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How to Win Live Esports Bets

Live wagering has become a popular segment of esports betting. Live wagers let you bet on matches after a game has already started.

This differs from pre-match betting, which forces you to wager before a contest begins.

Given the differences between pre-match and live betting (a.k.a. in-play), the latter features unique strategy.

If you’re an experienced esports bettor who enjoys taking on new challenges, then you’ll appreciate live wagering. You need a different skillset to win profits with in-play bets.

Keep reading as I discuss the factors that’ll help you win more often in live esports wagering. I’ll also cover the different challenges that you’ll face along the way.

Start with Pre-Match Betting

Live betting is an exciting, fast-paced type of sports gambling. You’ll definitely enjoying in-play wagering if you like making quick decisions.

But I certainly don’t recommend this type gambling if you’re completely new to esports betting.

You should instead start with pre-match betting and learn the fundamentals of making successful wagers.

These fundamentals include handicapping, looking for good odds, taking advantage of line shifts, and making smart bankroll decisions. Mastering all of these aspects is a tall order as a beginner.

Pre-match gambling allows you to learn esports betting strategy at a slower pace. You can take your time when a line is released and fully analyze both sides of a matchup.

Not everything you learn through standard betting will translate to the live world. But you at least want to get the core fundamentals down before moving to the faster-paced action.

Research the Match Ahead of Time

Some gamblers mistakenly think that all of their live betting decisions are made in the moment. But you should still research esports contests ahead of time, just like with pre-match wagering.

You’ll only have 3-10 minutes to make an in-play bet when a line is released. This doesn’t leave you much time to research the matter and figure out which odds offer the most value.

Studying a match beforehand gives you background information to work with. You can then use this info to make more-informed live wagers.

Here’s an example on how you can put your research to good use:

  • You’re wagering on a Counter Strike: Global Offensive match between 5POWER and Absolute.
  • You know that 5POWER has performed really well coming into the event.
  • But Absolute wins the first half with a dominating 10:6 score.
  • Absolute seems to have the momentum and is now the favorite.
  • However, you bet on 5POWER making a big comeback due to their strong play in recent matches.

Obviously there’s no guarantee that 5POWER will come back to win this match. But your previous research has at least helped you find a good betting opportunity.

Learn Everything You Can about a Particular Game

One of the best things about esports betting is that you can wager on a wide variety of games.

However, it’s best to forgo this variety in the beginning and instead focus on a particular game.

Doing so helps you learn in-depth details that come in handy during the live betting process. The details that you need to learn vary based on the esport you’re dealing with.

Here’s an example on basics you should learn about League of Legends (LoL):

  • Hero compositions
  • Teams’ strategies for hero compositions
  • Basic LoL gaming strategies.

You don’t have to be an expert player on games you bet on. But you should at least have basic knowledge that will help you win wagers.

Watch Matches

It’s possible to be successful with pre-match wagering even if you don’t watch the events. You can research numerous statistics and use various strategies to win pre-match bets.

Live esports gambling differs because you can only learn so much before the match begins. Sure, having pre-match knowledge will help you place good wagers.

But it’s also important to understand the current match flow and which team has the momentum. You won’t have any clue on these elements if you’re not watching the match at hand.

Some esportsbooks offer live streaming of events. This lets you both watch matches and place bets in the same location.

You have little reason not to take advantage of live streaming when it’s available.

Of course, you can also watch events through your TV and place bets via your smartphone.

Be Careful When Placing Bets

Mis-clicking, where you accidentally choose the wrong bet, can be a problem in any type of esports gambling. But it’s especially common in the live arena.

Again, you’re dealing with fast-paced action and don’t have many minutes to act.

Live lines come and go throughout a match, meaning you must act fast to get the odds you want.

This rash feeling can cause you to make mistakes and place unintended bets. It’s wise to double check every wager before confirming it so that you don’t make any mistakes.

Use Good Bankroll Management

Bankroll management should always be a top priority in esports betting. But it becomes even more significant with regard to live wagering.

The constant rush of live wagers creates a number of tempting opportunities. This situation can lead you to placing one bet after another.

Doing so isn’t the worst thing if you find value in every wager you’re making.

However, you certainly don’t want to place a number of bets in succession without a plan.

It’s wise to think about your bankroll management going into any live betting session.

Here’s an example on how you can come up with a plan:

  • You have a $2,000 bankroll.
  • You want to break your bankroll down into 100 units.
  • 2,000 / 100 = 20
  • Each unit is worth $20.
  • You plan to bet 1-2 units on each live wager.
  • You can only make up to three live bets per session.
  • 6 units / 100 units = 6%
  • This plan means you’ll never risk more than 6% of your bankroll in one session.

The Kelly criterion is a popular way to determine your bet sizes in esports wagering. But you may find it difficult to work out the Kelly criterion calculations in a live setting.

It’s still worth knowing this formula, though, in case you need a good method for determining your wager sizes.

