Sports Arbitrage Guide
What is Sports Arbitrage?
Sports Arbitrage Trading or arbing is the act of intelligently betting on all outcomes of a sporting at the same time.
It is a reliable way of making money online that anyone could do.
By arbitrage trading, you are able to place bets that will always result in an assured profit at the end of a sporting event.
In short, it is a method of non-gambling where you bet on all available outcomes, so that you are always guaranteed to win.
Sports Arbitrage Guide is a totally free-to-access site dedicated to discussing a way to make guaranteed profit, that can be done completely online, and doesn’t require dealing with customers.
That means that you can work from home or anywhere you like at all, be that your own air conditioned home or any island paradise you choose…
Why live an expensive complicated life when you can start designing your own dream lifestyle?
Sports Betting Arbitrage, Scalping, Sure Bets, and Arb Trading all refer to the one thing;
the idea of making a guaranteed profit from a difference in odds between sportsbooks.
Normally, backing all outcomes of a single sporting event at a single bookmaker would result in you guaranteeing a loss of a few percent – this is the bookmaker’s margin. However, if we take the best competing odds from different bookmakers, it is possible to make it so that guaranteed loss turns into a guaranteed profit. By betting on those high odds so that your winnings are the same no matter what the outcome, you are arbing.
A Simple Example
Examples are the easiest way to clarify exactly what that means…
Consider a tennis event where you can bet $100 on each player at odds of 2.05 at two competing bookmakers.
All together you outlay $200 ($100 at each bookmaker), but if either bet wins you receive:
$100 x 2.05 = $205.
With a $200 outlay, that is a $5 profit no matter which player wins.
Take any two-sided sporting event where only either side can win…
The odds of each side winning must be at just the right numbers amongst two different bookmakers, then, by placing bets on both sides you are guaranteed to make money out of the deal.
Let’s say we find a setup that looks like this:
Pinnacle (an online bookmaker) are offering odds of 1.72 if TEAM A wins.
Also, at the same time…
Another online bookmaker, 5Dimes(an other online bookmaker) are offering odds of 2.75 if TEAM B wins.
Let’s say you have arbitrary, even amount of $1000 to bet here… And we want to make it so that as long as EITHER TEAM WINS, you are still guaranteed to profit.
So let’s do it…
Let’s place a bet of $615.21 with Pinnacle on TEAM A.
Then let’s also place a second bet of $384.79 with Canbet on TEAM B.
You have just set up what is known as an ‘arb’, and created a situation where in any event you make about $50.
So now, if TEAM A wins, your return will be:
$615.21 x 1.72 = $1,058.17 (a profit of $58.17).
Likewise, if TEAM B wins, your return will be:
$384.79 x 2.75 = $1,058.16 (a profit of $58.16)
Arbitrage trading is as simple as that. In practice, it involves comparing the odds of numerous bookmakers to find the best odds on offer, then seeing if those odds create a profitable return or not. If they do, place the bets and wait for the match to play out to claim your profit.
There are some very simple methods we have to show you all the ways you can calculate arbs and work out which amounts to bet on each of the odds. All the detail you need can be found in the in the Guide.
Basic Arbitrage Calculations
First off, I feel it really important to mention that you shouldn’t worry if these numbers don’t make sense to you just yet, even as you read this. This article begins to describe arbitrage calculation formulas in depth. The numbers are here to solidify the legitimacy in how arbs work for the mathematically inclined. Professional arbers will tend to use specified software or calculators that do this work for them.
Playing with our fully featured and detailed Arbitrage Calculator will also probably help you to see how the mathematics works in a practical perspective. The calculator is built in such a way that it follows the directions listed below for calculating arb viability and return, so you can easily follow along with it.
There are several different ways to calculate arbs. The method described in this article however, will tell you how much you will need to invest in the arb to realise your specified return whilst also making it apparent to you if the pair of bets you intend to pair as an arb are legitimately profitable.
The steps here are intended for use if you were to find your arbs manually and are included for reference purposes, as professional arbers will often use specialised automatic alert service software.
Determing an arb is easy and involves these few simple steps:
- Find your two best odds.
- Pick a value that you want the final winnings to be.
- Divide that figure by each of the two odds.
- Add each of the resulting quotients together, this result is your investment.
- If the winnings are greater than your investment, you have an arb.
Let’s break that down…
Find your two best odds
The Greek at 1.20
Pinnacle Sports at 8.00
Pick your total winnings
For this example we’ll use a winnings amount of $1000 (although this is in an arbitrary amount – the higher the sum you pick, the larger the bets and the greater the profit).
Divide your chosen total winnings amount by each set of odds to get each respective bet amount. Add them together to get your total outlay.
In this example:
($1000 ÷ 1.20) + ($1000 ÷ 8.00) = your total outlay
$833.33 + $125.00 = $958.33
You now know exactly how much you are outlaying ($958.33) and how much to bet at each bookie ($833.33 at The Greek, and $125.00 at Pinnacle Sports).
