Super Bowl LV live betting will make up a good chunk of the total money wagered on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Kansas City Chiefs tonight. And that in-game betting action will start flowing the second the game kicks off.
The popularity of live betting not only has Super Bowl LV bettors handicapping the pregame odds, but planning their possible attack for in-play bets as well.
Take Super Bowl LIV, for example. Kansas City, notorious for its postseason comebacks, fell behind 20-10 to San Francisco in the third quarter of last year’s championship game. The Chiefs, who were -165 favorites on the pregame moneyline, were adjusted to +150 on the in-game odds to win outright before storming back for 31-20 victory.
If you’re new to live betting, here’s a quick crash course as well as angles and opportunities to look out for in Super Bowl LV.
How to Live Bet Super Bowl LV
Just like the Boss sang, you can’t start a fire without a spark. If you want to live bet the Big Game, make sure you have an out that allows that. Depending on where you call home or where you’re watching the Super Bowl, online sports betting may or may not be available (select casinos will take live bets at the counter for special events).
For those lucky enough to have the option, shop around a bit before depositing into a sportsbook and make sure they have the in-game odds you want to bet. Most books will allow visitors to view the available markets without signing up, so browse around between now and kickoff (I wouldn’t wait that long) and see which operators tickle your in-running fancy. For example, if you like betting player props, make sure your operator of choice offers live markets around player performance.
With in-game odds now at your fingertips, how are you going to live bet the heaviest wagered-on single event of the year in North America? We don’t have a crystal ball, so the outcome of Super Bowl LV is very much unknown, but we do have some pointers for betting football in-running odds specifically.
Look at the Key Numbers
Key numbers are important when capping pregame odds and are equally as important when betting in-running odds. Due to the scoring system in football, NFL games are more often decided by the same margin of points: three, six, seven, and 10. Betting on and around those key numbers can be the difference, especially when it comes to the Super Bowl—the most scrutinized and drum-tight line of the entire season.
The current Super Bowl LV spread has the Chiefs laying three points as favorites in Tampa—right on the key number of a field goal. But, should the Buccaneers open scoring with a touchdown, the live spread may swing closer to a pick’em or even Tampa Bay -1. Should the Buccaneers add another TD to open a 14-0 lead, you may see K.C. +6.5, +7 or even +7.5, depending on game flow and the clock.
One spread – the Bucs -6.5 - would be a solid number for Tampa backers on the live odds, getting them below the key of seven. The other possible spreads, Kansas City +7 or +7.5 is a nice number if you think the Chiefs close the gap (as they’ve been known to do), especially with a half-point hook above the key number of a touchdown offering some insurance on a Buccaneers’ win by seven.
Most books will offer up multiple alternate in-game spreads and totals too, not just serving up one live line, so you can shop a little bit and lay the extra vig (cost of making the bet) to get a better spread around a key number that fits your opinion.
Plus Money Can Be A Negative
An important thing to keep in mind when sorting through the tempting Super Bowl live markets: don’t fall in love with plus money. Often times, in-game bettors hunt only for plus-money offerings (bets that return more than your original wager) and ignore what could be great value on a line that you have to lay a little lumber to get. Don’t forget that little “+” is there for a reason.
Slow Starts = Over/Under Betting Value
Before we send you off into the in-game wagering wilderness, I do have one live betting tidbit to share for Super Bowl. Opening quarters have been somewhat uneventful in the Big Game, with the first 15 minutes seeing just 59 total points over the last nine Super Bowls, which is an average of only 6.55 points per first quarter in that span.
Last year, the Chiefs and 49ers did hang 10 points on the board in the first quarter of Super Bowl LIV, but there have been goose eggs on the scoreboard in the opening frame of the Super Bowl in three of those previous nine championship showdowns. Chalk it up to nerves and skill players being a little tight or the defenses just being amped up to hit someone after a two-week break: whatever the cause, it’s been slow going in Super Bowl first quarters.
Given that piece of info, keep an eye on the in-game Over/Under. If the Chiefs and Bucs come out slow like some previous Big Game contenders, there could be value playing the Over on the adjusted live total (the pregame Super Bowl total is at 56.5 points), especially with two explosive offenses that ranked second and third in total passing plays of 20 or more yards and posted scores of 38 and 31 points in their respective conference title games (both going Over the total).
What is Live Betting?
For the better part of two decades, live betting (also known as in-game, in-play or in-running odds) has been a fixture for online sportsbooks. The concept is simple: sportsbook operators offer “live” odds during the course of a game or event, which adjust and change according to the action on the field but also the action at the book itself.
The most basic live odds available are point spreads, moneylines and totals. The operators will use the closing odds on a game (the final odds set before a game starts), as well as factoring in any risk or liability, to formulate their opening in-game odds. Those numbers will constantly be on the move – adjusting but also coming off the board and going back up – as the game/event unfolds and bettors can place a wager at pretty much any time.
As mentioned, in-game betting has been part of the global gaming industry for a while now but is still relatively new in places like Nevada sportsbooks, which only adopted live wagering in 2011 and expanded on it with the growth of smartphones over the past decade.
