Finding a top-notch live betting site is no easy task. Dozens of UK bookies have their own take on in-play betting.
This is why we put together our list of the UK’s 9 best live betting sites.
If you’re looking for in-play betting tips, or even live streaming on betting sites, keep scrolling. We have everything you need to know about live betting, and more.
9 Best Live Betting Sites in the UK
- 🏆 ➜ back to our list of the top in-play bookies
- 💎 ➜ features of the best live betting sites
- ▶️ ➜ learn more about live streaming
- 🧠 ➜ expert tips for live betting
- ❓ ➜ head to our live betting FAQs
What is Live Betting?
Live betting, or in-play betting, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s placing bets on a match or event after it’s started, and while it’s still ongoing. For example, live betting on a football match means placing your bets after kick-off, while the players are on the pitch.
Odds update regularly during live betting, unlike the more-or-less stable odds that you’re likely to see when pre-match betting. This is because oddsmakers need to respond to the action as it unfolds.
For example, if Liverpool were the favourite to win against Everton, but Everton scored the first goal, then the odds would reflect that Liverpool is less likely to win than before. This means that a winning bet on Liverpool to win (assuming they recover after the first goal) would likely have a better value on return than it did before.
How Do Bookmakers Calculate Live Betting Odds?
If you’ve ever placed an in-play bet before, then you’ve almost definitely noticed that the live odds change all the time. It might look like there’s a team of oddsmakers somewhere following the match and adjusting on the fly, but in a live match or race, probability changes too quickly for a human being to respond to.
This is why live betting odds are calculated by computer algorithms. These algorithms aren’t quite as smart as they sound, though. For starters, the algorithms don’t come up with the betting odds themselves. By the time an event on a betting site is considered to be live, the pre-match odds would have been out for a while.
The algorithms start with the final pre-match odds, and adjust from there. This is also why live betting odds tend to be less profitable than pre-match odds. The pre-match odds are tinkered with and fine-tuned by oddsmakers. That isn’t possible with live betting, so larger profit margins are applied to live betting odds as bookies are more likely to be caught off-guard. Thanks to the shifting odds and occasional bad lines, punters can still end up taking home more profit than they would have otherwise, though.
Features of the Top Live Betting Sites
Just like with any other aspect of a betting site, not all bookies are created equal when it comes to in-play betting. The bookies in our list of the top live betting sites above are all top-notch, but they each have their own unique set of features.
In our opinion, the most important features of a live betting site are as follows:
- Frequently updated odds: Live betting is meant to be fast and exciting, and a big part of that is odds that can keep up with the action. Some bookies are slower than others, and this could end up being a massive interruption to your in-play betting experience.
- Wide range of in-play betting markets: If you’re a punter who knows the sport well, you likely want to place bets on more than just who’s going to win the match. The best live betting sites give punters dozens, if not hundreds, of bets to choose from during a match, including time-sensitive bets.
- Live streaming: The best way to really enjoy the live betting experience is to watch the match while you place your bets. Following along with what’s going on gives you the power to adapt your bets on the fly and to react to events as they unfold. Read more about this in our section on live streaming below.
- Cash Out: The cash out feature is always a great option, as we say on our guide to cash out betting, but it’s essential when betting in-play. This can be a great way to cut your losses if the match unfolds in a way you weren’t expecting, which happens a lot more often than you might think.
- Live Scores & Statistics: We all know that the only way to make good betting decisions is to make informed betting decisions. Bookies that include things like a live match tracker to help keep you updated on the match’s progress, or easy access to statistics have punters in mind.
What Features do our Top 3 Live Betting Sites Have?
Live Betting Rules
Live betting isn’t exceptionally different to pre-match betting in terms of what punters actually need to do. Either way, you’re selecting your bets and how much you’d like to wager on them. The real difference is how the bookmaker behaves.
When running pre-match bets, bookmakers use oddsmakers. These are experienced professionals who calculate risk and probability using the help of software and applying a profit margin on top. Pre-match odds match the real probability.
When it comes to live betting, just like we mentioned above in our section on how live odds are calculated, things work differently. As the bookmaker has much less control over the situation, they change the rules. For instance, pre-match bets are processed immediately, while in-play bets are subject to a delay of a few seconds.
Another thing that bookies do to level the playing field is suspending bets. For example, if a player gets a red card or suffers an injury in a football match, the bookmaker will suspend bets for a short period. This is so there is enough time to let the situation be resolved (e.g. an injured player gets replaced) and so that the bookie has enough time to recalculate their odds.
Seasoned punter and pro bettors use this to their advantage, They look out for betting lines whose odds don’t reflect actual probability, and place their bets before the odds are updated. The difference between the displayed odds and the most probably odds usually aren’t very big, but these opportunities are great ways to increase your potential returns.