Calculating your profit is just as easy:
Winnings – Outlay = your total Profit
$1000 – $958.33 = $41.67
And finally, to calculate your return on investment you simply divide your profit by the initial amount invested: $41.67 ÷ $958.33 = 4.35%
Calculating Arb Percentages
All arbitrages are expressed as a percentage. Contrary to what you would usually expect, this percentage is not the same as your return on investment. The arbitrage percentage is calculated by dividing 1 by each set of odds and then adding them together.
1 ÷ 1.20 = 83.333%
1 ÷ 8.00 = 12.5%
83.333% + 12.5% = 95.833%
This percentage, 95.833%, indicates what portion your investment will take up of the total winnings.
In other words, if your winnings were to be $1000 as used in the example above, the two bets add up to $958.33, 95.83% of the total winnings. This means that 4.17% of the winnings was not invested, and is therefore left over as profit. Thus, when people refer to arbs as a ‘95.83% arb’ or a ‘4.17% arb’, they are talking about the same thing.
Notice that 4.17% is not the same as your return on investment (4.35%) because 4.17% is the percentage of the total winnings, not the percentage of the amount invested.
Understanding the Risks
The 5 Risks Which Threaten Your Arbs
As usual, with any ‘Risk Free Offer’ being advertised on the net (and Sports Arbitrage is most certainly being advertised a lot on the net!) there are risks involved…
Conceptually, an arbitrage is an exchange where your profit is known beforehand, the transaction is carried out, and you are guaranteed a payout from one bookmaker or the other which will total more than the outlay.
However there are always additional ‘behind-the-scenes’ variables at play which constitute threats to the legitimacy (and subsequent profitability) of your arb.
Luckily, most of if not all of the larger risks can be avoided in the process of arbing by having a good and understanding of them. Through this understanding, it’s easy to develop disciplines and techniques to eliminate these threats thus making sure all of your arbs remain risk mitigated and your profits positive.
In this article we’ll discuss the biggest threats to be aware of as an arber and provide some invaluable tips for dealing with them.
As such, these sites can be vastly different from each other and different bookmakers will sometimes have different rules for how to handle the outcomes for a game.
Some examples of conditions in which the outcomes from the booking perspective will change are:
- in the case of a draw
- the case of a pitcher changing before a baseball game
- in the case of extra time in hockey
- in the case of an incomplete game of tennis
Consider an example case where two separate bookmakers will offer bets on the result of a sports match. The odds presented seem to provide an excellent return in an arbitrage trade, however: one of these bookmakers states clearly that in the event of a draw that all bets will be made ‘void’ meaning that your stake will simply be returned to you. The other, however, says that it will regard the winner of the match to be whichever team had the greatest amount of points after overtime.
These slight variances in rules can be catastrophic to the validity of your arb when say, in the event of a draw, one side of your arb is refunded while the other remains a completely stark, free-standing, open bet. Having one side of your bet voided, put simply, destroys the arb.
You then have a 50/50 chance of winning and losing, so it isn’t all bad – however – as a professional arber your goal should be to constantly seek to remove any risk factor. A standing bet poses a legitimate risk of losing whereas a legitimate and correctly executed arb will not.
The solution to this is to learn what rules each bookmaker uses with any sport you are going to bet on. When you have an arb between two bookmakers, make sure both bookmakers use the same rules and there will be no potential loss.
Manually, this involves checking the rules of each bookmaker to ensure that both sides of your arb are covered under the same rules. The hugest majority of bookmakers are inter-compatible. Only bet like with like.
Over time you will become quite familiar with the rules of your favourite bookmakers and probably This is probably the easiest problem to overcome but is definitely a problem somebody who only understands the mathematical principles of arbing would encounter.
Happily, most alert service software you will use can easily show you grouped, rules compatible bookmakers, or better yet you can find bookmaker sports rules and a variety of other terms and conditions in standardised, easy to understand listings at SureBetBookies. I would recommend that each time you go through your calculations on an arb you should make it part of your process to double-check the bookmakers in SureBetBookies to ensure each of the bookmakers rules are compatible at least until you are familiar.
2. Palpable Bookmaker Errors
All bookmakers have a clause in their terms and conditions which basically states that if they make an ‘obvious error’ in their odds, they can cancel the bet at any time. This risk manifests itself particularly in arbitrage bets because we are specifically looking for odds which are higher than usual. If one of the odds we have used in an arbitrage trade was in fact a mistake made by the bookmaker and they decide to invoke this rule, we are obviously left with the second bet standing uncovered. This creates a risk as that remaining bet may lose.
Ultimately the call of ‘palpable or human error’ is up to the bookmaker, and there is nothing gamblers, or arbers, can do to change that. However, we can follow a few simple rules for identifying odds which might be errors. Any arb which is 5% or over should arouse an instant suspicion and cause you to look very closely at the odds involved.
