An Introductory Strategy for Arbitrage Betting

Published: 3rd November 2018
Author: Joe Kizlauskas
Last Updated: 7th January 2021
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An Introductory Strategy for Arbitrage Betting

Often considered the holy grail of sports betting, Arbitrage is a complex and demanding financial tool which requires a dedicated approach from a bettor.

To explain it as easily as it gets, Arbitrage Betting is the process of exploiting price differences between contrasting outcomes of the same event in search of guaranteed profit, we went over this in our Arbitrage betting guide. The combined odds produce a negative margin which works in the bettor’s favour and all it takes for a successful arbitrage process is to have as many different accounts with betting sites and bookmakers in order to keep an eye on the best available value.

It is an excruciating process, but the charms are too enticing. No wonder that is the case when the very meaning of the Arbitrage Betting is to eliminate the possibility of losing money in betting. Arbitrage is a guaranteed no-lose bet, which has gained pace and popularity with the development and expansion of online betting.

How is an Arbitrage Formed?

Bookmakers form odds on events based on their research and predictions regarding the outcome of the match/race/event and give smaller odds on the most likely outcome, which in the end yields the smaller payout. The good thing about having a huge variety of bookmakers and betting sites is that most of them will offer different odds on the same event – odds that vary on bookie’s personal risk assessment and value management – thus creating an Arbitrage Bet, in which the exact amount of money placed on each outcome with various bookmakers will allow you to earn more than you plan to invest with your stake bet.

Arbitrage betting is best used and best explained through two-way outcomes in sports like tennis, boxing, MMA, or snooker but they are also used in three-way outcome sports when the probability of a draw is highly unlikely, like basketball.

The most popular sport of them all – football – makes a tough ground for this kind of a strategy, and the elusive nature of arbitrage betting is best visible in the world’s most popular sport.

How Does an Arbitrage Bet Work?

If we are to approach a tennis match between Novak Djokovic and Richard Gasquet with Djokovic priced at 1.50 and Gasquet at 2.50 at Bet365, a little odds shopping will probably lead us to another offer that will have the Serbian player at 1.72 and the Frenchman at 2.00.

Discrepancies between prices offered on the French player offer plenty of margin for a nice Arbitrage Bet, so in order to win £1,000 on each bet this is how to calculate the total amount of money you need to invest:

Gasquet – 1000 / 2.50 = £400
Djokovic – 1000 / 1.72 = £581

In order to win £1,000 on this particular tennis match, you will need to invest a total of £981 on two separate bets with Bet365 and another betting venue. What we have as a result is a guaranteed win of £19 of a single bet. It may not sound like much, but any guaranteed win is better than a loss, right? Do this a couple of times and you will end up having a nice profit in your pocket.

How do you Succeed at Arbitrage Betting?

Being a betting strategy which offers a secure win and guaranteed profit, Arbitrage Betting is understandably one of the most coveted systems which – oddly – is not that widespread as one would think.

The elusive nature of Arbitrage Betting and the gruelling process of research and analysis that stand behind it makes it so hard to grasp and exploit to its full extent. Still, with a sound strategy that allows you to be aware of all potential pitfalls and drawbacks in the first place, Arbitrage Betting can even go on to become a way of life.

Straightforward as it gets in that systematic way – since all it takes are good odds and some simple maths – Arbitrage Betting Strategy is more about avoiding the landmines.

  • Always be on your toes
  • Complexity can catch up with you
  • Bet Cancellation
  • Illusiveness
  • Limiting Factor

Arbitrage Betting is not a pastime you can casually do every Saturday, just to spice up your game and make watching the derby more interesting. It is a way of life and a philosophy, which will make you always be on your toes, searching for the best odds and values. You need to invest time into checking and comparing odds and visiting different bookmakers to make note of the given value. Fortunately, the world of online betting has graced us with several online services which will allow you to compare odds and values without doing much of the hard work.

Still, those services will not do all the job for you and all of the hard work must be done by yourselves if you truly wish to succeed. In order to take full advantage of Arbitrage Betting, you need to have a number of funded betting accounts with different bookmakers and you need to be always ready to pounce since bookmakers are smarter than we think.

Therefore, bet cancellation can be an important factor to hinder your Arbitrage Betting strategy. In most cases the best bookmakers will constantly check for mistakes and do not be surprised if your bet gets cancelled out at the most inopportune moment, leaving you exposed on the other side with a potentially significant loss.

Even if they do not call it off and cancel the selection, bookmakers will constantly change the odds as they go on assessing the risk involved through the analysis of the current affairs on the market. Therefore, Arbitrage windows can often last for minutes and seconds even, before the entire line changes and advantageous odds disappear.

Ultimately, bookmakers can tamper your Arbitrage Betting strategy through betting limits which exist with every single betting operator. Not all betting sites have different deposit limits and while some will allow you to stake thousands and thousands on a single selection,
the others may not let you go over a couple of hundred pounds, which is another issue worth checking every time you find value odds.

Take a look at some of our other related articles, including matched betting, betting exchange, and more beginners guide.

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About Joe Kizlauskas

Joe is a seasoned iGaming copywriter and speaker who has been in the business since 2015. He's written more words on all elements of iGaming than he likes to remember, and he's contributed material to a number of well-known brands. Joe may be seen playing 5 a side, at the gym or playing games on his Playstation when he is not writing.