It may be that you’ve never heard of something called an arbitrage betting strategy.
In this article, we’ll try to explain the concept and whether it is worth trying.
At the heart of any decent sports betting strategy, there have to be solid foundations.
Guaranteed profit is a pretty far-fetched goal in sports betting…
But there are dozens of sources that will claim to offer you just that.
While we don’t advocate taking them too seriously, there is certainly some truth to the idea.
It is possible to play the system and most bookmakers don’t like it.
TELL ME MORE…
An arbitrage bet is often called an “arb” for short.
Arbitrage betting isn’t as easy as strolling over to your local retail bookmaker and betting on both sides of the same game.
If you did that, you’d be guaranteed one win and one loss.
Because of the sportsbook’s commission, you would always lose more money than you won.
But if you spread your bets across various sportsbooks and keep your eyes open for betting lines that have moved, you can hedge your bets.
This is exactly what a lot of professional “sharp” bettors do.
You don’t need to be a professional to take advantage of the system. It just requires patience, research, and discipline.
HOW IT WORKS
The basic concept behind arbitrage betting is this:
You are placing a bet on BOTH sides of a 2-outcome result
Win and loss – you’re going to bet both.
So, it’s not like rocking up to a roulette wheel and betting equal amounts on red and black.
That way you are guaranteed to lose at least 50% of your stake.
YOU’LL LOSE 100% IF IT LANDS ON GREEN…
No, arbitrage betting takes a little more savvy than that.
You’re going to have to take advantage of the fact that bookmakers post varying odds for the same betting markets.
Comparing odds is going to be your new hobby…
The discrepancy between them is the place where arbitrage opportunities live.
The aim of the game is to select odds that produce more profit on your winning bet than the amount lost on your losing bet.
You do this at separate bookmakers
This involves finding the best odds in the market first and foremost. You will need the help of an odds comparison site for this.
Then you need to calculate exactly how much money you should stake on each wager. More of this later.
If you are able to find situations that fulfill the betting strategy criteria then, technically, you are guaranteed to make a profit.
THE PROFIT MARGIN WILL TYPICALLY BE UNDER 5%
That means that sports bettors who partake in arbitrage bets must lay a lot of money down in order to get a reasonable amount in return.
So, before we get into the actual steps you need to take to pull this off, let’s recap what we know.
Sports betting arbitrage:
Arbitrage sports betting involves betting on both possible outcomes of the same game or event.
To bet on both sides, you must find the best odds for each outcome at separate sportsbooks.
If you suspect you have found an opportunity to employ your arbitrage strategy, you must calculate the total implied probability.
If the total implied probability checks out, it is time to determine the required stake on each half of the wager. For this, use an arbitrage calculator.
THE MECHANICS OF THE SYSTEM
Arbitrage betting with Moneylines
The first step of arbitrage betting is to shop the odds market for a suitable game. Now, if you are a mad keen sports bettor and are constantly aware of the odds that different online sportsbooks are offering, you may not need any help with this.
But, for us mere mortals an odds comparison site is invaluable in this.
Remember – we are looking for the BEST odds out there for both outcomes. So, find the best price for the favorite and the underdog.
Take your time when you’re just getting started. The more experience you gain in this particular tactic, the easier it will become.
YOU WILL BEGIN TO SPOT LINES WITH POTENTIAL VALUE AUTOMATICALLY
The favorite’s negative (-) odds must be lower than the underdog’s positive (+) odds.
Chicago Bulls (-115) @ New Orleans Pelicans (+125)
San Antonio Spurs (-110) @ Oklahoma Thunder (+115)
Let’s look at a real-life example:
Atlanta Hawks (Go Hawks!): -115
Milwaukee Bucks: +180
The Bucks’ odds of +180 are higher than the Hawks’ -115
So, there’s a potential for an arbitrage bet.
To confirm our suspicions, we must first determine the implied probability of each bet. After we’ve done that, we combine them.
If the sum of the two is less than 100%, then taking both bets means a guaranteed profit
REGARDLESS OF THE OUTCOME
If you’re not too crash-hot with all things math, then the easiest way to do this is to use an online arbitrage calculator.
If you are some kind of egg-headed boffin and prefer to do the calculations by hand then we salute you. Actually, it’s pretty easy…
Here’s how to do it:
Underdog’s odds (+)
The formula for calculating implied probability from positive odds is:
100/(positive odds + 100)
From our example:
100/(180 + 100) = 0.357
Times that by 100 to get a percentage
0.357 x 100 = 35.7%
So: 35.7% is the oddsmakers’ best prediction of Milwaukee’s chances of beating Atlanta.
