What Is Arbitrage Betting?

The perfect bet from the eyes of a gambler is one that you can’t lose on. The only way to secure bets that you can’t lose on is to bet on multiple outcomes of a sporting event. Arbitrage betting has arisen over the past couple of years, because there are so many different bookmakers around. With so many different companies allowing you to place bets, it is inevitable that the odds are not going to coincide with a different company. It is this discrepancy between different company’s odds that allows an arbitrage better to place several bets at several different companies on several different outcomes. This works when a win on any of the outcomes makes an overall profit.

As you can well imagine, the percentage profit made on each bet is not very high at all. This therefore means that a high stake must be placed on each of the outcomes in order to make a decent amount of money, therefore not just anybody can become an arbitrage better, you need to have some money to start off with. The technique also takes skill and perseverance, as the opportunity to make such a bet is fairly rare and the customer must view a wide range of different sites to find the right bet.

Examples Of Arbitrage Bets

An arbitrage bet, or surebet as it is often known is obviously something that a bookmaker tries to avoid. For this reason, the opportunity does not come about all the time and the type of bets that they come about on are not common types of bets. For example, it is very rare that the outcome of a football match will be an arbitrage bet, on any site, because the odds are all very similar on each different website.

The type of bet that may become available for a surebet to be placed is probably going to be rather obscure. There may also be a limited time only where the bet can be placed. In today’s market the odds change in real time so you must be quick once you have calculated that a bet will make a profit, regardless of the outcome.

A generic example of an arbitrage bet would be that if two teams are playing football and one company has team A to win at 13/10 from one bookmaker, team B to win at 7/1 from another bookmaker and a draw was 17/1 from another bookmaker. If we placed £140 on team B to win, this would return around £1000, if we placed £60 on the teams to draw, this would return £1000 and if we placed £770 on team A to win, this would also return about £1000. Therefore, we have staked a total of £970 (770+140+60) on the match and all three outcomes give a return of just over £1000, which means no matter what, there will still be a profit.

Betting Types With An Arbitrage Factor

The arbitrage factor is the percentage profit that you will make from the bet. The majority of arbitrage or sure bets will return the same or a very similar amount for each outcome. The arbitrage factor is generally no more than around three or four per cent and this is the exact reason why large amounts of money must be staked in order to get a reasonable profit.

One type of bet is known as a back/lay arbitrage sports bet. This has been used mainly on betfair because they allow customers to bet on a horse losing a race and the bets can often not update quick enough and the odds for the horse to win are then too high compared to the odds for the horse to lose. Therefore, the market is exploited by betting on the horse to win and to lose and the difference is equal to the profit that somebody can make.

Another type is back/back arbitrage sports bet. This is where you back something to win and use the difference in the bookmakers odds against them in order to make a small profit. This type of betting is less easy to detect than back/lay betting as you use different websites.

Dangers Of Arbitrage Sports Betting

The art of arbitrage betting is one that is frowned upon by the majority of bookmakers. Although that in todays world, with vast amounts of online bookmakers, it has become much harder to detect, if detected, a company reserves the right to block you from the site and even take or half your winnings.

Therefore, with arbitrage betting there is still a risk that the bettor may get caught and lose their money. There may not be any risk in the outcome of the bet but there is a different type of risk. The thing to ask is that is a £20 or so profit really worth risking losing the £980 that you staked to earn it.

The other risk is that mistakes can be made and this can have disastrous consequences. There is a need to work fast because the bet is not going to be around for long. Therefore people may make mistakes because they rush the calculations that they need to do and do not achieve a surebet.

Mistakes may come not from human error but also because of fluctuating odds. It is impossible to place all the bets simultaneously and in the time it takes to place each individual bet with a different website, the odds may change.

In Summary

In theory, arbitrage betting really is great. There are literally no risks when you think about it, in theory. However, the fact that bookmakers are against it and are always looking out for it means that it simply is not worth the risk. To make serious money from it, you will also need to place bets regularly which mean that there is a good chance you will get caught.

So, arbitrage betting, in theory seems easy, but in reality, it really isn’t worth the risk.

What is your opinion?


Author Information

Thomas Singer
I'm Thomas Singer, freelance journalist at the Berliner Zeitung and a professional sports bettor. During my study of sports science at the Humboldt University in Berlin I discovered my passion for sports betting and optimized my system so that I can practice both as a journalists and my hobby. I'm happy about every new follower on my Google+ profile.