Here are the Kelly criterion variables and formula:

  • f = The fraction/percentage of bankroll being bet
    b = Decimal odds – 1 (must convert American or fractional odds to decimal)
    p = Probability of winning
    q = Probability of losing, which is 1 – p
    Formula: (bp-q) / b

Here’s an example on putting the formula into action:

  • For the Dream (1.5 odds) is favored over IamPoint Club (2.3).
  • For the Dream has a 66.7% chance of winning (1/1.5).
  • You believe that For the Dream should be at 1.4 odds (71.4% chance of winning).
  • Variables are:
  • b = 1.5 – 1 (0.5)
  • p = 0.714
  • q = 0.286
  • Formula: (0.5 x 0.714 – 0.286) / 0.5 = 14.2
  • You should wager 14.2% of your bankroll on For the Dream winning.

Good handicapping skills are at the heart of the Kelly criterion. You need to be especially quick with handicapping in live betting.

I suggest that you use a simple bankroll management plan in the beginning. Once you get the hang of live betting and become a stronger handicapper, you can work on integrating the Kelly criterion.

Challenges to Beating Esports Live Betting

Learning general strategy for live esports wagering is a good start towards winning money. Your chances of success will improve greatly as you spend more time studying strategy and gaining experience.

But there are concerns you should keep in mind about live gambling before launching into it. Here are the main roadblocks that can trip you up.

You Must Act Fast and Pay Attention

I want to emphasize how quickly you need to act in live betting versus the pre-match variety. Some lines are only available for less than five minutes.

You don’t have an abundance of time to think about your bets – let alone thoroughly research every one of them. This creates a steep learning curve when you’re coming from pre-match betting and trying to acclimate yourself to live gambling.

You Won’t Have Much Esports Live Betting Strategy to Help

The strategy presented here should get you off to a good start with live betting when you’re new to the matter. Unfortunately, you won’t find a tremendous amount of help elsewhere.

Unlike pre-match betting, live wagering doesn’t feature an abundance of strategy. You won’t find countless strategy articles, YouTube videos, and handicapping picks. Your best tools for succeeding include knowledge of the game(s), pre-match research, good instincts, and general betting knowledge.

Nobody is going to take you by the hand and lead you to in-play wagering success.

You instead need to be in control over your own destiny when improving.

Live Betting Lines Aren’t Always Available

You can make a fair amount of profits by specializing in live wagering. The only problem is that you won’t always have access to lines.

Online bookmakers add and remove their live esports betting section throughout the year. They only offer serious in-play action during major events.

This leaves you waiting until a major tournament takes place in order to capitalize on in-play bets. Contrast this to most other types of esports gambling, which are available year round.

Live Wagers Can Tempt You to Over Bet

You’ll find live betting lines available in abundance when there’s a marquee event happening.

LoL’s World Championships and Dota 2’s International are the biggest esports tourneys. Bookmakers offer an incredible amount of live wagering lines for the International and World Championships.

This large variety may convince you to place more bets than you’re prepared for. Even disciplined esports gamblers can fall prey to bad bankroll decisions at this junction.

Being adverse to bankroll management only makes it more difficult to keep your wits in the face of so many live lines.

Advantages to Making Live Esports Bets

You can see from the concerns above that beating in-play wagering isn’t easy. You have to battle bad habits and impatience to consistently win money.

But if you can get past these barriers, you’ll be able to reap the benefits of in-play esports betting. Here are the main advantages to this type of wagering.

Deep Insight into Games Will Help You Tremendously

I’ve mentioned multiple times how knowing about the esports you’re betting on can pay dividends. Assuming you already have deep insight into a particular game, you can really use this knowledge to your advantage in live wagering.

Bookmakers must act quickly to create live gambling lines. Oftentimes, these odds aren’t as sharp as a bookmaker’s pre-match lines.

Having good knowledge of a game ahead of time helps you make smart decisions on the fly. For example, you’ll make better StarCraft 2 bets if you’re knowledgeable about build orders, maps, and scouting.

You Can Become a Live Esports Betting Specialist

Specializing in 1-2 esports greatly improves your chances of winning. You can take this focus further by becoming a live betting expert for your chosen games.

Combining your knowledge of a specific esport with live wagering experience can give you an edge. You’ll be better at quickly spotting quality odds based on what you’ve seen in a match.

Remember that pre-match and live betting skills have their differences. Mastering the in-play wagering skillset will boost your chances of making money in this area.

You Can Get Lots of Action on Big Events

Pre-match betting will always be the preferred type of esports gambling. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t still find plenty of live wagering lines.

Huge esports events bring about numerous live betting options. Visit any online bookmaker when the LoL World Championships or Dota 2 International are happening to see the extent of this action.

You can find in-play esports wagering during other points of the year too. That said, keep an eye on your favorite sportsbook during major esports tournaments.


Live betting is just like any other type of esports gambling in that it takes dedication to win. But in-play wagering also requires a few different skills when compared to standard betting.

You need to make quick decisions because live lines come and go. It pays to know about a given game ahead of time so that you have some knowledge to act on.

It’s also worth doing research before a match begins. Studying the teams and players ahead of time helps you figure out their form heading into a game.

You should watch the matches through an esportsbook’s streaming service or your TV. Doing so gives you real-time information regarding the game flow and which team has the momentum.

Bankroll management is another key to live esports betting success. Come up with a plan before you get into live wagering so that you’re prepared.

Esports in-play wagering is a unique style of gambling that rewards you for having good insight and quick wits.

I highly recommend checking out live betting if you have these skills and a willingness to try something new.

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