Sports arbitrage betting

Arbitrage betting is a strategy of betting on markets due to bookmakers' differing opinions on event outcomes (differing odds by different bookmakers) or simply technical errors by one of the bookmaker.

You don't need tips, information regarding teams or huge knowledge about the sport, you need a lot of time to invest, but also to be fast-paced when needed.

It's all about placing one bet per each outcome with a different bookmaker, to cover all the outcomes, so the bettor can make a profit regardless of the outcome.

Sports Arbitrage
Screenshot from Oddsportal.com. Checking the odds on different bookies.

Arbitrage occurs when a punter finds a set of odds, which represent all mutually exclusive outcomes which cover all the possibilities of outcomes of an event.

It's essential to have an account at Betfair, or any other betting exchange that has BACK and LAY options, so you can act as a bookie as well.

Having an account with arbitrage friendly bookmaker such as Pinnacle is also a must since many bookmakers actually don't like arbitrage bettors since they are hitting their "weak spots" often enough.

Example

Type of Bet: Novak Djokovic vs Roger Federer.

On Betfair, the BACK/LAY for Novak Djokovic are BACK 2.00 / 2.10 LAY.

So, if you BACK $1 on N. Djokovic you will have a $1 profit if he wins and a $1 loss if he does not. If you LAY $1 on N. Djokovic you will have a $1 profit if he does not win and a $1.1 loss if he does win.

Now, let's say Bet365 might be paying a bit differently for the same outcomes! Let's say they are offering these odds N. Djokovic vs R. Federer 1.85 - 2.10.

So you now do the following steps:

1. You BET say $1000 at bet365 on R.Federer to win at 2.10.
2. You BACK the same amount, $1000 at BETFAIR on Novak Djokovic to win at 2.00.


Back & Lay options on Betfair.com.

- Outcome 1.R.Federer wins:

At bet365, we have a Profit of $1100 and at Betfair, we have a Loss of $1000. So TOTAL P&L is $1100-$1000=$100.

- Outcome 2.N.Djokovic wins:

At Betfair, we have a Profit of $1000 and at bet365 we have a Loss of $1000. So TOTAL P&L is $1000-$100=$0.

So with Outcome 1, we have a profit of 100 dollars, while with the Outcome 2 we have a money-back situation. There is no other possible outcome.

To make the things more balanced and secure a sure profit, an arbitrage calculator is needed and proper stakes would be:

1. You bet R. Federer to win $975.61 at odds of 2.10 at bet365.
2. You bet N. Djokovic to win $1024.39 at odds of 2.00 at Betfair.

This way, your overall stake will be the same at $2000. However, the returns will be equal in both scenarios:

With outcome 1, we have a profit of $975.61 x 2.10 = $2048.78.
With outcome 2, we have a profit of $1024.39 x 2.00 = $2048.78.

Our overall stake was again $2000, but now with a proper staking plan, we got guaranteed win of $48.78 no matter the outcome.

Limitations

The odds and the markets are changing very quickly and unfortunately, this has become a fast pace task.

But nowadays these situations are easier to detect using software created for the detection of odds changes.


Screenshot of Betburger, a famous arbitrage tool.

You need to have accounts at many bookies, so you can always act quickly and take advantage of the situation that won't last too long.

Arbitrage betting needs to involve relatively large sums since not many of the opportunities offer you return bigger than 2%.

Transferring funds from one account to another, bookies countries restrictions, bank withdrawals and extra charges are one of the things that you need to be careful about.

Bookmakers generally disapprove arbitrage betting since an arber is hitting their weak lines at least at 50% of the time.

Recommendations

Try arbitrage software tools, alert services, also a calculator, and keep up to date with communities like arbusers.com. They will guide you to understand and enter the world of arbitrage.

Have many bookies accounts but mainly use Pinnacle. A unique sportsbook that claims to welcome sports arbitrage players all over the world. Such players will get the same odds as every other, with the highest limits.

One of their reasons is the fact that Pinnacle wants to be the one offering correct odds, so arbitrage players help them move the lines accordingly with the stakes they place.