The most common form of error is reversed odds, where the odds or handicapping of the favourite and underdog have been swapped. Check for this. Are the odds for either of the bookmakers more than 25% higher than odds offered by other books on the same event? It is likely an error if they are.
Additionally, do the two books agree on whether the favourite is obvious or not?
An obvious favourite/underdog is indicated by odds under 1.85 and over 2.25 respectively. If one book offers odds of 1.90 and the other odds of 2.50, then one book is saying that the game is close (1.90), while the other is saying that the outcome is obvious (2.50 will ‘clearly’ lose).
Only trust arbs where both sets of odds are within the 1.85 and 2.25 range, or both odds are outside of the 1.85 and 2.25 range.
That being said, be wary of odds that are identical… 2.20 vs 2.20. It is likely that one bookmaker in that instance has reversed their odds. That is, they have most likely accidentally given the home team the away teams odds and vice versa.
If you place one bet and then take too long to place the second bet, you may be too late to get the correct odds, or you might miss the second bet completely. Missing the second bet leaves you open to potentially losing that bet, but of course, it also leaves you open to potentially winning. Gambling is not the objective of sports betting arbitrage though, so this is a risk.
4. Placing the Wrong Bet
Small accidents can cost a lot of money. Thanks to threat number 3, Dawdling, you are invariably in a rush when placing bets, and hence at a risk of making a stupid mistake. For example, if you are betting on an over/under and at one bookmaker both over and under have the same odds it is not uncommon to accidentally back the wrong option and end up with two bets on the same outcome! Rushing and making mistakes is a potential risk.
Inexperience is probably the biggest risk of all because it manifests itself in all of the above risks either in the creation of the problem, or in the inability to respond to the problem. Not understanding odds, not understanding bet types, not understanding how bookmakers work and not knowing how to react to an unexpected situation means you may lose money. Losing money is precisely what is to be avoided, so inexperience is indeed a risk factor.
These three are grouped together as they are all part in part the same solution to each problem.
- Take it slow at first
- Paper Trade
- Trade with small amounts
A discipline of utmost care and a deliberate nature will serve you best.
It’s important to understand that in order to move fast, you have to take it slow in the beginning and learn how to do it properly.
In the beginning, you need to start ‘trading’ without actually betting real money. Find the arbs, go through the motions, pretend you are doing it but don’t actually bet anything. This is called ‘Paper trading’.
This allows you to learn how the bookmakers work without risking your money. It also builds experience (Threat #5). As you gain some experience you will navigate to the correct destination faster (Threat #3) and place the correct bet more reliably (Threat #4).
With the basics under control you will need to progress past paper trading to real money in order to understand how the bet confirmation process takes place, and so trading with very small amounts is a necessary second step.
Part of ‘Take It Slow’ should be carried all the way through your arbing career. In the opening months you should triple check everything.
- Triple check the arb isn’t an obvious error (as described above).
- Triple check the odds you have are for the correct bets (1×2? +0.5? -0.5? +0.25? over or under? Half time or full time?).
- Triple check when the game will be played. Will you be seeing your profits this month?
- Triple check you have the right game in the right league with the right teams.
- Triple check that the odds at the bookmaker are the odds reported by your alert service.
- If they aren’t, triple check any re-calculations you make if it is still an arb.
- Triple check your bets. Have you placed the right amount in order to maximise the arb?
If, after all of that checking everything is still in order, then you very quickly take one reliable bookmaker to the final confirmation page. Go to the second bookmaker and submit that bet. Wait the 2 second to make sure that bet has been accepted. As soon as it has been accepted submit the bet at the first bookmaker.
Okay, so Arbitrage may seem difficult in the beginning, and the truth is it does have a learning curve but any legitimate opportunity to work at home and make a good profit at the same will always involve real work.
Once you master the few basic principles and continually apply the above triple check steps, you will very quickly improve the rate at which you can place an arb.
Your mind will be triple checking everything as you go, and you will flow through the whole process without needing to think about it. But in the beginning…
You have to take it slow!
The good news of this page is that every one of the risks listed above has a simple solution to minimise or completely remove the potential loss.
The great news is that over the long run, statistically speaking, if you only ever backed one side of every arb you will still come out at a profit. Since arbs specifically use odds which give a greater than 100% return on investment, either one or both bets have odds which are greater than the statistical chance of that outcome winning.
If you were to be totally indiscriminant in your betting (50-50 selection of favourite or underdog) then your long term return would average out at whatever your average arbitrage percentage was. Statistically, making a mistake on every arb is still winning. However, we don’t practice this because like all ‘statistically correct’ gambling systems, a long losing streak will wipe our bank balance out and we won’t be able to place the bets which are meant to win and bring us back to into profit.