Remember – this formula only works for the underdogs
Favorites’ odds (-)
Ok, so this looks a bit more complicated because of the negative (-) value
It works like this:
(-[negative odds]) / (-[negative odds] + 100)
In our example, that looks like this:
(-[-115]) / (-[-115] + 100)
The double-negatives cancel each other out (we know, just take our word for it) and change the formula to look like this:
115 / 115 + 100 = 0.534
Now that’s more like it. Turning it into a percentage as before, we now have:
534 x 100 = 53.4%
So: 53.4% is the chance they feel the Hawks have of beating the Bucks.
All we have to do now is to add those 2 values together
53.4% + 35.7% = 89.1%
Thus we confirm that the total percentage (and therefore the sum of the implied probability of both teams) is less than100%.
WE ARE IN BUSINESS
Now we just need to determine exactly how much to stake on each bet.
Back to our arbitrage calculator
After all that – here is what we discover:
Atlanta Hawks (Go hawks!): -115
Milwaukee Bucks: +180
Total (one bet is a loss): $187
SO, WHAT DOES ALL THIS TELL US?
When you stake $100 on the Atlanta Hawks (Go Hawks!), you also need to stake $66.79 on the Milwaukee Bucks.
If you place bets this way, no matter which team wins, you are guaranteed a higher return than you laid out on your combined stakes.
The amounts can be scaled up and down however you wish.
As long as the ratio between them remains the same, the equation is solid.
If you want to create a higher return, then just increase the stakes on each bet accordingly.
CAN THIS BE PART OF MY BASKETBALL BETTING STRATEGY?
Basketball has a huge number of entertaining markets to throw money at.
Many of these have only two possible outcomes and this is great for arbitrage bettors.
Odds are generally calculated by complex, devilish algorithms. They require human input to be accurate and will take into account myriad factors before determining the odds to post.
The trick lies in those lines that move over time. Certain events and developments can change the odds drastically after they are first posted.
Now, you should be on the ball and are constantly monitoring any NBA news and injury updates.
There’s a good chance that you are among the first people to learn this information.
Most betting sites are also pretty red-hot on any news like this. But there are occasions when they are a little slow to catch up.
This gives you the chance of some cheeky arbitrage betting opportunities.
SO, WHERE DO I LAY MY BETS?
Well, as we said earlier, you should have accounts with multiple online sportsbooks.
There is also the option of turning to betting exchanges. Follow the link to learn more about betting exchanges and how they operate. A simple explanation is that they allow you to place your bet against other sports bettors instead of the bookmakers.
IS IT ALL TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE?
So what we’ve been describing here seems to be the goose that lays the golden egg right?
Once you have learned how arbitrage betting works, you never need worry about money again! Guaranteed profits for all!!!
Well, it’s not quite that simple.
If you practice arbitrage betting too often, your account will probably be affected. There might be promotional restrictions, stake restrictions, or even betting account closures.
You will still be able to withdraw your money but will find it very difficult to place any further bets.
Bookmakers are among the sorest losers on Earth
Just try counting cards in Vegas and see how fast they kick you out. You’re not even cheating! You’re just using your skill and knowledge to beat them.
BUT THEY’RE NOT IN IT TO LOSE MONEY
They’re not interested in what is fair. If you represent a loss to their accounting then you are in danger. Why should they continue to accept bets from you if you always seem to win?
DOESN’T THAT MAKE THEM A PATHETIC BUNCH OF HYPOCRITES?
Sure. Their whole model is built around taking advantage of you.
Turn the tables and they take their ball in and refuse to play.
If you start to implement a successful arbitrage betting strategy, you will soon find the might of the betting industry pitted against you.
It is a myth that stumbling across an arbitrage opportunity is rare.
There are numerous examples to be found every single day.
If you are also hopping between different sports then you have even more chances of finding them.
ARE THERE SUCH THINGS AS “SURE BETS”?
But they don’t come risk free.
Any professional sports bettor needs to spread their winning bets around and be very careful about how they proceed.
Any time you bet on sports, you’re engaging in the age-old game of risk vs reward.
That’s really the essence of gambling. Without it, the thrill is not the same.
Now, we’re not saying that taking money from betting companies in a situation where you can guarantee a profit isn’t thrilling…
It’s just a different kind of thrill
Since operating as an arbitrage bettor is against the rules of most bookmakers, we don’t recommend it.
HERE AT THE JUMP HUB, WE ALWAYS ADVOCATE RESPONSIBLE BETTING
Those luxury yachts and private jets aren’t going to fuel themselves. It is, therefore, your duty to make it as easy as possible for bookmakers to keep your money.
PROFITABLE BETS FOR YOU ARE NOT IN THEIR BEST INTEREST.
This article is intended for entertainment purposes only.
It should not be viewed as any kind of vindication or encouragement to place arbitrage bets.
Look after yourselves and each other.
It’s a crazy world out there.