Halftime Bets – When & How to Use Them

Learn when and how to make halftime bets.

Key Points

– Bettors can find value in placing halftime bets.

– When placing halftime bets, bettors should consider a number of factors.

Halftime Bets – When & How to Use Them

Halftime bets are one of the least popular and least-bet options available to sports bettors. They might want to reconsider. 

Think about it. As a bettor, you get to watch a team play for half of a game before you place your bet. You can see the game’s pace, the players’ health, how they’re responding to the conditions, and other things during the first half of play.

It’s not always a perfect predictor of what will happen next, but it’s surely easier than understanding how to bet first half lines

Each different sport requires a different approach to halftime bets (or the equivalent for sports that don’t play two halves). However, there are some general guidelines and considerations that apply to all sports. 

Whatever the sport, here are some things to think about when placing halftime bets. 

Watch the Game Flow

Some games feature great play by both teams. The flow of the game is what one might call ‘normal’ as compared to some games that feature poor play.

Take an MLB game as an example. The pitchers are pitching well. There are a few hits, maybe even a run or two is scored. Compare that to an MLB game where the pitchers are walking a lot of batters and fielders are committing multiple errors. 

Games where players are at their best are those where there is an advantage for the team that has the better roster. Keep that in mind when placing halftime bets. 


The Pace of the Game

It’s not unusual to see two teams play at distinctly different tempos. One team will be able to control the tempo of the game, or at least have a greater influence than their opponent. 

The team that can control the tempo of the game will be at a distinct advantage because they will feel more at ease and be able to throw the opposition off their game.

Take the college football game where one team runs 90 plays per game. The opponent likes to run the ball and bleed the clock to shorten the game. One of the two teams is going to control the pace of the game. 

Bettors get the first half to see which one takes command. Then, they can bet on the second half accordingly.

Weather & Halftime Bets

The NFL and MLB are affected by the weather because of the number of outdoor stadiums. Weather can play a huge role in the outcome of a game. Weather impacts betting on sports and It makes sense that it can affect a half as well.

A cold-weather NFL game late in the season might see a snowstorm or high winds start during the game. Likewise, the weather conditions could stop at some point in the first half. Either way, that would affect how a bettor makes halftime bets. 

Even or Not

After watching one half of a game, it’s pretty evident if the two teams are evenly matched. If one team is obviously better than the other, that is surely going to affect how a bettor would approach making any halftime bets.

A game’s action might make it too difficult to place a halftime bet. Regardless, how the first half is played out has a huge impact on wagering on the second half.

Losers Still in It?

It is sometimes obvious that the team trailing at the half has all but given up and is simply competing for the final buzzer. However, other times you can tell from how the game has progressed that the losing team is still very much in the game.

In the NBA for example, coaches will often sit their stars for the entire second half of a game in which their team has a huge lead. It’s the same in the NFL, especially late in the season. Coaches will rest starters to get them ready for the postseason.

Those player moves will affect any halftime bets being made. 

Teams, Coaches & Halftime Bets

In speaking of coaches, there are many quality mentors out there that have a knack for making halftime adjustments. If their team has fallen behind in the first half, these coaches have a way of fixing things and getting their teams to play well in the second half.

For bettors, it’s worth researching which coaches have this ability and which ones do not. The same goes for players. An NBA team, for example, might not play well in the second half. They might have issues coming out of halftime in the third quarter. 

This is information that the smart bettor can use to his advantage when making halftime bets.


Often, the way a game turns out can come down to one or two matchups. In the NFL and college football, for example, it might come down to the defensive line against an opponent’s offensive line. Or maybe it’s even one dominant defensive end against an offensive tackle.

In basketball, it might be an outstanding point guard or a big man that has been dominant. If the opponent can’t match up, there may be some value in making halftime bets. You will have seen if such bets are worthy since you have seen how the game has been played in the first half.

Other Factors

Injuries always affect games. It doesn’t matter what sport, injuries can hurt teams. A first half injury can have a big impact on the second half. 

Imagine an NFL game where the starting quarterback goes down in the first half. Too often, NFL teams with a backup quarterback struggle. 

Penalties are another thing that can affect second half play. In basketball, players only get so many fouls – 5 in college, 6 in the NBA – before they are disqualified from the game. That affects NBA wagering. In the NFL, players can be ejected for certain penalties.

These are the types of things that will affect play in the second half of a game. They should be considered when making halftime bets.

The General Consensus

This is a significant factor in every wager you place, so it obviously applies here as well. The public’s analysis of games at halftime isn’t going to be all that sophisticated. 

The betting public will give some events too much significance while giving others not enough. They will place an excessive amount of emphasis on a team’s standing and pregame expectations. 

Because oddsmakers don’t have time to make significant halftime adjustments, they must account for public biases if a game will be watched by a large audience. That bias is where smart bettors can find second half betting opportunities.