What is Arbitrage Betting and How to Master it

By Austin Miller - Updated July 16, 2020

Arbitrage betting is a tried and proven technique to making profit while betting. Making a few calculations using odds between at least two bookmakers can guarantee a profit. If you know how. 

Our experts will lay out in clear terms what sports arbitrage betting is, and how to execute it with success. Here’s what you’ll find in our guide.

  1. Glossary of Arbitrage Terms
  2. An explanation of arbitrage betting
  3. Tips to calculate arbitrage betting
  4. Steps for making the best

Key Terms in Arbitrage Betting

Arbitrage Betting Explained

Arbitrage betting is a great technique. It is sort of like a secret power. While you can guarantee your profits using arbitrage betting, it does require some legwork. 

Luckily we are here to help. We can show you how to calculate arbitrage betting. And after understanding how it works, you will be able to glide among sportsbooks to find and place great arbitrage sports bets. 

In arbitrage betting, the key is finding the same bet but with different odds at different sports betting sites. If the odds are different enough, you can take advantage of the arbitrage and guarantee a profit, no matter the outcome. 

Sports betting arbitrage involves placing a bet on both sides of a wager. This way you can root for everyone in the match as you watch your profit roll in! 

Arbitrage Calculator

Before we dive into some examples, it is important that know about arbitrage calculators.

Because these numbers can get complicated, it is nice to have this resource handy, so you can make better decisions faster. This will make comparisons between your arbitrage betting options crystal clear. 

We do not have time to check every wager option at our sportsbooks. We should understand the basics of the system. This way, you can have an idea of which odds to put into the calculator.

Symmetrical Odds in Arbitrage Sports Betting

The easiest and most straightforward arbitrage in sports betting is when you find symmetrical odds. What does that mean? 

Symmetrical odds are when you find the same numbers, but on opposite teams in different bookies. Let’s look at a concrete example. 

Let’s say Real Madrid is playing against Barçelona, and you bet $100 on Madrid +130 at one bookmaker. Then at another you find the odds reversed, and you bet the same on Barçelona +130. 

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This will guarantee a $30 profit. No matter who wins, you will win $130 and lose $100, for a profit of $30. It’s like magic! 

Sports betting arbitrage in symmetrical odds are the simplest. Look for close match-ups without a clear favorite, so that two bookmakers are likely to pick different winners.

Finding Other Arbitrage Betting Opportunities

In order to find other arbitrage sports bets, you have to do a little calculation. It might seem complicated at first. We’ll lay out for you to follow easily.

Arbitrage Decimal Odds

In order to identify an arbitrage, look at decimal odds. This is the simplest way of calculating arbitrage opportunities quickly.

  • Divide each one of your options by 1. This will give you the percentage chance of the event happening, according to those odds.
  • When you add up the options, if the sum is less than 100%, then you have found a sports betting arbitrage opportunity! 

For example, if the Edmonton Oilers are priced at 1.25. Then their implied probability is 80% (1/1.25). 

Then add this to the implied probability of the other team: Calgary Flames at 8.10 means their implied probability is 12.3% (1/8.10). 

When we add their implied probabilities together, they equal 92.3%. Because this is less than 100%, you have identified an arbitrage sports bet. 

Arbitrage Betting Tips

Let’s summarize what we have laid out in some quick steps

  1. Open accounts at multiple sportsbooks. This is a prerequisite for placing arbitrage sports bets.
  2. Browse odds to find discrepancies between your favorite sportsbooks.
  3. Once you have some possibilities identified, calculate their implied probabilities to see if they truly are arbitrage opportunities, or just discrepancies.
  4. Use a calculator to see how much you can win. Play with it by adjusting your stakes. 
  5. Use these results to decide which bets to place, and then place them! 

Is Arbitrage Betting Illegal?

Arbitrage betting is legal. There is no law that specifically prohibits this time of sports betting. 

Arbitrage Risks

However, arbing does come with a few risks that you should know about. Mainly that arbing is against the rules of many sportsbooks. 

  • If they detect an arbitrage bettor, they may close accounts and cancel bets. Some barbers even use a VPN (virtual private network) to avoid this. 
  • Sportsbooks use sophisticated security technology in a shared network to detect arbitrage bets. 

Some people even go so far as to falsify documents. This is of course illegal and not something we recommend at all.

This is a risk you run if you get into arbing. It is not exactly illegal, but it is against the rules at most online sports betting sites.

Card Counting vs Arbitrage Betting

One can think of arbitrage betting as the sports betting equivalent of card counting. Both are examples of advantage gambling but in different spheres. 

Card counting is also not illegal in most cases. Although some offline casinos will try to remove suspected card counters. It only becomes illegal if you use outside devices or help to count cards. 

Both are examples of advantage gambling, in which you actually adjust the odds in your favor, rather than just spreading them out differently. Both are heavily frowned upon by casinos, as it can cut into their profit. 

Does arbitrage betting work?

With the right amount of savvy and liquidity, you can make arbitrage betting work for you.

Can you make money with arbitrage betting?

Yes! In fact, that is the whole point of arbitrage betting. Make sure to calculate relevant taxes as well.

Is arbitrage betting worth it?

That is up to you! Some things to keep in mind are profit, time, and the rules of each of your favorite sportsbooks.

Is arbitrage betting hard?

Arbitrage betting requires investing time to find the right odds. However, with a bit of know-how, it is not impossible. 

Arbitrage betting vs surebet – what’s the difference?

Surebet is another word for arbitrage betting. It is also known as miracle bets. 

About the Author

Austin Miller
Austin Miller
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