope to profit from live betting without doing your homework. Whatever sport you choose to bet in, get to know all of the competitors, players or horses involved. In particular, focus on clues that can tell you what may be about to happen. Is a horse that is usually calm sweating and pulling hard while going to post? Does the star winger look as though he might be carrying an injury? Knowing what to look for will enable you to gain an edge on your rival punters and increase your chances of getting the best odds.
- Don’t bet if the odds aren’t right – When you are developing your in-play betting strategy, remember to incorporate a way to assess the odds in real time. This won’t be perfect, and it will still require some judgement in the moment, but price is everything when it comes to betting and if you continually take the best price while rejecting bets that are under-priced, you will significantly increase your chances of coming out ahead.
The Exciting World of Live Betting
Live betting has revolutionised the UK betting scene and millions of betting fans now get involved in the live betting markets. Whether you are betting on football or horse racing, tennis or golf, live betting offers a combination of excitement and volatile prices that bring a new edge to the betting experience. The top UK bookmakers are battling to offer punters the best in-play prices and service, so there has never been a better time to hone your strategy, choose your sport and try your hand at live betting.