Halftime Betting, similar to In-Play Betting, is often overlooked by recreational bettors, as pregame betting typically garners the lion’s share of attention. But there’s nonetheless steady value to be unlocked in halftime lines, which are a race against the clock for oddsmakers to price and put up. In other words, bad numbers can get posted. Some bookmakers don’t even have the bandwidth to go through the linemaking process at halftime and simply follow the lines of more prominent sportsbooks. Add it all up and there are inefficiencies to be found in halftime markets.
On a macro level, halftime lines provide an outstanding opportunity for bettors to either double down on their pre-match position or lock in a profit by betting the other side. And while there aren’t many formal rules for halftime betting, there are a number of angles that can be implemented and exploited for gain. Among them:
1. Back underperforming pregame favorites
Pregame favorites almost always occupy that status either due to a personnel advantage compounded by home-court advantage or because they boast such a talent edge that venue factors are effectively nullified. One poor half of play shouldn’t change that (assuming there are no significant injuries in the first half). So if a favorite is off to a slow start – particularly at home – value can be derived by backing them at a better price, and maybe even as an underdog.
2. Fade the pregame fave
Similar to the above, this is a more structured way of attacking a game with the aim of ultimately middling it. If bettors determine they’ve unearthed a potential live underdog, they can play them on either the pregame spread or moneyline. If the dog indeed proves frisky and submits a strong first half, bettors can then come back on the pregame favorite at a value price at halftime to lock in a profit and/or open up a middle that could create the ability to hit both sides.
3. Take advantage of slow line moves
Bookmakers always want to post halftime lines as quickly as possible, which in turn creates the potential for going up with numbers that could either be wrong or not in line with the market. Any outlier books will inevitably catch up to the market, but astute bettors who can price a game right will almost always have a window of opportunity to exploit bad numbers before they’re corrected.
4. Back heavy dogs getting blown out
While it may not be the most palatable strategy, jumping on big underdogs getting blown out at halftime can prove fruitful. When the public sees a sizable favorite that’s beating market expectations by jumping out to a huge halftime lead, the common sentiment is that the rout will continue. However, coaches oftentimes rest their stars in the second half in those scenarios, and teams generally tend to take their foot off the gas when they’re blowing out a clearly inferior team.
5. Double down on a position
NFL games are 60 minutes, NBA contests are 48 minutes, and college games – basketball in particular – frequently feature significant momentum swings. Bettors who have a strong opinion on a pregame side shouldn’t lose confidence after one half of poor play. Assuming circumstances haven’t changed the calculus of a matchup (eg. foul trouble, injuries etc.), doubling down on a pregame position can be a profitable strategy in certain spots.