Betting 101: Using live betting odds to capitalize or correct mistakes

·Betting analyst
·5 min read

Alright look, last week was tough. I couldn’t hit water if I fell out of a boat. Sure, I had some misses but what you didn’t see is that I was able to rebound from in-game betting.

I would love to tweet every live play I take but the lines change so quickly that it’s not always possible. 

Here are some situational spots you can look out for in both college football and the NFL that can perhaps translate to other sports once the season is over.

Pregame bet: SMU +11.5 at Cincinnati

In-game correction: SMU team total UNDER 17.5

The Mustangs' leading receiver Danny Gray was announced out about an hour before kickoff. Gray is a huge part of the SMU offense, accounting for over 800 receiving yards and nine receiving touchdowns. It was an announcement that I couldn't have known earlier in the week. Tracking college football injury reports is a much tougher job than the NFL. A few minutes into the game, you could tell that the plus wasn’t the right side.

The Mustangs offense went three and out on the first drive, Cincinnati put up seven points off one play in seven seconds, followed by another three and out for negative yards from SMU. After three punts and a fumble in the first quarter, I turned to in-game odds. Four drives resulted in 51 yards. Not having Gray was a huge deal and it showed. Knowing that Cincinnati entered this game with a top-10 passing defense, and that SMU was down its best receiver, everything pointed to SMU having a tough day. It was a great time to grab the live line on SMU’s team total UNDER 17.5. I missed the 21.5 because I thought, ‘Let me see one more drive.’ Nope. Next thought, ‘Grab anything over two touchdowns.’ Final score: Cincinnati 48, SMU 14.

Pregame bet: Michigan State at Ohio State -18.5

In-game opportunity: Michigan State team total UNDER 21.5

I liked the Buckeyes to absolutely roll in this matchup. No better example could be created for strength versus weakness. You have a high-powered passing offense against the literal worst (130th) passing defense in the country. Aside from that, the Spartans were a run-heavy offense facing a top-15 rush defense. You could certainly lay the 18.5 and call it a day or turn to the live odds to grab more value.

Similar to SMU, you knew right away that it was about to get ugly for Michigan State. The opening drive for the Buckeyes was 12 plays, over four minutes long, and resulted in seven points. It was a clean, sharp slice-through-butter type of drive. The Spartans' opening drive generated just 15 yards. The Buckeyes scored again, the Spartans missed a field goal and Ohio State scored yet again. Three drives and 21 points later, Michigan State was down 21-0. When your offense is dedicated to the run game, how do you catch back up? You don’t. The Ohio State -18.5 pregame bet was never in question but in-game opportunity allowed you to grab the Michigan State team total UNDER 21.5 and 17.5 and if you caught it early enough, the Buckeyes' team total OVER 47.5. Final score: Ohio State 56-7.

Pregame prediction: Steelers at Chargers UNDER 47

In-game bet: Steelers at Chargers OVER 39.5

I thought this would be a slugfest. Pittsburgh certainly started out that way with a 13-play, six-minute drive that resulted in just a field goal. There were back-to-back drives from both Steelers and Chargers that lasted over six minutes long — great for an UNDER.

However, the drives may have been long but the tempo from both teams was fast. Both offenses were getting downfield, the Steelers had a turnover on downs at the goal line and Justin Herbert and the Chargers looked ready to feast. With the drives lasting so long, the live line total dropped to the 30s. Six-minute drives are unlikely to continue, the offenses were too efficient and the tempo was too fast for this to be a game totaled in the 30s.

Live opportunity: OVER 39.5 with the Chargers up 14-3. Final score: 41-37.

There are many scenarios I can share from this weekend alone but the point is to help you start thinking of opportunities you may not have otherwise realized. I also had the Cowboys on a +8.5 teaser that clearly never had a shot of covering. Receiver Amari Cooper was already out pregame and then early on Ceedee Lamb was injured and RB Ezekiel Elliott was limping around. With the Chiefs up by 10 and time winding down, I was able to offset my bet taking the Chiefs -9.5 on the live line.

When things just aren’t going your way or once you realize you are on the wrong side of a prediction, turn to live betting odds for opportunities to earn your losses back or maybe even walk away with a profit. Is this fool-proof and sure to work out every time? No, but if you are paying attention to game flow and are selective with your spots, you’ll find there are opportunities to be had.