Most Popular Sports for In-Play Betting
It doesn’t come as much of a surprise to discover that the most popular sports for live betting are pretty much the most popular sports for online betting in general. When it comes to sports defined by urgency, like football or horse racing, then it becomes even easier to see why in-play afficionados flock to them. Live betting is most popular for exciting sports.
To learn more about live betting for each of the following sports, click the links in the table to head to the in-play section of our betting guides:
How to Choose: Pre-Match vs In-Play Betting
Some punters find it difficult to choose between in-play and pre-match betting, especially when just starting out with live betting. This is why we want to share some of our tips and tricks for deciding when to bet before the match, and when to bet during the match.
- When backing favourites, you often get better odds in-play
- When backing outsiders, the best odds are often found pre-match
- Backing a draw is best done pre-match, as the likelihood of a draw falls with each minute of the match
- If you’re cool under pressure, then in-play is probably where you’re going to make your best bets
- If you get too caught up supporting your favourite team, then pre-match bets are probably better off for you
- If you can’t guarantee that you’ll be free and able to focus on the match, then pre-match betting is likely best for that match
- Certain bets are only available in-play, like prop bets (e.g. betting on the outcome of the next play in an NFL game)
- Conversely, some bets are only available pre-game, such as tournament outrights.
|💡 TIP! Don’t forget you can bet pre-match and then continue betting in-play! This is a great way to cash-out bets at the best odds or even hedge your bets to cut your losses.
There’s a reason that brick-and-mortar bet shops have so many TVs in them. Live betting only really works when you can follow the event and react to what happens. This is why top-tier bookies spend so much money on making live streams available for their punters. As we discuss in our guide to live streaming betting sites, this can give punters a huge edge when betting in-play.
This makes it even easier to bet on foreign leagues and tournaments that might not be airing in the UK, as well as eSports like League of Legends or Counter-Strike. There are so many things that can happen in a match or a race, and the punters watching live have an advantage when it comes to placing their bets.
Live streaming isn’t always a necessity when choosing a live betting site, though. If you’re looking to bet on things like the Premier League or Formula 1, then you’ll still need a premium cable or streaming subscription like Sky, as some events aren’t available to stream.
Which Bookies Offer Live Streaming?
A number of different bookies out there offer live broadcasts in some capacity or another. However, we’re here to direct you to the best options out there. Here are our picks for the top betting sites offering live streaming:
How do I Stream on Betting Sites?
When looking around at different bookies while trying to decide which live betting site is for you, you’ll notice that you can’t watch any streams unless logged in. This doesn’t mean that bookies are lying about having live broadcasts, just that punters need to meet certain criteria to access them.
There are two things you need to do to get access to most betting sites’ live streaming feature. You need to be a registered member; and you need to have a positive, real-money balance in your account (which you’d need to place your bets, anyway). Or just follow these basic steps:
- Log in to your betting site of choice
- Head to the “Deposit” page and top up your account with the amount you’ve budgeted for betting
- Head to the “Live Betting” page
- Look for any event with a “play button” symbol (▶️) or a television symbol (📺)
- Kick back and enjoy your live betting experience!
Live Betting on the Go
It’s great that you can stream matches from the comfort of your living room, like we mentioned in our section on live streaming above, but nothing quite beats going round to a mate’s house or down to the pub to watch the game. There’s no reason to miss out on live betting when that happens. You can place your live bets almost anywhere.
Almost every live betting site out there either has native smartphone apps or a mobile-friendly website. Like we mention on our guide to betting apps, most online betting today is done on mobile devices. As long as you have a 4G/5G connection or WiFi, then you’re good to go.
When it comes to choosing which live betting app or mobile site is right for you, you need to take some things into consideration that are specific to the mobile experience. Just answering these 4, simple questions should be enough to tell you whether a specific in-play betting site is the right fit for you while out and about:
- Is the site/app designed in a way where you have easy access to your live betting options, even on a smaller screen?
- Are all the features of the desktop site available on the mobile site/app? Things like live streaming or cash out as we mentioned in the top live betting site features section above.
- Are there any mobile-specific bonuses or promotions that could add value to your in-play betting experience?
- Can you quickly deposit funds from your mobile if you want to top-up your account during halftime?
Luckily for you, all of the sportsbooks in our list of the best live betting sites above are fully mobile compatible, and many of them even have apps available for both iOS and Android devices.
Pros & Cons of Live Betting
✅ More Betting Opportunities
One of the main benefits of in-play betting is that there are so many options to choose from. Not only do you have access to the majority of betting markets that were available pre-match (depending on what stage of the match you’re at), but there’s also bets that are specific to live betting.
Prop bets, for instance, come up during the course of a match. For example, bets on who will score first after a team’s top striker has been taken off for an injury at the end of the first half. These kinds of bets can’t be predicted, so the only time you’ll see them is when betting in-play.
