If you wonder whether wouldn’t it be great to live in a world where your bets simply cannot lose, that might sound crazy, but it’s actually a possibility with arbitrage betting.
This, essentially, is where you bet on all of the outcomes in a particular sporting event so that every possible result is covered. Now, that might sound impossible, but arbitrage sports betting is not about placing your wagers with the same bookmaker – you will need to take advantage of the best odds that are available.
But before you start planning your perfect holiday based upon all the riches you are now going to win, we should mention a word of caution in our arbitrage sports betting definition – these ‘arbs’ are rare, occasionally very hard to find and the amount of profit you make may only be 1% or slightly more of your total stakes.
Even so….this arb sports betting sounds pretty cool, right? And it is, so be sure to read the rest of this article for everything that you need to know about it.
1. What is Arbitrage Betting?
We’ve already touched upon it, but what is arbitrage betting? Can you really make a profit no matter what happens in a sporting event? The answer is yes, although that comes with some reservations.
In an arbitrage betting explanation, you may see it described as a ‘sure bet’, and that is essentially what it is: you are assured that whatever happens, you will turn a profit.
This risk-free technique isn’t betting as such, because you aren’t employing any kind of skill – you’re not wagering on who you think will win a football match, who will win the first set in a tennis game, how many points there will be in an NBA encounter, and so on.
All you are doing is taking advantage of the difference in odds offered by various bookmakers, allowing you to lock in a profit without any risk. So what is arb betting? It’s risk-free wagering at its finest.
2. How Can Arbitrage Betting Be Used?
The thing to remember with sure betting is that you are looking for sports matches where the combined betting odds are less than 100%, e.g. when all of the decimals are added up they add to 99.9% or less.
The reason that sure sports bets aren’t available at a single bookmaker is because they build in an overround, or ‘vig’ as it is also known, which takes their total book for a sporting event nearer to the 110-125% mark. This is their profit margin, which allows them to mitigate the risk of when a heavily backed favourite wins.
So what we want to do is compare bookmakers’ odds, either manually or by using some kind of arbitrage betting calculator to find two or more sportsbooks offering the best prices which, when combined, add up to less than 100%.
When we have found such an eventuality, the key is to get our stakes in arbitrage betting correct so that we can lock in and maximise our profit. This strategy can be used right after triggering our NEO bet promotion code available in the related article.
3. How to Calculate Arbitrage Bets
Hopefully, at this point in our arbitrage betting tutorial you already have a good understanding of what arb bets are.
However, you might not be too strong at maths, and you might be worried that calculating arbitrage sports betting might be out of your skillset.
But don’t worry, because as we will show you calculating arb bets is easy enough, and besides there are plenty of free sites – as well as features like an arbitrage betting mobile app – that offer daily arbitrage bets.
Note, however, that these opportunities are few and far between and don’t last long – other arbers will be on the hunt for such possibilities at the same time as you. Later in this guide to arbitrage betting, we’ll offer some potential solutions.
Our first recommendation when calculating sure bets is to use an arb betting application. This lets you type in decimal odds to see them converted into an implied probability percentage.
Let’s say that Novak Djokovic is playing Rafa Nadal in the final of the French Open. Having used an odds comparison site with odds enlisted for you, you find the best prices available are as follows: Nadal at 2.00 and Djokovic at 2.10
When you type these into an appropriate application, you see that the implied probabilities are 50% (Nadal) and 47.6% (Djokovic), which when added together equals 97.6% - there’s a profit to be made!
Now you can use an arb betting calculator, like the one offered by Pinnacle, to work out how much you need to stake. Let’s say our base stake is £/€100, we would place that on Djokovic and then, using the calculator, find out we need to place £/€105 on Nadal.
Our total stake is £/€205, and our return is £/€210 no matter who wins! Now you know how to calculate arbitrage bets, the world is your oyster.
Don’t forget, arb betting can be used in betting markets where there are three or more possibilities too. Here’s a football match, with odds and percentages: Barcelona at 2.90 (34.5%), draw at 3.02 (33.1%) and Real Madrid at 3.40 (29.4%). As you can see we have an arb position, and using an arb betting mobile app we can see that if we stake £50 on Barcelona, £48.01 on the draw and £42.65 on Real Madrid we lock in a profit of £4.34 regardless of what happens in the match.
4. Why Arbitrage Betting is Risky
On the face, arb betting looks to be a great way to make ‘free’ money.
However, there is plenty of arbitrage betting risk. When you place arbs, you will note that some of the stakes are bizarre numbers like €48.01 – the kind of figure no punter would normally place.
Before long, a sportsbook will know that you are arb betting, which is not illegal but certainly frowned upon. The most important of the risks from arbitrage sports betting is that your account with a bookie might be closed permanently..
The odds may also change on one side of your arb, so you may have already placed a bet on Djokovic but then Nadal’s odds shorten before you can get your bet on – cancelling the arb position and possibly even costing you money.
5. What Are the Pros and Cons of Arb Betting?
Let’s say you have placed our arb on Djokovic vs Nadal, and when the match is over you bank your profit.
Don’t forget, the other side of the bet will be a loser, and £100 or more will be gone from that betting account. Of the main drawbacks of arb betting, the constant need to top up your betting accounts is the worst.
Of the arbitrage betting pros and cons, another limitation is that you will put in a lot of effort for minimum reward – in real terms, a ‘win’ of 1% is quite small when you consider the energy you use in finding arbs and then placing two, three or more bets to cover all outcomes.
The advantages of arb sports betting speak for themselves – these are risk-free bets where you win no matter what happens!
6. Tips for Arbitrage Betting
Having read this arbitrage sports betting walkthrough, you may want to get started today. So here’s some tips for arbitrage betting to help you on your way:
- 💷 Remember the importance of your arbitrage sports betting stakes;
- 💷 To avoid detection, round arb stakes to the nearest whole number;
- 💷 Use an odds comparison service to find best prices available;
- 💷 Use an arb calculator to work out your stakes instantly;
- 💷 Open as many betting accounts as possible to maximise opportunities.
So that’s how to use arbitrage sports betting in a nutshell! Hopefully you have learned plenty, and are now ready to get started with arbitrage betting.