Arbitrage betting is a wagering technique that gamblers employ in order to guarantee their chances of success. They do this by betting on all possible outcomes of an event, hence its other name, a sure bet.
Arbitrage betting works best when used in sporting events where there are only two potential results, such as a tennis match. Here, there are only two possible outcomes that are possible. Such a technique does not require any interest or prior knowledge of the sport being bet on, but it does often demand large bets to be placed in order to generate a profit.
Table of Contents
What is Arbitrage Betting?
The point of arbitrage betting is to cover all of the possible results of a sporting event in order to guarantee a profit, regardless of how the event plays out. This really works by taking advantage of the differing odds on offer at different bookmakers. By regularly placing multiple bets on each of the possible outcomes of an event, so long as the betting odds guarantee you a profit, you are always going to come out ahead profit-wise, regardless of the game’s result. Because arbitrage betting, or arbing for short, is designed to guarantee a return on investment, many people refer to such bets as sure bets or miracle bets.
While steady and consistent profits are possible when using arbitrage, this is no overnight route to a new lifestyle. It is a long-term game because, while profits are still profits, those profits will, more often than not, be small. This is mainly due to the fact that arbitrage opportunities offering more than 5% in profit do not come along every day, meaning that even £5 of profit made on an investment of £100 is quite rare. But, as we said, profit is still profit at the end of the day.
Fortunately, arbing opportunities – the regular minor sized ones – come along most days, and bettors just need to act fast and smart to catch them. Arbs' chances can go quickly; the second bookmakers catch on that they have been slow to react to fluctuating odds, they move swiftly to amend them. It is imperative, then, that bettors remain alert at all times, watching the markets like a hawk so that they can react accordingly the second an arb opportunity occurs.
Arbing is a slow and steady process, involving making lots of smaller profit bets instead of going big, as is the norm for profit hungry punters. Arbing profits basically come down to the size of your bankroll, the amount of bets you place and the size of your arbs.
When calculating whether or not an arb is worth the effort, the first thing to do is work out the Individual Arbitrage Percentage (IAP) of each of the possible outcomes of the event you wish to arb on. Once you have found the best odds on each outcome – remember, the fewer possible outcomes, the smaller the investment – then you need to use the following formula:
odds/1 x 100
If this was used to arb a tennis match, you would run this formula twice, once for each competitor. Remember, there are no draws in tennis so there are only two possible outcomes, making it great for arbing.
Once you have the IAPs for the two possible outcomes, add them together to get your Total Arbitrage Percentage (TAP). If the tap comes to less than 100%, you have yourself an arbitrage opportunity.
Is There a Catch?
One catch is that bookmakers will often offer lower odds than their true market value in order to make a profit. This will swiftly deplete the opportunities for arbitrage so you must act quickly and work hard. The main catch, however, is that bookmakers do not want you to do it. Consequently, if you arb too much, the bookies will pick up on the pattern and your account could risk staking or promotional restrictions and sometimes even account closures. Other signs of arbing to keep on the down low would be making maximum wagers on every outcome, only playing the obscure markets where the most arbs are and betting in weird amounts in order to complete an arb.
Arbitrage Betting Opportunities
The opportunities to arb arise regularly each day and are very common. Again, these are unlikely to generate huge returns on investment on an individual basis, but small and steady is the name of this game. Be prepared to take advantage of any arbing opportunities the second they occur by having your betting accounts at the ready.
You should set up betting accounts with as many bookmakers as possible. Not only do you not want to risk alerting your bookie to what you are doing, but different bookmakers offer different prices and value must be searched for. But, once found, that value must be snapped up immediately. If you spend too much time registering for an account after finding your arb, it is unlikely that it will still be available by the time you are ready to bet.
Arbitrage Betting Sports
Bettors can use the arbitrage betting on all sports including football, horse racing, darts, and golf. The way to win, however is to be quick, disciplined, and well researched before getting involved with arbitrage betting.
This might surprise you, but one of, if not, the best “sport” for arbitrage betting we believe is esports. Betting on esports is relatively new to gambling, and because of this, bookmakers haven’t properly prepared themselves adequately. This means that different bookmakers have been known to offer different prices fairly regularly because they themselves do not really know what the actual true value of the players is. Neither do they know who will be playing for the teams and other seemingly small details and that is where our window of opportunity comes in. Seek out the more ambiguous esports with cult followings like NBA 2K, Smite and World of Tanks. These games can fly under the radar more easily than famous games such as League of Legends, Dota 2, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive or betting on FIFA.
Arbitrage betting in tennis works by bettors taking the odds offered at different bookmakers and betting on both players to win. Two bets, one winner and one loser. The idea being that the profit made on the winning bet is higher than the total stacked over the two bets. This way, the sure bet ensures that the punter would post a profit irrespective of which of the two players wins the match.
American sports are particularly good for Arbs because they rule out the possibility of a draw. This rule is certainly true for American Football’s NFL. In the NFL, arbitrage betting takes place when punters place bets on both teams to win simultaneously. So long as the odds guarantee profitability, the arb will generate a profitable return regardless of what the event's result will be.
Snooker is another one-on-one game where it is impossible to draw. So, hypothetically speaking, we could, if the odds were generous enough, place a bet on Judd Trump to win and another bet elsewhere on Ronnie O’Sullivan to win in their upcoming “match”. No matter who vanquishes who, we still get paid.
Basketball is a fast sport where the action literally goes end-to-end in seconds. Because of this, the game will take many turns which lead to rapid odds changes at bookmakers. Those odds can provide our chance to arb on an NBA game that must play to a winner because a tie is not an option.
Is Arbing Legal?
Yes, arbitrage betting is completely legal.
Don’t The Bookies Mind it Though?
Yes, they do, and they don’t like it. Fortunately, they don’t yet have a foolproof way to catch arbers.
What Happens if You Get Caught?
If they find out, then you might lose certain account privileges or even closure.
What About Arb Profit Sizes?
To be honest, profits are very small, around 1% to 3% profit margin in most cases.
Does Arbing Take a Lot of Work?
Yes, arbitrage gambling involves a lot of work.
ThePuntersPage Final Say
Arbitrage betting is an excellent way to generate positive returns on investment on a regular basis, even if you are not the world’s greatest bettor. So long as you are prepared to put the time and effort in, then you are likely to find some arbs and make some money. This is no free ticket to a new lifestyle. There is money to make small money, but money nonetheless. As you get better and more skilled at arb betting, you will instinctively know where to look and when to act. Provided you are able to find enough bookmakers that differ in the odds they are offering for an event, then you can guarantee yourself winnings.