✅ Better Cash-Out Options
Most of us know the sting of what feels like a bet that’s guaranteed to win taking a sharp left-turn come match day. Even the best analysts in the industry aren’t psychic, after all. Cashing out your bets early can be a great way to either guarantee your profits or cut your losses if you think things might not go your way.
For example, if you placed a bet on Liverpool to win against Chelsea, and Liverpool end the first half 2-0, you can cash out your bet for almost the full return and not risk any nasty surprises in the second half.
✅ More Engaging
The thrill of watching a match or a race unfold in front of you is a lot of fun. Don’t get us wrong, pre-match betting is fun in its own way, but in-play betting puts you on the edge of your seat.
It’s a lot more engaging to have to think on the spot, to adapt to what you see on the screen in front of you. Instead of just being viewers, punters have their own stakes in the game now. We highly recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of sports or sports betting.
✅ Better Value
Like we mentioned above in our section on pre-match vs. in-play betting, there are situations where you’re likely to get better in-play betting odds than pre-match ones. We always recommend finding the best odds for every bet you wager on, and sometimes that means waiting until a match starts to place your bet.
This is especially true when betting on favourites. Sometimes pre-match odds can be shockingly low for favourites, but the in-play odds can yield much bigger returns.
❌ Specific Times
The thing about live betting is that it’s actually live. If you’re not free to focus on your bets, then you’re unlikely have very much fun, or make that many winning wagers. In-play betting requires punters to be available at specific times, and that isn’t always possible.
This is especially felt during events like the FIFA World Cup, where some punters can’t enjoy live betting because of time-zone differences. Matches can end up being played in the middle of the work day, or in the middle of the night, depending on where the match is taking place.
❌ Can be Overwhelming
Some people thrive on the energy and adrenaline of live betting, while others aren’t so good at thinking on the fly. There’s no shame in getting caught up in the game, but you should be betting with a clear head.
Some punters do their best thinking, and thus betting, with peace and quiet. If you’re that kind of bettor, then pre-match bets might be best for you.
Expert Live Betting Tips
In-play betting is a lot of fun, but we’ve already made that clear above. Some punters don’t realise that live betting requires different things from punters than pre-match betting does.
To make it easier for our readers, we turned to our resident experts and enthusiasts to come up with this short list of live betting tips. These are the most important things to keep in mind when getting ready for an afternoon or evening of in-play betting.
- Most free bets can be used in-play Punters who are new to betting on live matches sometime assume that free bets can only be used on pre-match bets. While you’ll need to check the terms and conditions with your chosen bookie, most betting sites allow free bets to be used on in-play bets. In fact, we’d argue that free bets are especially useful in-play. Having a free bet up your sleeve gives you the chance to experiment or take a risk that you wouldn’t normally do with a real-money wager.
- Do your research Like we mentioned several times throughout this page, live betting happens quickly. There are moments where you need to think and act fast, and the easiest way to make good decisions while thinking on your feet is to be informed. We definitely recommend doing the same amount of preparation you’d normally do for pre-match bets. If you walk in prepared, you’re likelier to place winning bets.
- Watch while you bet We touched on this in our section on live streaming above, but it bears repeating. The best way to enjoy live betting is to watch the event while you bet. It’s the only way you’ll be able to keep up with the shifting odds, the appearance of new bets, and the closing of other bets.
- Don’t hesitate too long We’re big advocates for responsible betting, as well as being prepared. However, when it comes to live betting, speed is key. If you spend too much time weighing your options out, some of the bets you were considering will end up closing before you place your bets. This is where doing your research, like we mentioned above, really helps out.
Live Betting FAQs
What is live betting?
Live betting, or in-play betting, is betting on an event after it has begun, while it’s still ongoing. For example, live betting on football is placing bets on a match after it’s started. To learn more, take a look at our section explaining live betting above.
What’s the best live betting site?
Here at Sportsbetting24 we’re quite fond of Unibet. They have an excellent live betting suite, and a host of excellent features. However, there’s no one-size-fits-all bookie, which is why we’ve put together a list of top live betting features to look for, so you can pick the bookie that’s best for you.
What are the advantages of betting live?
In-play betting is quite different from pre-match betting. Live betting is exciting, the odds shift frequently, and punters can end up benefitting from some great value odds. We recommend taking a look at our list of the pros and cons of live betting, where we explore all the different benefits to in-play betting.
What is the best football live betting site?
Yet again, we’re going to point to Unibet. Unibet is a fantastic football betting site, and they do a great job at live football betting too. However, bookies like Betfair and bet365 are also absolutely top-notch. We recommend sticking to the bookies on our list of the UK’s 9 best live betting sites and taking your pick from there.