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At the end of each month I do an analysis of my betting. This month, when it comes to college basketball, the biggest takeaway was that I was most profitable with a specific live-betting strategy. (Total transparency, I lost money betting college basketball pregame, though the picks I've shared online had a small profit.)

Does this mean my live-betting strategy will continue to be profitable? No! If you've been around sports betting for any length of time you know that a one-month sample size is very small. However, it is something I'll be leaning into through the rest of this season to see if it continues to be profitable.

If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, here are the steps.

#1: Identify sides you like pregame.

This is key. You could just bet lines that move a certain amount from where they were at tip-off, but that's not where I've had the most success. I do the work to identify teams I think are good bets pregame and focus on betting ONLY those teams live.

For example, I liked UCLA to cover 13 points against Arizona State last night (which they did). So I would not have bet Arizona State even if the line got to +18 or +20 or whatever. I believed UCLA was the right side and focused on any opportunities to bet them. I was able to get them at +8.5 (+100) because Arizona State started hot.

If you don't have time or aren't sure how to identify good live betting targets, I send these out once or twice a week via email. You can sign up on the homepage.

#2: Watch for significant deviations from the pregame line in the first half.

What is a significant deviation from the pregame line? I can't give you a specific number because I play this a bit differently in each game. However, I would say IN GENERAL a move of 5 points or more is significant. (Again, I am not saying this is a rule, just a guideline.)

Because I am playing an alternate line (I'll get to that in a minute), I don't generally like to bet lines that have moved 4 points or less (though I have done it at times).

Why only in the first half? My opinion is that a game has changed by the second half. Let's use the UCLA example from above. So they go down 10 points 6 minutes into the game. In my opinion, it is most likely that one of two things will happen by halftime.

  1. UCLA asserts themselves and the live betting value is gone (this is what happened).

  2. Arizona State stays in front and the game ends up being closer than expected.

If I believe UCLA is the right side and I'm going to make a live bet, the value is there sometime during the first half.

#3: Watch the game.

I can't always do this step, but I do it as often as possible. When you watch the game you get so much more data about what's happening and the momentum. Is Arizona State shooting 75% from the field? Has UCLA turned the ball over a lot? Is Arizona State on a run? Did UCLA just call a timeout to stop the momentum?

I can't give you a specific trigger for when to make a live bet, but I can say that you will get a much better feel for when to make the bet if you're watching the game.

#4: Bet the alternate line that gives you the least plus money.

This is where an example helps. When I bet UCLA -8.5 (+100), the line that showed up on my book was -7.5 (-120). In live betting, it is common for the book to show the primary line as something with a large amount of juice. Because I'm betting teams I expect to cover the pregame line in spots where they've gone down in the first half, I am willing to give up one point to get a better line.

In reality, points are worth less in basketball than in other sports, like football. Of course, it's possible to lose a bet you would have won otherwise by taking a plus-money line rather than the featured line (that happened to me twice last month), but the reduced juice has been worth it for me so far.

Why not take a spread with bigger plus money? Feel free to try that if you'd like to. It makes some sense to me, but I did that some of the time and it didn't work out. I tried taking the moneyline on teams I expected to win at inflated odds and lost multiple bets I would have won if I took the points and less plus money.

If you have questions about anything related to this strategy, feel free to DM me @bigtastysports on Twitter or email

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