Live betting has surged in popularity within the expanding North American markets in recent years and is making up a significant amount of the books’ overall handle on sports. In European markets, live betting often eclipses the pregame handle.
Live Betting Basics
Before you blindly dive into the live odds, there are some things you need to know. First, most in-game odds come with a bit of a tax compared to pregame odds. It could be covering the operating cost or just milking a market desperate to get action down: whatever it is, it will cost you more than the standard flat rate of -110 to bet an in-game line than a pregame line. Right there, books have a baked-in advantage in terms of hold.
Also, pay attention to in-game bet limits on how much or how little you can get down on in-game odds. It may vary per sport and even per game. Super Bowl is known for its bigger betting limits, but in-game odds come with their own set of parameters compared to pregame options.
Just like a pregame bet, however, an in-game bet is locked in once accepted, no matter where the in-running odds swing or what happens in the game you’re betting on (beyond the usual restrictions for qualifying results/playing time required).
What You See Isn't Always What You Get
Another thing you should be privy to before pushing the submit button on those live bets is that the book doesn’t have to take your wager at the odds you see on your screen. While you ponder for that split second whether or not bet, money is pouring in on the in-running odds and at the same time, the outcome of the game itself is mutating those numbers (score, time, possession, field position, and injuries all factor in).
Don’t be surprised if you see a countdown or loading period before the bet is accepted and really don’t be shocked if the book tells you those odds aren’t available anymore (or they close the live betting completely). But would you like the bet the new line? And even if you accept the adjusted odds, you may have to go through this process a few times. By that point, the +160 in-game underdog you saw value in could’ve been walked all the way down to -110 and you don’t want it anymore. It sucks but it happens.
Not all games have live odds available and not all available games have a full in-game board. Mainstream events, such as the Super Bowl, will have the biggest menu of in-running options for fans of live betting. You should be able to find what you’re looking for and likely something you weren’t.
However, depending on the popularity of the event and live data feeds available to power those in-game markets, some contests won’t be on the live odds board. Think mid-major college basketball and less in-demand sports. If those little-known options are up for live betting, it may be restricted to the betting basics – spread, moneyline, total – rather than the buffet-style betting options you would see for the Big Game.
Don't Overdo It
Lastly, don't get carried away with live betting. As mentioned, in-running odds offer you a chance to jump into the pool mid-game, which also means it can lead down a path to chasing any possible losses. If your pregame wagers aren't panning out as you planned, be very careful not to start doubling down on live odds to offset any bad bets.
Proper money management says to set aside a chunk of your bankroll (total amount of money you can bet) for in-running action before the game and stick to it, but we're all not that disciplined. Play within your means and keep it light: it's sports betting god damn it. It's supposed to be fun.
Live Betting Strategy
There are a number of ways to utilize the in-game markets, some as simple as the freedom to bet a game whenever you want. How many times have you walked into a pub and started watching a game already in progress? Live betting opens the door to get action down in those situations.
Hedging or Middling
Live betting is also great for hedging or middling existing wagers. If you already have the underdog locked in at +220 and they jumped out to an early lead, you can come back with the adjusted in-game odds on the pregame favorite, which may now be priced at +200 and guarantee yourself a profit or at least cover your original wager regardless of the final score.
As for middling (betting both sides at different numbers and having the final result land in the middle of those numbers—winning both bets), in-running markets crack this window of opportunity. For example, you took the favorite to cover the 3-point spread pregame and they’re out to a commanding lead. Now you take the losing team’s live spread at +10.5 and if the favorite wins the game by six, seven, eight, nine or 10 points, you win both bets. Hmmm, the sweet, sweet middle.
Early Surprises Create Opportunity
One of the more popular strategies involves surprise results, more specifically early surprise results, and betting on those anomalies to correct themselves over the course of the game. A perfect example of this was Kansas City falling behind 24-0 to Houston in the 2020 AFC Divisional Round.
The Chiefs, who entered the game as 10-point favorites, saw their in-game odds soar in the opposite direction with books offering Kansas City as a live underdog as they gave up 24 straight points to open the game (climbing upwards of 3/1 on the in-game moneyline). Those points, though, came via some erratic plays (a big gain due to blown coverage, blocked punt, muffed punt), and anyone watching the game could see that the Chiefs were far from out of it. Kansas City didn’t take long to storm back and held a 28-24 lead at the half, eventually winning 51-31.
Not all big favorites that stumble out of the blocks are destined for a comeback win. And to that point, it really does help to watch the games you’re live betting on. Swings in momentum, key plays, patterns and trends, and even player injuries are things in-game bettors can capitalize on. Even something as wishy-washy as the “eye test” and body language can tell you when a team is defeated or if they have plenty of fight left in them.
How to bet on the Super Bowl
The Super Bowl's popularity is always bringing in new sports bettors. Before you start betting on the Big Game, brush up on how to bet on it with our Super Bowl betting guide.
Where Can I Get the Best Super Bowl Odds?
You can bet on Super Bowl odds at every online and casino sportsbook, including NFL Super Bowl moneylines, spreads, Over/Under totals and a ton of Super Bowl prop odds. Head over to our best-suggested sportsbooks for the top spots to bet on Super Bowl odds in your area.