Arbitrage betting or ‘arbing’ is a controversial, but intelligent way to place bets. Arbitrage sports betting offers the bettor a minimum risk, with a guarantee to profit from each wager.
The idea behind it is to take advantage of the variation in odds offered by different bookmakers by placing a bet on both outcomes of a wager – win/lose (and sometimes draw).
Here’s how ‘arbing’ works
Let’s take a hypothetical tennis match between Player A and Player B.
At Bill’s Bookmakers, Player A is 1.3 favourite and Player B is a 3.9 underdog.
At Stan’s Sportsbook, Player A is 1.4 favourite and Player B is a 2.9 underdog.
If you were to log on to Bill’s site and place a bet on both outcomes, you would guarantee a loss. The same would happen if you placed identical bets at Stan’s.
But by placing carefully calculated bets on each outcome at the most favourable odds offered by each bookie, it’s possible to guarantee a profitable wager.
In this case, we start by placing a £300 bet on Player A at the 1.4 odds offered by Stan’s.
We then need to calculate how much to bet on Player B at the longer 3.9 odds offered by Bill’s.
To do this, we multiply our £300 stake by 1.4/3.9 (your shorter odds divided by your longer odds).
£300 x (1.4/3.9) = £107.70. So we go ahead and place our £107.70 bet on Player B at Bill’s.
Your total wager across both outcomes is £407.70.
Let’s take a look at our possible outcomes:
If Player A wins. Our £300 bet at 1.4 will return £420.
If Player B wins. Our £123 bet at 3.9 will return £420.03.
As you can see, whatever the outcome you are guaranteed to come away with a profit.
When do these ‘arb’ opportunities occur?
Arbitrage betting is a skill in itself. It takes meticulous research and a great deal of patience to find an arb betting opportunity. These bets usually crop up because online bookmakers differ in opinion on a certain market, or sometimes simply make a mistake.
In some cases, Arbitrage scenarios are deliberately created by bookmakers in a bid to balance their books. Arb betters need to be organised and fast if they want to take advantage. Odds usually change quickly, so bets need to be placed promptly.
How to be a successful arbitrage bettor
Arbitrage betting software is available and is able to break down that rigorous, time-consuming process of finding the odds that provide arbing opportunities. You can utilise betting alert services with real-time updates and in-built calculators that allow you to work out the potential profit.
You should be alert and take precautions. Make sure you only bet in the same currency, stay away from the maximum stake limit and avoid arb bets that take days/weeks to settle, otherwise the bookmakers can seek you out and will likely banish you.
More about ‘Arbing’
The word ‘arbitrage’ means simultaneously buying and selling securities or assets, usually in stocks or shares. An arb bettor will have a number of different betting accounts with plenty of funds available.
‘Arbing’ is an entirely legal way to place a bet. Bookmakers are fully aware of this fool-proof betting technique. However, they do not take kindly to ‘arbs’. Bookmakers will seek out the arb bettors and enforce account limitations, suspension and potentially account closure.
To sum up
Arbitrage betting is known to be the only consistent way to make a profit from sports betting. It’s like playing the stocks, but you’re working with sport event odds. The average return is around 2-5% depending on the event and other factors. That’s why punters need a large stake to wager for it to be a profitable venture. But remember, the time, research, patience and everything else that goes into it can quickly take the fun out of sports betting!
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